The first things you notice about Full of Life Flatbread are garden beds next to the restaurant.
All Full of Life flatbreads are made with organic, locally sourced ingredients and cooked in a 900 degree wood oven. The result is elegant pizzas that represent California wine country cooking. The touch of smoke in their flavor adds a dash of Santa Barbara ranchero flavor.
Our favorite of the flatbreads is the shaman. We love pizza with pistachios on it; this combination with black pepper, Grana Padano cheese, garden rosemary, and wood charred red onions supports the simple nutty flatbread so well. The unsung hero of this one is a measure of flax seeds. Some might mistakenly think of flax as a drab heath food fad, but this presents them as a nutty, flavorful alternative to sesame seeds. The shaman is well complemented by local wines or beers.
If the combination of flax and pistachios is too far out, Full of Life offers a wide array of combinations, some quite traditional. A pepperoni pizza comes with nitrate-free meat and pasilla peppers slowly roasted in wood embers along with razor-thin red onions. It will satisfy a craving for classic pepperoni pizza, and it adds the unique fillip of heavy oven char. We only wish there were more of the roasted pasilla peppers on top. Then again, perhaps too many peppers would water down the rich orange cheese that pepperoni pizza lovers expect.
We appreciate “smoke-dried” tomatoes on the mushroom flatbread — a hearty vegetarian option with beautifully shaved crimini mushrooms and sweet caramelized onions, It might have been even greater with more of these sweet smoke-dried tomatoes, which are cleverly made by utilizing the last dying gasps of a wood fire.
No matter what you get on top, the crust is excellent. It is light and airy, despite being made with flavorful unbleached whole-grain flour. In general, Full of Life food is a rare, happy compromise of sustainable health food ethos and rich, local gourmet flavor. This winning formula has earned fans across the country, who buy Full of Life’s pizzas frozen at local natural food stores. (They’re now in over 20 states. The frozen pizzas are very good, but nothing like the real thing, straight from the oven in Los Alamos.)
For dessert, there’s a unique take on a s’more, created by another clever use of the oven. A blob of marshmallow fluff gets perfectly browned by the wood as it sits atop a chocolate espresso cookie. The combination of toasted marshmallow and coffee is smart, but we believe that the dessert could benefit from another dimension of flavor or texture, such as mint or something crunchy. As it is, it seems to be merely a tepid cookie with a bunch of marshmallow on top.