15 - 21 August 2002
Issue No. 599
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875||Recommend this page|
Restaurant reviewInjy El-Kashef attacks the windmills of her mind
Squaring the circleIt was a doomed day. The forces of evil had clouded, gathered and eventually poured into me -- turning me into a mass of brooding, boiling, seething anger and frustration. The worst thing about these moods is that they occasionally push one to the edge of resistance, and present the future as the consequence of one of two choices: surrender or rebellion. A choice that seems irreversible yet in truth is usually the least so, and is to be taken with no delay for, in these times, every second seems the last. Caught in the self-important trap of "I-am- experiencing-a-moment-of-clarity-and-need-to- be-alone-so-I-may-take-the-right-radical- decision-since-it-is-irreversible-and-will- change-my-life-you-know" the only remaining issue was finding a spot worthy of the writing of such personal history. Somewhere dramatic maybe, like the Pyramids? Or romantic rather, like a felucca on the Nile? No, no; something fast-paced -- like a long drive with loud music on and tears streaming down my face as the wind blows my hair. In any case, it has to be awfully dramatic. I ended up in a pizza parlour.
The plan was to drop a dear friend off at the movies and then proceed with my mission. I drove and parked opposite Little Caesar's where she was meant to grab a takeaway pizza. Then something happened: I saw the chain's emblem. I looked at the little cartoon-drawn Roman figurine, his toga, his sandals, his oversized toes, his spear brandishing a pizza as his gaping mouth is ready to devour, his raised pointed nose, the contained euphoria in his closed eyes, the laurel wreath around his hair. Suddenly my plan seemed utterly ridiculous -- even to me, I mean -- and then the solution to my problems crystallised before my eyes in the form of anti-stress formula multi-vitamins. A revelation.
In a flash I was inside the sunny interior, placing my order for square pizzas (Little Caesar's pride and glory) with a pleasant man at the counter who repeatedly asserted that the goods would be ready in 10 minutes. My friend and I had ample time to evaluate the salad bar, eventually deciding that we did well not ordering any of its plain contents. In an anal retentive move, we also decided to time the pizza and realised it took double the promised time, during which we noticed that the kitchen is as terribly small as it is clean and available for all to see, as no wall conceals it from public scrutiny. We also psychoanalysed whoever had designed the Little Caesar's line as an extremely enthusiastic person, for every word on the menu is repeated twice with exclamation marks.
Our Pizza! Pizza! was finally ready. My friend's Veggie! Veggie! was topped with onions, green peppers, black olives, mushrooms and tomato slices; while my Special! Special! was more meaty with pepperoni and Italian sausage (plain supermarket type, I assure you). The dough was a little too thick for my taste and while the toppings were all fresh, the pizza failed to impress. It lacked salt, the tomato paste had a peculiar taste and it just did not add up to anything beyond the sum of its parts. We had also ordered cinnamon sticks -- a beignet-type dessert dusted with castor sugar and a little cinnamon -- which should have been crunchier, less bready, and sweeter. As we ate in the car to the contempt of many passers-by, we also realised we had paid for soft drinks that we did not receive.
It dawned on me that the Little Caesar figurine had been a life-changing vision, yet the Pizza! Pizza! inside was simply more of the same pedestrian fare for LE39.
Little Caesar's, 6 Abbas Al-Aqqad St, Nasr City
Tel 272 5820
Letter from the Editor
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