Sunday, December 2, 2007

Serious Pie - A Tom Douglas Pizza Restaurant

Serious Pie
316 Virginia St.
Monday-Saturday, 11:00am-11:00pm
Sunday, 4:00-10:00 pm
No reservations Phone: (206) 838-7388
Take out available [including beer and wine!]
Serious Pie on Urbanspoon

There were three of us, two sassy she-critics and one well-heeled, discerning uber-metro sexual. The metro man had confessed that Tom Douglas’ pizza almost made him cry – it was that good. We had never heard of a man crying over food so naturally we had to witness this spectacle. Plus, this was the perfect venue to experiment with our new endeavor – tasting other people’s fancy ass food (schmancy pizza in this case) - an attempt not only to exchange conversation and interact with humans in a restaurant, but also to eat beyond our monetary means.

The tables at Serious Pie are long, high and family style, with dark leather padded bar seats and candles. The lighting is more or less perfect: low and reddish. Everyone looks good in this light...almost like a tinted mirror. No, we were not all dressed up, or showing any cleavage. But here, we thought, was the perfect opportunity to get to know our table neighbors and taste a few of their appetizers.

Nobody could have prepared us for what transpired. Call it the power of visualization, the power of sassy…? The two sassies went in wanting to "create community at the table. " To say we ended up satisfied and satiated by way of our dinner selection as well as that of our table mates’ dinner selections and wine, is an understatement.

So how did all of this happen? One sassy critic had to go to market so she was a bit late for this outing. The other sassy critic, call her sassy T, arrived around 7:20ish to meet said metro – the one who wept tears of joy over his last Tom Douglas pizza and didn’t have to think twice about accepting our invitation to dine here. So metro, yet so sure of himself [or just jonesing for more pizza]. He insisted on guiding me [sassy T] through the menu. He even took it upon himself to order for me while we were waiting for the second sassy to show. How completely unnecessary. Before I even had a chance to return the server's salutations, metro didn't waste any time and ordered two mozzarella di bufalo, san marzano tomato pizzas, one fig, walnut and rossini bleu salad with rosemary foccacia and one pear Izze soda. I was able to order my drink at least: one pomegranate Izze soda. Why two of the same pizzas? Well, no one said he was a seasoned metro. Perhaps he was just too excited about being back in his own pizza-flavored garden of Eden. I must say it was cute how he offered to guide me through the menu. Adorable.

Then there were three of us, which was good because the food came just as the second sassy critic arrived. According to metro man, the pizza wasn’t the usual out-of-this-world-make-grown-men-weep affair. However,you can argue that Serious Pie is some of the best pizza in Seattle. The crust was perfect. Seasoned just right, not too thick, not too thin or soggy or chewy. Perfect as perfect can be for a pizza crust. The tomato sauce had a tinge of sweetness, but didn’t overpower the other ingredients. The buffalo mozzarella was so nice …not the congealed silly putty that most places try to pass off as mozzarella.

The sassy who went to market does not, as a practice, eat cow's milk products. This also means she does not dream of finding the perfect pie as metro dude and sassy T often do. However, she is not above tasting prized pizza, whipped cream on desserts, really good chocolate mousse (you get the idea). Duty called and she sampled the pie regardless of her dairy-eating habits. The experience of a serious slice of bufalo mozzarella did not temp her to convert back to the other side. Sassy T liked it though. Didn't looove it, but would definitely go back for more. This Serious Pie outing was not life changing. No one wept. Of course, it would have helped if we tried more than one kind of pizza. We could have ordered more, but the two pies were quite filling for two (and one sampler).

The lusciuos figs with rosemary foccacia, walnuts and rossini bleu cheese was an excellent start. Appetizer portions here are not huge, thankfully, yet they're just big enough for two people to share. The roasted seckel pear, prosciutto, and pecorino de remo did not impress unfortunately. It was the only true disappointment of the evening. The prosciutto was thinly sliced and piled in up in a blob between two lovely little roasted pears. Sassy 2 ate the pears happily. The prosciutto, on the other hand, was chewy and fibrous. Are they getting this from somewhere inside Washington state? Can you even do that with prosciutto? I must say that prosciutto in Seattle has been disappointing in general. Not sure what's going on, but there seems to be a dearth of high quality Italian pork products here.

Anyway, this dinner was more about accomplishing our above stated goal: eating other people's fancy ass food. Ultimately it wasn’t only about what we ate, but the circumstances surrounding the consumption (and the bill). The group of six who sat down soon next to us asked how the pizza was and we immediately offered them a slice. They politely declined as is the custom in this Protestant-dominated, tech-addicted, workaholic, no-fun society we inhabit. We hoped that they would give us a tiny taste when their appetizers arrived and sassy critic one overtly complimented and ogled their appetizers - particularly the fresh figs with walnuts. They offered and she tasted. What else do you do when you taste a stranger’s food? Start talking.

Next thing you know, the group's leader [aka the guy with the company's credit card] at the table, feeling the sense of power and liberation you can only get from putting a corporate expense account to good use, offered us some wine. "White or red," he said. Sassy one said "white," and Sassy T said "red." Corp. Manager turned to the waitress (attractive red pigtailed hair, subtle nose ring and high cheek bones) and said "I don’t care I have an expense account. One of each…" You might think he was abusing the privilege of a corporate account. But no, he was simply inspired by the magic of near-perfect pizza, wine and fresh figs. Perhaps our initial offer of the mozzarella di bufala must have sparked his generosity. Plus, he doesn't live in Seattle, so talking to people face to face doesn't feel like being a contestant on Fear Factor for him. Sitting at the same table may have helped. Might as well throw in the moon phase too, which, if I'm not mistaken, was waxing crescent. []

They offered appetizers, we offered pizza, they shared wine, we gave our desserts [chocolate cannoli and pear tart - the cannoli was the better of the two, the pear tart lacked flavor]. Just as importantly shared conversation. Yes, we had a conversation. Turns out corporate manager was born in the same town as sassy T [same hospital too] somewhere east of here. He also hung out at the same bar where she worked as a bartender. A little hole-in-the-wall just blocks from their alma mater. Although neither recognized the other, both knew that sassy T - before she was sassy T and he was white collar wonder boy with a corporate account - poured him many mugs of beer. Maybe even his first mug of beer? Maybe she signed his mug club card? Congratulated him and sent him on his way? Who knows? It doesn't matter.

What mattered that night at Serious Pie was that strangers sitting at the same table began to talk, that pretty good food brought good people together, that people weren't too busy, tired, timid, self-interested to spend their time [and share their wine] with each other, that a man with a corporate account wasn't afraid to use it. We exchanged emails and business cards, but we'll probably never see or hear from each other again. That's okay. That one night was all we needed.