On the Line: Tim Gonzales of TJ's Woodfire Pizza, Part One

One lazy Sunday, I swang by my local farmers market to visit Tim over at TJ's Woodfire. Fresh produce, hot lunch and live music are the perfect combo with our pizza as we grab a bench to go over his responses.

Let's talk about your Neapolitan wood-fired pizza oven; how quickly does it bake a pizza?
Once the oven is nice and hot, cooking time is 90 seconds.


What is your beverage of choice, and where do you get it?
Right now, my favorite drink is a well-balanced IPA (For example, Alpha Drive from Valiant Brewing). Living in California, we have so many good breweries to choose from. [Editor's Note: It's also how he would pair his own pizza]

What's the secret to a perfect pizza?
A layering of tastes. Balance.

I read that you import your flour and tomatoes; what specifications (brands) are these?
Caputo flour and Carmelina Tomatoes; we love our Carmelina Tomatoes.

What do you recommend for first-timers?
Margherita or Big Al.

Favorite luxe loncheras.
We don't work with all the trucks too often. A recent meal we had was from The Burnt Truck and Waffles de Liege.

Do OC pizza diners have different preferences than SD or LA diners?
There are small differences in counties. I would say one may want it more spicy, and another sweet and savory.

Where was your most recent meal?
Bad to the Bone BBQ in San Juan Capistrano. We had ribs and pulled pork.

Is a pasta menu still forthcoming?
We have several unique pasta dishes that will soon be available. Some pasta dishes are available on our catering menu.

What's on a dessert pizza?
We have many dessert pizzas. One has Nutella, strawberries, whipped cream and shaved almonds.

Your best recent food find?
The braised Brussels sprouts with bacon from Nick's in San Clemente.

Culinarily speaking, Orange County has the best:
Fresh seafood. There are so many varieties available. I love them all.

Best culinary tip for the home cook:
Do not be afraid to try/prepare new dishes. Also, do not hesitate to use more and different seasonings. Taste your food throughout the process.

You're making breakfast. What are you having?
Bacon and waffles.

Weirdest customer request (and did you do it?):
Three different pizza options (sauces, etc.) on one pie. NO.

Besides Sundays at OC Great Park, where else do you frequent?
We are all over OC and post our schedule on Facebook weekly.

To learn more about TJ's Woodfire Pizza, including their current schedule, check them out at www.tjwoodfirepizza.com.

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