So of course I have all these grand ideas of how I was going to backlog some of my thoughts, blah, blah, blah. I’m in love with the idea of making experiences right the first time. However, the one thing I know about that, is that the more you plan for the perfect plan the more you procrastinate the crux of the experience or the point of the story. So without further ado, I present to you why life is so great. This week I visited my sister and brother-in-law for the Christmas. They live in the Manyaunk/Roxborough neighborhood of Philadelphia. As I drove up Umbria Street, I saw a line of people that wound around the corner, coming out of a little hole in the wall Mom & Pop shop bakery. Marchiano’s Bakery. http://www.marchianosbakery.com I love new experiences so a little later I walked in to the shop and told the cashier I was visiting from out of town, saw the line and wanted to know what the big deal was. She laughed a bit and said. Oh well, it must be this. Tomato Pie. Here’s the description from their menu; “Our WORLD FAMOUS tomato pie is a sheet of hand-rolled dough covered with crushed tomatoes, olive oil and a mixture of italian spices. It is baked until the crust is golden and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.” Now that might sound a little like a pizza, but believe me there’s nothing more satisfying. First of all the tomatoes sauce is FRESH. This makes for an amazingly sweet and light taste, but the bread/crust is hearty so it’s filling. As we ate we kept saying how perfect it was. Pizza gets too heavy with the meat and cheese and spices. This mixture of bread, tomatoes, oil and light spices is in short, perfection. And $7 for a half pie there’s no better, inexpensive meal. I love Tomato pie.
Next, we tried the Oreganta, one of their specialty breads. Menu description: “This exceptionally thin hand-rolled dough is filled with just the right touch of Italian spices and oils. This circular masterpiece can be enjoyed sweet, mild, or hot or filled with pepperoni, broccoli, or spinach.”
We tried the mild, which honestly was pretty spicy, but absolutely amazing! When you cut into it the cross section looks like a cinnabun sideways. But the insides are filled with again a light but hearty blend of fresh ingredients and spices, that make your mouth zing. It’s hard not to eat the whole thing in one sitting. The dipping sauce is fresh crushed tomatoes, which highlights the flavor, just enough to keep your mouth moist so you can enjoy more at one time. Truly amazing.
Later on in the week when we went back for another Tomato Pie, we tried one of their other Specialty Breads. Despite having sausage and peppers inside, it was a light and satisfying experience, but my favorites remaining, Tomato Pie and Oreganata.
So here’s my point to the story! Life is great! Sometimes the stars align and all is well with the world because you’ve discovered something new, or you’ve been able to connect with people in ways that you hadn’t thought about. The European neighborhoods of Philly at first seem a little run down, but if you spend just a few minutes, you can a feel sense of character. That run down look becomes charming and quaint. When you step inside you find the warmth and charm of peoples lives. Marchiano’s Bakery is nothing less than stereotypical Italian family bakery, but what charm. The WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) ways of Philadelphians or East Coast Urbanites for that matter, may be a little abrasive, but for as over-the-top it is there’s something great about knowing theres’ sheer honesty and sincerity standing in front of you.
My Christmas visit with Mike, Amy, Libby and little Ben, turned out to be nothing less than perfect. There’s still a lot of problems of in life, but gratitude is the best of things. It allows you to let go of the stress, instantly or momentarily to see new things and see old things with new eyes. I love Tomato Pie, Oreganata and charming urban landscapes. I love my family. Happy New Year in 2008! I hope you make it to Marchiano’s Bakery this year!
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