tonight we tried a new restaurant in our neighborhood - new to us, anyway. Husband and I left the pup with the neighbors, intending to to hit up the pho place again... but they are closed on sundays. so we decided to venture out and try the wood-fired pizza place between the Korean place and the Indian place. [up Jinsan, hang a right when you hit the temple square.]
we walked in and immediately knew by the smell that this place was legit.
side note: you know how sometimes your clothes or hair will soak up the smell of a restaurant/bar? I remember nights in college coming home and having to wash the second-hand cigarette smoke out of my hair so I could sleep. and I hate when clothes need to be washed after only a few hours of wear to a greasy diner.
well. right now I smell like wood fire smoke, and it's delicious.
anyway. the owner walked out to seat us and hand us menus, and we were pleasantly surprised to find he spoke English. he asked where we were from... how we ended up in Hsinchu... how long we had been here... so we asked his story in return. he just came back last summer to Taiwan after living in Europe for 22 years. mostly in Munich. but he had gone to study with a pizza master in... Ireland.
he convinced us to order the Hawaiian because he uses fresh pineapple, never canned.
our pizza came out and it was as good as he promised. toppings under [not over] the perfectly melted cheese. thin crust, crisp and toasted but not burnt. and then we had a conversation with the owner about how to make good pizza and what temperature the over should be to change the molecular structure of the cheese. [food science, I love it.]
until this point, Husband and I have been ordering Pizza Hut out of desperation when our pizza craving hits. never again. and even though this pizza had gluten, you could tell he was using real and fresh ingredients. and so I have a bit of a stomach ache... but I don't want to curl into a ball and die.
[in case you were wondering, my gluten free pizza attempt was very successful. but we ran out of gf flour and our specialty store is out of stock. silly Taiwan and their lack of inventory management.]
but one thing I love about life here is finding local places like this one to become "regulars" at. like our Indian place where the guy grows and grinds his own spices, and always greets us with a huge smile. and Rick's burgers where Rick himself grills every burger, and when we walk in they already know our order [single no bun with fries and a green salad]. or the pho place where the owner offers us shots and travel advice with our dinner.
I love going to these places because the food is good, yes. but also because they know our names. and we know that when we pay our check at the end of the night our money is going in their pocket, and supporting a worthy cause: someone who loves good food as much as we do.