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Thursday, July 19, 2007

It's still good

Yesterday brought a package from Mike Norton in the mail containing a few of his extra AVENGERS clix, as well as the survivors (i.e., Those That Did Not Get Bought) of the clix I sent him to auction off on Ebay.

So today, SuperWife and the SuperKids are happy to see a few of their favorite little plastic figures restored to the places they belong on my display shelves, and I'm pleased to be able to add a dozen or so new pieces to said shelves. I can't recall all that Mike sent me this early in the morning, but I know I got quite a few more Invaders (enough to send me looking through my extra clix for figures of Cap, the Sub-Mariner, and the Human Torch to use as center pieces to the new display), a Shang Chi, a Stingray... and several others that, as I note, my fuzzy wuzzy brain can't name at the moment. So once again, a tip of the Ears of Evil to Mike Norton.

As to the rest of the day, I have only one word for the elite few of you apparently still reading this blog:

Impellizzeri's.

Say it softly, and with reverence. Roll it over your tongue like a fine Brazilian chocolate. Savor the richness of the syllables, the promise they seem to hold. Taste it at the back of your throat... Impellizzeri's. Mankind rarely aspires to perfection of any sort, but at Impellizzeri's, perfection lives and breathes.

Impellizzeri's is a pizza place in River City, or was, for a while. Apparently, they once had a location a hundred feet or so from the building where I currently live, but that location closed shortly before I arrived here. SuperWife, then SuperGirlfriend, advised me when I moved here that it was a tragedy to a pizza maven such as myself that Impellizzeri's wasn't there any more, but not knowing any better, I simply wandered into Fat Jimmy's a few nights after arrival and, having found a finer brand of pizza than exists in all the benighted isthmus of Florida, pronounced myself (while burping) well content.

And then we went to Wick's, and, you know, while I wouldn't say Wick's produces better pizza than Fat Jimmy's, it's a different kind of pizza (a much more heavily loaded kind of pizza, for one) and in its way, every bit as good. So... then there were TWO excellent pizza places within easy reach of my new abode. Life... was good.

But while we were out cruising around on SuperWife's lunch break yesterday, we noticed that a new Impellizzeri's location had apparently opened down near Wick's, and decided to stop in.

SuperWife was afraid, after all her build up over the past few years, that I would inevitably find the reality that was Impellizzeri's disappointing. And, well, initially it seemed she was correct. The service was cheerful but inconsistent, the sodas were mixed poorly, and SuperWife's salad, when it was finally brought to her, was merely mediocre, a big heap of lettuce and cheese with a 'house blend' dressing straight from an inferior bottle.

I'd looked over the menu carefully before ordering. Unlike a great many pizza places, Impellizzeri's offered more than just the pie; in addition to a reasonably extensive appetizer menu, they also have a full sandwich menu and a few pasta dishes, as well. But none of that distracted me, I was there for the pizza. They offered three types of same -- the Impellizzeri's Original, the Sicilian Style Impellizzeri's, and the Impellizzeri's Bambino, which, when I inquired of our wandering, rambling waitress, I was told was a 'lighter' version of the Impellizzeri's Original. At $12.99 for a two topping small 12' Bambino pie, as opposed to $16.99 for the same size Original, it seemed this must be a MUCH lighter version... but having eaten at Wick's, I approach the offerings of a place that prides itself on 'heavily topped pizza' with caution. SuperWife and I had other places to be that afternoon, and no forklift or winch with which to load heftily burdened leftovers into our trunk, as is often a requirement when we eat at Wick's.

So I ordered a pepperoni and sausage Bambino, and then we waited for what seemed a fairly interminable time, and then... oh, THEN...

At long last they brought our pizza to the table. And the smell itself was heavenly. I was initially dismayed to see that they apparently serve their 'hand made sausage' as a ground up, thick dust all over the pizza, rather than in little chunks, as I prefer... but one bite put all such quibbling far behind me.

I don't know what makes a pizza work for you, and, well, it's a combination of things for me, but perhaps primary in that formula is the crust. If you don't get the crust right, you just can't recover from it. Fat Jimmy's has a wonderful crust, and Wick's has a fabulous crust, but Impellizzeri's... oh my. In that very first bite, I knew. At long last, after a lifetime of searching, I had finally found The Perfect Pizza Crust.

Now, you gotta have good sauce and good cheese, too, of course. Papa John's actually has a decent crust (as can be seen by the general excellence of their cheese bread appetizers). Where Papa John's fails miserably for me is in their sauce and, to a lesser extent, in their toppings.

Impellizzeri's pizza failed in no regard to command my respect and admiration. Tremendous sauce, astonishing cheese, and toppings that so excelled as to even overcome the dreadfully unfortunate decision to grind their wondrous sausage into a fine powder before placing it into play. Biting into a slice of Impellizzeri's pizza is like everything good you've ever experienced distilled into one fabulous sensation. With some pizzas the textures are good but the tastes aren't quite there, with others, the taste is delicious but the feel of the food doesn't seem quite right. Impellizzeri's pizza is simple perfection. The crust is exactly as soft, as thick, as crunchy, and as tasty as you need it to be at any given moment. The cheese is hot and gooey and the very earthly avatar of cheesiness. The sauce is sharp yet sublime and a perfect complement to every other ingredient. The toppings are tremendous, and if a Bambino is a lighter version of a regular Impellizzeri pizza, I am living in fear of the Original Pie. You will be well advised to borrow a powered pallette lifter from a local warehouse and take it along if you decide to adventure into Original Impellizzeri territory; you will need it to take away your leftovers. And there will be leftovers; Chuck Taine himself could not finish even a small Impellizzeri's Original in one sitting, with all three Luornus industriously chomping away right along side him. And even four Legion flight rings straining together would barely get the remaining slices out to their Legion cruiser.

Impellizzeri's pizza. You order it, they make it, they bring it to your table, you eat it, and your life is complete. Until you're done with it, and then, your life will be an empty, hollow, shabby thing again, until next you once more find your way back there and order another pie.

6 Comments:

At 12:20 PM , Blogger SuperWife said...

Just to ramble a bit on the historical aspects (since I don't appear to be doing much rambling elsewhere...well, except real life), Impellizzeri's was a favorite of mine years ago. Many here in this town would say the same. The owners had a handful of locations in River City, but then came a nasty divorce (or so the story goes).

The (soon-to-be) ex-wife apparently wanted a piece of the (pardon the pun) "pie". Rather than entertain such notions, the owner took a financial hit himself, and made all of us scream in horror, as he closed every one of his restaurants.

Bleak times, I tell you.

Sadly, it was not terribly long before Bunnyman moved here. So in the interim, Fat Jimmy's and Wick's and even Bearno's (which is a more "Chicago-style" pie) have filled in the void pretty nicely.

But when I saw the signs going up, about a mile from our place, indicating that this place was going to reopen (with the same previous ownership, serving the same menu), I began stalking them. Watching construction progress and biding my time.

I'm very pleased that it was as good as I remembered it being. And very pleased that Bunnyman got to enjoy it. And very pleased that it's conveniently located. We'll definitely be back.

 
At 12:48 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh man, not another pizza place...
As if I didn't have enough reasons to come back down for a visit, it's been 3 months, I'm going through withdrawl, where's that hotel coupon web site...

Tony C.
http://mahtwocents.blogharbor.com

 
At 2:16 PM , Blogger SuperWife said...

Tony -

You'll definitely want to hit them up on your next visit (along with your regular stops...LOL). No date yet, but I am tentatively planning a Welcome To River City get together for Nate. It should be mid-late August and as soon as I have a date, I'll be passing it along. Hoping you guys and the Gibsons can all make it.

 
At 3:26 PM , Blogger AaA said...

Ok, was that really neccessary? I've given notice, I've called a mover, I'm already going. All that remains is a place to go TO when I get there, and something gainful to employ my time once there.

 
At 12:51 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just randomly surfed by here and felt compelled to comment because Impellizzeri's has always been my favorite Louisville pizza since their original location first opened. I wanted to say, on the subject of Louisville pizza, Impellizzeri's is king, but might I also suggest Za's Pizza Pub (also a Bardstown Road mainstay) and Windy City Pizza (4th street near Churchill Downs). Za's is simply awesome pizza made with awesome ingredients baked the real way in a pizza oven, not a conveyor system like Wick's. Wick's wins in consistency, but Za's blows them away in quality. Windy City is THE place to go for Chicago style (deep dish) pizza. You think other places make thick pizza? Windy City defines the words "pizza pie". These three establishments (Impellizerri's, Za's, Windy City) round out the top three pizza joints in town, so give them a try.

 
At 1:08 PM , Blogger The Bunnyman said...

Anon,

Thanks for the drive by; it's nice to see that my blog still occasionally attracts the attention of people I don't know.

I'm not a big fan of Chicago style pizza, although I am surprised that, as you are, you didn't mention Bearno's anywhere on your list. Having said that, I think we can both agree that Louisville is, apparently, some sort of universal Mecca for all pizza lovers anywhere, and after spending 8 years exiled to the hideous swamps of Florida (where the best pizza one can find is from a chain called Hungry Howie's), I am deeply, deeply gratified to have finally found my way here. (For many reasons, of which good pizza may well be the least, but still, it's significant.)

Honestly, I don't know how the various pizza chains -- Pizza Hut, Papa John's, Little Caesar's, etc -- all of which are deeply inferior to the local product -- can stay in business here.

 

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