On a quintessential Eat, Pray, Love scene, Julia Roberts tells her friend Sofi:
“I’m so tired of saying no and waking up in the morning and recalling every single thing I ate the day before. Counting every calorie I consume so I know exactly how much self-loathing to take into the shower. I’m going for it. I have no interest in being obese. I’m just through with the guilt. So this is what I’m going to do. I’m going to finish this pizza and then we’re going to go watch the soccer game, and tomorrow, we’re going to go on a little date and buy ourselves some bigger jeans.”
I don’t recall exactly how it was written in Liz Gilbert’s book, the title character Roberts was playing, but the gist of it is the same — giving yourself permission to enjoy life’s simple pleasures without conforming to society’s ideals of beauty.
I personally believe in allowing myself to indulge — after all, we only live once and there is no sense being unhappy.
In the same movie scene, Roberts says, “I am having a relationship with my pizza.” I have had a lot of pizza in my travels, and some of them are below:
Capri. Lunch at the Amalfi Coast was amazing. What could get better than an authentic caprese salad from Capri, accompanied by specialty pizza with perfectly seasoned pancetta, fresh arugula and tomato sauce that did not overwhelm everything else on it? I unfortunately do not remember the name of the restaurant, but I’m sure if you go to any restaurant in Capri and get a pizza, you’ll get the same experience as the ingredients are fresh.
Monaco. In Monaco, we found a quaint restaurant by the side street that serves great tasting lunches, including the pizza I ordered: thinly sliced pancetta, grape tomatoes, pesto sauce, which blended together perfectly with the cheese especially when you get everything in one bite.
Rome. Before our second trip to Rome, we watched Anthony Bourdain’s shows, including The Layover. This resulted to us mapping out some of the restaurants we’d like to visit, one of them being Pizzarium. My boyfriend, aka Mr. Navigator (as previously mentioned), worked very hard to get us to the place, which was smaller than we thought, and of course was very crowded. It is the fast food of Italian pizza places — you approach the counter, a glass display with specialty pizzas (see unusual pizzas in photo below) and place your order. You wait for a few minutes while they heat up your order, and pay according to weight. I liked the pizzas, they weren’t thin crust, but the taste was good.
Bronx. Close to where I work is a place called Patricia’s. They have very good Margherita pizzas and are our go to each time there are celebrations, or when we simply want to order in. The crust is crunchy, the cheese is just the right pull and it has just the right combination of garlic, basil and tomatoes. Their other pizzas are very good as well.
Philippines. Growing up in the Philippines, I only knew one kind of cheese. In fact, I miss opening my grandmother’s refrigerator and her cheese container and making cheese sandwiches. Cheeseburgers in the Philippines are tailored to the Filipino tastebuds, and so are pizzas. Our cheese is sweeter, perhaps equivalent to American white cheese but not quite. My favorite pizzas come from a chain called Greenwhich: their ham and cheese and their hawaiian varieties make me homesick just thinking about them.
Naples. Trekking to the site of where it all happened — Julia Roberts’ epiphany in the movie, was painful. We had to go through a marketplace full of people barely moving, all the while pressed for time. We finally made it to L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele and ordered our authentic Pizza Napolitana, which you have to eat with a fork and knife, throwing away all you’ve ever known being around New York for years. The pizza is made of mozzarella and tomatoes, crusty in the ends and soft in the center. It’s very good, but personally I would not say it’s the best pizza I’ve had.
These are only a few of the memorable pizzas I’ve had, and I am looking forward to tasting and, like Liz Gilbert, enjoying a lot more of the world’s interpretation of this favorite.