Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Off the Map: You Can Take the Girl Out of New York, but You Can't Take the Milwaukee Out of the Girl

Shrimp and Heirloom Tomato Pizzette -- Socca, Chicago, IL

"Where do you think our waitress thinks we're from?"


When it comes to our experience at Socca, we should have quit while we were ahead.
Although, Come to Think of It, We Were Never Quite "Ahead" to Begin With
We are here to sample Art Smith's Best Thing I Ever Ate SNACK ATTACK dish, the shrimp and heirloom tomato pizzette.  More importantly, our sub-consciences have decided that we are here to make complete and utter fools of ourselves, as tends to happen fifteen hours into a day full of travel just as cocktail hour dawns.
Jet Lag's Greatest Cure
We pull up to a high table in the bar area of Socca and watch the outside world make their way to Wrigley Field.  Inside, however, we are seemingly incapable of reading a menu.
At This Point, We're Pretty Much Incapable of Doing Anything At All
Finding no sign of the word "shrimp" on the printed version, we ask the waitress about its whereabouts.  To this, she points to a gigantic board hanging over the bar with their featured pizzettes.  The first one on the list is -- you got it -- the pizzette with shrimp, tamato, basil, and chili flakes.  Time to get our eyes checked.
Inconsistent Menu Matching, Much?
We sip our cocktails and decide for some not-quite-rational reason that we want to ask the waitress where she thinks we are from.  This mission gets sidetracked temporarily by the arrival of the pizzette, which comes on a wooden cutting board.
Alice in Wonderland-Sized Toppings
A small oval pizza sprinkled with cheese, herbs, and some large poached shrimp (which honestly do not look all that appetizing), the pizzette is cut into strips for easy maneuvering.
Well, In Our Case, "Easy" Is Relative
Usually, we love a pizza, primarily because it features all of the things we adore in the world (namely cheese and bread).  But this pizzette is, in a word, bland.  Even Ginger agrees that it is in desperate need of salt, and for Ginger to add salt to anything is nothing short of a miracle.
Vodka Needs to Start Carrying This Shaker In Her Purse At All Times
"Maybe the chef's on a low-sodium diet," she surmises, as Vodka slowly drowns her slices in blizzards of salt.
Hey Sun -- The Pizzette Is Hot Enough, But Thanks for the Effort
Overall, this "pizza" tastes more like an overgrown flatbread than an actual pie.  Besides the addition of salt, it would be improved greatly by a heaping amount of the cheese, which here is virtually nonexistent.
Never Come Between Us and Our Beloved Cheese
Once we make our way through the pizzette, we break the primary rule of the Best Thing I Ever Ate plan: we order dessert.
Bad Move Bears
Such excessive, unnecessary food consumption has gotten us in trouble in the past, especially because we still have not one but two more dishes to consume tonight.  Nevertheless, our cocktail goggles have convinced us that a sweet dish would be a good idea, so we order the peanut butter and jelly-flavored concoction.
"Concoction" Is the Perfect Word, As It Looks Like an Experiment in "Mess"
By the time the dessert arrives, we are practically bipolar.  We are at once soaring from our cocktail consumption, yet beaten down by our activities of the day.  Therefore, when the manager of Socca comes by to fully raise the blinds next to us, and tells our sour faces to "look like we're having a good time," we are instantly hostile.  We don't like to be told what kind of time to have under normal circumstances, but certainly not after a 3am wake-up call and a tasteless pizzette.

For this reason, the moment our waitress (who we have thus far enjoyed) returns, Ginger confronts her with two questions:

1. Who is that awful guy that just reprimanded our moods?
2. Where do you think we're from?

The answer to her first question is "my boss"; the answer to her second question is "Indiana?  Milwaukee?"

Not, as we had predicted, "Crazytown."
Is Our Current Level of Scowling Giving You NO Indication as to Our Origins?!
Now, no one has guessed that we are from the Midwest in, well, ever, and we are fairly dumbfounded.  Apparently less than twenty-four hours in, Chicago has managed to turn us "nice," and because we are heathens at heart, we are horrified.  At this point, we lap up our faulty dessert (which pretty much tastes like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich) and pay our bill (on which we discover that the pizzette costs all of $5 -- clearly, we're doing something wrong in New York).
Though This Monstrosity Should Cost About a Buck, Since We Can Whip Up Our Own PB&J at Home
We then skedaddle out of the place immediately, certain that there is no truer sign that one has overstayed her welcome at Socca than when they tell the girls from Milwaukee to look more pleasant.

Socca's Shrimp and Heirloom Tomato Pizzette: 3 stars


  1. What exactly was the dessert? It looks amazing! I don't blame you for ordering it.

    1. Not sure - it might have been a special because it's not listed on their online menu. It was definitely described as "peanut butter and jelly," which is exactly what it tasted like... for better or for worse....