It had been months since my last slice of pizza when I spotted a veggie variety from across the room. I had just arrived at my friend Terina’s house, and the smell beckoned. I’d been avoiding tomatoes, as I thought I might be slightly allergic, but I was occasionally starting to include them in my diet again with no blatantly ill effects. The pizza was my first meal in some time where the central ingredient was tomato, and I relished it.
The pizza was a Mt. Veggiemore from Mountain Mike’s.
I was surprised that the standard veggie offering included artichoke hearts. Artichoke typically falls under the heading of “specialty topping,” so it’s nice that the folks at Mountain Mike’s think of it as a vegetarian staple. It’s also a bonus, for the finicky onion detesters I know, that the Mt. Veggiemore doesn’t usually include that so-potent vegetable.
Not wanting to seem like a mooching pig, I restricted myself to three modest slices. Terina and her boyfriend, Brian, had two each, which I thought was disciplined considering I would have gladly eaten six. Maybe it was because I’d gone so long without one of our country’s most popular foods.
Several weeks later, I headed to Mountain Mike’s without dainty eaters Terina and Brian. Instead, I went with my sister, Amber—who’d just returned from eight months in France, where pizza is disappointingly cracker-like—and my friend Ray, who is in the habit of eating one enormous meal a day.
Despite the ragged outer appearance, the inside of Mountain Mike’s is impressively open, light, modern and immaculate to the last corner.
We had a small Mt. Veggiemore because, aside from my fond memories, the picture on the menu looked impressively tasty. We also ordered a Pineapple Chicken Luau. All of the small, 10-inch specialty pizzas are $11.50; the large is $18.95; and the “mountain,” a 20-inch, is $29.85. Prices aren’t cheap, but neither are the flavors.
The garlic sticks with cheese ($3.25) were mild and not too greasy. They were sprinkled with poppy seeds, which I’ve never seen before in any pizzeria. Ray ordered a mug of Sam Adams ($2.50).
Apart from unripe tomatoes on top of our veggie pizza, it was as yummy as the photo implied. Sometimes, a veggie pizza can taste a bit too wholesome, so that you lose the joy of eating a food that’s supposed to be bad for you. The Veggiemore, while loaded with mushrooms, olives, bell peppers and artichoke hearts, still tasted artery-clogging rich.
The Pineapple Chicken Luau (sans bacon) was a strange combination of flavors that totally worked for Amber and me but was a little bizarre to Ray. Instead of pizza sauce, it was made with barbecue sauce, along with pineapple and grilled chicken. At first sniff, it caught me off guard, but I quickly warmed to it.
As we watched Heavyweights—a comedy about kids at a fat camp headed up by Ben Stiller—we stuffed ourselves til we couldn’t retract our guts. Sure, Terina might always be svelte, but she doesn’t know what she’s missing. Foodwise, there’s not much better than pigging out on good pizza.