Wednesday, March 18, 2015

All Pies Go to Heaven

Angelo's "Pie In the Sky"
3838 Roland Ave.
Top of the Retirement Tower

At the end of a long, industrious life as Baltimore's largest slice of pizza with huge biceps, Angelo's was sacrificed in an ancient solstice ritual and reincarnated at the top of the retirement tower on Roland Ave. It's the best view in all of Baltimore. You can gaze down upon the graveyard to the north where rites of spring proceed apace with ribbons and flower garlands to win the blessings of the dead. Far to the south, the harbor god slumbers below a scrum of garbage-fed algae.

"Spring Break Walrus"

This space has seen the cyclical life and death of various culinary endeavors over the years. A cadre of dusty ghosts lurk in the rafters sipping burnt coffee; they cast an enchanted circle where pilgrims from the world below take refuge in the peaceful vale of senior citizenship.

Old age is humanity's most important accomplishment and thus many rituals have evolved to honor elders while also politely removing their autonomy. Modern rituals revolve around prolonging life at any cost. Maybe you can't raise money for mortal illnesses because your humanistic training taught you that the corporate charity-biomedicine-industrial complex is morally bankrupt and exploitative. But you can drape a flower garland over an elderly person. A great place to meet them is in the retirement tower elevator on your way to get pizza at the new Angelo's.

Cheese Pizza

The question here is, "does this pizza differ at all from the old Angelo's?" No. It's still really cheap and pretty mediocre, but now it comes with the sort of view that most of us will never have from the executive office that our slapdash career paths will never furnish us with. It's also BYOB so REMEMBER TO BRING BEER.

We ordered three pies. There was nothing particular about them. "I've always thought that Angelo's was adequate pizza," said Mike. Mark agreed, "It doesn't exceed or disappoint expectations." Adding toppings will help validate the time and effort that goes into chewing and swallowing this pizza. The best idea was selecting garlic as a topping -- this added the element of flavor that was absent from the sauce, a "really huge improvement." The crust is slightly sweet and achieves middle-of-the-road chewiness and crispness.

Peppers and Mushrooms

Some people think that Angelo's is like New York pizza. I can't support that position. It's clearly Baltimore pizza, that is, it was reverse engineered from a picture of New York pizza on a takeout menu smuggled across the Mason-Dixon line. The faded image was soaked in olive oil, left overnight in the woods during a full moon, and braided into the hair of a virgin. To this day, when wolves howl across the Jones Falls at the flickering lights of Angelo's Pie In the Sky, diners recall the sacrifice of our ancient ancestor, symbolically renewed each season with the daubing of tomato sauce on a pizza stone which is then hurled at a scapegoat selected by the CityPaper Best of Baltimore reader's poll.

Garlic and Pepperoni
There are a lot of confusing things about the myth of Angelo's that require greater philological explication. The schism, as I understand it, was the result of a Freudian intergenerational conflict within the Pizza family. Angelo's old space at 36th and Keswick became "36th Ave. Pizza," with predictable disastrous results.

Be warned foolhardy moonlighters, the "Big Slice" that is the signature of Angelo's is not available after 5pm. Do I need to impart the hackneyed Baltimore wisdom pertaining to the Big Slice? Okay: the Big Slice is a gimmick. If you want pizza, get a regular pie, unless you're drunk, which is hard for most working people to achieve before 5pm.


As usual, Pizza Club was both divided in its opinions and completely unanimous. Behold:
Tiffany: "I wouldn't come back here for the pizzas."
Mike: "I'll come back here all the time."
Tiffany: "There are other things I'll come back here for, just not the pizza."
Mike: "Maybe we're the bozos."

Quantitative findings:
Cheese pie -- 4/8
Pepper and mushroom pie -- 4.5/8
Garlic and pepperoni pie -- 6/8
Overall experience weighted for the "view factor" -- 6/8


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