Baseball in Chicago. Sitting in terrace box seats on a gorgeous Friday and Mark Prior, fresh off the DL, is making the Pirate lineup swing foolishly at preternaturally-located fastballs. All is right with the world. Wait, here comes Borowski. Suddenly the Cub faithful, nerves still brittle from the team's recent poor play, fret anew and predict dire consequences as they exit the turnstiles.
What does this have to do with O'Fame? This loss was tough, even by Wrigley Field standards, and the post-game palliatives that would normally soothe my jangled post-loss nerves, namely Cuervo shots and a Cubano at Ambassador Cafe on Ashland, held little appeal. I realized that one of the warning signs of depression is Inability to Enjoy Previously Favorite Activities. I watch the newest members of Cub Nation laughing pleasantly and I want to do them moderate harm. I resist. I need help. Sulking at a friend's apartment in Lincoln Park, the call goes in for O'Fame cheese and sausage thin crust delivered. My black cloud lightens by the subtlest of shades.
After the first bite, our dining begins to take on a predatory aspect. The fresh kill in this case is what we both agree is the Best Thin Crust Pizza in Chicago. I'll grant that this proclamation, made as it was with elevated levels of Bud Light still coursing through our respective bloodstreams, was a difficult one--at least for me. Yet, a week later, I am still obsessing about this pizza. My friend and I have actually phoned eachother more than once to offer our recollections; trying to assure one another that what we had was as exceptional as we recalled.
The crust was substantial but airily delicate, resembling not at all the flaccid floury parchment that is the norm in Chicago. The sauce was unlike the typically acrid Contadina tomato paste spackle. The cheese was thin and laced with obviously good parmesan that was at once both nutty and buttery. This pie restores and nourishes both stomach and hope.
In Prior's next start, I watch with disproportionate detachment while his control fails him uncharacteristically. His heretofore maddeningly consistent release point is varied and scattershot. He fails. Baseball is a game of failure. I contend that pizza is too. Just as a towering flyball can cause a fleeting thrill before it is caught for an out, so too can a mediocre pizza hold one's fancy--if only for a short time--before being relegated to obscurity. But this day, there is joy in Mudville, and it costs about fifteen bucks, tip not included.