The Unvegan

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Hustling Bricks

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I prefer my bricks customized. Also my mortar.

Given that you are taking the time to read this food post on this meat blog, I’m going to assume that you enjoy eating delicious meals with great company. We all have friends and family members with whom it is an absolute pleasure to share great meals and last night I had the special opportunity to do just that.

My friend Raffi and I bond greatly over very important things like food and football. Last night, he, his co-worker, and I went to a pizza restaurant in Chicago called Bricks. Bricks is located on a stretch on Lincoln Ave. with few other businesses and, as opposed to having a window-front, simply has an arched red awning over a staircase that leads down to the restaurant. Raffi and I are firm believers that you can judge a restaurant by its cover and even though the outside of Bricks is inconspicuous, it calls out at you and makes you think and/or say, “DAMN, this place is going to be GREAT!”

Inside, Bricks is a dimly lit catacomb with two rooms: the front, smaller room boasts a bar with a few tables while the back room is about 2-3 times the size and a bit more open. There is a general, but not overwhelming New Orleans theme to the restaurant and bar with paintings on the walls and light jazz music playing in the background. Its ambiance makes it a great place for a 3rd+ date or night out with a significant other but is probably too intimate for a 1st or 2nd.

The menu features a series of specialty pizzas as well as an option to build your own. With none of the specialties fulfilling my unvegan palate, I opted to go with a 10″ pepperoni and fennel sausage pizza. My two friends ordered un-unvegan specialty pizzas (they had meat but also gross, pizza-ruining vegetables) and took advantage of the half-off bottle of wine Tuesday special, splitting a bottle. I went with water instead of my usual Diet Coke (because I know you care deeply, I didn’t want to risk not being able to fall asleep, which had happened to me the night before from drinking a glass of Diet Coke too close to bedtime).

My friends’ pizzas arrived before mine. I let them stare longingly at their plates for about 1.5 seconds before demanding that they start before mine came because the only punishment more cruel and unusual than waiting for pizza to arrive after you order is having it right in front of you, but being paralyzed in waiting for that of your friend’s. From there, my pizza took what was probably five minutes (clearly they cared much more about delivering quality unvegan pizza instead of some quick veggies), but felt like hours to come as I stared despondently at their plates wishing I was eating pizza instead of waiting for it.

When my pizza finally did arrive, it took all my willpower to snap a picture of it for this post before digging in voraciously. I fulfilled my responsibility, though, and then tore into the pizza like I was Joey Chestnut. I usually eat my food pretty fast but am in a whole other stratosphere when it comes to pizza. When pizza is good (and pizza is always at least good but can come in varying degrees of good through transcendent), I don’t even mind burning the roof of my mouth. For the next two days, the blistery sensation that comes from this is less painful than it is a pleasant reminder of how great my pizza was.

Although my friends had a head start, I had fully caught up with them by the end of the second slice and lapped them as I finished my third. The pizza was very, very good. The ingredients were fresh and of high quality, its thin crust was of perfect texture, and it was cooked well-done which is a style that I prefer because of increased crunchiness. The sausage and pepperoni were especially succulent and I approved of the sauce : cheese : crust : toppings ratio which I won’t describe in numbers but will say that I know perfection in this realm when I eat it.

After I had finished four of the six slices, I had a decision to make. I absolutely love leftover pizza for breakfast and I was generally content. I was not, however, so full that I could not finish. Eating one slice and saving one would not be an option because one slice for breakfast would leave me unsatisfied and wanting more. I opted to channel my inner Louis CK (“The meal doesn’t stop when I’m full, the meal stops when I hate myself!”), I powered through the final two slices, leaving an empty plate that signaled domination for all (the waitress and my two friends) to see.

My friends ultimately finished their pizzas and I helped them out a little bit with the bottle of wine at the end. I do not have a fully developed opinion of whether Bricks is the best thin crust pizza in Chicago or is second best to Piece in Wicker Park, but the two are in a very close competition for the title. I imagine that at some point I will know for sure which is better (because my opinion is of course fact when it comes to pizza). We all left Bricks very satisfied with our mild food comas and will assuredly return one day.

-Another post from @RGSpiegel, often found wandering the vast expanse of his own blog.