Monday, May 09, 2005

the birthday part I: don pedro and déjà vu

for the past unmentionable number of years i've needed a little something to face this special day. this day of commemoration. of exit stage left, slap you on the ass and make you cry before thrusting you out into the world to develop from something angry, pink, wrinkled and screaming (for good reason 'cause you just dumped a load into dirty plastic panties) into something sneering, gawky, greasy, zit-ridden and angry (for good reason - just look at you!) into yet something else relatively sedate and passive, khaki clad, banging at the register at the local chuck e cheese whilst marking off these days, these birthdays, one by one. all of which conspire to return you to your original state. wrinkled. screaming. with a fresh load in your plastic panties.

this dark vision is why, for these past few years, i've allowed myself something special on my birthday, something "a wee bit stronger", whilst still in bed (with the blankets pulled up over the head, of course) pondering what the heck another year really means. in years past i've nestled down with such elixirs as wild irish rose, coors in the can, olde english, menthol cigarettes, etc.. this year the big winner was don pedro brandy. cheap even in mexico, from which this caramel-colored brew hails.

don pedro. i don't recommend it unless it's your birthday.

also, just for background, each year my s.o. (significant other) otherwise known as the b.a.c. (ball and chain) and i surprise the other with a day's adventure. don pedro set the tone for this year's escapade. after rolling out of bed with an empty flask around 11 am i was instructed to dress with sturdy walking shoes and garb myself in the colors of a safety cone. sadly not a difficult request. the flask was refilled with makers mark and the first installment of the day that would really make me feel a year older began.

deja vu pizza. 16th street just above guerrero. a perfect foil for el senor don pedro. i don't know if any of you've ever noticed this place, but it's been around for years. nary a customer. i've always assumed it was some mafia-owned money laundering operation, the way they managed to keep the store front open without any visible business. no, not true. i lie. i know they sold a slice of pizza once, about 3 years ago to a friend who deemed it the worst pizza he'd ever had, with a crust like burnt yet soggy cardboard. and that was the good part. for extra fortification i took an extra swig of bourbon before entering. as it turned out, this precautionary measure was completely unnecessary.

the ball-and-chain ordered me the lunch special. for four bucks i got a massive slice of cheese pizza (more like two), a drink and a little side salad. and it was fine. the salad was nothing special - the ever present and indestructible romaine leaf, a few black olives, maybe a slice of tomato with a little plastic container of dressing on the side. i viewed it as medicine. the pizza slices were huge. and strangely shaped - i don't think the pan was round, but this was a bonus for us 'cause we both like crust and our slices had a little extra edge of crust. the dough was that in-between dough. thicker than a new york extra thin but thinner than, say, a fat slice. over all a very light and slightly doughy springy crust. it was well crispy on the bottom, the way i like it. the sauce and cheese were inoffensive. i dumped a pile of oregano, onion powder and hot peppers on it and it was just fine. in fact it was delicious. at 11 am on a saturday there were at least three other customers and one delivery order. i wonder if they changed management or if this place really used to be some sort of mafia-front or what.

the bottom line is that this is a perfectly acceptable pizza by the slice joint. sure there are better and sure there are worse. it's just a tricky location 'cause if you walk a block down you can have an arinels slice (my favorite), a few blocks over you could get a pauline's pie, or if you're really drunk and need something to soak up the alcohol you could go to cable car on valencia where the crust is thick enough to choke on. but if you live in the area or are waiting for the 22 out front, don't be afraid. come on in. it's good and cheap.

deja vu pizza, 3227 16th Street, San Francisco


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