Pizza Pie

I love to ask my grandkids that age-old question: if you were stranded on a desert island and could only eat one thing, what would it be. The answers vary, depending on what they’re binge eating at the moment. I asked Kaiya and Mylee a few years ago. At that time Kaiya said Noodles and Co.’s mac and cheese; now she would say mozzarella cheese sticks. Mylee said sushi, and I’m pretty sure that would be her answer today.

Like Mylee, the answer to that question now would be the same for Bill as it was 70+ years ago: pizza. In fact, Saturday night, my sister Jen and I were teasing him about his bachelor days when the would eat pizza for breakfast, lunch, and dinner on the same day. Not breakfast, he clarified.

When we were in Italy, we loved loved loved the pizza. For the most part, Italian pizza — whether it’s from Rome or Naples (and I would never get in the middle of THAT battle) — is baked in a wood burning oven. As such, the crust is always bubbly and charred — simply delicious. The ingredients are simple. No shredded mozzarella or heavy red sauce on real Italian pizza.

Back in 2001, when Jen and her daughter Maggie went to Italy with Bill and me, we all enjoyed our share of pizzas. They too liked the charred crust. So when Jen discovered a pizza place in Longmont called Protos, the three of us tried it out. Voila! Nearly as good as pizza in Rome without St. Peter’s in the background. So, each year about this time, Bill and I meet Jen at Proto’s Pizza in Longmont.

It was beginning to look like we wouldn’t make it this year, until I had an inspired thought. I invited Jen to Denver for the weekend so she could attend the memorial Mass I had arranged to be said for my friend Megan who recently passed away.

“Come to our house on Saturday, and we can take light rail downtown and eat at the Proto’s Pizza in Lodo!, I said. It was an easy sell, and that’s how we spent our Saturday night.

Generally when I disembark the light rail train at Union Station, I head east to the myriad of bars and restaurants near the baseball park. This time we headed west, where we hoofed across the railroad tracks via Millennial Bridge, and made our way to the Proto’s that is down past the Platte River…..

The pizza was as good as we remembered…..

And while the Longmont Proto’s is just fine, it can’t boast a neighbor with the offerings of Saturday night’s restaurant…..

Yep, a restaurant that sells whiskey by the drink and doughnuts. What else does a guy need in life? Oh yeah. Pizza.

It’s true the hike wore us out. Lots of stairs. At one point, after we had climbed something in the neighborhood of 2,000 steps and stopped to take a rest, I noticed an elevator. “We can take that elevator down,” I said. We all happily climbed into the elevator and pushed the button to go down. When the doors opened, our mouths dropped open as well. We had simply taken the elevator that took us down to where we had been before we climbed the 2,000 steps. Luckily the elevator went up as well as down.

I’ve said it before and I hope I say it again. We lead very quiet lives. So it is always fun when we break out of our mold and head someplace like downtown Denver…..

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