Runner-Up award for the day goes to the wildly inappropriate, yet thoroughly entertaining:

Going to London soon? - $150

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:

!!!!! New Salad Spinner !!!!! - $65 (normal heights)

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.

More like this:


FullFlavorPike Nov. 9, 2009 @ 9:21 p.m.

I know what I'm doing in May--sounds birfday-rific!

Oh yeah, I usually say 'f' instead of 'th,' too....


antigeekess Nov. 9, 2009 @ 11:27 a.m.



I can't believe it.

And I'm not even going to bring up the concept of protein.



SDaniels Nov. 9, 2009 @ 11:43 a.m.

re: #4 Oops. Don't forget to add a tablespoon or so of HONEY.!

re: # 7: "conversate:" Just one among Pike's usual small linguistic non-ironies. What is your deal with protein, AG? What does it have to do with pizza?


FullFlavorPike Nov. 9, 2009 @ 12:19 p.m.

In conversating, I pronounce the word "ask" as "ax," too ;)


SDaniels Nov. 9, 2009 @ 12:58 p.m.

Don't forget to axe AG about protein ;)


SDaniels Nov. 9, 2009 @ 1:10 p.m.

Pike, heard about this one? Sounds wonderful--if you have any amount of muscle mass :)


antigeekess Nov. 9, 2009 @ 6:05 p.m.

Re #11:

My old stompin' grounds, SD! In addition to being where The Majestic was shot, it has one of the most photogenic old cemeteries you've ever seen. In spring it's especially gorgeous, with flowers everywhere.

The Avenue of the Giants ...know it well. Worked at a couple of the 5 Post Offices that are strewn along it.

Humboldt is a beautiful place. I moved up there to live amongst those trees. Ya gotta love 'em, because there's sure not much else!


PistolPete Nov. 8, 2009 @ 11:19 p.m.

First off, and not that has the slightest thing to do with the price of tea in China, I'm watching an awesome biography about Caligula right now as I type this on the History channel. But I digress.

Secondly, I've seen those same salad spinners and wouldn't pay $10 for one of them. Call me a cheap bastard but $65 is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much for an overrated piece of Tupperware.

As for vegetarian anything, thanks but, no thanks. I'm a meat eater. Not that I poo-poo fruits and veggies, I had a couple of short ribs tonight that I would've Caligula'd a man for. :-D


PistolPete Nov. 8, 2009 @ 11:22 p.m.

Oh. And also some green beans with almonds and ham bits with a nice pre-packaged salad with Italian dressing and Baco-bits. 'Twas some good eats. I'm trying to stay away from fast food. I'm starting to see what that Spurlock guy was getting at in Supersize Me.


CuddleFish Nov. 8, 2009 @ 11:52 p.m.

Spam does not a blog make!!! You spamming for Zia's, Pike!!!

Good stuff, anyway. :)

Gotta say, your shall we call we call it attachment to craigslist is amusing. :)


SDaniels Nov. 9, 2009 @ 3:55 a.m.

"I thought I would sale allot of salads"

...and his customers probably thought he was just saying "Salud!" when they walked in.

After a childhood of iceberg or greenleaf dried hastily atop a soggy paper towel, and drenched with Kraft Italian, the salad spinner, like the discovery of arugula, watercress, chicory, and all of the fine edible fresh herbs and dark greens, awakened my senses to the possibilities of dry, properly dressed salads. Not to mention the myriad of dressings to be concocted in a shaker, food processor, or blender.

SD's very quick, tasty dressing for salads or sandwiches (also good as a mayo substitute for canned tuna):

Blend a cup of mayo or vegenaise with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of fine Dijon mustard (not coarse, fine). Mix in a tblsp of white vinegar or rice wine vinegar, and a tbsp of apple cider vinegar. Add seasonings of your choice, such as lemon pepper or good old fashioned fresh cracked black pepper, and a dash of salt.

Spread on sandwiches or toss in salad with thinly sliced fresh onion, good tomato, and cucumber--and anything else you like in a salad.


SDaniels Nov. 9, 2009 @ 4:02 a.m.

"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 [...] make us bitter Back East types yearn for a massive wedge of grease-dripping, cheese-laden, old-school 'za..."

I think it is important to support Pike in his quest to "Californiaize" his pizza tastes. It is a little-researched, but crucial factor of acclimatization of Easterners, to find a California-style pizza they can 'nosh with gusto, after a lifetime of scooting up B'way with folded, dripping cheese slice in freezing, ungloved hand. Given time, patience, and accessibility to a wide range of Chino farm fresh toppings, East Coasters can find ways to cope with abysmally bone dry sunshine and vague seasonal change--dare I say, ways to "top" some of their old pizza habits :)


CuddleFish Nov. 9, 2009 @ 7:48 a.m.

I mentioned Naps in one of my old posts, as you recall, the old employ of Tom Waits. They have a very greasy cheese pizza on a thin crust, authentic if you ask me. And super cheap, think it's under ten for the large. The people who run it, Joe and Sal, have been there forever.

If Pike tries it, he has to tell us what he thinks, though. :)


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