Road Trip! Part 2 of 2

Part 2 of the series “Road Trip!”

The rest of the drive to our destination outside of Detroit was pretty uneventful.  Trees, farm fields, trees, farm fields – repeat.  Somewhere in there must have been a “stop and smell the roses” kind of destination, but we have made the trip so many times, we no longer stop – or smell.

To our kids, anytime we stay at a hotel, it automatically means pool time.  We actually schedule it into our trip so the kids have plenty of time in the water.  I really think they believe a hotel is just a pool that has the convenience of a bed for those times when you’re not swimming.  This particular hotel listed a heated pool which adds to my willingness to get into the pool since I can’t stand cold pool water.  1st world problems – I know.

We arrived at the hotel – very nice staff (Comfort Suites – Auburn Hills, MI).  The front desk person told us we need to wear wristbands in the pool so the pool staff knows we are guests of the hotel and not random locals who sneak in to use the pool.  Okay…

We do a quick glance through the pool doors and see the pool water is calm – no other guests – nice.  We run out to grab some dinner – much to the aggravation of the kids who want to just jump into the pool.  But, I’m hungry and I just drove most of the way so I want some still time before I jump in the water.

When we go to the Detroit area, we seek their local style of pizza.  Its made in a square deep pan with a thick crust and the cheese goes all the way to the edges of the pan so the cheese carmelizes as the pizza is baking.   It seems places are split as to whether they put the sauce on top of the cheese or under the cheese.   There are a couple of really good examples of this style of pizza.  Buddy’s Pizza, Niki’s Pizza, and Shield’s Pizza are all great places to enjoy a belly full of dough, cheese & toppings.  Tonight, we chose Buddy’s Pizza.

Now, when I was in college, I visited the original Buddy’s on Conant in Detroit.  This place has been here since the 40’s and when I was there through the 80’s and early 90’s, there were still little old Italian-looking ladies working in the kitchen with their long grey hair pulled back into ponytails  I fell in love with their pizza back then.  I really didn’t want to be disappointed so I went in with reduced expectations.  Not for any reason other than my memories of food are usually quite vivid and probably not an accurate representation of my experience at the time.

The sign of square pizza.

So, walking in the door, I sat down with a hopeful tummy and a wary mindset that this pizza will likely miss the mark relative to my memory.  The first thing I noticed was the smell in the dining room.  Warm, garlicky, pizza smell.  Not overpowering garlic like garlic knots.  More like a slow-simmered pasta sauce.  I’m getting excited but trying to contain my expectations.  Our food comes and I view the square, cheesy temptress in front of me.  It looks the same as I remember.  Diving into my first piece, my first bite.  It’s still the same.  Cheesy, gooey, crunchy, salty, sweet – all in one bite.  The tomato sauce still tastes like tomatoes – slightly sweet.  The crust is still tall, crunchy on the outside from a generous application of fat prior to baking.  It’s still chewy on the inside.  The cheese still carmelizes on the outside edge creating a salty, crunchy texture.  I’m thrilled my hopes for this meal hadn’t been dashed by the passing of time and the application of mass production and the loss of little old Italian ladies in the kitchen.  I dig into 2 more pieces then I’m done.  I can’t stuff any more into me.  My mouth is asking for more, but my stomach is calling it quits.  I still have to swim in the pool in a little while.  Best to listen to my stomach.

Back at the hotel, I don my swimsuit and head to the pool with my brood of girls.  I let them go in first so I can gauge their reaction at the water temperature.  They don’t flinch too much.  They claim the water is pleasant.  Lauryn & Emma jump right in.  Leah hangs out on the sidelines.  She doesn’t like to swim much anyway.  So I gingerly walk to the stairs into the pool and confidently step 2 steps down into the water.  

Heated pool my ass!  It was cold.


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