I’m finishing up my piece on craft beer brewing in Japan, how from prefecture to prefecture, styles vary, alcohol content varies, and while some of the beers are an homage to German beer or I.P.A’s, others have a deep, quirky originality about them. They are essentially like so much production in Japan: An uneasy mix of mimicry, precision, and woeful creativity.
Woeful because it’s a struggle culturally to diverge from what’s seen as the consensus. Which makes the creativity that does emerge at last shocking and spectacular.
Meanwhile, closer to home, I enjoyed a pizza from Santarpio’s last night. This East Boston restaurant ranks among the top ten in my book. I’ve never been inside the dining room–I go to the back where the guys scoop sauce from a small, burned pot onto the perfect dough and then add toppings and then hide the toppings underneath mozzarella. Into an oven the size of the wall, and soon we’re talking perfect pies.
Mine was supposed to be half anchovy, half sausage. Where were the anchovies? If you think I’m calling them up to complain that they forgot to add them, you have got to be kidding. Maybe I couldn’t find or taste them, OK? You got a problem with that? Look, I’m busy, tell your mother.