The round Italian Uthappam, The infamously delivered Vennai Rotti and perhaps the most popular edible item throughout the world, Pizza is world famous. Yet, it is a gruelling job to find the best Pizza in town. May be it is easy in Italy, but not elsewhere.
My first taste of Pizza was at Pizza Corner in Chennai and my reaction “boouuueaaahhhh!”. I guess hailing from South India where Rice (Ponni boiled Rice in particular) is the staple food, it was a difficult job to face a boat load of Cheese in just a circle of about 1 and a half feet diameter. Perhaps I was allergic to Cheese I thought, I was just not used to it.
The next time around I tried Pizza again, It was several years later in United states, in the state of California and for some reason, I was starting to develop an affinity towards Pizza. Suddenly, it was ok for me to munch down a bucket of cheese and sauce and still not feel “booouuueeeaahh”, The same factor which made me steer clear of these circular dishes did not matter anymore. I was exposed to Pizza Hut, Dominos and Round Table. I liked Pizza Hut of the lot. Yes, Pizza Hut is the King of Pizzas.
I carried the tradition of eating Pizzas from Pizza Hut to India. The greatness of Pizza Hut in India is they sell Indianised versions of Pizza. Palak Paneer Pizza, Paneer Butter Pizza, Vendakka Sambar Veggie Lovers (This one is a DIY by my Dad, He just smeared Sambar on Pizza and ate it like Dosa, Genius!) kept my thirst for Pizza varied.
With so much experience through the years with Pizza Hut, Pizza to me meant only Pizza Hut. It was like a symbol, a status, a standard. To eat in Pizza Hut is where you will find divinity, it is our destiny to eat in Pizza Hut. It is the ulitmatum of all Pizzas. It is the universal answer to life. It is 42.
Oh, I was so mistaken. I was blinded from the truth for so long. I saw only one road all the time and neglected others. With a much broader view, I saw streets later, I saw alternatives, I saw things superior to the Incredible Hut. It was like a long time Windows User finding Heaven in the form of a Macintosh.
I found 3 alternatives out of which atleast 2 I can frequent. After I found these, I hate Pizza hut now. I don’t want to go back to Pizza Hut. Here they are, Let the mouth watering begin:
1. Sweet Tomatoes:
It is a chain of salad bar buffet restaurant, which provides you with unlimited everything. You can eat whatever you can and whichever you can and they offer you Fresh Veggies, Soups, Pizza, Pasta, Muffins, Bread, Frozen Yogurt, Fruits and Thanks. If we go there, we eat our heart and stomach full.
I love the Quattro cheese pizza a.k.a Four Cheese Pizza. I cannot spell or pronounce the name of the Pizza but I can eat it. They cut it into small breadsticks like pieces and served hot from the oven. The layer of cheese is thin and the sauce is also mild. It tastes awesome, It can blow your mind, explode your nerves, bring world peace, solve world hunger! Currently, this is the pizza that is holding the top spot.
The optimal number of pieces you should eat though is 4, if you eat less you won’t be contempt, if you eat more you would feel you had too much and would develop a temporary hatred. 4 Pieces will leave you delighted and quenched from that Pizza thirst. However, 4 might not be the optimum number for everyone, you will need to calibrate it yourself.
2. Whole Foods:
Whole Foods is an organic Grocery store. They sell exotic food items that is. We make selective purchase of our Grocery from this place, as some of the other items they have can be very pricey. They make pizzas, kinda like how Sams club or Costco make Pizzas in a small counter, except Whole foods is way better. The Hearth Baked Pizza that they make is very innovative and tasty. Grilled Vegetable Pizza, Basil Pizza are some of my favourites here. They make the Pizza with thin crust and all sort of exotic vegetables. You will just love it for the variety that the Pizza has to offer and the taste of the crust. The cheese that they use is so much more tasty and better than Pizza Hut.
Each day the pizza is made from scratch and made at that place and served fresh and hot from the oven. The price is good too, $2.99 for the slice and $13.99 for a whole pizza (which is nearly the same as Pizza hut).
3. Statue of Liberty:
I wrote about the symbol of freedom a while back on my Mini Travelogue Series. But little did I know that there will be a Cafeteria at the Liberty Island and I will end up having a lunch there someday. It was quite a simple lunch -a Burger and a Pizza with family. We had to have our lunch there since we had no other choice. Time was running out and we were hungry and since it was a Cafeteria, our expectations were less. May be that was the reason that we ended up liking the 4 cheese box pizza.
It was probably not freshly made, or may be it was we didn’t know. But with low expectations and good hunger, we loved the 4 cheese pizza. Now that is a place where you won’t go everyday, but if you do get there hungry, there is always a pizza for you to treat your taste buds.
My search for a great pizza hasn’t ended though. I will continue my search.
This is what I would call a temporary Nirvana, an illusion that you have sought the best.
Even the best is temporary, for it will be replaced by something better as time goes by, until then you can live in the present and enjoy your best.