I tend to think vegetarians look a little peaked. Ashen. Sickly. My idea of a “healthy look” for people is a natural tan, but of course, we know that’s not healthy, either.
I was thinking about this when I opened the box from Cozmic Pizza, a mini chain in Western Oregon. The pizza looked ashen. Like it was unhealthy. Not for me, all by its lonesome.
This was my first venture into an “all-organic” pizza. It wasn’t my first choice for the night, but the preferred stop “Pete’s Italian Cafe and Pizza” neglected to tell my Tom Tom it had gone out of business before my arrival, and all that greeted me was a “For Lease – Restaurant Space” sign. So it was on to Cozmic.
I had narrowed my choices by polling Ducks on the streets of Eugene (or are they Beavers?), ok, well, they were Beavers even if they were Ducks, I only asked women “what’s the best pizza in town?”
I had glanced at the Cozmic menu ahead of time, but not thoroughly enough, all I really noted was that they offered green olives as a topping, so I was OK with that (I thought).
The outlet I went to was inside a building called “The Strand”, which also houses a coffee bar, Internet area, and live performances of one kind or another. I’m not sure if these places are co-owned or just co-located, doesn’t matter, seems like a pretty good concept.
I went to the corner to place my order to go (this journey was all about my privacy for some reason, I didn’t eat in public at all), and I tendered my order, which was greeted by a series of questions about my choices, which made me want to rethink my stopping there.
“White, wheat, or gluten-free crust,” the server asked? (She cautioned me that gluten-free takes an hour to prepare).
Then it was “vegan cheese or real cheese”. My eyeballs rolled so hard my wife would have been able to hear them.
So it made me think, I better ask about the composition of the pepperoni and the “special gourmet sausage,” and the reply was as I feared, these were fowl-based meats.
The server lady assured me they tasted just like the “real thing”. I said I’d take it, but could make no promises I wouldn’t be hurling the sausage pieces against the wall later in my motel room.
I committed to the event on every level ($23), and walked around the block a couple of times while I was waiting. Eugene is a curious town, with its college-based economy. For one thing, it took me stopping at five motels before I found one that took cash. I’m not sure if that’s a condition of the level of customers, or employees, that they have. I like the anonymity of cash at motels. Hearkens back to a time when it was requisite behavior due to the purpose of one’s visit.
You can judge for yourself whether you think the pizza looks “sickly.” It wasn’t so terribly bad, the toppings were might skimpy, and the sausage was served “New York City” style, that is, a link sausage has been cooked and sliced thin on the bias to be used as a topping. I much prefer bulk spicy Italian as a topping, and not the pre-cooked food service nugget kind. The pizza had a “non-pizza” herb or spice on it which I couldn’t place. Cinnamon? Allspice? Something in that family.
How did I come to end up in Eugene? Well, I started out to revisit some places in Seattle, and while in Vancouver, WA, exited to hit a Wal Mart, and just kept going East. I had a great day tho, sitting in a warm springs pool at a spa (its like taking a bath in warm Evian), had a bang-up club sandwich, in Madras, Oregon, and visited the Timberline Lodge on Mt Hood (used for exteriors in “The Shining.” Beautiful mountain drives involved here. The past few weeks I have been hitting some of Oregon’s “must see” destinations, so I don’t end up like the native New Yorker who has never visited the Statue of Liberty. Instead, now, if someone asks me “you live(d) in Portland, did you ever get to….?” I can say, yeah, that place was cool!
Would I go back to Coszmic? Well, maybe to conduct a more probing survey among the Duck Beavers, but not for the pizza.
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