Warning: severe hunger pangs ahead.
I love pizza. I want it to be with me always.
Pizza is the longest relationship I’ve ever had. We’ve been rock solid since the early 90’s and we’re never breaking up. It’s open though, it’s cool. I can see other foods if I want. Pizza don’t mind. Pizza knows I’m not going anywhere. Pizza knows it would be my immediate choice for last meal if I was on death row. Pizza knows that if I was stranded on a deserted island and could only bring one food that it would be the one. Pizza knows.
Like all great relationships that are going the distance, pizza and I have our best times when I’m drunk. We’ve had some good sober times too, don’t get me wrong. But when I’m a drunken slobbering mess, pizza is at its zenith of attractiveness.
When I was a kid pizza was everything. Fresh, crisp, puffy dough with savoury tomato sauce, pepperoni, and cheese. Maybe even some herbs, as long as I couldn’t see them. My perfect slice. Vegetables on a pizza were highly suspect. They didn’t look right, and to this day I still don’t trust them. And pineapple? You can forget that, that’s perverted. Perverts eat Hawaiian slices. Bet you’ve never noticed that before. But you will now. You’ll notice it the next time you see someone order one. And if it’s you doing the ordering, well, I guess I’ll light a candle for you.
As a kid there were so many opportunities to eat pizza. Birthday parties, sleepovers, sporting events. Some genius even thought up regularly scheduled pizza lunches in classrooms! Brilliance. Bring a buck and grab a slice. Those were the days. We lived like kings.
I loved it so much, that it was my go-to choice at McDonald’s. A fast food joint, known for their burgers, and I still chose pizza.
McDonald’s pizza is the stuff of legends. It’s been so long since I had one, my memory is a little fuzzy. I vaguely remember the pizza itself. What I remember the most is the way the pizza made me feel. A whole pizza. Scaled down in size, of course. But it was just the right amount for my 8-year-old belly. Packaged in its own special little pizza box, just the right size for a kid. I didn’t have to share it with anyone, the contents of that pizza box all for me.
Goddamn special, that’s how I felt.
I don’t know why McDonald’s ever got rid of them. That seems like it was a terrible decision. I just hope that someday they come back. Whenever I get to blow out the candles, swipe a stray eyelash off my face, or come up victorious in a wishbone breaking contest I close my eyes and put all my heart into wishing that McDonald’s will bring back the pizza. They keep futzing around with this silly McRib thing, but I think they’d pull some serious coin from the relaunch of the pizzas.
When I moved to Toronto last year my top priority was finding my favourite place for a slice. And as much as I wanted to savour the search, I really didn’t have to look far. Pizzaiolo. Just a five-minute jaunt from my place. I get my favourite slice and convenience to boot! And there’s a ton of Pizzaiolo locations all over the city. I’ve eaten at half a dozen aiolo locations. They’re all pretty good, but the one at Bloor and Spadina is king. I have never had a bad slice there. It’s always piping hot and fresh out of the oven.
And since I have amassed an absurd amount of pizza photos on my phone in the short time I’ve been in the city, I thought I would put them to good use.
Behold, my top 5 Pizzaiolo slices thus far!
5) The Workday Hangover Slice
I got wasted on a Wednesday night. It was my first time going to Monte Requesto at the Cloak. Good times, great music, and too many beers. Not a great idea when you have to work the next day. But I’m not known for making the best decisions. So the following Thursday I woke up, barfed and went to work. I was too ill for breakfast, so by noon my tummy was rumbling something fierce. The only cure, a hot gooey slice of pizza. My favourite slice from Pizzaiolo is the Toni Pepperoni. They have some really diverse flavours, but I’m a classic pepperoni kind of girl. When I got to the counter there was no pepperoni in sight. The chick working the counter told me they just made one and it was coming out of the oven right that second. Score!
4) Breakfast Slice
One morning in the summer D left early to golf with his dad. So I decided to live it up. And by live it up I mean go grab a slice of pizza for breakfast and watch crappy T.V. shows. What can I say? I’m a girl of simple pleasures. I slept in and walked down to aiolo for open at 11:00am. This is a slice of The Godfather. A deep-dish monstrosity covered in pepperoni, bacon, italian sausage, mozzarella, and parmigiano. It’s like eating a really puffy piece of garlic bread that’s been covered in meat. I don’t always have the appetite to eat a whole slice, but when I do all bets are off! Dipping sauce is a must have with this slice.
3) The Morning After Slice
I am a genius! I got super hammered and stopped in for a slice to cap off my night. I was so happy when I polished off that slice. And in a rare moment of drunken clarity, I thought about my future. Where would I be tomorrow? Of that, I couldn’t be sure. But I was pretty damn sure I wanted there to be pizza. So I grabbed some extra slices to take home and store in the fridge as a tasty treat for the next day. And because I’m the best frickin’ girlfriend ever, I grabbed a slice of Gianni Ola for D. I didn’t want to leave him out. He’s an integral part of my future. Just look at the way the morning light glints off of the pepperoni. That’s a thing of beauty.
2) Afternoon Snack Slice
Sometimes I like to sleep late on the weekends. D never sleeps in. He gets up and eats his breakfast immediately. So by the time I get up on the weekend, he’s ready for lunch. My eating schedule for the day is totally skewed. I might have breakfast around 11 or noon while D is having lunch. Then I don’t want to have lunch until late into the afternoon. Which puts dinner in jeopardy. A slice of pizza is the perfect thing to eat in the afternoon when our meal schedules are impossibly off-balance. It’s just filling enough that it allows me to sync up my dinnertime meal with D. I got this slice one afternoon in the summer during a vigorous exploration of the shops on Queen Street West. Fresh out of the oven, it did not disappoint. Look at those herbs on the pepperoni! This slice is a work of art.
1) The Drunken Slice
Don’t act like you’re surprised, of course I was drunk when I consumed the best slice of pizza I’ve ever had the privilege of eating. We got seriously ripped at Joce and Harry’s place one night. Just another hilarious hangout with our chums made all the more hilarious with booze. They live at Bloor and Spadina, so when it comes to drunk eats their neighbourhood is the undisputed champ. You can get burgers, street meat, pizza, shawarma, nachos, sushi, pho, bagels, and more. If you can think of it, you can have it. But as I’ve said before, my heart belongs to pizza. Deliciously hot and gooey pizza. Pizzaiolo is my favourite because of the crust. It’s soft, puffy, and crispy at the same time. That’s no easy feat. A drunkard’s dream if I ever did see one.
Oh pizza, our best years are yet to come!
Now that your mouth has watered a river down your shirt, a majorly huge one with fucking tributaries and deltas and everything, I suggest you grab yourself a slice.