Tag Archives: Pizza

January 2022- An Ear-ie Tale

Jillian here- Happy New Year- My Christmas was very nice—the son, DIL and grandson visited from the 23rd and left on the morning of the 29th, after a nice family dinner treat by my son for my birthday at one of my favorite places- The Tuscan Oven which is locally owned and they cook in an open flame beehive oven imported from Italy.  Makes for some great pizza, breads and pasta.  I’m attaching a picture of the grand- He’s growing to look more like a little boy than baby.

Our weather this time of year fluctuates wildly- December left us in the high 70s temperature-wise in the day and 60s at night.  Then it went down into the 30s at night and 50s in the day for a few days. Then high 70s again for about 4 days. Now it’s back to 30s at night and 50s in the day. It’s no wonder we can’t figure out what to wear- besides layers, that is. 🙂

I had three ear infections in 2021 and my ear started hurting again a couple of weeks before Christmas. I decided to go to an ENT instead of my regular doctor since, clearly, this was becoming a chronic thing. Weirdly, I had a hard time finding one- first one I called, the number was disconnected; second one was pediatric only (even though website said all ages); third was referral only and first appointment available was March!; and the fourth, I was able to get an appointment—their website had no reviews, so I figured he was new.

When I got there, he def. was new as the place still smelled like fresh construction and one employee was putting together some desks. Other furniture was being delivered as well. Lots of fancy equipment as well—expensive!  They did a CT scan of my head first thing and then asked me a ton of questions about my sinuses (!) and then the triage nurse asked if I’d been using nasal spray—I said, “I have an ear infection. I’d never think of nasal spray for that.” Her response? “It’s all connected.” When I told her I hated that stuff anyway as it goes down the throat and tastes terrible, she responded by squirting stuff into both my nostrils!! WHAT?!?

By the time the physician’s assistant came in, I WAS having breathing issues.  That chick’s nasal spray clogged my right side. It was crazy. I was there for EARS! Actually just one ear… LOL

More fancy equipment was a big screen television and a camera the PA stuck in my ear – then all the glory of my inner ear was on the screen—it looked pretty disgusting. She said the right ear now had a fungal infection—the others had been bacterial and had never healed so it was now a fungus…I didn’t really understand haw that happens, but whatever, just fix me.

The PA had the doctor come in to verify that it was fungal to give me the right meds. He cleaned my ear out with another fancy piece of equipment and made a comment to the PA that I had eczema in the inside of my ear. Well, of course, I heard him say it since my ear was right there, so I asked if the fungal infection could cause that since I’ve never had eczema before. He was unbelievably arrogant and dismissive when he responded to me—I can’t say he answered my question because he didn’t—he spouted a bunch of nonsense saying I must be susceptible to yeast infections. He acted offended that I would ask a question of his royal highness. I did not like him at all. I’ve never had a yeast infection either—and how does that relate to eczema? Or my ear infection? It was totally bizarre!

As soon as the doctor left the room, the PA apologized for his behavior. She said he was rude and she was sorry. How odd is that? Even she noticed it –I didn’t even say a word about it and really, had not planned to. It seems he is more interested in sinus issues and allergies as the triage nurse had asked me about having a battery of allergy testing done (which also was not why I was there).

I got a prescription and a follow up visit set, but I’m not sure I want to return to Weirdsville even though I liked the PA.  I can say this though, as a professional myself, he is not going to make it very far in this new endeavor of his (and be able to pay for all his fancy gadgets) unless he learns to be tolerant, kinder and more patient with the patients (LOL- see what I did there?).

Enjoy your January!

Vinnie Pie? Yes, Please! by Valerie J. Patterson

We walked into the joint and my eyes darted left, my gaze fastening on the man behind the counter, Plexiglas separating him from the patrons.  High above his head, a pizza dough spins several times before coming down and landing deftly on his fingers.  High into the air it rose again, spinning before landing once more on his hands.  Flour seasoned his dark hair gray.  His eyeglasses are speckled with flour as well.  The dough is spread out onto a large silver pan and is soon covered with rich tomato sauce perfectly seasoned with a blend of Italian spices.  Coarsely chopped cheese covers the sauce before the talented hands toss massive chunks of spicy Italian sausage, thick, mouthwatering slices of pepperoni, and various other toppings onto the pie.  A blast of heated air escapes the massive oven as the door is opened and the pie is swept inside.

My dad corrals my sisters and me to a table, but our gazes remain with Vincent, our favorite pizza maker.  We wait.  Not always silently, either.  But, we wait.  Finally, the waitress delivers a massive pizza pie—so large it makes other places’ larges look like mediums—and sometimes smalls.  Dad hefts a slice onto my plate and I attack it with a knife and fork because it’s way too big and too hot for my little hands.  Juices from the pepperoni rolls down my chin, but I don’t care.  The taste explosion taking place inside my mouth has my undivided attention.  Life doesn’t get any better than this.

And that’s how it was when I was a kid.  My dad would take us to Vincent’s Pizza Park and we would have—by far—the most fabulous pizza to be eaten on the face of the earth.  My dad used to quip that his daughters teethed on Vincent’s pizza crust.  Then he used to brag that his three daughters could put away more of a Vinnie pie than any three boys could.

Vincent’s was my father’s absolute favorite pizza parlor.  The place itself was nothing spectacular.  The walls were lined with Frank Sinatra memorabilia—including his prison record.  The tables were non-descript Formica with run-of-the-mill dining chairs.  The place was always packed, but the main attraction—outside of the fabulous pizza—was the parlor’s owner and resident pie maker, Vincent.  He always amazed me with his ability to toss dough, shape it on the catch, and toss it again.  He was an artist of the pizza-making type.

My family gathered at Vincent’s on the one-year anniversary of my dad’s death.  My sisters and I were there to remember the man who’d help to shape us into the women we’d become.  We were there to celebrate the man who’d first introduced us to a Vinnie pie.  And we were there to eat pizza in his honor.

Whenever possible, I try to go back to Vincent’s for a large half pepperoni/half sausage pizza and a soda.  The drive is a little longer as I now live 160 miles round trip away from Vincent’s, but it’s always worth the trip and the traffic!

Vincent’s is touted from Pittsburgh to Timbuktu as being the premier place for pizza.  People travel far greater distances than I to get a taste of home.  If you’re ever in Pittsburgh and have a hankering for pizza, travel to Vincent’s.  You won’t be disappointed.

These two photographs were taken at my last visit in December.  You might want to get a paper towel out to catch the drool before you look at them!  The pizza was as good as I remembered, and so worth the wait and the travel.

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Until next time, may there be pizza-flavored memories in your life!