small pizza with oysters and lemon, side of pink floyd, hold the xmas tunes
Today we will praise pizza, and the very best of pizzas. Sing, O Muse, of pizza! Pizza created by the Mellow Mushroom in many great cities across these wide United States--including that of Metairie, Louisiana--and in as many varied ways! Pizza with four cheeses! Pizza with charbroiled oysters and lemon juice and parmesan cheese! Pizza preceded by great portabella caps stuffed to their gills with roasted artichoke hearts, covered with a thick crust of cheese, and resting upon field greens dressed with balsamic vinaigrette! Ah, pizza. Let us sing.
Boulder used to have a Mellow Mushroom, back when we first moved into town. It was in the retail plaza set back from the southwest corner of 18th and Pearl. It was there until I think 2001 when Gondolier moved in. (Said retail plaza is no more--the corner's under construction and everything in it except Frasca has been torn down. Gondolier is now in the Meadows plaza at Baseline and Foothills.). But I remember walking into the dimly lit, lofty space and seeing a gigantic scary buffalo head leering down from the corner above the kitchen. Not a real buffalo head, not a hunting trophy--just a huge plushy with goggly stoner eyes and probably a bunch of University of Colorado sports memorabilia caught up in its shaggy mane.
Surely someone once upon a time took a picture and uploaded it to the internet? My Google-Fu is failing me. The only record I can seem to find of that location's existence is on this page.
The Metairie location is upstairs in the Forum building at Vet's and Causeway. It's decorated with fleur-de-lis everywhere. Even the restaurant's name sign, which you'd think would be the same at every location in order to satisfy branding requirements, incorporates a fleur-de-lis which itself incorporates a mushroom. (I didn't think to take a picture at the time, and I think most of John's pictures have gone straight to SnapChat and thence to oblivion.) The decor inside celebrates jazz musicians. A monstrosity made of fake instruments piled in an inverted pyramid occupies the central place of honor as a color-shifting lighting fixture. They've done their damnedest to make this chain's New Orleans-area location feel like a New Orleans-area restaurant. Might I call your attention once more to the charbroiled oyster pizza? They also have the "Bayou Bleu," which features grilled shrimp and andouille sausage in a spicey bleu cheese base. How I wish I liked bleu cheese.
The selection of local draft beers is respectable. I tasted 40 Arpent Red Bean Ale (a red ale, of course) and Parish Canebrake (a wheat). If neither had appealed, I was ready to order a pint of Lazy Magnolia's Southern Pecan.
Every booth has a small flat-screen TV installed on the wall. One family utilized this to keep their kids entertained with cartoons on Nickelodeon. The diners eating next-booth-over had their TV tuned to football. We, of course, just used the AC outlet it was plugged into to keep our laptops running. (The in-house wi-fi worked great for me. John inexplicably had DNS trouble getting past their log-in/terms&conditions screen.)
My only real complaint about today's experience is that they took away the classic rock mix I was digging in order to play non-stop Christmas songs. This time of year, any restaurant that doesn't play non-stop Christmas songs gets my aggressively repeat business and vocal thanks (yay Dot's Diner yesterday!). The light rock and oldies stations are playing them on the radio. The mall is playing them. The TV is full of them. I think I can safely remain innocent of Grinch accusations if I say that not every single public place needs to board the Christmas train, right?
Or at least have the frickin' imagination to include some Hanukkah songs in the mix, yeah? (Shock! No single religion has a monopoly on holiday songs!) And if all you can think of is "Dreidl Dreidl Dreidl" or "Hanukkah O Hanukkah," do a little research. There are quite a few good tunes out there. The kids at Metairie Park Country Day sing a decent sample every year during their Caroling in the Atrium event. And tossing in "The Christians and the Pagans" wouldn't kill anyone, you know?
And for God's sake--any God you like--cut "All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth" out of your set list WITH EXTREME PREJUDICE. Especially any version sung by an adult attempting to imitate a lisping child. Ideally, the song should be sung to an upbeat tempo and by no one older than 12. All sustained attempts to whistle should be rejected out of hand. And any version sung in double-slow time should be banned by the Geneva Convention. Seriously, y'all, I only want one beer at lunch. I do not want to be forced to drink a second and a third to dull the pain.
Mellow Mushroom of Metairie! Looking forward to returning on my next trip home, when the holiday season is safely behind us!