There have been some restaurants and delis that I have been grabbing take-out from for at least 20 years. A half-lifetime of memories for me. It hurts me deeply and personally to have 20 plus years of memories and nostalgia trampled down.
Pizza my Heart, Ding Ho, and Piemonte’s seemed to have lost their soul.
Pizza my Heart the Capitola Village institution was my first stop during each and every summer vacation. And once again, I made an appearance at 2am after two tall Campari and soda, something to settle the stomach. The pesto pizza I ordered just didn’t measure up . Barely any pesto. A cardboard crust. Boring. No soul. I did not sleep well that night.
I was an umpire for Fig Garden Spartan League for 7 years and would drive by Marks and Bullard 7-days a week from March through June. Ding Ho would make a sublime Mongolian beef. I drove by Ding Ho a couple weeks back and ordered exactly what I ordered 20 years ago, Mongolian beef and steamed rice. I expected to find spicy beef, green onions, on a bed of fried rice noodles. What I found, beef, bell peppers and jalapenos. Not what I remember after umpiring baseball 20 years ago. In the old days, it was with lots of green unions, a dark, rich sauce, and the right amount of heat from dried red chilis. Now it’s greyish, bland, and disappointing. And again, no soul.
I realize that Fresno’s favorite deli sandwich might be served at Piemonte’s. My family had (past tense) been going to Piemonte’s for well over 30 years, probably since they were first opened. We would buy cold cuts and specialty Italian goods. Oh it’s a good sandwich, a traditional Italian-American deli sandwich, served with oil and vinegar rather than mayo and mustard, but what happened to the soul of the deli? Where are all the specialty cold-cuts, the imports, the high-quality Italian imports? Or even the American equivalents of high-quality salumi? They’re nowhere to be found. Whole Foods carries more high-quality product. I remember when Piemonte’s had Italian American soul. Now, they’re merely a sandwich shop with the old sign of nostalgia…and it makes me sad.