How Bad Tattoo Brewing Brought Pizza Back
I’m not the biggest fan of pizza. Before you disown me, just let me explain a little bit. I did a lot of travelling to strange corners of the world as a child and teen and, as my palate was accustomed primarily to beige food, I was afraid of the local fare everywhere I went. There were strange deep-fried balls in Hong Kong resting next to chicken feet, absorbing the spice in the air, so pungent my eyes would water. Mystery meat on sticks was being dished out on every corner in Bangkok, and though it smelled deliciously like peanut butter, I was fairly certain at age fifteen that meat should not smell anything like peanut butter. In Fiji, bowls of neon yellow mush were served next to flatbread, which doubled as the eating utensil. I watched people consume fish eyeballs, and emu burgers, snake, crocodile and shark, entire hot peppers, and everything seemed to have a fishy smell in every city I went to.
And so, we ate pizza. Pizza is the universal language when it comes to satiating hunger. There wasn’t a city or town, not an island or village, nor a single, solitary foodservice establishment buried deep in the jungle of Koh Samui that didn’t have some form of pizza on the menu. I ate pizza in grass huts on the beach. I ate pizza under palapas in monsoons. I ate pizza on New Year’s Eve, pizza on Easter, and pizza at Christmas. I ate pizza on day cruises and airplanes and on uninhabited Islands. Pizza in hotels and motels and bungalows and tents. Pizza and I became intimately acquainted on our tour across this great globe, and I have to tell you, we got sick of each other. We got really sick of each other. In fact, pizza and I broke up save for the occasional drunk hook-up when pizza was the only food to answer my desperate calls at 3 am after a sloppy night at the bar.
I grew up and matured (albeit only slightly) and began to try the meat on a stick that smelled of peanut butter. I began to dive into those bowls of Fijian curry using nothing but my hands and bread. I began to eat hot peppers whole and lament that there was still not enough heat. I began to love all that food the rest of the world was devouring and that I had so prematurely turned my nose up to as a child.
I’m afraid, my friends, that left pizza in my past, tucked neatly away somewhere between my Strawberry Shortcake bike and my crimping iron. A foggy memory and nothing more.
As such, when my husband arranged an outing at Bad Tattoo in Penticton, the only thing I was really excited about was the beer. I was simply more hyped to get to the bottom of a sleeve of Vagabond Pilsner than I was to taste their pie. Nothing against the establishment itself, it was just that pizza and I… well, we hadn’t really done much to repair the rifts in our relationship. Sure, I still eat it when it seems the only available option, and yeah, sometimes I still make it from scratch for the joy of my kin, but I’m just going to be straight-up with you here: if pizza had left my life for good last week I wouldn’t have shed a tear.
And so, I went to Bad Tattoo with nothing but beer on my mind.
Expect to wait for a table at Bad Tattoo during busier hours. As we waited for ours, I perused the menu and spotted the Sriracha Chicken pizza. My interest was piqued by the mention of everyone’s favourite sauce. You could smother sriracha on a tire, and I’d devour the thing. When we were shuffled off to our table, I actually caught myself anticipating that flavour on a pizza. The thought fizzled out pretty quick though, when my crisp, clean, refreshing Vagabond Pilsner arrived, beads of moisture tumbling down the outside of the glass and all. I sipped like a bad actor portraying the old lost-in-a-desert cliche. I’d been starved of hoppy-hydration for at least a week and gulped like it was the last beer on earth.
I’m not going to get into the beer too much because, as can probably be gleaned from the previous paragraph, I like all beer. I don’t really have that much of a discerning palate when it comes to beer. Really, if it has a ‘b’ on the label followed by two ‘e’s and an ‘r’, I’m probably going to like it, and if you dare ask me what I like about it, the answer is inevitably going to be, “It’s beer.” So, let’s just say I liked the beer at Bad Tattoo and leave it at that.
It was when the pizza arrived, though, that I was truly won over. As a group, we’d all decided on several pizzas to share. My contribution, of course, was “I need sriracha,” and so one of our choices was the Sriracha Chicken. The others we ordered were the Spanakopizza, the BCBLT, and the Chicago. These pizzas were just like they sound. The Spanakopizza was overloaded with spinach, kalamata olives, and tzatziki sauce with gorgeous tomatoes, feta cheese, and onions. The BCBLT was topped with bacon strips, heirloom tomatoes, and delicate greens. The Chicago was smothered with sausages, peppers, and onions and cut “tavern-style”.
Each of these pizzas was delicious. The Spanakopizza was bright and fresh and tasted like a top-notch Greek salad on flatbread. The BCBLT came with perfectly cooked bacon and not so much of it that it overpowered the fruity tomatoes and crisp greens. The Chicago was rich and soothing, just a fist full of soul food oozing tomato sauce.
The entire table agreed, though, that the pièce de résistance, the crowning jewel of our carbicidal feast, was, of course, the Sriracha Chicken. The funny thing is, though, the sriracha was just a subtle undertone to the whole pie. It was the tender chicken and balsamic reduction drizzled on top that made this our favourite pizza.
One of the things I love about the pizza at Bad Tattoo is the thin crust that doesn’t make you feel like you’re going to give birth to an Italian toddler. Yes, I was sat there drinking beer and slammin’ pies for hours and I did not walk away with the bloat I know you can all feel right now. I repeat: I did not feel bloated. The immaculate ingestion, if you will.
When all was said and done, the prices were reasonable, the beer was thirst-quenching, and the pizza, my friends, the pizza was so good that we’re going to make it Facebook official. We’re back together, but it’s complicated.
Have you been to Bad Tattoo? What did you think?
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