The golden rule of parenting is: ‘Don’t make plans to go anywhere if you have a baby.’ Because chances are that you will either end up not going or you will regret it.
That said, there’s something comforting about not being able to go out for a fancy dinner or having to dress up and being stuck at home with a baby who refuses to sleep. In short, plans ruined, clothes changed, makeup wiped off and food delivery options decided.
It is also strange that the minute food is ordered, and a show to binge watch is decided, the baby decides to pass out and sleep like it’s the best sleep of their lives.
Italian Express in Lahore, is the perfect Lahori comfort food. I specifically add the word Lahori to this because if there is one thing I have learnt about the Lahori palette is that they like their pasta terribly overcooked and super duper saucy.
Italian Express is a small joint, which started off as a delivery service before turning into a small restaurant. The manager, who is an amicable and lovely fellow, recommended the pasta, which tasted more like Maggie noodles. Don’t get me wrong here. I do appreciate a bad pasta sloshed with Sriracha which hits the spot and Italian Express is terribly good at being bad comfort food.
On the other hand, their pizza is the food of memories, with the taste of the 90s and notes of Ginos. Something a reviewer on their Facebook page doesn’t get. The user had lamented: “I ordered special thin crust pizza for the very first and the last time…the sauce was way too tangy, poor quality cheese and that too with extra mixing of cheddar very less topping and overly cooked tortilla base with too much oil like a paratha…guys do you even know how to make pizza. Pathetic.”
Though the reviewer gave them no stars, he obviously didn’t understand how most Pakistanis crave the cheddar mozzarella pizza – the Kings and Queens of Karachi, The Uno of Lahore – the tangy sauce, which is a little ketchupy and of course, the thin crust that is soggy with crispy ends.
It’s what reminds us of our childhood. Waiting outside pizza places, kids piled in a car, parents waiting, taking the pizza home in piping hot boxes and salivating at the thought of getting that first slice. Its bad pizza but it’s just so good because it transports you back to a time you fondly miss and rarely have the time to remember.
So as you sit on your bed, eating your pizza in your pjs, watching a subtitled version of Netflix’s Money Heist, it’s the closest you get to a perfect night in. And munching down on memories, you look at that sleeping child and hope you can give her food that gives you the same kind of terrible tasting comfort.