Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Oak Court Mall

In middle school I was a regular at the Sbarro in the Mall of Memphis. Never was there a finer slice of pizza in my mind. I have to say that Sbarro is still my first choice when forced to eat in a mall, but this past Sunday was the first time I have ever driven to the mall just to eat at Sbarro.

So what happened? The monkeys (satchel, 6, and Jiro, 4) and I were out and about running errands. Before I knew it, it was 3:30pm and we were all starving. I've been on a major pizza kick (as you'll see in this week's Flyer), so I suggested that we swing by Whole Foods for a few of their giant, NY style slices. The monkeys enthusiastically agreed. We'd been there for the grand opening and had no trouble eating everything in sight. We were especially impressed by the pizza.

When we got to the deli counter at Whole Foods, we discovered that they had no plain cheese pizza--or anything else remotely plain-ish. The woman in front of me just happened to be asking about a cheese pizza and the "chef" told her it would be at least twenty minutes. I considered getting sushi instead and talking the boys into a burrito or the salad bar. Oh but I really wanted some pizza! I decided that if they had some cold Izze soda in the cooler we would stay. I looked over my shoulder and they were out!

Time for Plan B. New York Pizza in the Lowe's parking lot? I was torn. NYP would have been Plan A except for the fact that on my last visit with Jiro we waited 30 minutes for our pizza. Don't get me wrong, NYP is definitely worth the wait, but I just couldn't wait.

"Let's go to the mall!" I said.

Thankfully, Sbarro was not busy and they had plenty of pizzas ready and waiting. I ordered a slice of cheese for Me and one for Jiro, and a slice of pepperoni for Satchel. They each wanted a drink, so the woman behind the counter suggested I order kids' meals. "What's in a kids' meal?" I asked.

"A slice of pizza, a drink, and a breadstick OR a toy."

A breadstick or a toy. That was new. I liked having the option of food or plastic! Thankfully the monkeys were oblivious to our conversation so I ordered breadsticks. I wanted to ask what the toy was out of curiosity, but I couldn't risk them seeing it!

I sent the boys to sit at a nearby table while I paid up and got our food. Their drinks came in small, reusable plastic cups with lids. (I like this much better than styrofoam, but we are amassing a large quantity of these cups at home!) The total was $13.40 for the three of us, which wasn't too bad. (I got a drink too.) The kids' meals were under $4.

I carried the food over and Satchel tore into his slice. I noted that he is an expert on the paper plate method of eating a slice of New York style pizza. (You hold the plate with the pizza on it, and slowly scoot it down to take bites off of the end.) I inhaled my piece as well as a breadstick. The sauce that came with the breadsticks was really yummy so I was extra happy when Satchel donated his giant crust to me. I thought for sure that he would want another slice, but he seemed content with one.

Jiro, who was more interested in his newly acquired Rubik's cube than his pizza, ate his slice as slowly as possible. He was sulking a bit as he refused to believe that I really do not know how to solve more than one color at a time!

"I'm getting hyper," Satchel said. "Can I go play on the escalator?"

Feeling generous, I said, "When Jiro is done, I'll let you go up and get one thing out of the candy machines." (There are a few sections in the mall with a large display of machines.)

Once Jiro heard this, he plowed through his final bites and thrust his crust at me. While chewing, I wrapped up the last breadstick and put it in my bag along with the extra sauce and the kids' nearly full drinks. Then we went in search of the candy machines. (I only had two quarters so there was no chance of getting weaseled out of a lot of cash.) I let them do one trip on the escalator and then we were out of there!

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