Close Encounter With A Mac And Cheese Pizza Lover

Posted on August 24, 2012. Filed under: Doug Hovelson Photography, Minneapolis, Public Relations, Ramblings, Society | Tags: , , , , , |

Exterior of the Minneapolis Dinkytown McDonald's, where late-night dining can be enjoyed both indoors and outdoors.

A clean, well-lit place, McDonald’s Minneapolis Dinkytown restaurant, a popular place near the University of Minnesota campus.

Recently I was offered a taste of macaroni and cheese pizza.

It happened, oddly enough, at the Dinkytown McDonald’s, near the University of Minnesota East Bank campus in Minneapolis. Odd since pizza doesn’t appear on the menu at McDonald’s.

A young woman, nicely dressed in casual summer attire, seemingly benevolent, made the offer to me as I sat,  hunched over a laptop computer and bag of fries, in the late-night gloaming of the restaurant.

“Have you ever had macaroni and cheese pizza?” Startled, I looked up. There she stood,  soft drink in hand, smile on her face, awaiting my response.

“Never,” I said. “I didn’t even know such a thing existed.”

“You have to try it. It’s great!” she gushed.

Sounds barbaric, I thought to myself. What I said was, “It sounds pretty good.”

“It’s so good!” she said.

Maybe she’s right, I thought. Macaroni and cheese, still within the pasta family after all.

But mac ‘n cheese. On pizza. Well, why not? At least it wasn’t something like carmel corn and anchovies.

Could be a joke, I thought. No harm done if it was, but maybe she was just joshing me. Didn’t seem like it though.

My interloper radiated nothing but good will. She obviously wanted to share her knowledge about the special delights of mac ‘n cheese pizza with me, a guy some few decades older – wiser? It’s debatable — than her. Sitting by himself. Late at night. In a solitary booth in a McDonald’s in the middle of a big city. Gazing intensely at a glowing computer screen. Whooaaa!

Maybe she thought I was friendless and bereft. Or a philosophy professor searching out clues to the universe online.

But it wasn’t to be.

Nice as she was, she couldn’t induce me to head off down the street for a slice. I wasn’t hungry, for one thing. She might have been slightly tipsy, too – which could explain her enthusiasm for sharing her food tips with strangers. It was getting nigh on to midnight. A time when a lot of the college kids take a break from the nearby club scene to drop into McDonald’s to recharge.

My young food confidante now settled into the booth just behind me, joining her two friends. Then she called my attention to the slice of pizza plopped on a paper plate on the table before her. Macaroni and cheese topped pizza it was, unmistakably. “See?” she said, stabbing a wayward finger toward the plate. “Doesn’t it look good! You have to try some. Oh, if I just had a knife I’d cut you a piece so you could try it!”

Fearing for her good mood – she seemed on the verge of turning crestfallen — I hurried to make things right.

“That’s okay,” I assured her. “You don’t have to do that. It’s your pizza. You eat it.”

Did my brow furrow over as I now studied the improbable scene? I don’t know. I wasn’t looking into a mirror after all. All I saw was the pizza, the three young women, one looking at me expectantly, the other two kind of peering at me anxiously, probably hoping their friend hadn’t recklessly engaged with a werewolf.

“Hmmm,” said I, eyeballing the cheese-sodden slice admiringly. “It does look good.”

“You have to try it,” my newfound foodie friend implored. “It only costs about $3 a slice at Mesa.”

Mesa, it turns out, is Mesa Pizza Dinkytown (open well into the early morning hours most nights), located just down the street from the McDonald’s.

“I’ll give it a try the next time I want pizza,” I assured her.

Satisfied, she turned back to her friends and the task at hand of devouring the pizza. I settled back in with the computer – was I really writing, or was I actually looking up the baseball scores on I forget — wondering at the wonder of it all.

Mac ‘n cheese pizza. Not the worst idea of all time, surely. Maybe a traditional favorite in, say, Palermo or Naples. Ha ha, I laughed to myself. An exuberant young woman interrupting my commune with cyberspace to urge me on to give mac ‘n cheese pizza a chance. What a hoot!

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