On the subject of taken-for-granted pleasures in this world, Munch posits that pizza must be near the top of the list given its ubiquitous nature in the American gastronomy.
Bad pizza rates the same as a good day at work, and great pizza is even equated with -- ahem -- amorous activity.
There is gourmet pizza, best with a bottle of Italian red, or a Belgian ale; delivered pizza, perfect for a lazy Steelers Sunday; and pizzeria pizza -- doled out on paper plates and devoured by customers like rations for refugees.
But simply eating a decent pizza, out with friends, at a cozy neighborhood tavern with a cold one and a Penguin game on the flat screen ... well, that's a nice, simple way to spend a Monday.
So it was that Munch and Roommate of Munch (ROM) trotted down to the South Side to catch the Pittsburgh Flightless Waterfowl and tear into some 'za.
Mind you Munch is no stranger to Michael's. Time was when a Michael's pie was in Munch's five take-out food groups, in between Sesame Inn's General Tso's and Chipotle's carnitas burritos. But to Munch's shock and awe, Munch hadn't written about it before and though it had been a while, the brown bagged one had to see if the ol' joint was still up to snuff.
The handsome old wooden bar still stands, the warm red neon sign beckons, and the clientele still consists of the local citizenry who wouldn't be caught dead a few blocks away at the Cheesecake Factory. In other words, pure old South Side.
The pizza is still great -- tasty sauce, liberal amounts of cheese and serviceable crust. ROM tossed back a few cheap Yuenglings ($2.75 a pint) and we devoured a plain old small (six-cut) pepperoni ($7.85) before lighting into the decadent Turkey Club pizza (small, $8.35).
This simple creation of the Gods is as advertised -- a regular pizza base, covered with fresh tomatoes, shredded turkey and about a pound bacon and an extra layer of mozzarella applied on top before serving. Our faces practically swelled from the nitrate intake, but in this case, the risk was worth the reward.
Good pizza, cheap beer in a friendly place. Like Munch says, it's the simple pleasures.
Michael's is located at 2612 Sarah St, South Side Flats. Call 412-381-6102. Want to be an FOM (Friend of Munch)? Check out Munch's myspace page at www.myspace.com/munch_pg .