Thursday, August 26, 2004

Blog from Minnesota I: I Want My V.P.N.*

by Tom Bozzo

It's vacation week in Minnesota. The last few trips to visit my mother-in-law in Edina have had in common a trip to Punch Neapolitan Pizza in Eden Prairie. I'm partial to the "Palermo," with spicy salami and saracene olives.

The Eden Prairie Punch is a block from the Eden Prairie Center mall (location for Kevin Smith's "Mallrats"), which is to say in the tenth circle of strip-mall-and-chain-store hell. A recent redecoration ditched a European cafe ambiance in favor of rustic pizza parlor, and was accompanied by the elimination of table service (which has roughly halved our typical per-person tabs by eliminating second glasses of wine, etc.). Punch is still by far the best thing about Eden Prairie, and it is, in fact, the restaurant I'd most like to transplant to Madison.

Why not, say, Charlie Trotter's or Chez Panisse? Madison is not short of fine dining options, especially given its size. But a pizza version of Gresham's law is in operation there, thanks to the proliferation of outlets serving the questionable tastes and limited budgets of the UW student body. I'd have to think an outlet in one of the upscale strip mallslifestyle shopping centers on the far west side could make it.

*Vera pizza Napoletana
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