Friday, December 9

Unofficial Adventure: Via 313 Pizza

Yesterday I was hanging out on Twitter wondering what I was going to do with the $20 bill that's been burning a hole in my pocket (if you follow me you know that I haven't had two nickels to rub together lately, literally, I spent all of my $5 in change on gas) and I saw that Via 313 Pizza was having a soft opening.

Via 313 Pizza is the new trailer by the guys who do Pizza Hunt.  Besides Pizza Hunt being the apples to Pizzadventuring's oranges, they are super-nice dudes who have an absolute passion for pizza and its simplicity.  They come from Detroit and after trying lots of places in Austin they knew that there's nothing around here anything like Detroit-style pizza (cooked in industrial pans, cheese right up on the crust, thick drizzle of sauce over the top).

I went prepared to be honest.  We're all pizza bloggers here and I knew that if there was something that was off about the pizza they would want to know.  I am glad to say that I could not find a single thing to criticize.  The crust was greasy and heavy and had one of the best crunches that I've ever had on a pizza.  The cheese was a great tasting blend and the sauce was perfect; it was simple with just enough spice to say, "Hey, I'm more than just tomatoes, thought you ought to know, hope you enjoy your slice."

I can't wait to get out for an official pizza adventure and see what Ian thinks, but in the mean time I'll be adding this to the list of pizza that I recommend whenever people talk to me about pizza.

Friday, November 18

Give a Delivery Guy A Hug

Last Saturday, while hanging out with my gaming group, we decided to order pizza from Papa Johns.  I have often joked (half-joked really) that when I was delivering there were nights where I would have given anything for a hug.  It wasn't just shitty tippers, it was traffic and jerk managers and pouring rain.  So when we ordered pizza I volunteered to do the paying (and yes we tipped him $5) and I offered the delivery guy a hug.  He looked pretty down but I would have offered the hug anyway.  He declined but after explaining that 3 of us in the group were former delivery drivers (our fourth, current delivery driver, wasn't there that night) he agreed and I gave him a hug.

So there is now a driver out there in Austin that has one more interesting story.

Friday, August 26

The Gatekeeper

I'd like to start this off by saying that this is a criticism of one person and their external actions that I observed.  There may have been more to it.  Feel free to give him the benefit of the doubt that he eyeballed the application and the dude was completely wrong for the job or that the applicant flipped him off or had horrible BO or picked his nose and wiped it on the corner of the application.
Yesterday, my next to last shift, something happened that pissed me off.  The restaurant is hiring for several positions as there are several people who have left/are leaving.  I observed a guy (hereafter referred to as Dread Guy) stop at the register to hand our front of the house "manager"* (hereafter refered to as Front Guy) a completed application for the kitchen.  Front Guy, seconds after Dread Guy walked out the door, turned around and commented**, "well that's two throwaway applications today."  When asked to clarify he indicated that the guy didn't bring his own pen to fill out the application and that he didn't like white guys with dreads.  He questioned whether I want someone with dreads making my food with all the bacteria clearly growing in their hair.  He said we don't want hippies working here.

Let's stop and give an acurate picture of Dread Guy and Front Guy for a moment.  Dread Guy had reddish brown, waist length dreads secured with a bandana.  From what I could tell his dreads were well maintained.  I'm not an expert on the hairstyle but from what I understand dreads can be shampooed when necessary and there is nothing particularly bacteria-laden about even unwashed hair (dreaded or not).  He was wearing fairly typical Austin clothing with a T-Shirt and cargo shorts.  He didn't look homeless or degenerate.  I can see how stereotyping labels such as hippie and stoner could be applied.  Front Guy wears cut off jorts (of varying bright shades), ironic T-Shirts, and ugly sweaters (no word on if this is ironically or not).  He rides his bike to work.  His labels would likely include hipster (though I'm going to throw jerk in there as well).***

With that picture in your head, I hope you can see why it pissed me off when I got the stink face from Front Guy for commenting that everyone at the restaurant is a hipster/hippie and that rejecting someone on that basis is stupid.  I also commented that rejecting someone for not bringing a pen is stupid.  I'm not saying it isn't a smart idea to bring a pen, what I am saying is this:

Rejecting someone out of hand without considering their actual qualifications for a job is stupid and hurts the restaurant.  Allowing someone with those type of prejudices to act as the gatekeeper for jobs is a bad business decision.

What if Dread Guy was perfect for the job?  What if he has experience working pizza kitchens?  What if he already knows how to work a wood fired oven?  What if being a "hippie" is perfect for this restaurant given that the owners are committed to supporting the local food community, conserving resources, and reducing waste which are all values that I would easily attribute to "hippie"s?  What if he didn't have experience working a kitchen (which I didn't when I came) but was a fast learner and passionate about it?  What if he was so excited about working at this restaurant and just forgot to bring a pen (I believe that I forgot a pen when I applied too)?

Even giving the benefit of the doubt that there was more going on than what was said out loud, shouldn't the gatekeeper have more prudence than to give the impression that he is making prejudicial hiring decisions (even if he isn't making the final decision on who to hire, acting as a filter is making a hiring decision)?  If he must say anything at all (and he shouldn't be), shouldn't he be giving the impression that hiring decisions are being made based on merit?

*Manager is used loosely here as I'm not sure what authority he actually has over anyone or anything going on.  I do know that he does the books at the end of the night.

**All conversations are not verbatum but are remembered by me.  As I am aware that human memory is extremely fallible and quite likely tainted by my distaste for this entire scenario, feel free to take things said with a grain of salt and an awareness that other parties involved may remember this differently.

***I'm not going to take the time here to fully describe the nuances of the Austin brand of "hipster" but I will say that I can't point at a single person in the pizzeria (except perhaps our dishwashers) who don't fall into this category at least a little.  We are all a little grungy looking (some choosing the "vintage" brand of that), like good food and tattoos, and cultivate an air of nonconformity.

Wednesday, August 10



First, this will act as my notice that I will no longer be working at House Pizzeria effective the schedule week beginning August 30th. I have decided that I would like to take more time for my children and myself.

I don't think I can adequately express how much I have enjoyed working here. Not only have I learned some things about cooking, but I've enjoyed the people that I've worked with. I hope that you continue to be successful. I look forward to dropping in as a customer.

Good wishes,

And thus ends nearly two years of having a second job.  I don't know the fate of this blog.  It is already dying.  Perhaps I will drop in every once in a while to still be in awe of just how much I love pizza.

Sunday, July 31


You know how when you're PMSing things just get taken the wrong way every single time?  (Maybe you don't know because you're a dude, but I'm going to ask you to imagine.)  I know that they're probably not being as big of jerks as I'm perceiving, and yet things just stuck in my craw tonight.


That was the biggest one.  Eggs.  Left out on the rack to "warm up" so they won't be so runny on the pizza.  And then me speaking up that I didn't think it was a good idea and getting shut down with a "it's ok. We were told to do this and it takes 4-5 hours for them to go bad."

Well, every single egg left in there has had at least 1 hour of that taken away at this point.  Even egg #7 who probably won't get used tonight at all.  Heck, egg #3 probably won't get used.  Egg #1 and #2 are iffy.  Let's hope that they've put them away after I left because otherwise hour 2 and hour 3 might just tick away with no one noticing.

I don't even want to hear anything about a 700 degree oven killing any bacteria.  I prefer not to take chances with perishables that cause 11,000 cases of food poisoning a year.

While we're on it... WASH YOUR GOD DAMN FUCKING HANDS EVERY SINGLE TIME YOU HAVE JUST GOTTEN RAW EGG ON YOUR HANDS.  With soap.  Before you touch something else.  Por favor.

Perhaps it's just me being crazy.

Tuesday, July 12

Family Reunion pizza

Over 4th of July I was summoned a family reunion in Oklahoma.  To the non-pizza world I recount the success of the family reunion as thus:
  • 5 mosquito bites
  • 0 chigger infestations
  • 1 wasp chase
  • 1 beetle in my hair
  • 13 daddy long-legs sighted
  • and that (which gives you only a small idea of the number of small moths I encountered and sometimes ran from but never once had a all-out panic attack about like I would have had one of those daddy long-legs touched me) ->
To you pizza people, I will account for the vacation by the number pizzas I sampled which is three.

When I'm among family I try to instill a little Austin in them and not get chain pizza, so the first night there (after a 2 1/2 hour to the Sams club in "the city"*) on our way home we ordered pizza from Keys Pizza.

It's not bad pizza.  In fact, if you were ever stuck in Northeast Oklahoma and your options were Keys Pizza, Pizza Hut, and B&J Restaurant, take the pizza (at least their mushrooms aren't canned!).

Actually, the sauce wasn't bad, the cheese wasn't bad, the toppings weren't bad, and the crust was a bit chewier than I like but still wasn't bad.

*I'm going to call Tulsa "the city" and Tahlequa, Muskogee, Keys, etc "town"

Tuesday, April 12

An Unofficial Pizza Adventure. Featuring: Beer in a Paper Bag

I often end up getting pizza even when I'm not on an official adventure and last week my beau and I walked down to his local neighborhood take-out pizzeria for some nourishment.

The wonderful thing about being on an unofficial adventure, is that I can drink a Lone Star tall-boy out of a paper bag while we wait for the pizza.  Lone Star, if you don't know, is the official beer of Texas (and if it isn't I offically hereby declare it to be so).  It's awesome because it's cheaper than PBR, watered down (and therefore highly inefficient at getting the average person drunk), and available everywhere.  In fact, the only thing I've ever seen beat it in price is the Miller High Life (which is still better tasting than PBR).  This was my only my second foray into the "beer in a bag" way of life, the first time being last summer at the Official Hey Star Trek party at the Star Trek convention (sadly, I think it was the first and last Official Hey Star Trek convention party, but that also means that it was the best parking lot party I've ever been to) and if memory serves me correct, that party was sponsored by the High Life.

Mama's* first beer in a bag.
Mama's second beer in a bag.

Anywho... mildly tipsy we get to the pizza joint and they didn't seem to know their own menu, but the banter around getting our garlic butter sauce changed to garlic bread was amusing.  Apparently they didn't know how to make the garlic bread on the menu.  Actually, they seemed to not quite comprehend that they had garlic bread on the menu.  All that aside, the garlic bread they whipped up was pretty tasty; a sub (they also sell subs) roll cut in half, spread with the garlic butter sauce, and run through the oven (they have one of the conveyor belt types).

The pizza was also pretty tasty.  It was run-of-the mill no-surprises delivery style pizza, but they used real garlic and didn't skimp on the onions, so I was happy with it.  The sauce wasn't too sweet or over-spiced.  The crust wasn't crisp, but it held up well with all the toppings.

*Sounded better than "Baby's first beer in a bag.

Monday, March 7

If you smell fish, it's not me.

People don't like change.  Yes, I'm lumping you (and me) all into one big herd.  Moo.  If you like change, you're probably a llama in my herd.*

Anyway, the pizzeria where I work got rid of our most popular salad.  I'm not going to speculate on the reason, but I don't imagine that it was done out of spite... and yet, it is interesting to see the look on some people's faces when they ask for it without looking at the menu to discover that it is no longer there.

In its place we have a new salad (yay change!) that is a classic ceasar salad and includes anchovies.  So now, while standing at the salad station, I have anchovies coming at me from the front and the back (we also have an appetizer that is a sort of broth that includes anchovies and it sits in the crock-pot behind me).  It translates as "warm bath" and reminds me of the TShirt that one of our pizza-dudes wears that says "submerged in boiling flesh" on the back.

*I probably shouldn't write blogs when I'm woozy on medication.

Thursday, February 24

Update on sketchy pizza place

It turns out that the sketchy pizza place I blogged about last time was fairly good.  It wasn't awesome, but it wasn't as bad as I feared.  I liked the cheese and gyro meat and the only real complaint I had was that it wasn't even a little bit crispy  Ian, my pizza BFF, wrote up the whole thing here.

Tuesday, February 15

Ghost of Pizzas Future

I'm dreading my next pizza adventure.  I just have an instinct about this place that says that if we come out of this without food poisoning we'll be lucky.

First, the place does pizza, pasta, wings, indian, and chinese food.  Whenever I see a menu that large my first thought is that I need to pick whatever food gets ordered the most.  I know they're not busy enough to actually keep all of those things prepared and fresh, which means that things are sitting around or everything's frozen.  It could mean both.  I'm more scared of the sitting around prospect.  I can't see their kitchen, I have no idea if they have this vat of the least popular soup that just gets reheated every day.  At the movie theater where I used to work we would cook the hot dogs, put them in the bun, wrap them in the foil, and at the end of the night throw away the bun and foil and put the hot dogs back in the fridge to get reheated the next day.  I saw hot dogs that had been reheated for more than one day.  They were gray and wrinkled.  Whenever I go to restaurants I'm always terrified that I've ordered the "movie theater hot dog" item.  With a huge menu, there's no guarantee that everything on there isn't like that.  How do I find the safe items?

Second, there's some saying about finding what you're good at and doing it well.  I am highly skeptical that they are good at pizza, pasta, wings, Indian, AND Chinese food.  They're probably good at none of them.  I challenge you to show me one restaurant that does a little bit of everything that is good at all of it.

Luckily I'm only getting the pizza and it's only one meal.  Am I being unreasonable for thinking this place is sketchy?

Friday, February 11

Socializing Cranky

I'm not very well socialized.  I'm like the dog at the shelter who acts all depressed because no one will play with it but it's my own damn fault because I spend all of my time in the part of the cage that they can't reach, but when someone takes me out of the cage I jump all over them because I don't know how to get in that middle place with the tail wagging but without the licking.

This has to do with pizza, I swear.  Not the being weird part, the socializing.

Last night I went to a local meetup tweetup thing and I found myself talking about pizza a lot.  It's not that I don't like talking about pizza, I just hate feeling like I'm marketing myself.  It's a place filled with marketing and PR people and they're pretending to be interested in what I'm saying (and maybe they are) and yet I still feel weird.  Perhaps it's because I won't even feign reciprocity.  I don't care who they market for, I'm not their next client; even when I do get a pizzeria, I doubt I'll be hiring a marketing firm.

I think from now on when people ask me why my tag says Pizza Girl, I'm just going to shrug and say I like pizza.

Eh, maybe I'm just being cranky this morning.  I did actually find a couple of interesting people to follow on Twitter, so I can't complain too much.

Wednesday, February 9

Blue (Bleu?) Cheese and Fruit

I had a blue (bleu?) cheese pizza last night that didn't make me want to hurl.  I really detest blue cheese.  It smells like feet (I will not be licking your feet either!) and gets up under my fingernails when I have to dig it out of the container to make a blue cheese pizza.  I realize that there are people out there who smell it and think "yum, my kind of feety mildew".

Eryn at work has been trying to get a fruit pizza on the menu for a while.  Breaking onto the menu isn't an easy thing.  First, we're not in charge of recipes whatsoever.  We have no say.  Second, even the people who are in charge of recipes take months to settle on the right combination of toppings.

Eryn made a pizza last night that was apple slices, fresh mozzarella, blue cheese (she was thinking Gorgonzola but blue is what we have available at the restaurant), freshly cracked black pepper, crushed walnuts, and honey (drizzled on top after it came out of the oven).  I agreed to try a slice despite my misgivings about the stinky blue stuff.

It wasn't bad at all.  The consistency of the blue cheese was nice (I suppose that I never really thought much about the texture of it because my senses were distracted with not thinking about cleaning out months old tupperware containers that had been lost to the back of the refrigerator).  In fact, I would probably maybe order it off the menu.

I wish her good luck in getting it approved.

Monday, January 31

The "what a silly gringo" smile

I was reminded this week that I had promised (while writing about a pizza adventure) to rant a bit about restaurants that name their dishes things that I can't pronounce.

First, I am all for funky named dishes.  Want to call your triple bacon pizza a Porky the Pig? Fine.  Want to call your vegetable pizza a Vegotarian? Go for it.  Mama's special? Awesome. Bloopbleepbloop? Silly, but whatev.

My problem comes in when they try to teach me other languages through the menu.  I get it! You're authentic Italian food!  Exciting! I would like to be able to order without provoking that "what a silly gringo" smile from the waiter/counter person.  I bring as an example Mandola's Italian Market.  We ordered the Pugliese.  It's a pizza with mozzerella, tomato sauce, sausage, onions, and mushrooms.  I don't know what the fuck a pugliese or how to pronounce it, but I went with "puhg-lee-..........." trailing off into mumbling and pointing at it on the menu.  The counter man just smiled like everyone else mispronounces it as well.  He didn't repeat it back properly pronounced (can't decide if them doing that is better or worse), so I still don't know how it's supposed to go.

Living in Texas, I'm used to menus (and everything else) with English/Spanish translation.  Is it too much to ask that they put the Italian word (if they insist on trying to culturally educate me and/or remain "authentic") they translate it so that I can order using those words and not feel like a dumbass?

Thursday, January 27

Employee Eval

Over the last few days everyone has had their employee evaluations at work and I have to say that it didn't go badly.  Not that I was expecting it to, but as a bad liar, an occasional trouble-maker (never at that job, I swear!), and one who tends to run her mouth, I have the natural inclination to feel like I'm getting in trouble every time I have to talk to someone in authority.  My parents call me and my first thought is that someone died (I know, not really getting in trouble, but as a teenager when they called I thought I was in trouble.  I would have to say that thinking someone has died is not an improvement on thinking I'm in trouble).  I get called into the boss's office at Primary Job and I'm wondering if they've found something I did wrong (even if I can't fathom what that might possibly be) and now I'm going to get fired.  EVERYONE gets called to do employee evals and I still feel like I'm getting called to the principals office.*

We got gift cards (to a fabulous local cheese shop where I will pick up something delicious to make with my beau) and a bonus based on how many shifts we've worked.  I haven't worked a lot of them, so mine isn't that big, but I'm glad that everyone else that works more than I do gets a bonus.  The deserve it.  There was also a little drawing for some additional gift cards (I didn't win).

Miscellaneous stuff:
  • If our pizzeria was a horror movie, general consensus is that I'd survive.
  • We have a new beer that's kindof weak but would make a good introductory beer to someone who doesn't want to be overwhelmed**.  The brewery is doing their grand opening this weekend and I will definitely be there.
  • I'm glad that I didn't decide to pick up delivering again.  Every time I run low on cash I think about how much nicer things would be if I was still delivering and brought home a bunch of cash.  Then I remember how I didn't have any free time and didn't have a social life whatsoever (it sucks to build one from scratch, ask anyone who's not spectacular at making friends and moves to a new place, that's me except that I didn't move).
  • Pizza adventuring is going well.  I'm spoiled on sourdough crust for my Neopolitan pizzas.

*Funny enough, and perhaps this is the source of the problem, in school I never got called out on how much class I was skipping (my grades were still good) or any trouble we might have been making (it really wasn't trouble trouble, just kid stuff that I thought I should have gotten in trouble for but that my parents probably knew about and chose not to prosecute me for).

**On my recent beer adventures, which are less frequent than I'd like and more frequent than my waistline would like, I've decided that I fall on the malt side rather than the hops side.  I don't mind drink beers with a lot of hops, but I'd rather be punched in the face by malt than hops.  On a recent excursion with my father we tried a beer called Old Speckled Hen and it tasted a lot like fermented malt vinegar filtered through musty chicken feathers.  I, oddly enough, didn't mind it so much but my father made such a face that sent me into fits of giggles for several minutes.  He falls on the hops side.

Monday, January 10


It's nice to be back working both jobs.  Our owners close down the pizzeria for two weeks around Christmas every year, which is both a blessing and a curse.  On the one hand it was nice not having to worry about trying to schedule off New Years Eve or being forced to cover a million shifts for people who were out of town; On the other hand, for those employees who rely on the job for income, a forced two week unpaid vacation is a source of stress.

Last night was pretty busy and it started off with a bunch of families coming in with their toddlers.  It turned out that they all knew each other and they stood around in the middle of the walkways chatting.  There was also several cases of runaway toddlers.  I'll admit that it was annoying, but one of our front of the house guys kept muttering angry things about "Breeders" and how "they think they're so special" as he carried dishes to the back.  It was amusing.  I don't come down either way on the families.  They should have moved out of the way, but I understand the necessity of setting the child down for a moment.  He has no perspective on just how impossible it can be to keep a child under control at all times.  Plus, we are a family-friendly restaurant, so there's bound to be kids around sometime.

I was having problems with dough all night.  Mine just would not work into a circle. Finally Basil showed me a few tricks to get rid of corners (the dough had proofed to where instead of nice round patties they were smooshed into squares).

I've decided that I really want to serve mint iced tea at my pizzeria.  I have no idea why more places don't do this.  I love mint iced tea.