I Thought I Knew Great Pizza | Eddie Grassi , Editor & Chief

September 25, 2022

Ordering Made Easy at Joyride Pizza in the Mission District of San

Last night, after my wife and I had just finished watching a wild comedy Improv show at Endgames in the Mission District of San Francisco, we headed straight for a pizza place in The Mission District of San Francisco.  As we strolled up to the storefront window, a beautiful display of mouthwatering pizza greeted us.   These weren’t your normal Sicilian pizza.   Although Sicilian is known for its thick crust, these were more like mountains of pizza from some other world. 

At that moment of arrival, staring through the window at the display of pizza, I hypothesized, “Could these slices actually rival the Golden Boy Pizza, the gold standard for Sicilian Pizza in North Beach?”   Quite possibly they could.

For years, I had been dining, or rather ravenously feasting at Golden Boy Pizza in North Beach, like there was no tomorrow.   So you can imagine my appetite and utter dismay at confronting these perfectly sculpted, finely baked rows of golden pizza on a plate.    

Placed artfully on trays for all passerby to see, this thick and cheesy pizza was adorned with toppings that looked positively heavenly.  In fact, they looked too good to eat.   This was what the Greeks probably meant by Ambrosia. To my discerning eye, they struck a delicate balance of a controlled disarray only a master chef could achieve.  Which slice should I choose?  Although the pepperoni called me, (as it usually does) with an abundance of the topping spread about and looking like small red saucers with the edges curled up from, my gaze fell upon the, “Eat Your Veggies” slice.   For a meat-lover style pizza like me, it was a sacrilege, though a forgivable one.   


“Eddie, are we going to order?” my wife asked.  It was a reality check.  “Yes, let’s—” 

But my eyes would not let go of the “Eat Your Veggies.”  Suddenly, I knew why it was my mom always said this refrain.  Then again, this was an altogether different version of the “eat your veggies” I knew growing up.  This was layers of veggies bathed in tomato sauce atop a bed of cushiony soft rise pizza dough.   A voice inside proclaimed, “Behold the Brussels Sprouts, Crimini mushrooms, Mozzorella Cheese and Black cheese.”  The slices of pizza resembled a work of art I had once seen by the famous American abstract painter, Jackson Pollock, at San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art.  In the painting there are dazzling splashes and strokes of genius in contrasting greens, whites and reds.  To the untrained eye, the colors appear haphazard and lacking meaning, like some hodgepodge of paint on butcher paper found on the floor of a preschool.  However, there was meaning, even order, in the chaotic spread of these delectable toppings, just like in the painting.  If you stared long enough at a Pollock, (or at this pizza) you got lost in its profound beauty, and the experience of the mystery was the meaning.  

Pinch again.  “What would you like to order?”  Dumbfounded, I stared at my wife.   “The pepperoni,” I said with guilt.  I had defaulted to my go-to slice out of habit.   In front of her was a display screen to order the pizza.  A huge resolute picture of pepperoni pizza as realistic looking as the actual pizza in the window behind us, came into view.   A few button clicks later and the order was placed.   A minute passed.   Then, a worker placed my precious pizza slice in the oven for its journey on a small slow moving conveyor belt for heating.   Soon after, my name was called and I was biting into my pizza. 

As I sank my teeth in, a rainbow of flavors greeted my palate and a new relationship with pepperoni pizza was formed that day.  Fresh tomato sauce, melted Mozzarella Cheese, seasoned pepperoni juices and plenty of texture from the golden crispy crust filled my mouth with joy.  Bite. Swallow. Savor.  Repeat.  Before I was halfway done, I was planning my next visit.  As I wiped away sauces on my lips, I saw the store name in the window, “Joyride.”  I thought to myself, it sure was.   When I looked over at my wife, she was staring at her hot Veggie slice, no doubt sizing up the blend of Crimini mushrooms and black olives.  This time it was I who had to pinch her.  




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