Today was not a good food day. I went to visit Roadfood pioneers and great writers Jane and Michael Stern at their house in Connecticut. I brought them a box of schnecken (pecan sticky buns) and a black and white cookie from Greenberg's, a classic New York Jewish bakery that is simply not very good anymore except for the schnecken and the black and white cookies. We had a blast hanging out and swapping writer war stories.
When I left, Michael told me I had to go to their latest discovery, Wave Hill, a bakery that made great rustic bread. Michael said it was on the way to my final lunch destination, the new Fairfield location of the seminal New Haven pizzeria Pepe's. It was all downhill from there. First, Wave Hill was closed by the time I got there. The sign on the door said they close at noon, and I got there by 12:10 or so. I was going crazy when I got there because I could see a few loaves of bread that could have been mine if I could just get in the door. I could also smell the bread, which smelled absolutely amazing. I also called the number on the door, and, yup, I got a recording.
Then I made it to the Fairfield Pepe's by 1 p.m. or so, and there was a big line out front and it was moving very slowly (maybe not at all). I tried to open the front door to the place and it wouldn't open. It turns out it only opens from the inside because they don't want people waiting inside. Talk about a warm welcome! I managed to slip in the door when someone was leaving and I asked the man at the counter how long it would take to get a pizza to go.
He said with a completely straight face, "My next to-go opening is at 2:40 p.m."
You see the kind of preferential treatment I get because I wrote a book about pizza. I've got such clout in the pizza community that I can't even get a pizza to go for an hour and forty minutes when I arrive unannounced at Pepe's in Fairfield, CT.