Friday, August 13, 2010

Just Don’t Call It Pizza

Urban Flats
330 A1A North
Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
Visited Aug. 4, 2010

Beer selection: A couple really good microbrews

Food: Gourmet flatbread pizza

The life of Suit757 is never boring.

Notice, I didn’t mention anything about glamorous.

Eight hours after touching down from a trip to Greenwich, Connecticut, I was on my way to Ponte Vedra, Florida. Both destinations rank as among the most affluent on planet Earth.

But just last week was Topeka, Kansas and Russellville, Arkansas, both destinations that are, well, not on that same list.

It might surprise you which type of destination I prefer.

As a Suit in Strange Places with a schedule that can often run from 4am wake-up call to 2am check-in, finding a good diner or dive for lunch is sometimes the only thing in those 22 hours of flight delays, traffic jams and TSA crotch-groping to really get excited about.

And the good folks of Greenwich and Ponte Vedra just don’t do dives.

So I really wasn’t looking forward to finding a decent place “to lunch” (as the locals put it) in Ponte Vedra.

Since I had low expectations anyway, I went to the first place I stumbled across, Urban Flats, in a strip shopping center between a store that sells $500 hand bags to housewives with too much time (and husband’s money) on their hands, and an organic juice bar called “All About Health”.

What is a “flat” you may ask?

Well, it’s a pizza for people too hoity-toity to eat pizza.

No, I’m not kidding. This small Florida-based chain is perfect for Ponte Vedra.

They serve thin wood-fired oven-baked dough covered in tomato sauce and toppings such as pepperoni, sausage, meatballs, chicken, onions and cheese.

Just don’t call it pizza. It’s a flat. Got it?

Otherwise, they will know you are from Topeka or some other God forsaken hellhole teaming with so many other unwashed.

But maybe I’m being too harsh, I thought to myself as my eyes attempted to adjust to the temporary blindness induced by the sudden transition from blaring noon-day Florida August sun to the calming dim-lit dining room.

After all, does it really matter what these people call it, if it tastes good?

And there is one thing universal about delicious food. Everybody appreciates a good meal. It’s just the oceanfront mansion dwellers can afford to pay more for it.

So I began to warm up to this “flat” idea as I perused the menu of $12-$14 personal sized pizzas, er, flats –- sorry -- with delicious-sounding fancy toppings.

I chose the Sausage Flat. Of course.

After one bite, I was a convert to trust account pizza.

The Italian sausage was outstanding, especially accompanied by caramelized onions on a sun-dried tomato sauce, sprinkled with cheese on a crispy, yet chewy perfectly browned crust. Or flat. Sorry again.

Pizzas, flats, whatever the heck you want to call it, don’t get much better than this.

As I looked around the place, I began to wish I could be here about 8 hours later.

The bar had a decent selection of taps, including Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA, the filet mignon of all microbrews. The back bar was lined with dozens of wines served by the glass.

Funky art work, flat screen TVs, slim, sexy waitresses and dimly lit tables and booths set the tone for the kind of place this becomes when the sun goes down and the lunch-time suits are gone. Live jazz and acoustic rock are performed almost every night of the week.

Yeah, it may only be noon. But the night-time scene is pretty clear.

Daddy’s little rich girls decked out in their slinky black get-ups hustling glasses of wine they can’t pronounce from daddy’s little rich boys as amateur versions of Coltrane emanate from the guy with the saxophone in the corner whom everyone is ignoring.

It’s that kind of place.

As I spun my little fantasy of Ponte Vedra blue blood party life through my mind while sitting there in my booth waiting for my check, I even began to formulate a whole new food theory.

Maybe really good food can be found in places like Ponte Vedra. Maybe I’ve been practicing reverse snobbery.

Take a humble meal like good old-fashioned pizza, cook it lovingly in a special fancy wood-fired oven, cover it in high-priced gourmet toppings, and the result can’t help but being pretty darn tasty.

When food is this good, you can call it whatever you want.

Rating: Seriously Thought About Buying Shirt
Urban Flats Flatbread Co. on Urbanspoon

No comments:

Post a Comment