So my friend said: “You have GOT to go to the Green Door. It’s the greatest pizza anywhere!” So today I finally did and it was a most unusual experience. In through the the great portal of the Damascus Gate, looking the same way it did when Salah-ed-Din first saw it, down through the main vegetable souq, crowded with Sunday afternoon shoppers, turn left into an extremely obscure little alley, and there it was, waiting for me. The Green Door.
Went in, down a flight of steps into a smoky room with a few tables and chairs and a deaf-mute woman sitting at a table eating pizza. Even lower down was the floor in front of the wood-burning oven where the pizzaiolo sat guard with a couple of age-darkened peels to defend himself. “You want?” he said. “Pizza,” sez I. “With meat or without?” he asked. “Without.” (By then I was feeling like Ishmael at the Trypots in Moby Dick.) I tried my best to ingratiate myself: “You know, everyone in America says this is wonderful pizza.” “Gmmph,” sez he. So he crawls out from the space in front of the cavernous oven, goes over to a fridge, takes out a pre-formed pizza dough with a raised edge all around and proceeds to unwrap three triangles of La Vache Qui Rit and spreads it all over the inside of the pizza shell. Then dribbles tomato paste from a can and then cracks two eggs into the shell, gives them a quick stir and throws the “pizza” into the oven.
I want to say it was the most delicious pizza I’ve ever had in my life but I’d be lying if I said that. It tasted like commercial cheese spread, tomato paste, and egg. The crust was pretty good, the experience was amazing (he also hauled from the back of the oven a big tray of baked eggplant, another big tray of roasted chicken, but they were not for me–they went off to somebody’s house or restaurant or who knows where), and I’m darned glad I went. But best pizza in the universe? Give me a break!