April 20, 2009
I’m driving along the streets of a fictitious city which I’ll call Rothesay. My stomach announces that it’s time to eat so I scan the horizon for something that looks suitable. I see the golden aches (not a typo) and don’t even give it a first thought. To my left is a restaurant called ‘Lettuce’, strange name for an eatery. I assume that they’re salad specialists. The next place that I drive past is called ‘Cucumber’…how odd to have two restaurants named after vegetables. There’s a Dairy Queen on my right. I’m a slow learner, having gone to Dairy Queen dozens of times over the years. I don’t want fast food, that’s for sure, because it has no soul.
I keep driving. On my left is a restaurant called ‘Tomato’. That seems like a strange name for a place to eat, but less so, since I’ve already seen two restaurants inspired, seemingly, from the produce department. There’s a Tim Horton’s up ahead. The nice thing about Tim Horton’s is that their soup is never frozen. That doesn’t mean that it’s made fresh, simply that there’s so much salt in it that it wouldn’t freeze if left in a glacier. This isn’t, strictly speaking, true…take what I say with a grain of salt.
Ohhhh! What’s that? I see a sign for a restaurant on my right. Pomodori. I’ve never heard of it before…it sounds so deliciously exotic, almost sexy. Pomodori is probably some European word which I could never fully comprehend. Underneath P-O-M-O-D-O-R-I it says wood fired pizza. Pizza, hmm. I enjoy it but in a blindfolded taste test, do you think I could tell the difference between Greco, Pizza Delight, Pizza Pizza, Pizza Twice or Pizza Repeated Repeatedly? Not a chance. In North America, there appears to be one recipe that all pizza joints share. The two words ‘wood fired’ give me hope that this place might be different.
Looking at the outside of the building gives me no inkling as to what my experience will be. Willing to gamble on the name alone, I step inside. I’m greeted by a friendly smile. My eyes are immediately distracted ten feet beyond the smile where I spy a spaceship, of sorts. Well, it’s actually more like a metallic igloo, on stilts, with a gleaming copper dome and shiny steel chimney. The oven. It’s a work of art.
I scan the menu board and order a pizza margherita. Margherita – red, white and green of Italy, named for Queen Margherita – dressed with pomodori sauce, slivered onion, fresh basil and fresh bocconcini. $7.74. Pomodori sauce sounds one hell of a lot more interesting than tomato sauce. I expect something magnificent.
I sit down and before I have a chance to fully absorb my surroundings, my pizza has arrived. Quick food, and stove pipe hot. The pizza is generous in diameter, thin in crust. I smile. The pomodori sauce looks like tomato sauce. Oh well, everything else about the pizza seems deliciously different. I take a nervous bite. Wow! I’m struck by the pomodori sauce, it’s nothing like the tomato sauce of which my buds of taste have grown apathetic over the years. Most tomato sauces taste overprocessed and muddy. On the tomato family tree, they’re ketchup’s red-headed stepson. The pomodori sauce tastes clean…full of goodness, and light! I’ve always fixated on toppings, but now it’s all about the bottoms. The pomodori sauce, for me, becomes the focus of my pleasure. I’ve never felt this way before….oh gosh, I think I’m in love. Margherita, will you marry me?
There’s more to the Pomodori story, but I’m not going to tell it now. It’s all good and it’s yours to discover. There is one last thing that we need to shed some light upon…hang on a second while I get my English-Italian dictionary. Let’s see….l, m, n, o, p. Pomice. Pomidoro, close. Pomo. Pomodoro. Pomodori, there it is. Let’s see what it means. It means….oh my gawd…it means….