Special thanks to Eddie Perino for contributing to this blog.
In my car, stuck in Los Angeles traffic. Midday. The lunch rush. The violent whistling of the Santa Ana winds were no match to the even angrier growls of my empty stomach. I needed something special to calm the beast.
“Tacos?” I asked him.
“Gggrrkkkkrrrllluh!” he unhappily replied.
I vollied back. “How about some Thai?”
“Alright, why don’t you tell me what you want this time.” I posited.
Suddenly, my foot pressed hard on the accelerator and I found myself weaving in and out of traffic on the 101. Where we were headed, I had no idea. My stomach was the conductor. The rest of my body was merely the steam necessary to propel him to a delicious end.
We exited the highway and quickly made our way to the intersection of Highland and Melrose.
There it was, as if the clouds had parted and revealed it so clearly before us.
Mario Batali’s restaurant: Mozza 2 Go.
Back in control now, I parked my vehicle and power-walked inside. Quickly (but not carelessly) scanned the menu. It was a day for pizza. Yes, sir. I decided on the ‘Spider Pig’. An ‘off the menu’ special that day which combined paprika salami, fennel sausage, tomato, mozzarella, and nduja – a soft-style salami with the texture of chorizo. A meat lovers delight.
Yes, this sounded just right. And my stomach finally agreed with a content purr of satisfaction.
I placed my order and paid the cashier before looking around for a place to sit, but then realized this is Mozza…2 GO.
So I went.
To my car.
It was appropriately packaged like the special present that it was. (It was 20 dollars after all…) I broke the sticker seal and slowly lifted the lid to reveal …
A calm came over me. The initial smell wrapped it’s arms around my nose, like a soft embrace. I admired the slight char around the edges of the crispy crust. The branding of a wood fired oven. Patches of bubbling cheese. Nooks of rich sauce. Disks of pepperoni. This was artisan pizza.
I took my first bite with pleasure. The crust was chewy and tender. The sauce was richly concentrated tomato and the cheese was divine. Little salty speedbumps of meat kissed my tongue with passion. As quickly as I began, that quickly it was over.
I sat and stared at the empty box and wished time travel was possible.
I will be back, but next time…I will eat slower.