Pizza Quest 5: Big Bite Pizza

It has been a while since I have last updated you all on the Pizza Quest.  For this, I apologize; I know you must be waiting on these reports with bated breath.  Fear not, however!  I have been continuing to try different pizza places, and have merely been slack in making these posts.  I’ll shall try to clear the backlog and be more on the ball moving forward.

Much of the past few months has involve repeat tastings of our previously discussed pizza places, to assess reliability, but a couple of new ones have slipped in.  This post looks at the first of those: Big Bite Pizza, in Churchill Square.

Once upon a time some years ago, Big Bite had been our go-to pizza place.  They may have been supplanted when something decent opened closer to us, as I have no recollection of why we stopped going there.  And let me tell you this: their name is no lie.  Their pizzas are big and incredibly filling.

It is all thanks to the dough.  Big Bite has the thickest crust by far of any of the places I’ve tried so far in the Pizza Quest.  A large from them is both larger in diameter than most other places and at least half-again as thick, making it quite filling.  They’re also reasonably generous with their toppings.  The thick crust gives it strong structural integrity—I don’t recall any instances of floppy slices.  It also reheats well, and is delicious both fresh and reheated.

There are a few major drawbacks, however.  One is the kind of bacon they use as a topping—it is not the crispy kind I prefer.  Also, the ratio of dough-to-toppings is ultimately not quite what I’m looking for in the perfect pizza, as the crust tends to dominate.  Lastly, they are a little far away, and so the pizza cools off a little more than I care for while getting it home.  (The first slices are fine, but round two is often room-temperature.)

I have had Big Bite a few times, and it rates well for consistency.  While it doesn’t approach some of my desired qualities, it is a damn good pizza, and one that has potential to become a go-to pizza place.

And Now I’m 33….

I turned 33 a few days ago.  I would have commented then, but I was rather busy as the girlfriend was up visiting and it was her last full day in town.  I took the day off work, slept in, had toutons for lunch, turkey for dinner, and—of course—cake.

(It should be noted that was the third cake in some way related to my birthday, as I had a gathering the weekend before my birthday which featured a cake and there was also a potluck with cake for dessert.  And cookies.  Let’s just say I ate well.)

Along with the food, I got presents on my birthday!  And getting presents is pretty awesome.  I got a new compact digital camera (the Canon PowerShot ELPH 100HS) to replace the one I’ve been using since 2006 and that had been getting sluggish.  One of these days I’ll get myself a nice DSLR, but that will only happen once I have the time to learn how to use it.

I also got a carry-on travel bag (which was sorely needed) and a number of books.  The highlight was the signed, personalized copy of John Scalzi’s Fuzzy Nation—I enjoy me some signed books, and he’s one of my favourite authors.

So, all in all, a good day.  The week preceding it was also most excellent, what with the girlfriend visiting and all.  Apart from the aforementioned party and potluck, we also stuffed ourselves to the gills at Raymonds (which was excellent), baked some cookies, went to a movie, and generally hung out.

I am a little disappointed that my PhD wasn’t finished while I was 32 (it’s such a nice number for computer engineers!), but 33 is already shaping up to be a good year.  Now that I have a steady income, I’ll be able to visit the girlfriend more, and I don’t have to worry about how to pay the bills.  This means I’m free to concentrate on actually finishing that PhD and getting it out of my life.

Now that my life must necessarily be more structured, let’s hope that it translates into getting things done on all fronts.

Plans for 2012

It is once again a new year, so it is time to reflect on the one just past and set goals for the one to come.  I will try to keep this brief, but… well, if you read this blog, you probably know me pretty well, so you know that’s not terribly likely.

Bad Stuff from 2011

(Please note that this is in terms of personal goals, not the world in general.  In general, my life is quite excellent, with little to complain about.)

  • I didn’t finish my PhD.  Technically, I’m on leave of absence now.  However, I did make some good progress.
  • I didn’t write enough.  One of my goals from last year was to write more, and while I wrote a bit, I don’t think it was more.  Unless you count Twitter, which are not the kind of words I want to write.
  • I didn’t see the girlfriend nearly enough.  I mean, we’re kicking ass with the long distance thing, because we’re awesome, but we’d both rather like some more in-person face time, rather than just Skype.
  • I wasted a lot of time.  I still need to break my internet time-wasting routines.

Good Stuff from 2011

  • My teaching skills improved.  I taught a couple of courses, and my evaluations were on an upward trajectory.  I look forward to some day teaching courses directly in my specialty.
  • I got a job.  Admittedly, this came at the end of the year, but it is interesting and pays well and means I don’t have to worry about financial stuff for the foreseeable future.
  • I read more stuff.  Perhaps not as much as I would have liked to read, but I think I’ve made a good start at reconnecting with my love of reading.
  • I ran.  And hated it.  There will be no epiphanies from me as I realize “I am a runner.”  I am not.  But I can do it, and it was good for me and improved my health.  (Granted, I’ve let that slide over the holidays, but I’ll get back to some kind of exercise now that they’re over.)

So, in terms of last year’s goals, I more or less managed about half of them, with progress toward others.  The only areas I really fell down were in reducing my time-wasting.  Moving forward into 2012, I’m hoping that the absolute need to structure my life more will help on that front.

Goals for 2012

  • Finish the PhD.  I’m close now.  I know what I need to do.  And now that I’m working full time, I will have to focus and use the limited time I have available rather than goofing off.  I will be ready to defend in the summer, and I will convocate in November.  That is my goal.
  • Get Healthier.  While running in the winter doesn’t work for me, I’m going to try to get some more exercise of some kind.  I’m going to go out and buy a scale to track my weight, and I’m going to avoid bringing a stash of junk food to work.  I will wean myself off my snacking habits.
  • Read More.  I always want to read more.  I should probably figure out how much I read last year, and strive to beat that.
  • Write More.  I need to get back in the saddle on writing.  Maybe I’ll aim for 250 words per day as a minimum.  Or to spend a half hour writing or revising something.
  • Submit my Writing.  I will finish some stories and submit them to magazines or anthologies or somewhere.  It’s all well and good to vomit out first drafts and view that as “writing more”, but I need to kick myself in the pants to revise stories and finish final drafts and send them out into the world.
  • Be More Social.  I think I’ve fallen into a tendency to just sit at home, talk to people online, and avoid going out at all.  This is helpful to my productivity, but probably not my sanity.  I have to try and get off my ass more and go out and do stuff from time to time.  (Now that I have an income, this includes the possibility of seeing the girlfriend more, though now I will be constrained by vacation time rather than finances.)

And so that’s my plan for the year to come.  Mostly the same as last year.  The nice thing about a lot of these is that they can never be “finished” (except for the PhD), so any progress toward them is a good thing.