Catchup Week 2008: Mozza With Mair

I first caught up with Mair at the inimitable Pizzeria Mozza, Highland at Melrose. Part one in a series.

“Mair. How the hell have you been, I haven’t seen you since the sake tasting. Good summer?”

“I want to hear about your travels!”

“Hang on, drink orders first. We’ll get into it.”

“I just had a wisdom tooth taken out, I’m off the sauce.”

“Ho, your loss. When was it taken? That’s no fun, I had that done when I was 18.”

“They had me waiting so long in the lobby, by the time I got in, they only had enough time to take one of the teeth out so I have to go back! Funny thing is, I woke up crying and thought I was getting kicked out of the office for crying.”

“They can’t kick you out for crying. But that part with the rescheduling is total bullshit, man.”

“I know. Sucks! Anyway, getting the next one out in a few days.”

Drinks are ordered. Waitrons are grossed out by our joint wisdom tooth horror stories. Conversation resumes. We fast-forward.

“…basically just fishing and hiking from southern Colorado up to Canada and back. My beard was out of control. Seriously out of control. You can ask Victor, he saw that shit at Radiohead both nights. And then I trimmed it down to just a big, juicy mustache, and curled the tips. I looked like the Pringles mascot.

“Aw man. Why didn’t you keep it?”

“That shit got in the way. People can talk all they want about soul patches being flavor savers, but that’s bullshit man. They have no idea what they’re talking about. Mustaches, on the other hand, grow right into your fucking mouth. Food remnants galore. I had a krispy kreme one day, tasted it an hour later, nearly vomited, went home immediately shaved the fucker right the hell off. That’s probably one of our pizzas, right there. That’s the speck. What do you think of the cauliflower?

(Does this guy ever shut up?)

“…But all in all, yeah, that last adventure was a completely different type of trip than the first one. But it was great. Just great. Pretty sure I’m going to need to start looking for a job, though. After October. Maybe nonprofit?”

“You should probably look for January then.”

“Here I am dropping a bundle on dinner again. Last time I was unemployed I did the same thing, daily. Do you remember our first meal? Ma Dang Gook Soo. I can’t believe that was three years ago, man. I was on that Jonathan Gold Koreatown kick, couldn’t get enough of it, no job but what the hell let’s drop $40 for lunch three times a week, solo…foolhard!..”

“Was it that long ago!?”

“It was three years ago . . . .”

The screen does that wavy thing. We are treated to a flashback of sorts….


From the surface, this intern concept looked to be one big wash. I need performers. Focus. Commitment. Intern was running unchecked all over hill and dale with three-sentence Zagat reviews and buzzwords. One voice, three sentences, forty directions in ASCII. Undaunted, I’d scheduled a face-to-face summit in Koreatown and flaked at the last minute. Weeks went by. Seasons changed. Ultimately our schedules collided. A window opened. Dinner was planned. Over a bowl of watery kimchi I faced the intern with stern eyes.

I then found myself in rare form, dictating to Mair the Intern while she took notes over noodles, rambling on to her about her commitment level and how we’d change the title of her column to “Mair’s Best”, and how we’d start with the best ketchup in Los Angeles, and how she’d have to visit somewhere between 50 and 150 restaurants over a span of years, noting Heinz vs. Hunts, mfgr’s squeeze bottle vs. mfgr’s glass bottle vs. diner squeeze bottle vs. individual packets self-serve vs. individual packets allotted by venue staff vs. spigot-and-tub with tiny paper cup, whose is watery, whose is thick, who has the best consistency, who refrigerates, who recycles and consolidates bottles (yech!), whose is tangiest, whose has a hint of smoky barbeque, who uses off-brands, who offers tapatillo, etc etc ad infinitum ad nauseum. I should never be allowed a real-life intern, ever. Take note. My version of the night’s meal follows…


The screen does that wavy thing again, indicating the flashback has completed its task.

“Ma DAMN Gook Soo. Damn good place, that. Been back a couple times. I should go again. You know, you had a real fan base when you were getting into the mac and cheese reviews.”

“I know! Hah. I kind of miss it. But I really didn’t need to look for any more mac and cheese once I found the recipe for Violet.”

“What is it about Mozza makes it so damn good? I think it’s the crust.”

“Definitely the crust. It’s got that sourdough flavor.”

“Agreed. Let’s get the hell out of here go meet your sister and have a gelato.”

SELECT ENTRIES FROM THE MAC AND CHEESE MAIR CANON
Note: Due to multiple traffic-related server explosions, some of these have yet to be “jacked-up special character” swept by Mailbot6000 and, as such, may contain what appears to be gibberish within the text. Blah blah blah, you have been duly advised and my ass is covered…

» Culinary Musings: The Apple Pan (Mair’s first piece for Losanjealous; Nov 2005)
» Culinary Musings: Cafe 50s
» Culinary Musings: Sweet Lady Jane
» Ryan Convinces His Intern An Incomplete Would Look Bad on the Record
» I’ll Miss You, Mary
» In Which Ryan Takes Pause to Partake of Mac and Cheese with Mac and Cheese Mair
» Mac and Cheese CaseFile #24877-B: Four-Cheese Log, Part One
» Mac & Cheese Casefile #7229: Pete’s Cafe