The August long weekend is upon us, Sens fans, and while many of you will sit for hours in traffic on the way to the cottage, camping, or some a rain-soaked music festival that has final grasped the fact that cultural appropriation is unacceptable, @lukeperisty and I decided to check out early on Friday afternoon for a staycation in sunny Kanata.
After taking in some of the most notable sights and landmarks of eastern Ontario, including the biggest development of the summer, we navigated through the typical congestion of Ikea bound homeowners and inadequate parking in the Big Rig lot. We were seated quickly at Big Rig, which suited us just fine as hard-hitting reporting is hungry work.
Luke made a selection off the summer drink menu, trying out the raspberry ale. The colour reminded me of a punch I’d find in this book. That’s not a bad thing, I really love punch. The author had a cola beverage. Nothing to report, it was a cola beverage.
Waiting for our food, our thoughts turned to Chef Chris. We’re all too familiar with his exploits on the ice and his family’s interest in nutrition, but what about his skills in the kitchen?
Luke played it safe with a classic grilled cheese and tomato pairing, sampling the somewhat pejoratively titled “Grown Up Grilled Cheese and Tomato Bisque”. It looked appealing, tasty, and slightly decadent but its presentation was lacking. Chef Chris wisely avoided the conventional grill marks that so many hockey fans gravitate toward, but missed an obvious use for this product. As for the bisque, it was obviously meant for Coach Cameron, sitting two booths away; its hypnotic cream swirl had my fellow blogger suggesting a Big Rig-Boro duo could be more than a buddy cop flick and might actually be a shutdown third pairing this season.
Where this sandwich was on point was the cheese. Grown up grilled cheese sandwiches don’t rely on kid-pleasing American cheddar. They make a statement. And when Chef Chris is at the helm, the statement its making is this: it’s Chris Phillips’ house and you’re just a guest. Smoked cheddar, Havarti (known as “Grandma Cheese” in my house – don’t ask), Swiss, and gorgonzola. That’s four, FOUR, 4 cheeses. On point, Chef Chris, on point.
I entered Big Rig planning on ordering a burger, something with a subtle tie into the man himself, like the “# 4 Burger,” the “Big Rig Chop Chop Burger,” or the best named item on the menu, the “Fort Mac Daddy”. Afterall, Burgers: It’s What they Do!
But as I walked to our booth, I saw a family of four eating a pizza, served on a pedestal and realized I deserve more pedestal food. Now, I’m gonna level with you: sometimes you go out for pizza and you think, “that was really good, but there wasn’t enough meat”. But this place is called Big Rig, it’s going to have a signature meat pizza. It’s called Quattro Carne.
Four. FOUR. 4!!!!!!
Bacon, sausage, salami, pepperoni. That’s four meats. On point again, Chef Chris, on point.
You know presentation matters with this dish because it’s served on a pedestal. However, this pizza committed the biggest pizza sin in my opinion: placing the sliced, cured meats directly on top of the tomato sauce, then layering with cheese, and finally topping with bacon and sausage. It’s not that pepperoni and salami specifically shouldn’t go under the cheese, it’s just that I don’t trust pizza with toppings under cheese. This might sound ridiculous. This might seem a tad bizarre.
Let me explain.
When we were kids, my mom would make delicious pizza dough most Friday nights. The three pizzas would be divided into one for my parents, one for my younger sisters, and one for me and my older sister. One time when my older sister was about 11 and I was about nine, my sister was taking her turn dressing our pizza. Now, we would divide our pizza in half, her half would have mushrooms (one of three foods I refuse to eat) and mine would have green olives (which she doesn’t like). This particular time and in true evil sibling form, she put a mushroom under every pepperoni on my side of the pizza, then finished it off with a light dusting of mozzarella. When I bit in and was properly revolted, she laughingly revealed her duplicity, much to the delight of #DadL who also could not stop laughing.
Chef Chris’ “Quattro Carne” pizza was not a repeat of the infamous “Mushroom Surprise Pizza”. It was simply fucking good. It was probably the mounds of cheese. Definitely all the meat. It was good. Eat it.
As we waited for our bills, the classic rock soundtrack of 70s hits fit perfectly. The Eagles reminded us that we could never leave and it became stunningly apparent that the Sens have a better branding and design team than Chef Chris: