By hungry emmet
There are certain people that you listen to in life. They seem to have just the right angle on the world and when they suggest something…you listen.
With (number three) daughter Bridget it has been so many things, including pita chips, Whole Foods freshly made peanut butter and Rao’s spaghetti sauce. Thanks to her, I now spend seven dollars on spaghetti sauce. I don’t care. It’s worth it.
When the entire clan gathered for her ritual birthday last week, Bridget got to pick the Portland restaurant because she orders us all around like a straw boss. She is sick of Ricetta’s (my favorite) and moved the festivities to Otto Pizza at the base of Munjoy Hill. I hadn’t even looked at the menu (it’s a pizza joint, after all) when Bridget ordered the mashed potato pizza.
What? I have heard meatballs, sausage, onions, spinach even ham and pineapple (never peppers) on pizza but never …mashed potatoes. I bow to no man in my love of the mighty spud. I love mashed potatoes, French fries, boiled potatoes, baked potatoes, canned potatoes. I even eat the instant Oreida brand in a pinch. Like a very cold February night.
But mashed potatoes on a pizza? Please.
“It also has bacon and scallions,’ Bridget informed me; with a tone indicating I know nothing at all. Now, that was different. I said to the waiter “Make it two.” We decided on one large, rather than two small…mashed potato pizzas. Aran and Griffin, the other members of the Three Graces, ordered more traditional, vegetarian fare. The fabulous Grands, Matthew and Meara, ordered bland cheese pizza. In an amazingly short time, the pizza arrived and I tried my experiment.
First of all, there is just a very thin layer of mashed potatoes offset by the scallions and bacon. The crust is perfecto. The mashed potato pizza is a winner. So is Otto. This is a new age pizza joint a far cry from Domino’s. The menu includes Ricotta and Basil pizza; three cheese tortellini; Margherita, (listen to this) butternut squash, ricotta and cranberry; Kalamata olive, red pepper (eek) garlic and asiago; eggplant, ricotta and basil; spinach, white bean and roasted garlic; and mushroom, ricotta and herb.
On the meat menu, Otto’s offers pulled pork and mango; mushroom, Vidalia and bacon; apple, bacon and red onion; spicy pulled pork, scallions and herb; and white bean, sausage, herb and chili flake (eek). We also have chicken, pears and fontina, whatever that is. If you want, they will make you a pepperoni pizza.
Chicken and pears on a (expletive deleted) pizza? Even I have my limits. But wait. I would have said that about mashed potatoes a few days ago. I reserve judgment.
I was already planning my return visit to Otto Pizza when Jefferson Phil called the very next day after the birthday extravaganza. He had just heard on the news that Otto had been hacked and customer’s credit cards were at risk. The next day. The story of my life. I had just discovered mashed potato pizza and now it would cost me my house. Perhaps it was retribution from the mashed potato gods. I immediately check my L. L. Bean card and found no damage. I then checked the Otto web site which admitted that their data had been breached. They admitted that 900 (900!) credit cards had been exposed to hackers. “We were crushed to learn that we had been the target of such an attack…no target is too small for hackers,” the site reported.
The good news in the announcement was that the 900 (900!) credit cards were hacked between May 1 and Aug. 13, at least a week before we invaded the Portland restaurant. I was safe, it appeared initially. Luckily my credit cards are always perilously close to Max City, so any hacker loss would be minimal. A decent and empathetic hacker might get a look at my finances and maybe pay off the credit card balance with money he stole from everyone else. One can dream.
Now that the hacker dust has settled, I will plan my return visit to Otto and maybe try that meatloaf pizza. Hey! The mashed potatoes worked.
But when I come back, I will pay cash.