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Pizza-related stuff

Gimme Pizza Slow

Whipped cream pour like waterfalls.

Sizzle Pie’s heavy metal pizza names

The newly opened Sizzle Pie pizzeria in Portland has what I’m going to say is my all-time favorite list of pizza names. If you’re not in to heavy metal or hardcore punk rock, most of the names will make no sense to you. But for the people who understand the joke behind the meat-stuffed “Girth Crisis” pizza, this menu is comedic gold. Some of my other favorites include the “Napalm Breath” (ref) and the “Rudimentary Penne” (ref).

I can’t believe this is an actual menu and not just a joke on some hardcore message board. The next time I’m in Portland, this will be my first stop, for sure.

It reminds me of a comment thread of Metallica-themed pizza names I had with some friends on Facebook back in August after posting a link to the Pizzallica pizzeria in Detroit:

Add Hoeks Death Metal Pizza to the list, and that makes Sizzle Pie the 3rd heavy metal themed pizzeria I know of. Are there any more?

U+1F355: “SLICE OF PIZZA” character in Unicode 6.0

Glyph map for the Symbojet font, showing the new Unicode "SLICE OF PIZZA" character

As some readers may have heard, pizza is not my only obsession. Among other things, I also have a strong affinity for typography and all things related. It was through this obsession that I discovered the following obscure topic of pizza relevance. Beware of high nerdery beyond this point.

Earlier this month, the Unicode Consortium published version 6.0.0 of their Unicode Standard – a computing standard that deals with character encoding and representation. I won’t get too far in to it, but the basic idea of Unicode is to enable people around the world to use computers in any language.

The release of Unicode 6.0 adds 2,088 characters, with over 1,000 new symbols, including the new Indian rupee symbol, and – most relevant to the topic of pizza – a set of symbols for use in text messaging. From the press release:

These emoji characters are in widespread use, especially in Japan, and have become an essential part of text messages there and elsewhere. Unicode 6.0 now provides for data interchange between different mobile vendors and across the internet. The symbols include symbols for many domains: maps and transport, phases of the moon, UI symbols (such as fast-forward) and many others

Hidden among the plethora of new symbols is none other than a slice of pizza! This means that once the Unicode Standard 6.0 catches on, you can theoretically have a button on your keyboard for typing a pizza symbol.

Food-related symbols from the iPhone emoji keyboard. (Note: no pizza)

Those of you with iPhones may be familiar with the special emoji keyboard that allows you to type a variety of pre-made pictograms along with your normal text. The iPhone emoji includes many food-related icons (and even a smiling piece of poop … for real), but it doesn’t offer a slice of pizza – probably because it was intended for an Asian user-base where pizza is less prevalent than, say, rice or sushi. Even if the iPhone emoji did offer a slice of pizza, the symbols don’t currently relate to Unicode standards, so you would only be able to send it to other iOS users.

Luckily, the new Unicode 6.0 standard will enable previously-impossible advances in device-independent pizza-communication capabilities. Because, really, what kind of a world do we live in where you can’t text message a pizza pictogram to your non-iPhone-having friends?

Of course, such advances will require fonts or other software that actually include a pizza symbol that is properly mapped the the designated “SLICE OF PIZZA” codepoint (i.e. U+1F355). There are plenty of existing “dingbat” fonts that contain a pizza glyph (for example FF Dingbats), but the only one I know of so far that has a glyph properly mapped to the new Unicode codepoint is a recently-released font called Symbojet.

Hopefully more and more fonts will adopt the new pizza character over the coming months and years as Unicode 6.0 becomes more prevalent. When they do, a single character will enable you to type a slice in your tweets, e-mails, text messages, etc. Until that day, perhaps you can make due with my own emoticon-style shorthand for representing a slice of pizza (>

Pizza chef caricatures on Flickr

Coinciding with the beginning of Pizza Month 2010, I’ve launched the Pizza Chef Caricature group photo pool on Flickr, dedicated to stereotypical portrayals of pizza-makers (or “pizzaioli”) typically seen on local pizzeria menus, signage, and take-out boxes.

Quality examples typically feature a majority of the following elements:
Pizza Chef Caricature

  • Mustache
  • Classic chef’s toque hat
  • Plumpness
  • Friendly hand gesture, such as the “OK” pinch or thumbs-up
  • Winking eye
  • Neckerchief or bow-tie
  • Apron
  • Pizza in hand, or mid-air in spin toss
  • Steam lines coming off said pizza
  • Other accessories, such as a pizza cutter or a peel

New submissions are welcome!

Pizza-face monster letter A & t-shirt

As a counterpoint to Jessica’s lovely and fancy letter V slice initial letter, I present to you this pizza-face monster letter A by Elli Egilsson (AC BANANAS on Flickr):

pizza-face monster A

And mocked up here on a t-shirt:

pizza-face monster A - shirt

Every Person in NY (including Dom DeMarco)

One of my favorite new blogs lately is Every Person In New York, where artist Jason Polan has set out to draw every person in New York. Naturally I was excited to see that his most recent batch of drawings included a sketch of “The Man”, Dom DeMarco of Di Fara Pizzeria fame.

Every Person In NY - Dom DeMarco

There’s enough hype and opinion about Dom and Di Fara floating around to fill a book, but if you don’t know about him, suffice to say he’s among the most legendary living pizzaiolos in America today.

Here’s a photo of Dom from a trip I took to Di Fara in April that matches Polan’s sketch perfectly (minus the scally cap):

Di Fara Pizzeria

Regardless of what you think about the pizza at Di Fara, it’s hard not to love the perseverance of the man behind the counter.

Hitler hates late pizza

The angry Hitler YouTube meme was bound to involve pizza sooner or later.

Lombardi’s-inspired lettering art

Very rarely, my passions for pizza and lettering cross paths, but the decorative pizza letter V used for this post is an awesome case in which I can dork out on both things at once.

My friend Jessica Hische runs a site called The Daily Drop Cap, where she designs an ornamental letter every work day to be used for decorative initials (I wrote more about the topic previously, elsewhere). Last night she was one of the attendants at a big typography nerd get-together I organized at Lombardi’s Pizza in Manhattan (if you don’t know about it already, Google it). While scarfing on pizza, we joked about how she should make a pizza-themed initial, but I didn’t think she’d actually do it.

Speaking of Lombardi’s-inspired lettering art done by friends (I couldn’t think of a more obscure topic) I ran in to the artist and legendary NYC skateboarder Harry Jumanji during a trip to Lombardi’s last year. He was so psyched on the pizza that he broke out his markers and did a mini piece on the back of a postcard for the owner, John Brescio:

Harry Jumanji

I got one too (though it was skate-themed, rather than pizza):

Card from Jumanji

For what it’s worth, the first time I ever went to Lombardi’s I was similarly compelled to make this drawing in my sketchbook (the disgruntled guy on the right is totally unrelated):

Lombardi's / Disgruntled NYC subway rider

I guess all the pizza art makes sense with the huge Mona Lisa on the outside wall — they say “the debate over her smile is over”.

Lombardis - Mona Lisa

Since I’m on the subject, Lombardi’s also is relevant to another obscure design-related fascination of mine, which is the pointing-finger symbol known as the “manicule”. For whatever reason, I collect photos of the symbol in use and, coincidentally, they’re used heavily for signage at Lombardi’s — including a sizable example on the exterior of the building (just above the Mona Lisa):

Lombardi's Pizza

In closing, a gratuitous photo of the source material:

Lombardi's Pizza

Ozzy on pizza

Today on Vice magazine’s blog, Viceland, they quoted an awesome excerpt from the new Ozzy biography, I Am Ozzy:

I thought America was fabulous. Take pizza for example. For years I’d been thinking, I wish someone would invent a new kind of food. In England it was always egg and chips, sausage and chips, pie and chips… anything and chips. After a while it just got boring, y’know? But you couldn’t exactly order a shaved Parmesan and rocket salad in Birmingham in the early 70s. If it didn’t come out of a deep-fat fryer, no one knew what the fuck it was. But then, in New York, I discovered pizza. It blew my mind wide fucking open. I would buy ten or twenty slices a day. And then, when I realized you could buy a great big pizza all for yourself, I started ordering them wherever we went. I couldn’t wait to get back home and tell all my mates: ‘There’s this incredible new thing. It’s American and it’s called pizza. It’s like bread, but it’s better than any bread you’ve tasted in your life.’ I even tried to recreate a New York pizza for Thelma once. I made some dough, then I got all these cans of beans and pilchards and olives and shit and put them on top-it must have been about 15 quid’s worth of gear-but after ten minutes it just came dribbling out of the oven. It was like someone had been sick in there. Thelma just looked at it and went, ‘I don’t think I like pizza, John.’ She never called me Ozzy, my first wife.

Kinda makes you wonder if Sweet Leaf is actually about basil.

Thanks to Jeff for the link.

Direct Line

Somehow, ironic t-shirt companies get me every time with their pizza-themed designs. Much like the previously-noted Pizza is the Best shirt, the Direct Line t-shirt design from Glennz Tees (pictured above) exploits my love of pizza enough to distract me from all the other pop-culture dependent stuff on their site.

©2010