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Pizza Perfection 

Picco offers a delicious reward at the end of the trail

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Have you even been on a hike or mountain bike ride that was much longer and harder than you thought it would be? After you've eaten through all your Clif bars and gorp, and started to get weak with hunger, you begin to fantasize about what you'll eat once you're finally off the trail and back in civilization.

It's a mind game that can get you out of the woods, literally and figuratively. If you happen to find yourself in such a predicament in the wilds of Marin County, stagger over to Larkspur's excellent Pizzeria Picco for your reward. I don't know about you, but a delicious pizza, a few pints of beer and soft-serve ice cream seems like an excellent way to restore all those lost calories and low blood sugar.

Sit at the small bar to watch the flames in the wood-fired oven cook your pie while you drink a beer or glass of wine. There are half a dozen or so tables outside too.

To affirm you're in the right place, many of the pizzas are named after mountain bikes—the Specialized, the Son of Yeti, the Ellsworth. What's in the name? Well, in the case of the Son of Yeti ($17.95), it's mushroom, leeks, thyme, fresh garlic, house-pulled mozzarella, pecorino, and parmesan. The crust is exceptionally good. It's thin, but soft and chewy with a pleasingly crusty and crisp exterior that shatters under the pressure of biting teeth. It's an outstanding pie.

The margherita ($15.50) is no slouch either—tomato sauce, basil, mozzarella, parmesan, and de Padova extra virgin olive oil. One of the servers will drop off your pizza and slice it for you, asking how many wedges you wish—six, eight?

Everyone makes a caesar salad, but few are as well executed as the anchovy-enhanced version here ($11.95). It's as a good as I've had anywhere. Straus soft-serve ice cream is better than the soft serve of your youth because it's made with higher quality milk, and here you can get it topped with caramel and Maldon sea salt, olive oil or TCHO chocolate sauce. Welcome back to civilization.

Pizzeria Picco, 316 Magnolia Ave., Larkspur. 415.945.8900.

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