giant pile of tomato paste mush

December 8th, 2007

So what’s the big deal?

Well, before I get started: Here’s one of the cool things about blogging. I wonder about the origins of 爸 and 妈, Haidong Ji offers some musings and a possible explanation, and then Zhao Xiangpeng provides a link to a Baidu Zhidao post on the subject.

Anyway: So what’s the big deal?

Last night was a going away party for a couple of friends. He’s a former colleague, she’s lzh’s former boss. It was decided we’d go to the Kro’s Nest, next to Vics inside Gongti Beimen, for “the best pizza in Beijing”. Biggest pizza in Beijing, almost certainly, but best is a pretty big claim.

So here’s how it happened: Hoegaardens were ordered. They arrived in 50 cl- that’s right, 500 ml, half litre, pint more or less- glasses. For 35 yuan, the same price as at the Tree if I remember rightly, but twice the size. Kro’s Nest 1, Tree 0. The rest of the crew arrived, pizzas were ordered. Three large ones, it seemed to my inexperienced eyes, but apparently the one that was put on the extra table because the other two were so large they took up the entire large table we were seated around was a medium. I think maybe the pizzas were made by American sizing. So let’s make this as clear as possible: Collossal huge pizzas carved into gigantic slices. Kro’s Nest 2, Tree 0. I got a “slice” (it reminded me of the brontosaurus ribs from the Flintstones, it was so huge) of the Mighty Meat pizza, allegedly drowned in bits of dead animal. Drowned in tomato paste with less recognisable dead animal than I was expecting. Hmmmm….. That was followed with a slice of the Kro’s Nest Special or whatever it was called. It tasted very suspiciously the same as the Mighty Meat- lots of tomato paste, very little else in the way of recognisable flavours. Uh oh. Kro’s Nest 2, Tree 10. Why? The Tree’s pizza has flavour- recognisable, discernible flavour. It’s not just that you can pick out the various ingredients of each pizza, you can order two or three different pizzas and each one will be noticeably different and unique. So, no, sorry, but the Kro’s Nest’s huge advantage of Hoegaarden served in pint glasses isn’t enough. I’ll be sticking with the Tree.

Well, then we adjourned to the Rickshaw. I liked the music- a lot of rock music I remember from my youth. It was fun to listen to it. But when lzh and I left I just couldn’t figure out why I ever enjoyed hanging out in smoke-filled, hot, noisy, overcrowded bars. Unless there’s a good live band playing, what’s the point? Ah well, the fact is that when I met lzh I was already getting very profoundly bored with Beijing’s bar scene, anyway.

Still, it was a good time last night. Not good enough to convince me to become a regular of the Kro’s Nest or the Rickshaw, but still, I enjoyed it, and that was the whole point of the exercise. Giant pizza, even if it didn’t live up to it’s claims of being the best in Beijing, and huge Hoegaardens, throw in some decent company, can’t go wrong.

But still, in five days time, yet another friend will be leaving China for good. Sure, we will, as always, get to scavenge through the detritus of their China life and salvage what we can make use of, but still… Sometimes it seems the most commonly uttered phrase in China expat English is “Goodbye, and best of luck in your new life”.

4 Responses to “giant pile of tomato paste mush”

  1. The Humanaught Says:

    That last paragraph sums up probably the worst part of living in this country (and you know I look for them all haha).

    Heading home in a week and I realize how “friends” has come to mean something entirely different to me then it did 5 years ago.

    I still have close ones, but there just seems to be a barrier between us, like we know it might not last.

  2. wangbo Says:

    I’m not sure I can say I have friends at “home” anymore. Last time I was in NZ, though, I definitely felt that barrier between me and the people I had known.

    As for friends here, well, you know just as well as I do how transient we all are.

  3. boyce Says:

    Try the Greek Mama pizza at Kro’s Nest – that one *doesn’t* taste like all the others (the same goes for the one with smoked salmon, but that one’s a bit nasty).

    By the way, if you like The Tree, check out Nearby the Tree, which focuses on pasta rather than pizza. The pasta is good as is the chilled out atmosphere in the restaurants (the bar, styled on the lines of The Tree, is downstairs).

    Cheers, Boyce

  4. wangbo Says:

    Downstairs from where? Under the Tree? I’d actually be quite keen to check this place out, but I’m not as familiar with the Sanlitun area as I used to be, so directions would be useful.

    But should I find myself back in the Kro’s Nest, I’ll definitely look out for the Greek Mama. I remember seeing a pizza claiming to have all the white cheeses, too, and I assume that one would also be different from the others.

    Thanks for the tips, Boyce.