Our very special MCC extended interlude continues!
Pictured above: the Salad Nicoise at Indy’s Bazbeaux Pizza — albacore tuna, anchovies, eggs, pepperoncini, red onions, artichoke hearts, and hearts of palm. Guys like me don’t normally walk into a pizzeria and order a salad for dinner. One night last May, it just seemed like the thing to do.
Bazbeaux Pizza is one of several artisanal eateries lining Massachusetts Avenue in downtown Indianapolis. I’m not in the vicinity too often, but I’ve now been to Bazbeaux three times. The first occasion was one of my birthdays a while back; the second time was an outing with my wife. Pictured below is my dinner from the latter occasion, their Tchoupitoulas pizza — Cajun shrimp, andoiulle sausage, red and green pepper, red onion, and fresh garlic.
On May 28, 2015, I attended my first “Weird Al” Yankovic concert. My wife gave me the ticket as an early birthday present. Unfortunately, by the time she bought it, they didn’t have two consecutive seats she could buy for the two of us. She bowed out but refused to let me miss this rare opportunity. I appreciated the generous gesture, but it meant I was on my own for the evening.
I had hoped to grab dinner somewhere on Mass Ave, a short hop from the theater. My initial criteria were strict and uniquely me:
1. Someplace I’d never tried.
2. Not too high-end on price.
3. Not a national chain.
4. Definitely not a place that was a bar first and a restaurant second. I’m not a fan of alcohol and I dislike hanging out in crowds that appear to be all about the drinking.
I walked across downtown after work to Mass Ave, wore myself out, got a little more depressed with each block, and went up and down the street twice vetting possible dinner stops. I’m not sure how many minutes I spent on the evaluation process, but I realized one of those criteria had to be bent when every single spot had been disqualified.
So, Bazbeaux, then.
I couldn’t very well order and eat a pizza by myself. My car was too far away to drop off any leftovers, and I wasn’t interested in bringing them with me to the concert. I like to think Weird Al could’ve found a creative use for them, but the odds that I’d get close enough to ask were nil. That practicality narrowed my ordering options to sandwich or salad. And their sandwiches sounded boring.
And that’s how I wound up spending part of an evening, an uncommon guy alone in a crowd, stabbing at a conciliatory salad containing a crowd full of uncommon ingredients. I won’t pretend it was a fully satisfying meal, because it was still a salad, but its creativity level carried me long enough until Weird Al’s creativity could distract me for the rest of the night. I’m just glad no one saw me having the kind of meal that’s the exact moral opposite of every single food song in Weird Al’s back catalog.