Knead To Know
Bada Bing's got a lot going for it, but thoroughly cooked pizza crust ain't one of 'em.
Thursday, March 1, 2001
So, my editor calls me and says, "So wadda you say for the next thing, you do Bada Bing?" I say, "Wadda you mean, badabing?" He says, Bada Bing in Carmel. They opened a pizza store (he really called it a #*^* store, the mook) named "Bada Bing Pizzeria." I say, "You gotta be #*+$#%& kiddin'' me--Bada Bing, that''s #&*$#% beautiful. So where is this joint?" He says, "In the Barnyard, right behind Monster Video. Check it out."
So I checked it out.
I''m thinking, these guys gotta have some pair of goolyones on ''em to name a joint Bada #&*#$* Bing. This I gotta see. So I grab Chickie Boom and we head down One to Carmel Valley Road, hook a left, then a quick right into the back end of the Barnyard. We hang the right into the parking lot, heading toward Monster and Bagel whatever (don''t get me started). Quick left, quick right, badabing, Bada Bing.
Looks good from the outside. Big windows, colors from the walls showing through. We walk in the door, maddon, what a #%&%## mural! Some Michaelangelo goes and paints the whole #%*&*# back wall to look like street scenes with an ocean view and sky and everything. It''s awesome. The chairs are nice. Real heavy wood. You could smack a guy in the head with one of those beauties and--Boom!--you''d be back eatin'' before he drops. They got a lotta tables, too. All checkerboards. I thought I was in a #%&*&*# checker tournament or something. But it''s nice.
They got a little half a private room off to the side, which you can reserve for like a meetin'' or something (you know what I mean). In there, they got a TV, which is always nice, a VCR with a whole buncha tapes of those mob movies and that Sopranos bull. Best of all, you get your own beer tap in there.
It all comes with the deal. With enough notice, the chef, who talks about all the places in the world he''s cooked--what, he was on the run or what?--and will make you anything you want. They got a nice lace tablecloth in there, too, maybe you might wanna bring the wife or your mother or something.
The kitchen is right in the middle of the whole joint, with a few stools for those rejects who don''t have any friends to bring with ''em. Then there''s a bunch of tall tables and chairs under a trellised canopy for the little guys who wanna feel like bigshots.
Dough Rage Me
The way it works is, you go up to the counter to order. They got three different sizes (you figure it out) with four basic pizzas--cheese, pepperoni, sausage, mushroom--plus a bunch of other ones with names. Or you can make up your own. Each one of the basic ones also comes by the slice. They got salads and sandwiches and some other stuff. But, hey, it''s a pizza joint.
Two nights in a row about a month after they opened, we had pizzas here, with the second night including another coupla stoonads from the neighborhood. All together, we ate three pizzas. Everything was nice, all the ingredients fresh and tasty, but the #%**# dough--which is the whole deal--was raw. Even though we told ''em on the second night, "Cook the ##*%*# dough," it only got cooked on the bottom. So I figure, alright, they''re a new joint, give ''em a little time.
Alright, now it''s like two months later, so Sweet Thing (cute name, eh?), Boom Boom, Carmine from Reno and I go in for lunch. We start with a coupla salads (the Tuscan, which had nice beans and things along with the lettuce, and a Caesar). Badabing, good stuff. Better than you would expect for a pizza joint. We''re havin'' a little vino, everybody loves the joint. Meanwhile, I''m thinkin'' about the dough. Now keep in mind (or whatever you got upstairs there), we insisted when we ordered, "Cook the #&*%*# dough."
The pizza came. We did a large--half with one of the cutesy names from the menu and half with another. The toppings were #&*#*# beautiful. Everything was fresh, tasty, the whole nine yards. But again, the dough, right under the layer of toppings, was as raw as my #%&*%# language.
Come on! All the other stuff is nice, but you gotta be able to make a #&!(%# pizza.
Carmine says, "What is this, pizza al dente?"
And Boom Boom comes back with, "Not up to snuff." (She''s a little more sophisticated.)
We sat there tryin'' to figure out what the #*%&*# these people were doin'' with these pizzas and we realized two things, maybe three. First of all, you gotta work that dough a lot and spread it and work it like your life depends on it to get it to where it cooks through. Second of all, maybe their recipe for the dough is wrong or something. And we think maybe the ovens are set too low.
Maybe it''s me, but the raw, doughy, no crust #%&**^% circles that pass for pizza in most joints is a #%^&%$# disgrace. I wish I could take all the pizza parlor guys around here on a plane to New York and let them work in the kitchen with some of those hard-assed pizza paisans and learn how to make real pizzas that come out bubbling hot, with that perfectly cooked-through crust that just crunches a little bit when you bite it. And you get the blister on the roof of your mouth from how hot the pizza stays. These #$&**#! pizzas they''re serving are cold in three minutes.
The ingredients are good. The people are nice. They go to all this trouble to make the joint look nice. They get all the cute names for the pizzas and all that other superfluous (I use big words when I get mad) bull. Don''t get me wrong, they ain''t off by much but, hey, work the dough already.
Bada Bing is located at 561 Carmel Rancho in Carmel (624-1007) and is open Monday-Thursday from 11am-8pm, ''til 9pm Friday-Saturday, and from 1-8pm on Sunday.