There are only a small handful of things I’ve consistently enjoyed doing since I was a boy. However, since they enacted The Patriot Act, at least two of them have been reclassified as felonies, so the only thing left I can really mention is my love for pizza.
I have sampled it from coast-to-coast. From the sandy shores of California to the rocky coasts of Maine. Which makes me sort of the Woody Guthrie of Italian takeout.
But in all my travels, I have never eaten a better a pie better than the one they make at .
This pizza, this flawless cylindrical object, is as perfect to behold, as aesthetically-satisfying to ponder, as it is to actually eat. In other words, if it were an album, it would be Dark Side Of The Moon.
I’ve been dining at Clino’s for about 10 years now. No, not continuously, despite the fact that my boxers have to be let out daily. But certainly every few weeks, I’ll go and order a large pizza with all the trimmings. Then, so that it doesn’t seem like I’m scarfing it up alone, I usually walk to the door while the thing is being made and yell out to my imaginary kids:
"Hey, Dr. Dre! You and Snoop stop hitting each other. I’ll be out soon."
Convinced I have fooled the counterman into thinking I have sons (and manly ones at that), I can then relax and wait for the Clino guys to make this sphere-shaped work of art.
Now, as a naturally curious guy, I’ve tried, over time, to figure out just why the pizza at P, P &T, is so off-the-charts delicious. Mostly I do this by breaking it down to its component parts. But, as far as I can tell, they use dough, sauce, peppers and onions like everybody else. No one from the Vatican comes and blesses the food. Nobody from Hogwarts comes by and utters an incantation over it. They don’t seem to marinade the peppers in anything offbeat that I can see. Maybe they put a little olive oil on everything. But if they’re doing anything unusual to the ingredients, it must be an act of legerdemain. Perhaps, even magic.
Hanging out in Clino’s seems to be too painful for me, while my pie is prepared. I mean, how long can you be mesmerized by the Powerball numbers flashing continually on the TV bolted to the ceiling?
So invariably, I go to the nearby Staples to kill the time. Usually, I hang around where they sell those inexpensive DVDs that you can watch for two days and that then permanently self-destruct. I allow myself to fantasize for a minute here and imagine a world where this happens to every film that Adam Sandler ever made.
Then it’s time to pick up my pizza.
It’s reasonably-priced, hot, fragrant. Smartly, they put this circular planet of perfection in a box. Not so much to keep their customers from burning themselves. It’s just that they’re afraid we might start frothing at the mouth, like werewolves under a full moon, and eat this thing in front of all the patrons. And then, maybe, go for their throats.
So, I wait until I get home. I walk into the kitchen to eat my bounty from Clino’s. Now, I don’t get too carried away with the spiritual feelings I experience here. Okay, I do put on “Ave Maria.” And light one of those religious candles you buy at a bodega. It’s not necessarily to a deity that I aim these practices. More like to the god of pizza. That I might live to eat not only this pie, but a few more.
At least until that awful day of reckoning.
You know the one.
No, not when I have a cardiac incident or I’m looking at pamphlets about gastric bypass surgery. I mean, when I’ve eaten so much product at Clino’s Pizza, Pasta & Things, that I’m forced to buy a pair of jeans with a bigger waist-size than the one I currently have on. Now that would be a calamity. But until that day? Hey, one pie with everything on it, guys. And I do mean everything!
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