Location: Longview, Washington
A few years ago, we met with some good friends from the Pacific Northwest who also happen to be pizzaniks. They understood as well as anyone I know that the entire success of a two-week family vacation could rest on the proper blend of crust, cheese, spices and toppings. We agreed to meet for dinner, but not before I inquired about the local pizza scene, hopefully in a manner that didn't sound overly aggressive. So when I received an email containing a short list of options along with reviews from TripAdvisor*, I discovered that shopping for pizza online has certain drawbacks. It's difficult to really know what you're getting, but like any vacation, that's actually half the fun.
* Whenever I read online reviews, the voice I hear narrating it in my head is always that of a woman of below-average intelligence from the deep South, and I unfairly assume that she drives a Ford Expedition, is slightly overweight, and has at least three kids. It probably reveals some kind of character flaw in me, but there it is.
Armed with this data, I created a few simple flow charts and Venn diagrams that all seemed to intersect at Vernie's. The scientific method of pizza selection was partly based on photographic evidence and reviews, and partly on tepid approval from our friends, as in "Yeah, I suppose we could go there if you really want to." In the future, I might be placing even greater weight on local knowledge, as the pizza was middling. Which was OK, because it helped underscore a couple of truths that I like to return to every so often:
1. My favorite food is good pizza. My second favorite food is bad pizza.
2. Bad pizza with good company is better than good pizza with bad company.
And this was not bad pizza; just...middling. We hadn't seen these friends in a couple years prior to that night, and we all had a wonderful time and the restaurant itself had a nice small-town feel to it. In fact, these same friends will reappear later in this blog, as we've enjoyed many pies with them, and have been blogging for many years about their own adventures in pizza. And Vernie's was a very gracious host. (6 of 10 stars)