Gioia Pizzeria in Berkeley
CHEAP EATS My friend Hoohoohaha has a son, a daughter, an ex, a small dog, and a hippie. She also has a wood pile, and has recently developed an allergy to fireplaces, poor girl, so I picked up a pizza after work and went over to console, catch up, and steal her wood pile.
So you know, in my first week of owning my first-ever brand new car pickup truck, the subcompact Honda Fit, I hauled: a wood pile, a Dumpster full of kindling, a new bed, a beautiful table and two chairs, a goth sympathizer, and a dump run's worth of garbage.
Hoohoohaha's son makes magazines out of magazines, and they are roughly the size of a postage stamp and entirely devoted to the topic of butter. At this rate of brilliance, I project, he will win a Pulitzer before he goes to high school.
The daughter scares me. She's three.
The dog, a yapper, doesn't scare me one bit, but wouldn't leave me alone, either.
"It's just plain pizza, pup," I tried to explain. "There isn't even any meat on it. Now get outta here." I'm not a dog person, but I recognize that people like them every bit as much, if not more, than I like my cat. So I resisted the temptation to kick or even tease Hoohoohaha's stupid new one.
Her hippie pretty much stays in the garage. She'd been talking about him for months and months. At first I suggested that she set traps, but it soon became apparent that Hoohoo actually wanted him there. In fact, she mentioned over pizza that he was moving on, or out, or re-garaging, or whatever it is that hippies do. The implication was that she would be looking for a new one, and the significant look, I gather, was because I live in hippieland and might know somebody. But I didn't.
I have cats and rats and chickens and bugs. The hippies leave me alone. Except on Fridays, when I go to my tiny town's tiny little farmers market, and then they try and sell me cucumbers. Maybe it's the way I dress, or smell ... something makes me exude meat-eaterliness. I was checking out these heirloom tomatoes at one booth and the woman hippieing it said, and I quote: "They taste like bacon."
I looked at her. I was holding a tomato and, still looking at her, I brought it slowly to my nose. It smelled like a tomato. "They taste like bacon?" I said.
"Bacon," she said. She was beautiful. "Yep."
"You realize you're talking to a serious bacon eater," I said. "This is no small claim." I was thinking, I'm going to have to rethink my unreasonable prejudice against hippies. Just because I kind of am one, that's no reason to hate a whole class of people. Maybe some hippies appreciate life's more sacred institutions, such as bacon, every bit as much as the rest of us do. Maybe they not only love bacon, but they know how to grow tomatoes to taste like bacon. If so, I want a hippie in my garage too!
"Do you eat bacon?" I said. I don't have a garage, but I was thinking maybe she could move into my storage shed, or chicken coop.
She said she didn't, but used to, and now, with her amazing new bacony tomato variety, she could still enjoy a BLT with only the L and the T on it.
This is going to get my head blown off some day in an old Clint Eastwood movie, I know, but I can't help it. I am one of those people who just has to know. So I bought a lot of tomatoes from this beautiful vegetarian hippie chick, and I left them on my counter for a couple days, like she said, and then ate them and they didn't taste anything at all like bacon.
Fucking hippies. I'm setting traps in my chicken coop and storage shed, and it's obtuse, so I'll tell you: the moral of this seemingly silly story is that if you voted Yes on Proposition 8 here in California, you are, whether you know it yet or not, a homo.
My new favorite restaurant is Gioia Pizzeria for giving me an alternative to what I usually tell transplanted New Yorkers who ask my advice. Now I can choose between "give up" and "Gioia." Super thin, super saucy, and very very similar to actual New York style pizza. Check it out.
1586 Hopkins, Berk.
Mon.Sat., 11 a.m.8 p.m.