While I was living in Japan, I ate my fill of Japanese foods: ramen, soba, udon, katsu, yakitori, curry, tempura, sushi, takoyaki, okonomiyaki, anything remotely Japanese, I was all over it. But sometimes, out of nowhere, a pizza craving would hit and the call for that piping hot crispy combination of savory tomato sauce and gooey cheese could not be ignored. I tried to sate the beast with these little pizza kits that I found at our neighborhood supermarket. They had dough, sauce and some shredded cheese packaged neat and tidy into individualized compartments, and then in a larger more elaborate package. I had high hopes, really, I did, but after baking up and inhaling the little guys, I had to admit to myself, they just didn’t hit the spot. I wanted a bubbly charred crisp crust, I wanted simple perfection, I wanted a Neapolitan style pizza.
Luckily, there’s actually a place in Tokyo that’s famous for Neapolitan style pizza. Located on the main drag of Nakameguro – Tokyo’s answer to Brooklyn – is Da Isa, an unassuming little pizza joint that happens to have a Naples award-winning pizza chef. There are constantly lines out the door so of course Mike and I decided to give it a go.
We went for lunch. Our lunch decision was two-fold: avoiding the long dinner lines and the massively discounted lunch pizzas. The menu was in Japanese (of course) and Italian. I can barely read Japanese, and since the Japanese menu was basically the Italian menu translated phonetically into Japanese, we looked at the Italian menu. Mike decided on a classic margherita and I went with the margherita alla cocca, which sounded good, but mysterious.
Imagine my delight when my pizza came out, steaming hot from a short stint in a wood burning oven, the tomatoes glistening with a slick of extra virgin olive oil, the crust charred and bubbly, and in the middle, a lovely mess of glowing orange-yellow yolk surrounded by fluffy clouds of whites. It was an egg on a pizza, of course! Eggs on pizza are not novel to me and usually when I see one on the menu, it’s what I gravitate towards. I just love how the raw yolk mixes in with the sauce and cheese.
Speaking of raw yolks, everything that could go wrong with the pizza I made did: the eggs were over cooked, the bottom crust was soggy, my photos didn’t turn out the way I wanted them to. Overall, it turned out to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. I asked Mike for a hug and he gave me one, of course, but also asked me why I cared so much. The correct answer should have been, I don’t. But, lately I’ve been spiraling in a hole of self-doubt. I feel like my photos aren’t good enough, my recipes are uninspired, my writing lacking. Sometimes I get into these moods and it takes me forever to get myself out.