Saturday, September 01, 2007

Mystic Pizza

There's only so much holiday time you can spend golfing and smoking and napping and drinking – I think my current record is two years – before you get a notion to go and do something else… like walk four miles to the nearest Starbucks, which I once did in Texas. However, with a sporty little car at my disposal here in Connecticut, I thought it would be an idea to visit one of the neighbouring States by taking a leisurely drive along the coast. And by "leisurely drive along the coast" I mean, of course, "white-knuckle, pants-filling game of Interstate Death Race 2007." I'll save my growing list of "quaint US driving practices" for another time but let's just say I was glad I wasn't wearing my "stress-revealing" khaki shorts when the big 18-wheelers roared up my rear-end at an approximate distance of six inches.

Despite the towns and malls and interstate concrete, one thing you notice pretty quickly about driving through New England is just how many trees there are everywhere – I think the official National Geographic quantification is "a sh#tload". If I was in charge of tourism up here I'd be promoting this feature endlessly because I bet they look spectacular when they change colour later in the year.

Having visited 29 US States in the past, my original plan was to head north via Massachusetts and add Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine to the list. But even though they're some of the smallest States around, they're still hundreds of miles away (Kell – this was the point where I decided Omaha was too much of "a ways away") so a day trip to Newport, Rhode Island seemed much more agreeable.

The Rhode Island border is only 100 miles or so from where I'm staying and as usual when I cross a State line in this country, I was left a little disappointed. Just once I'd like to see a State trooper poised menacingly behind a billboard, ready to check whether I'm carrying any homemade moonshine to a thirst-ravaged, prohibition county, something that many years of keenly observing Daisy Duke's skimpy denim shorts on tv seems to have implanted in me.

Finally emerging from all the trees, I crossed the spectacular Claiborne Pell bridge (longer than the Golden Gate) to reach Newport and parked downtown. Despite the 95 degree heat, I tied a wooly Tommy Hilfiger v-neck jauntily around my neck (it's the law in New England!) and spent a few hours exploring this lovely seaside town. As you'd expect of a place with close associations to the "America's" Cup (current holders Switzerland!), it's full of boats, tackle stores, salty old dogs (don't ask me how I know), seafood restaurants, ice cream parlours and antique shoppes and it reminded me a lot of Freemantle, home of the Australian winners of the "America's" Cup. Despite all the numerous culinary temptations on offer, I refrained from eating any of "ye olde fish & chippes" because I had much more exciting dinner plans.. eh.. planned for the way home.

Back across the border in Connecticut is the quaint little town of Mystic which has a historic seaport, seafaring museums, tall ships, an aquarium and blah, blah, blah… I'm here for one thing only; the pizza featured in 1998 movie "Mystic Pizza" starring Julia Roberts, Lili Taylor and lovely Annabeth Gish who grew up to be even lovelier Agent Monica Reyes in "The X-Files". Man, those producers knew how to cast a show!

It's late afternoon so the restaurant is nice and quiet before the evening rush and it's with no small degree of excitement that I order the "Meatza Pizza", not a big favourite with vegetarians. But get this… I only ordered the 'small' (the 10") and even more alarming, I couldn't finish it. In case you missed that or have just keeled over in shock, I'll say it again – I COULDN'T FINISH a 10" pizza. As you'd expect, I've already made an emergency appointment at the local medical centre to discover how grave the problem is and, if the tests go poorly, I'm fully expecting to be prescribed the digestive equivalent of Cialis. Candlit vigils are being observed at most local churches this weekend and we're all hoping for the best possible outcome so please whisper a quiet word of prayer and come back soon to find out if I've been allowed to retain full Man Card-carrying privileges.


At 2/9/07 3:55 am, Blogger Kell said...

Oh come on! It's only hundreds and hundreds of miles of nothing but trees, concrete, and 18-wheelers to dodge to get to Omaha. Can't imagine why you wouldn't jump at the chance.

I can't really comment on the pizza. You're just going to have to come to terms with this little disappointment and find a way to redeem yourself. Maybe you can find a good support group? Americans are all about support groups.

At 2/9/07 5:29 am, Blogger Neil said...

Hmmm... should I mention that when you were in Scotland, your hotel was ONE MILE from my office!?!

But a support group... THAT'S a great idea. Free coffee, right?

At 2/9/07 8:05 pm, Blogger Peggy said...

Perhaps it was an AMERICAN 10" pizza. They are just bigger than normal, rest-of-the-world pizzas. In addition, you didn't take in to consideration the THICKNESS.

As any bad girl will tell you, it's not the size but the thickness that really counts.

I don't think you should be beating yourself up over this. I don't care what Gordon says, you are NOT a failure.

At 3/9/07 8:49 pm, Blogger Kell said...

Yeah, yeah, yeah. When I win the lottery I'm going to fly over just to see you and Peggy. Then you'll be sorry!

At 4/9/07 11:12 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow I'm well surprised does that mean the days when you could manage a mozzarella, tomato,achovies, and basil beforehand have gone? One of the may things I loved about you was your love of food X.

At 6/9/07 5:55 pm, Blogger Lena said...

Could manage a 10-inch pizza - eh? As a fellow Scot I'm *ashamed/relieved to hear that!

*delete as applicable


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