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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Simply the Best

I am easily satisfied with the very best.
Winston Churchill

We are often satisfied with what we have, but I might still have to give a nod to Sir Winston for pointing out the obvious. Best isn’t always an easy thing to define nor to agree upon. And sometimes, there is a price to pay for experiencing it. Take the margarita I had in San Antonio at Rita's on the River. It was the BEST. I mean, it was fantastic. And now, out of reach - as good as it was, I'm not inclined to make regular visits to San Antonio just to relive the experience. Having had the best, once, means, of course, that any margarita I have now will be not-the-best. Hmmm....

In my search for the best of the best, I regularly sample margherita pizzas. Mozzarella, tomatoes, basil and olive oil on a Neapolitan (very thin) crust, it is simple and tasty. My first encounter was in London, of all places. England, is, as you know, not generally considered high on lists of culinary excellence. You may have heard that, in England, they consider food to be the enemy and thus cook it until it is dead. But not so with this particular pizza. It might have been that it was enjoyed with friends from around the world on a pleasant evening in an outdoor café on the south bank of the Thames, but I think it was a fine meal in its own right. So began the search for the best margherita pizza.

On my recent trip to Germany I happened across a small restaurant offering margherita pizzas. What else could I do? Perhaps this would be it, the ultimate margherita so, I went in, sat at a small table by the window and waited expectantly for the masterpiece to be delivered. Alas, before the first bite, I knew something was amiss. The melted cheese on top was yellow. And after first bite, my worst suspicions were confirmed - UGH! A pizza without that "clean" taste that comes from the simple combination of mozzarella, tomato, basil and olive oil. And SALTY to boot. Bummer.

One of the Not-The-Best Margherita Pizzas

Now before you get a chance to say it, what I did later in the week was, how should I put this? Stupid. I ordered another margherita pizza in Germany. In my defense, it was a very nice Italian restaurant and surely there was a CHANCE that they knew how to do this right. Not to be. It was better, but remarkably similar to the one I had earlier. I'd rate it as simply Ugh!

I know, I know. You think I have already had the best Margherita pizza. And for sure, there are a couple that rise above the rest. That may make one of them the best I've had. So far. But that doesn't make them the BEST. Not like Rita's margarita. That was the BEST. It's just something you know. So I am sure that the BEST margherita pizza is still out there, waiting for me to find it. And I will continue the search. I know that's what you'd want me to do.

Coming soon, some thoughts on doing your best.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Give it up!