June 21st, 2008

I want to make what may not be an entirely appropriate confession to you right now. I hope that my credibility remains intact when I tell you that I’m writing about things to do in the Bay Area from a hotel in Italy. This feels slightly shady, even to me, and I would never have mentioned it had I not eaten such terrible pizza today. In Italy! Oh, the sadness, sitting on the shore of the Lago di Garda, hazy mountain silhouettes in the distance, hundreds of languages swarming around my ears, and then having to realize that the beautiful, arugula topped pizza in front of me was nearly inedible. I mean really gross: slimy mushrooms and not quite fully melted cheese. In the end I picked off everything but the arugula and still left with a stomachache. And so I’m writing to you about Zachary’s, a Berkeley pizza legend. I say pizza, but these things are as much like potpies as anything else. This was maybe originally Italian, but it passed through Chicago, got sunk down into a deep dish, and then continued on to Berkeley, where it was filled with fresh vegetables and given a gourmet crust. And I am so very far away! But you should go immediately. It’s even the right time of year: summer vacation. Because I didn’t really use “legend” hyperbolically and when Berkeley is full of students, you can wait two hours for what, to me, in this moment, seems like culinary perfection. It’s worth a wait, but carpe diem, you know. For me.

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