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Sad Yuppie Pizza

Ate at Flour + Water, which just opened in our neighbourhood to massive amounts of publicity. After an awful-ish week, and starting on another one, both the spouse and I needed a night off.

Small and not particularly cosy on the inside, the tables were so crammed together, people could barely move. It was loud. We had to shout at each other to be heard, which was what everyone else was doing too, and that only made the noise levels worse. As we waited for our food, I felt increasingly unwelcome there. I don't usually feel that way about eateries, so when it happens, it gets quite disconcerting. It really felt like too many people in too small a space.

I originally read the restaurant's menu online, and was keen to try their egg pizza. Unfortunately, we must have come in on restocking week or some such, since the menu was limited, featuring repetitive (and not necessarily seasonal) ingredients. No egg pizza for me.

We ordered 2 pizzas and 1 appetizer. After a 35 minute wait with no food, the waitress brushed us off with, "The kitchen is backed up," then looked embarrassed when our pizzas came a minute later. She seemed almost ready to argue with us about whether or not our appetizer arrived too, though she eventually just took the appetizer off our bill when we requested that.

Now, when a restaurant has a nice name like "Flour + Water", I tend to assume that their food will taste like a little more than say, flour and water. We both agreed that our pizzas' crusts were some of the best we'd had in the city. They were thin crusts, with a lovely yeasty quality, and just the right amount of bite. However, the toppings did the crusts no justice. My Pizza Margherita was bland. The ingredients (tomato paste, mozarella cheese, a few leaves of basil) tasted fresh, but lacked any distinct flavour. On a pizza as straightforward as a Margherita, every ingredient should shine. It's about the natural zest in the tomatoes, the creamy richness of the cheese and the salt of the pesto lurking beneath it all. It's like the har kau (prawn dumplings) of dim sum -- a litmus text of the chef's skills. Failing this is like a crime against the cuisine.

I didn't try scanner_darkly's pizza (something with mussels, which I don't usually eat), but I did notice it seemed a little bare as well. Literally, a basic pizza base with mussels on top.

By the time we left the restaurant, it had gotten even fuller than it had been before. At the time of writing, it's a 2-week wait just to get a table. There was a pretty large crowd of walk-ins jamming up the doorway too. It's a little sad, but I have a feeling this place may run on yuppie/foodie hype for a while yet.

On the way home, we chanced upon a cool-looking German cafe that had mysteriously appeared a block away from our street. Only opening for lunch, the menu had a good selection of tasty things like cheese spaetzle and sausages cooked in beer. It must've just opened (to no fanfare), since we don't remember seeing it there before leaving for Malaysia.

Today, the husband tells me there is an intriguing creme brulee cart touring the Mission. How is there a creme brulee cart running in a 3 block radius from our house and neither one of us has noticed it yet?! Expect stalking, with spears.


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 17th, 2009 10:56 pm (UTC)
Flour + Water = FAIL. I don't know why people like it.

You have to be on Twitter and signed up to the private creme brulee cart twitter account, since the cops started busting the food carts. There is also a Magic Curry Cart that is usually with the creme brulee cart.

Jun. 17th, 2009 11:29 pm (UTC)
I admit I had my hopes up. A coworker was just fucking blown away by then. I looked at the menu and thought, man, it seems kind of yuppie, and then the two week waiting list had me in a mood like it had better be good.

My pizza didn't even have cheese. And didn't mention it didn't have cheese. That'd be okay if the sauce was tasty. Or the shi shi mussels weren't overcooked. Or the entire staff didn't act like they were doing us some giant fucking favor by being there.

Still, the crust was awesome. Put some fucking Ragu on that stuff, they might have something to write home about.
Jun. 17th, 2009 11:35 pm (UTC)
I was expecting it to be yuppie, but yeah, I was also hoping it would be good. I didn't even notice your pizza lacked cheese when we were there, but good gravy.

No idea what was up with the staff. I noticed there was a man who was wandering between the tables, and sitting down to be friendly with folks. I think it could've been the owner.
Jun. 26th, 2009 02:56 am (UTC)
Depending on your region, sauce and cheese aren't necessarily standard ingredients and won't be included unless specified. No joke--found this out from a French woman with tomato allergies who was dismayed that sauce is very much standard hereabouts.

So maybe you had a pretentious cook who decided to omit the cheese...but I'm betting they just forgot it.
Jun. 26th, 2009 03:11 am (UTC)
I actually think they were going for an uppity no-cheese pizza, myself. Their menu suggests that unless it's the Margherita (which must have cheese unless they're really trying to buck the trend), they're otherwise into some sort of yuppie-rustic innovation. If they did forget the cheese though, that makes them extra sad. :/

Having said that, I didn't know this stuff about regional standard ingredients. San Francisco has been cursed with bad pizza for me so far -- not pizza with missing ingredients -- just kinda "eh!" pizza. Gotta head to St. Louis and try your pizzas. With tea.
Jun. 17th, 2009 11:38 pm (UTC)
Naturally, your comment made me run for Yelp again to look for the Magic Curry Cart. :)

Thanks for the tip! Thinking about cops busting food carts makes me sad though.
Jun. 18th, 2009 12:27 am (UTC)
awww, pathetic pizza makes me sad.

I am also sad that there is no creme brulee cart near me. Mmmm, creme brulee....
Jun. 23rd, 2009 09:22 pm (UTC)
Pizza is a rare commodity in this town, alas. Haven't been able to find the creme brulee cart yet, because the creme brulee cart has gone underground due to city hall's issues.
Jun. 24th, 2009 01:54 am (UTC)
if I can get you to visit me, we can have pizza near my house. just had some tonight - asparagus and rhubarb, it was excellent. we also had a chorizo one (also yummy), a mac&cheese one, a walnut/gorgonzola, strawberry/goat cheese, and a salami one. O_O
Jun. 24th, 2009 07:28 pm (UTC)
Mmmm. Walnut/gorgonzola! Not...so sure about the mac&cheese one though.
Jun. 25th, 2009 01:59 am (UTC)
the mac and cheese one was ok. I was probably let down because I know that I can make a mean mac and cheese at home.
Jun. 18th, 2009 01:44 am (UTC)
Sorry to hear the pizza was sad and yuppie but win! on spaetzle and creme brulee!

I love spaetzle particularly.
Jun. 23rd, 2009 09:23 pm (UTC)
Win! on spaetzle. I love spaetzle, and have only just figured out how to make it at home without it tasting like boiled flour. Now comes the hard decision, of course. Do I pay $9 for a plate of restaurant spaetzle or $4 to make enough spaetzle to feed a family of 4?
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )