I am still desperately job hunting and getting rejected, I must live like a gypsy, tramping around from one loved one’s home to the next until I can find a job and officially move into a place. I have been living out of a suitcase for almost 4 months now. I feel a bit like the loser that must return home from college without a job, but the silver lining on this return home is that my mother is an excellent cook. When she isn’t cooking, she will only eat at fine establishments that live up to her high food standards. This means if I come home to visit, I always eat well.
Although she normally cooks gourmet dishes at home for the family, their house is currently under heavy renovations to become their dream home; therefore, we went out to eat. Her new favorite restaurant is BiBa’s. It is a charming Italian restaurant with the usual cozy interior of restaurants as it tries too hard to put on an inviting atmosphere. It is located on a small strip mall near a Publix. I would have easily overlooked the small namesake as I drive down Hixson Pike through town because the grocery store dwarfs all the other small shops and restaurants in the area.
After having traveled through Asia and tasted the truly authentic flavors and spices, I don’t think Americans are good at mimicking other countries’ food. However, our knockoffs are so amazingly delicious to our American tongues! It might not be authentic, but it makes up for lack of real-Italy-flavors in its butter and garlic.
BiBa’s, like most Italian restaurants, will start every meal with garlic rolls. However, in the world of food, there are some garlic rolls more equal than other garlic rolls. BiBa’s garlic rolls are more equal! The garlic rolls are big, warm and soft. The butter, garlic glaze gives the bread a sheen under the light.
My mother and I ordered two small pizzas so we could share and have double the flavors and choices. Her White Dan was surprisingly not the usual combination of toppings that made her fall in love with it. It had a bit of a fishy flavor for a chicken pizza. Overall, the White Dan was as bland as the white Dan plumber that works down the street. All the qualities of a good pizza were there, but there was no popping of flavors.
In contrast, my pizza choice of the Chicken, Pesto Pizza was melt-in-your-mouth delicious! Pizza is best when there are less toppings, in my humble opinion. My pizza had chicken, roasted red peppers, pesto and cheese. The dough was on the thin side of a scale of New York to Chicago style.
This was my first pizza back on U.S. soil after a summer hiatus to reconnect with my Asian roots and a lesson on international journalism. Even though the White Dan marred the experience, both pizzas were far better than their Asian knockoffs.
Asian countries do Asian cuisine far better than any other place in the world, but are probably the worst for American-style food. Ironically, Asian countries have the biggest Western fascination. To have American brands is a status symbol for Asian society. American-style restaurants are more expensive and very popular with the upper East-side of town, despite their quality being inferior to the Asian cuisine in the area.
At the end of the day, however, pizza is pizza, and if you add enough butter and oil, it is Southern-style pizza, which is superior to every other style, so says a girl from Tennessee.