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Thursday, March 10, 2005

Stripping For Pizza

You notice tourists more when it's sunny outside.

And if you were ever thinking about visiting San Francisco, today was the day to be here. The weather is hot! It's 75 degrees.

Go ahead and laugh, but for San Franciscans, these are the days we love to complain about. However, after so many weeks/months of cold, rainy weather, even the bitchiest among us would struggle to complain about the weather. (I did entertain the thought, though, after practically being blinded as I walked out of my building.) On my lunch break, I took the opportunity to take my book and sit in Washington Square Park; sitting on a bench in the shade with my shoes off, exposing my mismatched grey/darker gray socks, one turned inside out. As you know, I've been reading "The Taste of America" by John and Karen Hess. After finishing the first chapter, I started the next and said, "well, eh, why don't I just skip to the good stuff". So I started with the chapter entitled The Gourmet Plague.

So far, my favorite quote from the book isn't even by the authors, it's by Harriet Van Horne. In an article entitled EDUNT ET VOMANT (translation: They have eaten and let them vomit.), she writes, "no journalistic caprice has, in my memory, set off such a shudder of distaste…This calculated evening of high-class piggery offends an average American's sense of decency. It seems wrong, morally, esthetically and in every other way." She was commenting on a 1975 fluff piece in the New York Times describing a Parisian dinner Craig Claiborne and his partner, Pierre Franey, had. The NYT story makes much to do about the $4000 meal for two that featured 31 dishes and 9 wines. Meanwhile, as Claiborne was licking his decadent fingers, the rest of America was stewing in an economic recession. The Hess's included Van Horne's quote to further elaborate on the gourmet absurdities of the time which elevated overpriced, tasteless food, (canned foie gras, canned truffles, "cottony" chicken breasts in a floury velouté sauce), championed by those like Claiborne, who lauded expense as a barometer of taste.

I'm not sure that going in the extreme opposite direction cost-wise that I'm upholding the Hess's standards any more than Claiborne and Co.'s $4,000 extravagance. As soon as I finish reading, I put my shoes back on and head back to work, walking up Stockton Street past women in linen Capri pants drinking white wine at outdoor Café tables. God, I am so jealous.

Instead, I am making my way to Cable Car Pizza on Broadway where I'm going to scarf down a $3.50 slice of pizza. My co-workers never go here. They call it Stripper Pizza since it's surrounded by adult video stores with quarter booths, titty bars, head shops, and of course strip clubs. It's really not that bad, although the term Stripper Pizza conjures up images in my mind of finding a kinky pubic hair floating in a pool of grease on top of my pepperoni and cheese slice. But this is really unfair, since I've never even seen a so-called stripper in the place. Of course, you're asking, "how would you know?", but trust me, I have a radar for these things.

I ask for a slice of pepperoni, green bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms and I ask the guy not to heat it up. I figure that if you're going to eat pizza hot, you eat it fresh out of the oven. Otherwise, you eat it cold. What does re-heating it do other than make it hot? It's not going to have the same flavor as fresh out of the oven pizza. It's going to taste better cold the first time than hot the second. I try to explain this to my friends, but I usually have a hard time getting through when they see that I've put mayonnaise on my slice. Fortunately for the appetites of the other patrons, Stripper Pizza doesn't offer mayo as a condiment for your slice.

As far as pizza goes, it's ok, well…no, it's bad. I mean, it walks a tightrope on edible. It's greatest crime is its lack of character. This pizza just doesn't stand out. To riff off an earlier quote by Gary, my co-worker, sometimes pizza is just pizza. It's salty, greasy, with a flimsy crust. The slice is big, but as we know, quantity can only overwhelm quality to the chintziest of penny pinchers. "If only a stripper would show up", I think while staring out the window, "Wouldn't that be interesting."

I really should start bringing my lunch from home again.



Blogger Bacon Press said...

I went back to Stripper Pizza today.

No strippers, yet.

The pizza is still the same.

Next week I'll be bringing my lunch to work.

God! I hope the weather stays like this for a little while!

1:08 PM  

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