CO. (Company) PIZZA Restaurant | 230 9th Ave. (at 24th St.) | 212.243.1105 | |


WHAT MAKES A thing "special" is its ability to make an ordinary thing extraordinary. Or taking something already pretty good and making it way better. Like today, when not only was it Friday (and the 13th!), but a beautifully weathered day to boot. Not just a beautiful day to be out, but a beautiful day to be out to meet my friend, Katie, who doesn't just love my photography, but wanted me to help her buy one of my photos enlarged to poster size.

She have been trying to get together to do this for months, and today our schedules finally matched as we were available to meet today at Adorama, a camera/photography store on 18th. As (bad) luck would have it, already running late, I showed up to meet her without the flash drive with the image file on it.

I did remember that, since we first arranged to do this, I had started a page on a site called Imagekind where I had started selling prints of my photos. I told her that she could actually just go to the site and buy the photo I mine that she just loved.

Which was actually a good thing, since that meant more time for lunch, which we had also planned, so we walked a few blocks over to a popular pizza restaurant called Co. (short for Company), walking in, admiring the clean architecture of the décor, the appreciative pre-lunch crowd, and my special lunch guest.

Our great, great waiter (wish I'd gotten his name) was very attentive, and as Katie and I scanned the menu, he was quick to bring us water and serve her a hot tea, and me black cherry soda, making the upcoming meal a bit more special.

And specials are what we ordered, appealingly described by our server. First, a salad of sucrine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, avocado, radishes, corn, blackberries, and a spicy vinaigrette.

Yes, a visually and palatably attractive salad, layered with cooperative flavors and full of fresh vegetables, with a tasty kick of heat from the spicy vinaigrette, which only suffered from outlasting the sweetness of the plump blackberries it, for a while, nicely countered.

People came to Company for the pizzas, made extra special by the dough made by the people behind the city-revered Sullivan Street Bakery. Their pie of the day was one with oyster and shiitake mushrooms, gruyere and pecorino cheese, bechamel sauce, dill, garlic, and jalepenos. Katie I thought that sounded just fine, but better without the jalapenos. Our "special" order came out within minutes, hot and glorious.

Company Restaurant, Mushroom Pie

Up until the pies had showed up, Katie and I were catching up on many—some newly realized—mutual interests, such as acting, Hawaii, food (of course), and photography. We were so enjoying our experience together that I let her do something I never thought I would: take pictures for PHUDE with my camera! But I did let her, and I think she did a terrific job (with only the teeniest bit of "direction")...:

Fine job, right? We sectioned off slices for ourselves; I chose to grab my slice by the handful, she, lady-like, took to her slice with silverware.

This pie was indeed special. Richly layered with earthy and aromatic flavors, boosted by a rich but not heavy bechamel, and finely served on a firm, crispy, pliable, charcoal-y crust. Katie and I did enjoy this pizza very much, neither one of us understanding, however, why someone would want to add jalapeños to it (sometimes something can be too special).

She, petite little stunner that she is, had just the one slice; I ate two and had the special privilege of being given Katie's second slice as a take-home gift. (She's taking me next to my first raw food experience at Pure Food and Wine.)

We had agreed that we were happily full, and about to ask for the check, when kind waiter came by to recommend desserts. I was sure neither one of us had room for dessert, but the waiter started rattling off ingredients to some sweet thing that had balsalmic-macerated strawberries, toffee, whipped cream, and graham cracker crust, Katie and I same to be on the same page as she shot me a agreeable look.

So, dessert it was, and this scrumptious-looking slice of pie was soon placed on our table in all of its flirtatiously photogenic glory.

Like some flirts, however, there wasn't much "personality" to back up its prettiness. Good, yes, but ordinary, with familiar flavors of graham cracker and fruit, but no noticeable hint of acid from the balsamic vinegar, and not enough toffee to break through the strawberries' thick sweetness.

What made dessert better, though, was Katie letting me video tape her critique of the dessert, but me letting her videotape me (another first) in the video as well [VIDEO].

And what made overall good meal a better afternoon was finally getting to spend that time with someone I had been trying to connect with for months, catching up on each others lives and personal amusements. Katie is as fun to hang out with as she is to look at, and not only was I honored to have her want to buy a print of one of my pictures, I was likewise honored that she, herself, let me take a cool picture of her:

So now, you can buy a print of Katie('s arm and chin) on the very same site she's buying a print from me. Well, isn't that special...?!

(For prints of the above image, click HERE or the image itself...! ;)

Bun Apple Tea!


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CO. (Company) PIZZA Restaurant | 230 9th Ave. (at 24th St.) | 212.243.1105 | |