Service please! Pretty please?

Here’s an unfiltered picture of where we’ve been for a couple of days. Peaceful. Beautiful. Wide open beaches with no fighting for the best view…everyone gets a good view. We try and come to this little piece of heaven every year. It’s a fancy place but we come all unfancy. We stay with family. We avoid all the crazy crowded restaurants. We try to vacation like a local.

Except we’re not local. We know it. They know it.

A couple of years ago, my husband’s godmother took us to the most delicious little pizzeria in town. It was so unassuming and relaxed – but the food was no joke. The lines out the door proved it.

We began going every time we visited. It was always a sure thing.

You sit. You order a $20 dollar bottle of wine. If you’re my husband you order the seafood fra diavolo, and If you’re me, you get linguini with garlic and oil… because cheese is no longer my friend. And without fail… the food is good. Really good.

Is it slow? Sure. Is it the best service? No. It’s a pizzeria, we get it. I’m not looking for a concierge level experience. I’m looking for bare bones. I’m looking for some water. I’m looking to get the stuff we ordered getting to us. Maybe a quick, brief check-in to see if we need anything. Basic.

Tonight we got none of it. Nothing.

Let me back up.

Admittedly I’m a tough critic of restaurants – food and service. It’s my job. It’s what I worry about all the time. Service. Food. Experience. My husband is the opposite. By the burly looks of him you’d think he’d be the harder judge. But he’s a softie. His mom waitressed to make ends meet when he and his sister were little. He heard all the stories of crabby customers. It’s a hard job. Thankless. Under appreciated. He’s very very sensitive to that.

His idea of a tip for bad service is 18%. It’s his ultimate “gotcha”. If that man leaves you less than 20% you basically didn’t serve him at all. I’ve seen him overtip at every level. I’ve seen him go back to a restaurant where someone else has paid for our meal just to confirm the tip was good. He’s nuts! In a good way. I am mostly in agreement with this. Except when it’s bad service.

We’ve lived with this dichotomy for our entire relationship. I know he can’t take it if I ask the person waiting on us for more than 2 things,” excuse me, can I get some salt?”, “can we get some water?”. That’s it. That’s all I get. And I’m fine with that. Do I mentally make note of all the things that could have gone better? Ofcourse! Do I say anything? Almost never. Like practically never. Between my husband and my kids, the goal is always the same. Don’t make trouble. Just let it go. And I usually do. But not tonight.

Tonight was the worst service we’ve ever had. Worse than the time our waiter left his shift and never told anyone he still had a table. Worse than the time the woman waiting on us was having a full blown fight with the kitchen staff. This was… epic bad. I’m not going to go into detail. You can guess. I’m sure it’s happened to you too.

To clarify how bad it was, when I said to my husband at the end of our dinner,” wow, she’s getting zero tip. None.” I waited to hear what I thought he’d say, which is,”no freaking way”, instead he said,”yep”. I couldn’t believe it. No talk about how harsh I am. No talk about her having a bad day. Nothing. Just full agreement. She was worse than I thought.

So. For the very first time since I’ve known him – about 25 years – we left no tip. By the way, even though this was a very casual pizzeria type place, our bill was over a $100. That’s how this town rolls. And guess what? The food was worth every penny.

Even now, hours later, we are both guilt ridden. Justifying to ourselves why we left her no tip. Trying to validate our actions so we can sleep tonight. It’s no bueno.
We weren’t rude. We weren’t mean. But it still feels rotten. Have you ever done this? Please lie and tell me you have. Going to bed now. Full of regret, guilt and antacids.

Post Pope Pfunk

I’m blue. The man in white is heading home. I’m not Catholic, or really all that religious. I used to say that I was “spiritual” which made me feel like I wasn’t dead inside because I didn’t believe in a Jesus or Allah or Krishna or L. Ron Hubbard. But now I’m ok with that. I believe in people. Collectively.

But that aside, I cannot believe the spirit of joy and love that I’ve felt from this man, head of one the wealthiest organizations in the world, through the TV! There’s just something about his face. His eyes and smile aren’t big and animated like the other faces we are used to seeing on display.

I swear I can feel his kindness and warmth. I’ve loved learning about his childhood, about his tendencies toward the poor and sick. I don’t agree with all his ideas, but I agree with his delivery. He condemns no one. There is no hell and fury. There is only acceptance and open arms. Imagine disagreeing with someone without hating them? What a novel concept.

Not surprisingly, I want to know more. I heard he had back problems, how did he handle this marathon visit to North America? Does he nap? Does he ever get some privacy? When does he eat? What does he eat? When he was in Philly did someone shove a cheese steak in his hand? Why weren’t there pictures of him having a slice of NYC pizza?

I liked turning on the news and not seeing Trump. I liked seeing Pope Francis in Madison Square Garden and millions of people trying to see him. I mean he doesn’t even have an Instagram! His followers are live.

I’m not saying he’s perfect. When I heard he gives sleeping bags to the homeless outside of The Vatican I thought, “gee, that’s nice but couldn’t a small portion of your institution’s wealth take care of all the poverty in Italy?”.

But I don’t care. I like him. A lot. I like the way he made me feel the last few days. I like that all the newscasters had to fill time with positive things.

And now it’s over. Trump and Putin are on 60 Minutes. I feel like people started yelling as soon as he left the country. It seems very ungodly.

Domo Arigato NYC

Maybe it’s because I love it so very much that I have guilt. Yesterday’s post about how NYC can sometimes stink has me feeling bad. And because some folks reminded me that I sounded like a spoiled baby…waaaa….it smells bad. They said,” You know what smells bad? War torn Africa! Crime riddled Mexico! And small American towns with no good bagel shops. So chin-up! Get over it!”
So – like a cheap suit I’m folding today and telling you the good parts of my commute.

There’s this ridiculous view at the front of my building. Beautiful.

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Across from the pee block (ahem) is a little place called Underground Pizza. It completes me. Know why? Because it makes this…

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It’s the most amazing slice ever. On a side note, in college, my friend Maureen and I would go to this kick-ass pizza place called Broadway Joe’s. It was the best pizza in the city (they burned down and rose from the ashes in Upstate NY, but that’s another story for another day) We’d always get the same thing – a Sicilian slice. Then we’d ask the very Italian dude to scrape off the cheese and add more sauce. He’d do it – but he wasn’t happy about it. Then we’d load it up with red pepper and black pepper. Sigh. Good times. My college memories are of pizza not keg parties. I know you’re not surprised. (Tell me you remember this Maureen?!)
What was I talking about?

Last but not least – this is the Geisha that rides the subway with me every morning. We’re on the same schedule. She gets off at Fulton Street to go about her Geisha day. The first time I saw her I snapped a pic. Now I just pretend it’s normal like everyone else.

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Good Pain

What would be your last meal? Steak? Lobster? Caviar? Nope. Not me. This would be my last meal.

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Cheese. Bread. And a long, hot, pepper! It’s very ethnic of me. I can’t help it. It’s in my blood. It’s of my people. I went out shopping this morning and rewarded myself with this beauty for lunch. Do you know how happy I get when I see a pepper like this? The kind that’s so big it doesn’t even fit in the frame. The kind you find in a pizzeria, laying on top of a pile of garlic knots and waiting for a lunatic like me.  Waiting to be sprinkled with sea salt. Waiting to be devoured.

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I’m hard pressed to find something that I love more than this combo.

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Happiness is a slow, salty burn after your meal. Really.

I heart Jap Rap

So the best thing about blogging is discovering other blogs. People are smart, sassy and hysterical. My personal favorite is Jap Rap. And not just because she raps about pizza and bagels – but it helps.  Check our her post below – and then go to her blog and read all her other great stuff!

Pizza, Bitch..

Pizza Palooza

 

We dropped the kids off 48 hours ago.  This post is not about the kids. But did I mention that I miss the kids? Waaaaa.

Since then my husband and I have been living like frat boys (except for the annoying jobs that we can’t ignore) – there’s been no cleaning,  no cooking, no making our beds, nothing.  We’ve had pizza for 4 meals so far.  Only two of our meals have contained a vegetable (there was some arugula on one of the pizzas so I’m counting that as one).  Does the wheat in beer count as fiber intake? Is having a persecco-a-day the same thing as having an apple-a-day?

Last night we decided to drive 20 minutes to try a new grocery store. Cause we could. Ok – so maybe frat boys don’t do that. And we have showered and brushed out teeth daily – so no need to panic.

I was planning on doing a cooking post this week.  Not going to happen.  Maybe I’ll do a “cereal of the night” post.

I feel like I’ve already gained 5 pounds.

Here’s some photos of our balanced pizza diet – are you jealous or are you worried for us? Don’t tell me.

Time is beer!

So yesterday was our 16th wedding anniversary (remember I told you guys I was a child bride).  The year we eloped, May 12th fell on Mother’s Day – which is an awkward story for another day.

My sister and her man came down or is it came up? No no, it’s came East and then slightly North to help us celebrate.

Although I plotted my whole life to get out of Pennsylvania, I love our ‘hood.  We live a beautiful area, surrounded by history.  One of those towns had a brewfest in the park, so off we went.

As with every trip to anywhere we don’t go daily.  We got a little lost.

The women in the car handled it really well.  Calm, cool, collected.  The men in the car started sweating.  We heard,” but it starts at 12:30, and it’s 12:34″.  “we passed it, we passed it, turn around.” and finally, my favorite, “time is beer!”. oh my.

Once we finally found the place – the parking was a bit tricky – and we noticed all the other men in the other cars were just as agitated.  By the way, it was a 4 hour event.  We were 15 minutes late.  Once we finally parked, our men leapt out of the car and skipped into the park, they were so happy.

(ok not skipped but it’s my blog.  In their blog they can say they strutted in like John Wayne. Oh they don’t have a blog? Well then, skipped it is).

It was so much fun. There’s something about having booze outdoors that makes you feel like you’re doing something healthy. No?

At first, I took these pictures:

    

Then my sister reminded me of the fact that this is a brewfest, I should have pictures of beer. But look at that pizza.  I immediately knew this was my kind of ‘fest.

Ok – here’s proof that it was not a pizza/pretzel fest:

There were 62 breweries surrounded by trees and sun – it was gorgeous.

   

Another reason why I love this place, punk rocker security guards kept their eye on the Colonials

  

Our favorite of the 62:  A stout from Stone, an IPA from Victory, a Belgian triple from Weyebacher, and a partridge in a pear tree.