Friday, June 25, 2010

Pizza Mercato: "What is going on here?"

After the bizarre experience we had at Squisito, Ella decided she had enough. She called friend Kever, who you may remember from some months back, and literally hi-five tagged him in, saying to me, "from here on out, Kever will be taking my place as the surly native amongst all these Georgians." Kever is a bike courier and happened to be in the neighborhood on a slow day, so it all worked out rather perfectly when we walked over to Mercato.

Pictured above: Hot New Mexicans + their entourage + my sister. Kever is missing but you should look at a picture of him because he's beautiful.

None of that stuff is quite true, but I liked the sound of it. Truth is, Ella had to split because she wanted to see her mom while she was back in town and Kev had called to see if I was in Manhattan because he calls me every day that he's slow to see if I'm in Manhattan eating pizza. We were discussing slice organization (who's buying?! who's eating?!) when Kever confessed to me that he had only called because he "was hungry and it was lunch time and [he] didn't care about the pizza project at all and if [he] had known [I] was coming to some shit place like Mercato [he] would've just gotten a hotdog or something and wouldn't have hauled ass twenty blocks downtown basically for nothing." Either way, we ended up getting one slice between the nine of us and standing around in a circle right out front passing it around like teenagers smoking a dutch outside their high school.

I just took down notes of what everyone's complaints were, and I will relay them to you before I tell you what I think, as I have a very conflicted relationship with this particular slice of pizza.
Jeff: Spaghetti sauce/tomato paste taste.
Emma: This tastes like literally nothing. I really don't taste anything.
Joe: Rubber. Sauce from a can. Dry. Totally forgettable.
Max: Pedestrian.
Patrick: Bad cheese.
And Kever refused to even take a bite on principle.

The thing is, anyone who spent any time below 14th St or in and around St Marks Place back when those locales were teeming with all the punk rockers AND the moon-stompers, chanting songs about unity and never giving up and always struggling to keep this scene we hold so dear together (until we move away or get locked up or join the army or go to college), will remember the Pizza Mercato on Waverly and Mercer, I wanna say, that used to have a deal where you could get two slices and a soda for $3.00 and it wasn't good pizza but it was a whole meal that wasn't McDonalds for $3. Sometimes you have to eat something besides Punjabi or Food Not Bombs gruel!

Anyway, one thing that is so amazing about Awful Goddamn Yumans is our ability, as a species, to acclimate to even the most harrowing conditions. People have flourished in barren wastelands and snowy tundras, and I once became accustomed to eating shitty pizza so regularly that the taste didn't even bother me anymore. That's right, I said it. And the thing is, I have a certain fondness for Mercato's pizza. And although I know it is Objectively Nasty that I'm into it, I can't help but get wistfully sentimental when I encounter it, like smelling your high school girlfriend's perfume. And much like smelling a former sweetheart's scent, the tender moment is quickly followed by a hyper awareness of truly gross it is that you ever found anything attractive in ANY OF IT and total disgust with oneself for feeling sentimental for something so stupid. And this pizza review is that phase of the phenomenon.


Pizza Mercato - $2.25
120 E 34th St (Lexington & Park)
New York, NY 10016

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