Broders’ Cucina Italiana’s Eggplant Special Pizza has been my favorite pizza for almost ten years.
I worked behind the deli counter at Broders’ during my first year after college. As employees, we were given opportunities to nearly everything from the menu and learn about the Italian food products sold in the restaurant. How are you supposed to answer customers’ questions about the menu or communicate a genuine enthusiasm foods if you haven’t tried them? Broders’ gets this.
Even though I ate a lot of food from Broders’ while I worked there, I never got tired of it. The Eggplant Special pizza was my favorite then and it is now.
I’m really picky about my favorite places.
And by favorite places, I mean the places I return to time and again. The same goes for my favorite people, including hair stylists, butchers, car shops, tax preparers, and veterinarians. I’ve had to find my new favorite places and people more often than most. Each time we’ve moved I had to start the process from scratch. Sometimes I find my favorite person or place right away and sometimes it takes a while. But when I find it, I just know.
A lot has to fall in place for a place to become my favorite place. The actual product, noise level, availability of snacks, music choices, smell, location, customer service, parking, table spacing, outlets (in the case of coffee shops), temperature, and price.
When I first started a position in downtown Minneapolis, I set a goal to try a new restaurant once per week. And I have failed miserably because I’ve found a favorite place.
Until February 3rd, Jake had never seen musical before.
People singing just makes him feel uncomfortable. It always has. On the flip side, I love it when people sing. Actually, I prefer when people do. Talking is boring.
I grew up watching musicals and never sports. Jake grew up watching sports, but never musicals. Every time I watch a musical on television he leaves the room and every time I try to watch a sporting event, I fall asleep. Last year, Jake’s employer invited us to attend a baseball game in their suite when we first moved to St. Louis. I spent the entire time utterly captivated by the nacho cheese squirt machine in the snack bar.
I was a reluctant Harry Potter fan.
Growing-up, magic was mostly forbidden. Bible magic was OK. Disney magic and Chronicles of Narnia magic was OK, too. But Bed Knobs and Broomsticks magic and Roald Dahl Witches magic was not. Maybe because magic was so forbidden, I have always been obsessed with magic.
Fast forward to the summer after my senior year of high school. Before college freshman orientation, we were all assigned to read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix the fifth book in J.K. Rowling’s series. I had never read a Harry Potter book and I thought it was the stupidest assignment in the world.
I dutifully bought the book. It was as heavy as a brick and 870 pages long. With a resentful heart, I opened the book and started my summer reading assignment.
Every time we move, I lose my recipe binder and rejoice upon finding it again.
The binder’s not fancy. It’s a tattered, spiral-ring binder overflowing with recipes I’ve collected since college. Some of the recipes are photocopies of my mom’s cookbooks or library books. Others are packets I’ve collected from cooking classes. A few recipes are from friends who actually hand wrote them on recipe cards, while others are clippings from old Star Tribune Taste sections.
According to the time stamp on my recipe, I printed it February of 2007. At this time, I was finishing my senior year of college where I lived in a house with a group of friends. We were in the midst of planning a party to welcome our housemate back from Mali. Looking back, I must have searched online for West African recipes and chosen this stew.