Oddments Of Soul Part One of Two

Today we began our return from Seattle. We stopped in Portland and checked in at a nice hotel for the night.

Hungry, we set out for a Thai place suggested by the concierge as close to the hotel, good, and relatively inexpensive. I say set out because the Coolness picked up a brochure on the way out of the hotel. Within it’s slick folds she found the description of “Old Town Pizza” wherein, it was said, was the most haunted of pizza places. The Coolness, she was sold immediately (little known uncool thing about The Coolness: she’s a total ghost geek).

I had been hankering for some Thai, so I was a bit disappointed, but Isabelle lit up at the mention of pizza as she hadn’t when asked if she wanted Thai.

Case closed.

We covered the ten short blocks of historic Portland in good time, Isabelle enjoying the freedom to walk after nearly three hours spent in the car, her parents the atmosphere of a town we have not visited before. Still, I was a bit nervous of the many street bums, but they proved much more polite than those of San Francisco.

We entered the restaurant and Isabelle immediately said, “Smells good.”

Damn good.

We stood at the pizza-ordering counter and watched the chefs work while we decided what we wanted on our pizzas. I looked at the menu and discovered all the toppings of The Griffin, as my friends call the following:

Pesto base (not tomato sauce)
Italian sausage

Now, this is a specialty pizza that I concocted for myself at Rocco’s Pizzeria in Walnut Creek, an excellent pizzeria. I have thoroughly enjoyed it there, so much so that I have ordered it for friends that don’t mind a bit of spice in their food. It was them, not me, that named the pizza after me (they have ordered it many times since).

The Coolness and kid had a plain cheese.

A brief wait, then began THE GLORY!

I have had many pizzas in many different styles, in many different cities. I love the shit.

This was truly very close to a religious experience, and I don’t go to church. Every bite was a pleasure: the sausage is made on site and has an excellent balance of heat and fennel, the pesto was glorious, the crust awesome and the overall experience was of pure enjoyment.

God, that was awesome.

Isabelle and The Coolness also enjoyed their pizza. Alas, none of the staff working that evening had experienced any run-ins with the supernatural entities that supposedly haunt the place from the 19th century, angry with being shanghaied by creative shipping magnates and their bosuns.

We told the bearded gent that had taken our order that we had a complaint. I could see him tense, and quickly told him, “I don’t know that I will ever be able to equal that pizza. It was a wonder.”

He smiled and laughed.

I told him I was serious.

He laughed some more.

We walked out. I, for one, miserable that I am unlikely to ever experience such bliss again.

Outside, and off duty, was one of the chefs we had seen working.

I thanked him as well, hiding my bitterness. He was gracious and asked that we spread the word. We promised we would.

So I wrote this.