Pizzeria on Valencia


CHEAP EATS Intoxicated by how pretty flowers are in the dark and wowed by the sheer size of the lit TVs in all my neighbors' windows, I accidentally hit my head on a tree. Hard. The rest of my life is going to be a dream.

Here's the part where Earl Butter sends a messenger pigeon saying he's sick, but not sick, and will be sitting home and crying unless anyone comes over and drinks and eats vegetables with him.

Well, I have no particular plans for the evening. I was planning to stay home and cry, myself, so I tell Earl Butter's bird to tell Earl Butter I'll be right over. If I don't hit my head too hard on too many trees, walking to BART.

Which I didn't. One tree. Hard, but not hard enough to make my life much more than dreamy. What I failed to account for was all the distractions that would bonk and bewitch me on the other side of the pond, walking from BART to Earl Butter's. Namely, and in no particular order: Pizzeria, the Mission's first (that I know of) stone oven pizza, good ol' Good Vibrations, and of course New Yorker's buffalo wings because I needed some lube.

Butter and hot sauce, babe. That's what I'm made of.

Buffalo wings remind me of Earl Butter, who got made in upstate New York and introduced me to buffalo wings and bowling as a way of life.

But a friend of a friend of mine died yesterday of either cancer or knife wounds. She had cancer and then got mugged and stabbed, see, and then died in her sleep after she got out of the hospital, hard to say why. So my friend wrote to me, even though I never knew her friend, and it was like an obituary.

"She loved camp comedians, naughty jokes, show tunes, Ireland, bubble baths, and take-out curry," my friend said of her friend. She said she wished she had a blog because she finds herself wanting to talk and write about her deceased pal. A lot.

And a light went on over my head. It's rare that you get to do something concrete for a friend in need. But the thing is that I kind of do have a blog, or something very much like one. So why don't I make myself useful for a change and write about my friend's friend for her, a lot, in this restaurant review?

Her name was Mandy. She died at home, at night, in bed with her long-distance girlfriend Kristen, who had come that day from Kansas City to be with her, to help her get well.

Mandy was a psych nurse and sometimes kept baby hedgehogs under a heat lamp in her guest room, according to her friend (my friend), "rising during the night to bottle feed them." She didn't have any brothers or sisters, yet had eight godchildren. Think about it. So whoever stabbed her stabbed someone who didn't have any brothers or sisters, yet had eight godchildren and nursed both baby hedgehogs and human head cases.

Plus there's the take-out curry factor. Nothing pokes the unfunny bone like an extinguished hankering for curry. Or the smell of paint. I could go on and on, on my friend's behalf.

But I know a lot of my readers are muggers, so I'll be succinct: If you take anything at all from this important restaurant review, take this: stop stabbing people, you fucking morons. We're all dying anyway, of breast cancer and heart disease, and we don't need knife wounds on top of it all, so fuck the fuck off. If you lack the skill or finesse to eke a living or pick a pocket cleanly, turn the knife inward and cut your gutless bowels out.

For those of you who aren't muggers, your moral is quite different. When your friend sends a messenger pigeon, and sometimes even if they don't, go to them. Bring lube, and/or vodka. Bring buffalo wings. Bring pizza.

Yes, Pizzeria has a dumb name, and a posh (and therefore empty) interior. But its pizza has that nice, thin, stone oven crispness. Which I so so so so love.

My friend's friend Mandy did not like pizza.

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