Don Bauder 4:30 p.m., Dec. 9
I remember being told in a high school psychology class about a study which found that scholarship athletes reported less enjoyment of their sport than non-scholarship athletes. I’ve been reminded of this concept often in my long but happily retired pizza career. Yes, even pizza fails to tantalize those who’ve spent several years in just as many kitchens developing carpal tunnel from countless hours of dough rolling with hands permanently crosshatched in oven burns. I never hated pizza; it simply lost that pizza-is-god-and-I-will-eat-it-for-every-meal-forever charm, which is a pretty heartbreaking thing to come to terms with.
However, A couple months ago I happened into Sicilian Thing Pizza on 30th between Polk and Lincoln in North Park and had a thin slice of tomato garlic. The cheese was perfectly melted to split before my teeth but not burn my mouth as the dough resisted my lower incisors for a moment before giving way with a crunch into the softer inner crust. I was like a five year old at Chuck E Cheese’s. I had found my love again.
I’ve been back almost every Tuesday since, when five dollars (cash only) gets you a draft beer (Racer 5, Green Flash, Stone Pale Ale, or Avery White) and a thin or a Sicilian thick slice of pie. Those maintaining Hope will fancy the Barack-oli Ricotta slice, but I prefer the Nino Espinosa with spinach and mushroom. The shop closes at ten, which means you have time to roll over for a special after the Tuesday night velodrome races.