Apparently, Chelsea wants me to become more “involved” in this blog world. I guess I can oblige her, even though when I write like this I imagine some other guy out there saying to himself, “I wish this dude would stop yammering.” On the upside, I really don’t have a shortage of things to talk about. There are so many “issues” in my world that could use a good discussion (by this I mean important things, like food).
I find it very frustrating when friends of ours use the word “best” to refer to food, restaurants or places they’ve been. I always listen to their exclamations of perfection with a very tilted brow. I’ve come to discover, as I progressed from child to what I hesitantly call a man (I feel too young to use that word…even though I’m larger than at least 75% of the American male population), that people exaggerate. A lot. I think this is because they’ve come to believe that if they don’t, no one is going listen or take them seriously. Well, I’m here to say, ”I do listen. Don’t take my ears for granted.”
What does this have to do with food? If you plan on telling someone that a restaurant where you’ve eaten (or any place you frequent) has the “best” something, take a minute and think if that something actually qualifies. I do. Even when it hurts, as it does when I have to demote one of my regular bests after finding a new best. It’s actually like a break up for me. I love my bests. I really do.
I had a bit of a disappointing “best” situation this last weekend. My brother and I are the greatest friends. Each of us knows how the other thinks and we can always trust each other. When it comes to things like food and movies, usually if one gives a restaurant or film a good review, the other can count on that to be fact. My brother has been spot on over 95% of the time and always puts thought into his evaluations.
Except this weekend.
He had recently gone to San Francisco to visit family and happened upon a pizza restaurant in North Beach. Shortly after eating, he sent me a text exclaiming that he’d just eaten the best pizza he ever had. Now, knowing our previous number one, this must have been pizza with some ecstasy sprinkled in it or something. So as fate would have it, I found myself in San Francisco this past weekend and had to try this “best” pizza. I arrived in North Beach, a very Italian part of SF, and found the pizza joint he told me about. Based on the smell, I thought he was on to something. There was no shortage of garlic or sausage scent in the air…definitely a good sign.
Then the time came. I ordered exactly what he ordered. Visually, my entree appeared promising. As I took my first bite, however, I found myself waiting. I expected the flavor my brother spoke of to hit me at any moment. Any second, I knew the “holy hell that’s good” sensation would overtake me. I took another bite, just in case I missed it. I kept waiting.
This was my brother’s 5%. The one out of twenty I dreaded. I called him that night to let him know (we’re a bit outspoken). “Kiel, you’re wrong. It’s not the best. I’m sorry,” I said with a hint of sadness in my voice. It was terrible to have to break the bad news to him over the phone, but it had to be done.
I guess with him, that 5% can be chalked up to personality differences. I’m sure at some point in my life, my “best” just wasn’t good enough either.
By the way, here are my best restaurants in San Diego: my best pizza is Filippi’s (the ones in North County. Apparently there’s a discrepancy over which family member runs each one – and it’s noticeable). My best hamburger is Hodad’s double bacon cheeseburger in OB. If you have a “legitimate” best that bests mine, let me know what it is and why.