205, rue Vielle du Temple, Paris 75003
Métro: Filles du Calvaire or St. Sebastien-Froissart
I’ve been wanting to try Pink Flamingo Pizza since every single person I know sent me this New York Times Frugal Paris article when they found out I was moving to France. The idea was so lovely – order your pizzas, take a pink balloon, and go find a spot along Canal St. Martin and wait for your picnic to be delivered. I’m surprised that it took me so long to actually go to Pink Flamingo. Some of that can be attributed to the long hard winter that made sitting outside anywhere seem less than delightful. But most of it can be attributed to the fact that when I investigated the Pink Flamingo website (yes, I like scouring menus on websites as a hobby), the whole thing seemed, well, kinda gimmicky.
Perhaps the problem is that I lived in New York City for just a bit too long to have much patience for creative ingredient combinations on pizza. At an old-school New York pizzaria, there are only a handful of toppings available and you can bet your ass that none of them are pineapple. Or perhaps it was my time in Southern California, home of the stupidest pizza in the world, that got my guard up. Either way, Pink Flamingo boasts unique, vaguely filmic pizzas in a kitschy environment and I’ll admit I got nervous when I saw formulations like La Che (Cuban-style pork marinated for 24 hours in garlic, lime, green onions, and coriander with fried plantains), La Gandhi (Sag Paneer, Baba Ganoush, and mozzarella), or La Bjork (smoked salmon, fish roe, and crème fraîche) on the menu. It seemed to be the recipe for a California Pizza Kitchen style disaster.
But I just kept hearing good things about Pink Flamingo, and when I by chance walked by their smaller Marais branch on rue Vielle du Temple on my way to APC to admire things I cannot afford, I was pretty charmed by their funky décor and the VW bus that sits out front. You see, as a child I was totally obsessed with pink flamingos and wanted nothing more than grow up and be the crazy old lady with a veritable flock of plastic ones in her front yard. To see that much pink flamingo kitsch aggregated in one location, in Paris no less, got me all hot and bothered.
I had suggested to S that we eat there on the hungover day that followed our night of being blind drunk, but we had already been badly burned by brunch by Breakfast in America (already said my piece on this, but you can mentally insert a shudder in all references to this place hereafter) and neither one of us were interested in another stupid contrivance with bad food. B finally agreed to check it out with me on our weekly date night (I know! If I wasn’t so happy I’d gag too!) after we saw a pretty rare print of Pasolini’s Mamma Roma, his totally mesmerizing (if depressing) indictment of Italian culture. It was my first Anna Magnani film and oh man, is it worth the trip to Accattone if you happen to be in Paris in the next few weeks. I guess Criterion has also already gotten their sweaty little paws on the thing (I jest, I totally love those guys), so you can probably Netflix it too if you don’t live in Paris or if you can’t stand the atmospheric charm of Accattone.
It was rather late and rainy by the time we finished the film, so sitting along the Canal while we ate didn’t really seem like an option. We headed to the Marais branch of Pink Flamingo and immediately found ourselves transported into a Jim Jarmusch film – Tom Waits on the stereo, checkerboard tablecloths, dim lighting, pictures of Brooklyn on the walls, and what B calls “a studied grittiness” (I was going to just steal that outright, but all those lectures I give my students about plagiarism have finally gotten to me). We decided to go for it an order some of the more adventurous combinations on the menu: La Basquiat (gorgonzola, fresh figs, and prosciutto) and L’Almodovar (a “paella pizza” with chicken, shrimp, mussels, chorizo, fresh peas, and a tomato saffron cream sauce). It smelled really good in there, and we were impressed to read that all the flour used on the premises was organic and that all the ingredients were bought fresh daily from small, local producers and retailers. The guys who worked there were surprisingly nice, especially given that they are probably some of the hippest hipsters in the hippest part of the Marais (that’s pretty hip, people). And the pizza:
Oh.my. lord. This stuff is delicious. Thin, perfectly charred crust, sweet tomato sauce, and a carefully considered combination of toppings that were flat-out alchemic in your mouth. Both B and I walked in to this place expecting to get something out of our system, and instead found ourselves waxing poetic about these perfect pizzas. We brought the menu home and now find plotting future visits to this place one of our favorite activities (“Ooh, next time we should do La Macias (tajine-style chicken cooked with onions, ginger, coriander, and cinnamon, served with pickled lemons, and green and purple olives) and La Poulidor (finely-sliced duck meat, apples, and goat cheese)!” or “Don’t we practically have to order L’Obama (grilled ham and pineapple chutney) at some point if we really want to call ourselves good Americans?”). Best of all, my local branch not only does home deliveries (by cute hipster boy on bicycle no less!), but will also happily bring you your pizza on the grounds of the Musée Picasso if you want to have a picnic. But I suspect we will be trying the Canal delivery service next, as boozing by water features is already in pretty heavy activity rotation. Might as well add some truly fantastic pizza into the mix.
Details: Go with it and you won’t be disappointed! Pizzas range from 10.5 – 16€ apiece, and we did see a happy couple share one. Clarence only shares pizza if he can still eat the quantitative equivalent of an entire pie, so B and I were pretty stuffed with two pizzas. Free bicycle delivery to a local outdoor picnic spot, complete with a souvenir pink balloon so the guy can find you. Home delivery requires that you spend at least 15€ euros and they charge you 2€ fee. As far as I can tell, that’s a lot of hipster sweat for a small price. Open everyday for lunch and from 7-11:30 p.m. They also appear to be in Berlin as well! Their website is definitely worth a gander.
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B came to my place in a state of pure glee a few nights ago and drug me to see this billboard:
This baby, you see, appears to share the same name as one of my favorite readers. A silly association, perhaps, but we thought of you, Hattie. Hope this delights you as much as it did us.