Photo by Eduardo Villatoro
I am not the kind of person who goes out to eat. Expending energy to go out to a restaurant seems like a waste of the massive amount of the calories I would consume once I made it there. Case in point: I was hesitant when my roommate suggested we actually walk to the new Pizza My Heart in Isla Vista.
Unwilling to shake my innate American desire for convenience, I decided if we had to walk to the restaurant, we could at least utilize the online pre-order function. This helpful feature saved us the embarrassment of carefully inspecting every ingredient in every pizza in front of the knowledgeable PMH staff. We could view all the pizzas on our own couch, pre-snacking on leftover animal fries from In-N-Out and oatmeal cookies. Being a health nut, I was pleased to see almost as many vegetarian pizzas as meat options. We ordered a small Manresa, a white pizza with basil, garlic, Roma tomatoes and ricotta.
The pizza was ready by the time my roommate and I arrived. We dug in, happily demolishing the perfectly put-together dish. If we weren’t such cows, we would have noticed the myriad of spices available to us by the soda machine: from dill weed to oregano, PMH offered it all. They even offered olive oil and balsamic vinegar, perfect for breadsticks and pizza crusts. However, the pizza did not need these enhancements. The shredded basil, milky ricotta and thick slices of tomato were more than enough to satisfy.
I am not used to very good service at pizza places, so having a staff member who was clearly not employed as a waiter come by our table to ask if we needed ranch and leftover boxes made me appreciate my amazing food even more. He also brought us compostable water cups, something sure to win points with many environmentally conscious University of California Santa Barbara students.
The aesthetics of the restaurants certainly made our dining experience more entertaining. The restaurant managed to pull off a fun, retro look with new amenities. The walls were lined with pictures of bare-skinned surfers in classic cars driving toward the beach on an otherwise empty highway, evoking a sense of adventure and beauty as customers shamelessly stuffed their faces. The room was filled with maroon booths, some small and intimate, others round and large for larger groups. The ‘90s music playing did not overwhelm conversation, two TVs were visible from any spot and the touch screen soda machine managed to blend in with the retro layout. It was an ideal combination of vintage, new and greasy food.
Though the restaurant was stunning, I anticipate never being motivated enough to leave my house and walk there again. Fortunately, customers can order delivery online for a very reasonable charge of $1.50. The pizza is mildly expensive, but well worth the occasional splurge. It’s nice having the tax already included in the price, too, for those of us who like to know exactly what we are paying but still don’t understand math after years of education.
Given the superb food that is matched by the restaurant’s service, Pizza My Heart may take a toll on my health in the future as long as they continue to fill the excellent pizza void in my life.