Pizza Art Cafe, the Doc’s Take: or, Infinite Rambling Navel-Gazing Drivel; or, I am in love with Joelle van Dyne because I have a thing for unavailable women, and women don’t get more unavailable than fictional characters (e.g., Dagny Taggart, Elizabeth Bennet, aforementioned J.v.D.)

 

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“No rambling navel-gazing drivel,” he says. This, from a man whose favorite book is “Infinite Jest.” 

“No rambling navel-gazing drivel.” What, does he think this blog is about pizza, all of a sudden?

Psht.

Mind you, my Dimo’s entry, which devolved into kind of a chaotic rant about the Maestro’s man-crush on Ted Cruz, may have been an object lesson in why, you know, one shouldn’t dive too far into the rambling navel-gazing, To be honest, I wrote that in an airport– Detroit, specifically– and on only a couple hours sleep. And why, you may ask, was I on only a couple hours sleep? Because the Maestro and I had stayed up literally the entire night prior, watching season 3 of “The Office.”

Because we’re adults, and we do things like that.

Anyway. It probably wasn’t necessary to subject our faithful readers to a blog-long gay joke about the Maestro and the erstwhile Zodiac killer. (See? I’m part of the joke, now, too!) Sorry about that.

You do have to admit, though, that part of the fun of this blog is the, you know, “rambling navel-gazing.” In much the same sense, say, that the end notes are part of the fun of “Infinite Jest.” A feature, not a glitch, as someone who is far fonder of the end notes to “Infinite Jest” than I once put it. [1]

I will say, this week’s pizza proper needs no rambling navel-gazing [2] as padding, insofar as the pizza was excellent. Pizza Art Cafe, on Rockwell. Cute little place. We were meeting a friend there, after she’d just had dinner with her family. And she had the look to her that one gets after having dinner with one’s family, when dinner with one’s family invites certain expenditures of emotional and verbal energy that one is unaccustomed to.

That is, our friend looked beat.

“I’d like a glass of pinot,” [3] she said to our server when he happened by.

“It’s BYOB,” he replied apologetically.

She sighed.

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The pizza, though. They served us these irregular little pizzas, about ten inches across, maybe a little bigger than your typical personal pan pizza, but these pizzas were served on this delicious, chewy dough that was, delightfully, a little singed and crispy around the edges. The crust (somehow, as the Maestro noted, cheesy in and of itself) actually kind of reminded me of Spacca Napoli, way back last summer– and it occurred to me that, had the pizza at Spacca Napoli maybe been a touch smaller, say, the size of these pizzas, I might have been more enthusiastic about it. Because the consistency and taste of this crust was juuuuuuust right.

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I got a margherita [4] pizza, which was perfectly fine, tasty, but still, at the end of the day, just a competent margherita [5] pizza. But the art, the true art, of the Pizza Art Cafe, arrived when my second pie showed up: my Pugliese.

(Incidentally, if you are imagining the Doc butchering the pronunciation of this word as he ordered, and the Maestro’s jaw tightening as the Doc did so– as it often tightens when the Doc attempts to pronounce Italian words to servers when ordering– your present imagining would resemble reality.)

I’d never heard of a Pugliese pizza before. The menu advertised it as mozzarella, Pugliese sauce, onions, and grated Pecorino cheese. Having had it, I still don’t know what, exactly, either Pugliese sauce or Pecorino cheese is; except that they are the ingredients that created the sensation in my mouth two Fridays ago that uncorked a flow of dopamine and serotonin [6] in my brain that lit up my central nervous system like a Christmas tree. [7]

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It was like…alfredo sauce. But a slightly thicker, creamier alfredo sauce. And it was addictive. I felt my pupils dilating. I actually felt bad for ordering the margherita, [8] because truly, after taking the first bite of the Pugliese, all I wanted to do was eat more of it. And by “eat more of it,” I actually mean “only eat this for the rest of my life.”

The onions gave it a perfect little stab of sweetness, too.

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Pizza Art Cafe is a dimly lit, unpretentious little place on a cute little neighborhoody street. I will opine that the tables inside the restaurant proper were kind of close quarters, but I imagine others might opine that this contributes to the authenticity of its atmosphere as a little Italian cafe. Your mileage on getting that close to your dining neighbors may vary.

Unless your dining neighbors are the Maestro and the Doc. In which case your unbridled enthusiasm is noted.

“Rambling navel-gazing.” Harrumph.

NOTES AND ERRATA

[1] Speaking of the end notes to “Infinite Jest,” I’ve toyed with the notion of using end notes on this blog, as kind of an homage to “IJ,” for a long time. This kind of gives me an opportunity to try it out, see how it looks visually. [a]

[2] I toyed with “navel-gazing rambling” here as well– I couldn’t quite decide which is the verb and which is the adverb, when the noun “drivel” is removed from the equation. [b]

[3] Probably not, but “pinot” is the only wine I can summon by name right now, and that’s only because of “Sideways.”

[4] Can you believe, I get this kind of pizza very nearly every time we go to pizza, and I still have no idea how to spell it? Autocorrect and spell check save me every time. And I guarantee, next week, I still won’t know how to spell it.

[5] Hell, I didn’t remember later in the sentence.

[6] The neurotransmitters primarily responsible for craving and satisfaction, respectively.

[7] Chanukah bush, Festivus pole, festive celebratory totem of reader’s comfort.

[8] Ha ha, you thought I’d forget, didn’t you! Nope, the other two uses of the word are still on my screen.

[a] It looks okay.

[b] Speaking of grammar sticklers, I’d also do Avril Incandenza.

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