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Kilometer 5: Killer Views, Great Burgers ... and Pizza?

March 27, 2018

Kilometer 5 is a wonderful, funky spot with really good hamburgers. Really great burgers, an ice-cold Pacifico, wonderful company and a killer view make for a fine evening. But I will pass on the pizza.

Sayulita, Mexico - Charles Lamb, (1775-1834), the English essayist, wrote "Dissertation on a Roast Pig," so I am turning my culinary and literary thoughts to pizza - again.

What prompts me to do this is the pizza I had last night at Kilometer 5. It is a wonderful, funky spot with a killer view and more iterations of a pizza than one can imagine. One can even "build" one's own from a wide range of toppings, from melon to mushrooms.

In a nutshell, the pizza at Km 5 tastes pretty great, but the issue I have (again) is that it isn't pizza. It is pizza-like. Let me explain.

A good pizza had three basic ingredients - a crispy, thin, yeasted flatbread, a tomato sauce (San Marzano tomatoes are the best) and mozzarella cheese (preferably from buffalo milk.) When a dish has only three ingredients, the quality and taste of each one counts.

The only argument I have with the Km 5 pizza is the sauce, or, to put a fine point on it, the lack of sauce. Instead of a finely-herbed red sauce there are sliced tomatoes. Yes, the tomatoes are red, yes, they are of high quality, but, yes, they impart a taste that is decidedly un-pizza like. A rich, red tomato sauce with a tad of spice has a lot more taste and texture than a sliced tomato.

Let's flip this around to make a point. Let us imagine one orders a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich-this is not hard to do. We know what it looks like and we know what it tastes like. It is a paragon among sandwiches. Suppose the chef unilaterally decides to use tomato sauce instead of sliced tomatoes. One is not only disappointed in the look and taste, one will also be stuck with the cleaning bill as the sauce trickles down from sandwich to shirt or blouse.

I can only assume that chefs in Sayulita used sliced tomatoes because it is a great deal easier to slice a bunch of tomatoes than it is to make a really fine tomato sauce. Some canned sauces are fairly decent, but most contain fake ingredients and too much sodium and sugar.

There is my rant. Here is my rave. Km 5 has really good hamburgers. Really! A great burger, an ice-cold Pacifico, wonderful company and a killer view makes for a fine evening. But I will pass on the pizza.

By the way, Lamb's essay is a delightful read.

Kilometer 5 is located at Carretera Punta de Mita Km 5, between Punta Mita and Sayulita, in Higuera Blanca, Nayarit, Mexico.

Ed Schwartz and his wife, Bambi, are Mexico-philes from way back, having visited Mexico over 40 times before buying a house in Sayulita in 2007. They spend about half the year in Sayulita and half at their home in Inverness, in West Marin, California. His writings on wine, food and travel have appeared in the SF Chronicle, LA Times and Image magazine.

Click HERE for more articles by Ed Schwartz