Tuesday, April 20, 2010

PIZZA-OFF, with café side-trips, and a Heartwarming Spaghetti Conclusion

We couldn't decide on what kind of pizza to make. Our differing pizza philosophies and sensibilities just couldn't seem to be reconciled. We should make a simple, traditional kind of pizza, was Clément's take. Let's go to the market on Sunday morning and throw whatever looks good onto dough, was my somewhat less strategic point of view. While debating in the line at the grocery store, store-bought pizza crust in tow, we decided that there was only way we could reach a decision.

We would have to have a Pizza-Off.

I of course immediately sprinted back to the refrigerated section to get another crust.

Sunday morning, we did our farmer's market shopping, and the two contenders were announced: Three Cheese (C.) v. Mediterranean Veggie (me). Let me tell you, it was on.

We spent Sunday, the most beautiful Spring day we've had in Paris so far, each of us gloating about our certain victory as we strolled through the neighborhood, passing by the Parc de Belleville and stumbling across La Mer à Boire, a café/bar located at the end of Rue des Envierges, a street that ends abruptly on the highest point of a hill which looks over the park, and all of Paris for that matter. The view was stunning, and I had no idea it existed! It's on the top of my Places to Get a Drink Outside This Spring/Summer list, but on this particular day we didn't stop our strolling.

We ended up in another café along the Canal Saint-Martin, after an afternoon's walk. Clément had a beer, and I a Diabolo Menthe. For those of you who may not be familiar with this very French concoction, it's French limonade (so the sweet, sparkly, light-on-the-lemon variety) with mint syrup, and on a warm, sunny day, it's just the thing. So refreshing! And so green...

And finally, we were home, armed with various veggies and cheeses, not to mention warriorlike determination, and the contest began.
We realized how small our kitchen is that night, as we had to take turns cooking down our tomatoes. But luckily, even when involved in full-on, all-out, bloodthirsty, balls-to-the-wall competition, we still like each other enough to share and take turns.

And so, with an appropriately Italian soundtrack, and fierce concentration, we made our masterpieces:

Three Cheese Pizza with Fourme d'Ambert, St. Nectaire, and Tome de Chèvre. Tomato and onion Sauce.

Mediterranean Veggie with eggplant, zucchini, red onion, roasted tomatoes, roasted red peppers, chopped roasted garlic, diced preserved lemon peels, feta, and a sprinkling of fresh rosemary and Piment d'Espelette. Roasted red pepper and tomato sauce flavored with preserved lemon pulp.

And then, it was time for the eating.

My crust was undercooked, Clément's overcooked.

My pizza's veggies fell off if the pizza was tilted. Clément's pizza's boiling cheese burned my mouth.

Clément got extra points for it being his first pizza ever, but then he got disqualified in the final moment because I found a hair in the last morsel of my last slice! HAHA! VICTORY!!

Except he doesn't agree and he disqualified me for an overly American (read: way too much stuff on the pizza) approach to "Mediterranean," or to pizza at all, or to life, for that matter.

So, we couldn't agree on who won.

But then, Monday night, we mixed our leftover sauces together with the leftover tomatoes and some ground beef, and we had Compromise Spaghetti that was probably symbolic of love overcoming the ego, and stuff like that.

But I tell you, victory was mine!!!

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