Let me get one thing clear: I'm sick and tired of pizza. The brick-oven pizza at Hair of the Dog last Saturday was nice; but Friday and Sunday were pizza nights for us also. Friday because it's our traditional pizza-and-video night, and Sunday because we had to feed the kids quick after putting them through a day of waiting in line for the Portland Obama rally. The last straw was on Monday morning, when the only thing I could find for breakfast was the final slice of Friday's pizza.
It's tempting to swear that I'll never eat pizza again, but that pledge would soon be broken. The truth is, our household would fall apart if Vincente's Pizza wasn't right around the corner from us at 20th and Hawthorne. The Friday ritual is deeply ingrained: call Vincente's and order a large cheese and large Caesar salad to go. For the need-food-now situations -- like last Sunday -- sitting down and ordering slices ($3.25) is faster and easier.
There's another benefit to dining in: Vincente's keeps a decent selection of beer, about 20 taps and quite a few good bottles. Some of the standard taps from the menu:
- Hale's Cream Ale
- Terminal Gravity IPA
- Caldera IPA
- Anderson Valley Boont Amber Ale
- Laurelwood Free Range Red
- Alameda Black Bear Stout
- Rogue Dead Guy Ale
- Amnesia Pale Ale
The bottled beer selection varies, but they usually keep pretty current seasonals from Lagunitas, Full Sail, and Rogue. Looking at the picture here, I can pick out some other good calls: Newcastle, Ayinger, Pelican IPA, something by Lazy Boy. The big bottles are mostly $4.75, so I tend to stick with the draft pints for $3.50. I think there's a $3.75 big-bottle special on Sundays. In a beer emergency, you can buy the big bottles to go, but they looked befuddled when I asked if they would fill a growler from the taps. It would be nice if they did: Hot Lips Pizza one block east fills growlers, though their beer selection -- and their pizza -- are no match for Vincente's. (Speaking of nearby beer choices, the 7-11 across Hawthorne from Vincente's now carries the Ninkasi 22-ouncers.)
At lunchtime, only the few tables on the original restaurant side are open, plus a few more tables outdoors. At night, a whole new section called the Winking Toad Bar is open, including a small loft upstairs with a pool table. A couple of years ago they had dartboards upstairs, but I guess it was too crowded up there, because they took them down. I also miss the foosball table that was in the tiny pinball room on the restaurant side. It was rickety, and disgustingly filthy, and would run so low on balls that one time we bought new ones for it, but the girls and I were sad to see it go.
Pizza: you can't live with it, you can't live without it. At least you can enjoy some good beer with it at Vincente's.