Sunday, March 5, 2006

I think we can safely call it Tour de Pizza.

I am one of those people who loves to drive around, exploring things and places. This has been a habit of mine for as long as I can remember, but last night, I believe I took the term "cruising" to a whole new level. My wife and some of her girlfriends were out for the evening, so my younger daughter, 14 years old and a true adventurer, embarked with me on what was to become a true Tour de France of pizza. We didn't know it when we started, but it turned into an odyssey.

Since our lunch had filled us for quite a while, Hannah and I waited until about 7:30 to head out for dinner. Finally, we were ready to depart. The destination: in town. (In Atlanta, I-285, the Perimeter Expressway, divides the city into what is affectionately(?) known as "ITP" (inside the Perimeter) and "OTP" (outside the Perimeter). We live OTP, but we spend a lot of time ITP, because, in Hannah's words, "there's so much cool stuff there".

We left home with the best of intentions. We were headed for a place call Maharaja, an Indian restaurant on La Vista Road, just slightly ITP on the east side. We arrived at the intended location, but alas, the place had changed hands and now looked way too sleepy for our tastes. I then remembered a place called Zyka, also Indian, which I thought was almost next door, but as we drove along La Vista, it was nowhere to be found, and we continued our journey until we reached North Druid Hills Road, passing along the way a Fellini's Pizza place that looked, OK, pretty cool.

We took a left on North Druid Hills, passed the Toco Hills shopping center (pretty hard to miss), then emerged into a kind of undeveloped area until we reached Lawrenceville Highway, where we took a right turn, then headed down Lawrenceville Highway until we ran into Church Street, where we took a left. I had decided by this time that we would just head down to Decatur, a part of town which is known for trendy eateries and as the home of the Indigo Girls. But lo, just as we turned onto Church Street, we stumbled upon what else but ZYKA, in a totally different part of town from where I thought it had been. So we decided to check it out.

Oh, my! Zyka is a large no-frills fast-food/dining hall of what appeared to be some of the best Indian food in town. The place smelled like heaven! But it was a bit chaotic, so we decided that we'd move on. So we got back in the car and headed on down Church Street to Decatur. At the intersection of Church and Commerce Drive, we made a left, and there on our right was another Fellini's Pizza, right across the street from the new Ice House Lofts. So, OK, by this time it was almost 8:30 -- time to eat. And eat we did...the pizza was fantastic, the wait staff pleasant and humorous, just an all around good place.

All along in this odyssey, Hannah had wanted to head downtown. Well, at this point, we were almost there. Heading out of Fellini's, we got back on (stay with me here) East Ponce de Leon, which turns into West Ponce de Leon, which then turns into Ponce de Leon. We took PDL to Peachtree Road (yes, THE Peachtree), passing another Fellini's Pizza on the way, then headed north on Peachtree, cruising through the heart of downtown. We took Peachtree up through the Arts Center area, then took a left on quiet Deering Road to Northside Drive, where we turned left and headed back down to 17th Street and the Atlantic Station development, a sort of mini-city within the city.

We cruised through Atlantic Station and cam back out to 17th, where we headed over to Peachtree, then north (passing yet another Fellini's) through the Lenox Square area to Peachtree-Dunwoody Road. We then took Peachtree-Dunwoody north to Windsor Parkway, making a right on Windsor Parkway (in the Oglethorpe University area), and took it to Ashford-Dunwoody Road. At one time, there had been a bunch of hoboes who hung out on Windsor Parkway, and I wanted to see if they were still there. They weren't.

We made a left on Ashford-Dunwoody, then took it north (once again becoming OTP) until Mount Vernon Road, where we made a left and headed for GA 400, the expressway which took us home. We pulled into the driveway at 11:10, having passed four Fellini's locations in the process (I had passed a fifth one earlier in the day). We were tired, but happy in the knowledge that we now know where to go for some of the best pizza in town. And oh, by the way, we now know where Zyka is as well. Maybe we'll go there next time!