Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cafe Viva Natural Pizza: "I am full of so much righteous anger writing this right now!"

In my post about Mama's, I already discussed the sweet, succulent irony of eating copious amounts of pizza with Caroline Paquita, my primary medical resource (today, for instance, I was sick and she brought me over a mullein, yarrow, nettle and elderberry tincture. Big ups, girl!), but what was previously a thin single layer of irony, we'll call it a Matzoh of Irony, was transformed into a veritable Baklava of Irony, (a delicate, many layered treat) when we went to Cafe Viva, an organic pizzeria.

Now, I am a total wingnut and eat all kinds of weird things. I brew my own kombucha, I'm trying to learn a bunch of home fermenting, I drink tinctures and chew roots and shit like a motherfucker. I do these things because they make my body feel good. However, so does eating a Mr. Goodbar or a canoli every now and again. And while a Mr. Goodbar or canoli would probably be improved with the addition of higher quality organic ingredients, pizza is something that is never going to be exceptionally good for you, and it seems like a bunch of bullshit to try and make it so. This is just a totally ridiculous West Coast yuppie, consumer-culture, Buy Green! bumpersticker, I Vote with my Dollars, half-assed way for tepid liberals to placate their consciences and still "indulge." Fuck all that. First of all, while "buying green" is cool and the fact that it's now a yuppie status symbol to use your own grocery bags is kind of awesome, it's not addressing the larger issues of how our culture of consumption and the general social norms are unhealthy for people's minds and for the planet. Secondly, you can be totally healthy and sometimes eat unhealthy things! We live in a world rife with grey areas. It's not like you have to either eat only quinoa and keefer or Big Macs and Cokes. You can totally be some weird ass yoga hippy and still have a slice of goddamn pizza every now and again. And this brings us to our third reason everything about this place is bullshit: the pizza sucks! If you're gonna "indulge" in some shit, shouldn't it actually be good? Some people need to learn how to fucking live right, is all I'm saying.

Good things first: the sauce was phenomenal. I say go organic all the way when it comes to vegetables products! Tasted great. The cheese tasted like crap, though, and so did the dough. And the texture was one of the worst Pizza in a Cup-ass, soupy, mushy, Pizza puree travesties ever inflicted upon my poor, pathetic palette. I said it already, but this pretend healthy, Amy's Organic style living is for the birds. Just eat pizza one day and the next day eat some fresh kale and barley. Don't ruin your healthy food and your junk food by trying to combine them.

Man, sorry to get so vitriolic, y'all, but I am very passionate about pizza.

Cafe Viva Natural Pizza
2578 Broadway
New York, NY 10025


  1. Although many health food or organic places may not do a particularly good job of properly making unhealthy food, I still think I'm going to have to disagree with you on the pizza/organic shouldn't be mixed argument. I think many foods are both healthier and taste better in their organic form, but this is more true for some than for others. Organic dairy tastes way better than the other kind, mostly because cow udders frequently get infected when milked using conventional farming methods. Dairy products (such as pizza cheese) can potentially and generally do taste significantly better when not being made from the milk of sick infected cows. Organic tomatoes also vary greatly from conventionally farmed tomatoes in a number of ways. First, there is way more variety, thousands of different types of tomatoes actually - some you may like, some you may not, but you can definitely find organic tomatoes that blow away the generic red tomatoes you see in grocery stores. Secondly, organic tomatoes generally aren't refrigerated before you buy them - much of the flavor and many of the important health properties of tomatoes are lost if they're allowed to get below 55 degrees fahrenheit. Third, organic tomatoes are actually ripe, whereas conventionally farmed tomatoes are picked green and then put through an artificial ripening process which changes their color but has a negligible effect on flavor.

    All that said, in the whole wide world of food, there are 2 food products in particular that I would always try to buy organic, and they are tomatoes and dairy. And these two things contribute quite a bit to a slice of pizza. So, a pizza made correctly but using all organic ingredients can potentially be completely amazing. As long as they don't try to dump a bunch of wheat grass and grapeseed extract and echinacea on top.

  2. The other thing I would say about this place - this is not a place for good old plain New York pizza.

    But if you're a vegan (or even not) and want the most delicious explosion of ten million tastes in your mouth, get Cafe Viva's Zen pizza. It's amazing. Not because it's pizza, but because of the other stuff it has going on. So I wouldn't write this place off entirely, but I would write it off if all you want is good old NY pizza.