Prepare yourself. The drama you are about to read is one of passion, and one of heartbreak. It is a tale of love, of betrayal, and loss. It is a story about pizza delivery.
Long ago, lost in the liberal ideals of my youth, I boycotted Domino's. I had heard that the owner of the pizza-delivery chain had donated one million dollars to a pro-life organization. The peer pressure was tough (I was in college at the time, and Domino's delivered the fastest, cheapest, and latest), but I stayed the course supporting the principle of "women by nature, mothers by choice." Late-night pepperoni was a small delicacy to give up for my political Lent.
Years later, having firmly lodged myself in South Beach, I've realized the error of my ways, and I've reverted. I'm still pro-choice. But feminist politics be damned: I'm no longer anti-Domino's. Why? Simple. My body is my own, but I still need to feed it. And I just can't get a decent pizza delivered around here.
No longer is it a question of who does it the fastest, cheapest, or latest. Rather it's become a matter of who can do it right. Pucci's, for instance, regularly gives me double cheese when I ask for extra sauce. And then there are those who can't do it within a reasonable amount of time, or even at all.
By reasonable I mean I'm willing to grant a place 45 minutes on a weeknight, an hour on a weekend, before I call to complain. And that's stretching things. A good New York-style pizza takes about twenty minutes to bake (pan-style and deep-dish take a bit longer). So I'm granting a good half-hour or so for the person who answers the phone to translate my order into pizza-speak, for the pizza parlor to handle other deliveries, or for the driver to get lost, a regular occurrence (or a regular excuse). But because no one who lives on South Beach, which is one square mile, resides more than five minutes away from any given pizza joint, I'm just not about to let my stomach growl indefinitely.
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Not that it does much good to call and ask where the heck the pizza is. "On its way," is the standard answer Gino's gives. I'm not even sure they check. The guy who rang our doorbell 75 minutes after we'd ordered handed us the wrong pie: plain cheese when we'd requested meatball and mushroom. We shrugged and ate it anyway. Sort of like humor, hunger has no boundaries. Fifteen minutes later the delivery guy was back at our door in a panic. With the right pizza. We hadn't eaten the other one yet, had we? No, we'd just looked at it, maybe smelled it a time or two. Tummy torture. We're into that.
But at least Gino's admitted it had made a mistake. The employee at Pizza Rustica would not give us a reason why our pizza still hadn't shown up after 90 minutes. He only told us something had gone awry when I badgered him on our third phone call. "It's lost, I don't know. But we're making you a new pizza. On the house." Hey, thanks. Two and a half hours later, when it finally was delivered, we found out that the first pizza had blown off the back of the guy's moped when he was on the Venetian Causeway, and sailed into Biscayne Bay. Accidents happen, right? Yeah, but tips don't.
Maybe it's just pizza, my husband suggested. Let's try something else. So we ordered enchiladas from Señor Frog's via Culinary Couriers, one of those companies that for a small service fee picks up the food from the restaurant and delivers it to your residence. Only in our case, the dude who went to the Frog paid for the stuff but forgot to leave with our order. Even worse, he didn't figure out his goof until he got to our door, opened the bag he was holding, and found it empty. He looked at my husband. "Um, I'll be right back." He never showed. The company had to send someone else back to the restaurant to retrieve the food, which incidentally was ice-cold and soggy because it had been sitting on the counter for almost two hours. Culinary Courier's response to our complaint? "Well, we provided the service, so you still need to pay the service fee."
Oh, I know what you're thinking. Why don't I just cook, dammit? Well, I will. I plan to. Just as soon as Publix starts delivering groceries. Meanwhile there's always forgoing the personally imposed embargo and ordering Domino's, which I did for the first time in more than a decade the other night. The pizza showed up in 25 minutes, still hot, oozing the right configuration of toppings: fast, cheap, and early.