Brandon Hernández 9 a.m., Dec. 12
Runner-Up award for the day goes to the wildly inappropriate, yet thoroughly entertaining:
I believe in the versatility of the craig. Use it for everything, I say to you! But use the categories, people, or risk damaging the function of the best website on the internet. This ad should be in rideshare, or gigs, something, anything other than "items wanted." It says "items," not "services."
Anyhoo, here's the Biiiiiiig Winnnaaaaaahhhh for the day:
You're probably thinking: "oh yeah, Pike? A salad spinner? Awesome! What'll you think of next? Mandolin slicer? Pasta machine? Forks?"
I say look harder, and see the single greatest kitchen gadget in all of history (possible exception being George Foreman Grill, see earlier blog entry on subject). Soggy lettuce is roughly equal to inescapable nightmares of being eaten by wolves. It rots, it tastes bad, everything about soggy lettuce is terrible. The salad spinner completely resolves this dilemma quickly, cleanly, and efficiently. Spinspinspinspincleanlettucew00t!
This ad is also important for one other, much more relevant reason. I happen to know--as an industry insider--that the salad spinner in question is being sold by a guy named Khaled Waleh, the owner of Zia Gourmet Pizza. Zia is extremely close to my home, 90 seconds of walking, and I eat there with some regularity.1 Tremendous pie, truly scrumptious. Being from the East Coast, it's easy for me to look with scorn and derision on the compilations plated in the name of "pizza" here in California. The whole-wheat-crusted, avocado-topped, low-fat, low-salt, sometimes-not-even-round imitation pies which have such a foothold in the California short-order foods market make us bitter Back East types yearn for a massive wedge of grease-dripping, cheese-laden, old-school 'za. Fortunately for me, I am moving beyond this yearning, a fact I owe almost completely to Zia Pizza.
As I said, the pizza there is delectable in the extreme. I don't actually wish to lapse into a food review here, because that's not the point of the exercise. Go eat pizza there, form your opinion. I think it's great. Even the vegan slices are exquisite! Notably, Zia doesn't fall into what is (in my estimation) the main pitfall faced by vegan pizza options. Namely, that of ersatz meats and cheeses. Cheese made of soy and meat made of cereal grains are nasty, and putting them on pizza doesn't make them less so. Why, in a world filled with so many tasty vegetables, must those who allege to subsist solely thereon pass on said tasty vegetables in favor of weak imitations of meats and cheeses? The Zia Pizza answer to the question is simple, just make the vegan pizza with no cheese and only vegetables; and it works, splendidly! I had a slice there with glazed pears and walnuts swimming in a sea of piquant marinara sauce. No bean-curd-cheese or wheat-gluten chicken, just pure veggie goodness. It was awe inspiringly good. So good, in fact, that I have pilfered the technique and occasionally produce jut such a pie for my vegan friends at the alternative pizzeria of my employ. Every other slice that comes out of Zia's kitchen is just as good, if not better.
In a sentence: Zia's pizza is good enough that I don't wish it was more like "real" pizza from back home.
But it's not just the succulent pie that wins my affections, the impeccable service and enjoyable atmosphere are what really close the deal. Everyone who works there is friendly and quick with a smile. They always conversate with me while I wait for my slices. Khaled, the aforementioned owner, has a funny sense of humor and he's kind of hilarious to talk to. Everybody there tries to cultivate good relationships with the local regulars. Whenever I walk by, on my way to Lestat's for some java and writing or wherever I may be going, I always get a wave and a hollered "hello" from inside Zia. That, more than anything else, is what so endears Zia Pizza to me. I cannot give enough props to the good people at Zia for making me feel like a part of my 'hood every time I stop in for a slice.
1. At this point, you're probably thinking, "hey, this is starting to look like an actual neighborhood blog. Pike doesn't do a real neighborhood blog, he just writes about dreaming about buying stuff!" Well, prepare to be surprised, friends and accomplices. At least for today, I'm turning over a new leaf and throwing down something which might (when snowballs fly through Hades unmolested) count as some sort of neighborhood reporting. Boo-yah.