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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Pizza Files

--Is Motorino in Decline, and General Problems of the Philosophy of Pizza--

Pizza has an enduring place in the universe, and in my psyche.  Perhaps, though, there is no difference between my psyche and the universe, for every man is a universe in which a Big Bang occurred, space expands into infinity, and everything eventually dies and disperses and becomes cold.  Life is meaningless.

But alas, perhaps there is meaning, and if so, it is pizza.  How exactly could the meaning of life be pizza, you ask?  How could it not, I reply.

Anyway, the matter at hand:

I recently went to Motorino, which is one of my favorite pizza places in New York.  Motorino serves what is reminiscent of a Naples-style pizza, and for this type of pizza I have often thought you can do no better (granted, I have never been to Naples).

My favorite Motorino pizza tends to be the sopressata picante, a pie bursting with flavor.  Fresh, creamy mozzarella, tangy, spicy sopressata, heat from chile flakes and the wonder that is garlic.  And all of this on a wonderful, tender, slightly smokey, pillowy crust.  This pie is just a beautiful combination of savory flavors.  You seriously want to marry or adopt this pizza, but hopefully not both (unless you're Woody Allen).

I usually have the aforementioned sopressata picante, but I'm not averse to a basic margherita, and in the past I always felt that Motorino does Queen Margherita proud.  Last night, since I had not been to Motorino in a couple of months, I decided to get a margherita, which I feel is a good way to get a baseline on the general pizza operations of a given establishment. My pizza arrived, and although it was good, I am sad to report that it didn't live up to its past glory.

Now, what I've just said raises many philosophical problems.  In general, we may never have a clear picture of the past, and therefore it may be futile to compare memories.  However, in this case, pizza is my game, and therefore one must ponder the Philosophy of Pizza. I've discussed such problems in the past; for instance, in a post about DiFara's, the legendary Brooklyn pizzeria.

In my ruminations on DiFara's, I wondered if it had gone down hill, if it had deteriorated in quality.  This wonderment - pondering the quality of an establishment within its larger context - is very human.  "I remember when such-and-such-a-place was in its heyday, or "I miss the good old days," people often say.  Homo sapiens have been bemoaning the state of DiFara affairs for years, and, indeed, as my post mentioned, there may be objective reasons to believe that DiFara has changed.

As far as I know, there has not been much public discussion on the State of Motorino, although I must grant that I do not obsessively pour over Chowhound.  However, based on this recent trip, I must wonder.  Of course, further investigations are warranted.  Even Jesus occasionally screws up the salvation of a believer**, so we can forgive Motorino a single below-average pie (and below average for Motorino is above average for most pizza in the city).  If I go back, though, and have another troublesome pizza, if I go back yet again and have another underwhelming pie, if it happens a few more times, then, then I must begin to consider that Motorino is in decline, much like this horrible country, much like our souls.

To be continued.

**Think how angry you would be if you accepted Jesus as your lord and savior and then he forget to rescue you from the depths of hell?  I'd be pretty upset.