Paul's Internet Landfill/ 2016/ City Cafe Bakery and City Pizza

City Cafe Bakery and City Pizza

Recently I had the opportunity to eat pizza at two restaurants with "City" in their name. The synchronicity prompted this entry.

The nicer place was City Cafe Bakery. This was fancy, expensive pizza baked in a wood-fired oven. The pizza consisted of a thin crust, tomato sauce, and vegetables. It was fine, but not transcendent in the way that really good wood-fired bread can be. The crust was so thin it was practically a cracker, and it did not rise enough to offer the contrast between fluffy innards and crisp crust that transcendent wood-fired crust offers. Nonetheless, the pizza was fine.

What is really interesting about City Cafe Bakery is its payment mechanism. Prices are listed for items, but payment is done via the honor system: you drop money into an old fare box. Apparently the system works well because most people are honest. It does not hurt that most prices are designed to make people overpay. Small items often are priced at $1.75 so that people will drop in a toonie. Large loaves of bread are priced at $4.00 so that people will drop in five dollar bills. This chicanery aside, it is nice to see that this payment model works, if only in limited circumstances. It is no coincidence that most goods are expensive enough that cheapskates like me do not bother going in very often; attracting demographics that have enough money to pay (and enough social policing that people feel pressured to pay) works for City Cafe Bakery in a way that would not work at Dollarama.

I would like to think that there are ways to structure businesses so that people are more inclined to behave well. I do not know whether City Cafe Bakery achieves this, but it is nice to see the business trying something different.

While cycling home from City Cafe Bakery I passed City Pizza, which offers the cheapest pizza slices in town. I have a terrible habit of buying City Pizza slices when I go to the bank. I spend $1.05 and get a "pepperoni" slice that consists of a lot of bready crust, some tomato sauce, exactly three slices of pepperoni which I pick off, a modest amount of melted cheese, and hot chili flakes I sprinkle on after the fact.

On the bike ride home it occurred to me that City Pizza slices are intended to cut corners by skimping on cheese and pepperoni. But as it turns out the pizza suits my taste remarkably well. I prefer pizza with lots of sauce and not a lot of cheese. Whenever I have bought slices they have seemed relatively fresh. I adore the hot chili flakes. Most places will sell me two slices of pizza for over double the price, but I don't need two slices of pizza to satisfy my cravings.

Of course, I should not be admitting any of this on the Internet. Firstly, purchasing products with meat is morally awful, and I should not be supporting City Pizza in producing their "pepperoni" slices. Secondly, I have no business purchasing pizza given my weight gain. Thirdly, I did not pay for the City Cafe Bakery pizza, and I feel guilty about this. Fourthly, all the pizza I have mentioned consists of white bread dough, which is awful for me. Fifthly, I do not have the budget to be purchasing pizza or any other fripperies. There is lots to feel bad and/or guilty about when it comes to pizza. My life would be significantly better if I had the moral fortitude to resist pizza, but I don't and it isn't.

But even here there is a lesson. The last time I bought a City Pizza slice I accepted that it was morally reprehensible to do so. I realized that either I could refrain from my purchase, or I could make the purchase and then enjoy it to the fullest; purchasing the pizza and then not appreciating is in some sense as reprehensible as purchasing pepperoni in the first place. The punishment for my immorality is on its way soon enough, via diabetes or Judgement Day or something else.