I was at Fireside Pies up north, trying to slow-play a pizza dinner to make it feel like an Actual Saturday Night. I'd perused the very attractive menu and settled on my pizza: the Pork Pie. I chose this because it is called the Pork Pie, and because as a still-nascent Jew, I believe it's my duty to do what most Jews I know would do: order the pie with three different kinds of pork (House Cured Pancetta, Jimmy's Spicy Italian Sausage and Biellese Fennel Salami) lying in a bed Mozzarella (along with scallions and roasted vidalia onions).
But there I was, asking my sprightly server whether that was a good choice, or if I'd be better off with the Triple 'Roni.
"Triple 'Roni," she said, without hesitation. "It's our signature."
Ah. The ol' signature.
After reading a cook's memoir or two, I'm always hesitant to go with a server's recommendation. Maybe she's been told to move a certain dish. Maybe she's got terrible taste in pizza. Maybe she harbors dreams of becoming a Hollywood screenwriter, takes those UCLA extension classes and everything, and has never cared about anything less than she does about which kind of dead animal I stuff into my face on a Saturday night.
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SHOW ME HOW
But I figure if she has any interest in keeping her job, she's not likely going to throw "signature" around willy-nilly. Which is why, wherever I'm eating, if a place is known for a thing, or it's listed as the "signature dish" on the menu, or if the waiter says a certain dish is the restaurant's signature, I'm probably getting it. That meant I was getting the Triple 'Roni.
Thank the truffle-scented heavens I did.
The pie, pictured above, was layered with pepperoni, Paula's Mozzarella, hand-torn basil and truffle oil. The crust was thin, crispy at the edges, and avoided turning to mush in the center like Neapolitan-style pizzas often do. (I know that's how they do it in Naples, but have you been to Naples? Those bastards are crazy.) The pepperoni was generous and flavorful. And the truffle oil was just pungent enough to zoom into my nostrils when the pizza approached my face (which was furiously and quite often), but it never overpowered the other flavors. It was just hanging out in the background doing its job, like the percussionist in your favorite band, only I wanted to bottle it up and take it home with me, which never happens to percussionists.
So, yes, I'll have the signature. I assume a seasoned cook or server will tell me if this is moronic. Like, now.