By Brian Mark Griffin
Somehow, I got through high school acne free for the most part. Midway through my first year of college, however, I started breaking out with my first real case of blemishes on my face. I also began noticing that my heart and lungs felt different while walking up and down the hills in Pullman than they did a few months earlier. I made an appointment with the campus doctor’s to ask if there was something that was diagnosably wrong with me.
“Yes” he said. “You’re fat.”
I had been given my first real taste of freedom, and I had developed a serious problem with cheeseburgers and curly fries. My meal plan made them so easily accessible that there was no stopping me. I used them almost as crispy, savory spoons to shovel ranch dressing into my face on a nightly basis. My second year, something had to change. I had to start grocery shopping.
Fresh produce and meats were out of the question, so I focused primarily on the frozen food section of the grocery store. I had burritos, Hot Pockets and the occasional salisbury steak for date nights, but when I discovered Totino’s Party Pizzas, my mind was blown. My mother had never introduced me to this delicacy, perhaps because she loved me and had concern for my arteries, but she wasn’t here now. There was no one to stop me from filling my freezer from top to bottom with microwavable 98¢ pleasures. They stacked nicely because they are square, just like the bag that they came in. They also tasted a lot like the bag that they came in, and the nutritional value was similar as well. I don’t know why they call them party pizzas, because these puppies are made for just one. You cut it up into four pieces like you don’t plan on eating the whole thing, but you know you are. You know it. The roof of your mouth would almost certainly peel away after you chomped down on the molten cheese and pepperoni cubes, but that’s all a part of the experience. And you can’t let it cool down. You aren’t eating 98¢ pizzas because you make great decisions.
Hopefully I have given you the idea that I am a discerning pizza connoisseur, because I’m about to tell you about some of my favorite pizza that I have ever had in my life.
What the owners have done with 4th Base and Foodie’s Brick and Mortar is nothing short of transformational. Parking my car on an overcast morning on the street in downtown Kennewick made me feel like I was somewhere else entirely. I stepped out of my car and saw the mural on the side of the building, and nothing in that moment reminded me of the Kennewick that I have come to know so well in the last seventeen years. It feels just like I wish that it would. Stepping inside, I found an unmistakably local atmosphere with cheerleading uniforms and high school letterman’s jackets decorating the walls to give a retrospective ambience juxtapozed by the flat screens placed throughout the room. The most important flat screen, of course, was displaying the menu.
The menu showed 24 combination pizzas, hot wings, and a couple of sides as well as a list of toppings to create your own pizza. I decided that given my pizza history, the choices of toppings may be better left to those who know what they are doing, but I was positive that we wanted to start off with wings. We checked out the barbecue, and the single X sauce. They arrived in the classic paper lined basket with carrots and celery, and most definitely did not disappoint. I have very strong opinions about hot wings which have been documented extensively in the past, and I will jump at any opportunity to do so again (I have been once crowned a wing king, and I have the t-shirt to prove it) but I am going to save that story for another time. Just let it be known that the wings are stellar.
My companions and I decided to divide two pizzas in half with four different choices. The first pairing was the Combo, which is more or less a straight up combination pizza (also available through Totino’s) and the more unique Black and Blue. The Black and Blue has a base of their house buffalo sauce with toppings of blackened chicken, bacon, gorgonzola, mozzarella, green onions and a blue cheese swirl (ranch also available, to perpetuate that argument.)
Black and Blue / Combo
Half of the second pizza was the Fast Pitch, which is a unique variation of the classic combination, with pepperoni, sausage and bacon with a subtle spice added by red onions, garlic and cherry peppers. This is hands down my favorite style of topping for a pizza, and this is one of the best that I have ever sampled. Every once in a while though, you need to throw some garlic sauce into the mix. When we arrived, there was an incredible aroma filling every corner of the building, and I was told that it was the preparation of the garlic confit sauce, and I had to check out one of the pizzas with it. The OMG!! Chicken, which has only a slightly overly enthusiastic name, was excellent. Chicken, mozzarella, parmesan, prosciutto, basil and olive oil, and topped with a balsamic glaze. They haven’t really asked me to suggest names for the pizzas, but had they asked, I would propose something like “Oh hey, Chicken! What up?” Absolutely exquisite.
Fast Pitch / OMG Chicken
I have had too many conversations over the years with friends and clients about what there is and is not to eat and to do in the Tri-Cities. We have long been a town of Red Lobsters and Outback Steakhouses (I’m all for breadsticks and Blooming Onions, don’t get me wrong) and it is time that we support those in our area who are showcasing their culinary abilities and aesthetic sensibilities to show us what it is that we truly have to offer as a community. 4th Base Pizza is exactly what we have been waiting for.
They also have ski ball.
Brian Griffin- I am a real estate agent. I do things a little bit differently, and some would say a little bit better, if you ask. www.homeandharbor.net.