I snapped this picture of one of the menu boards at Arcata Pizza and Deli. This place has been a destination of choice for Mr. Pat and I for many years. After Costco trips we sometimes make our way to the other side of the bay to gorge ourselves on the eats.
A few years ago we discovered the beauty that is Gouda Cheese. Gouda is the kind of cheese that is so close to perfection. Soft, and if smoked, has such a robust flavor that taking one bite can make you lightheaded. The food gurus at Arcata Pizza and Deli had taken this cheese from Heaven, and created a deep fried Gouda stick that was so good that it was obscene.
The method of taking the smoked Gouda, coating it, and deep frying it remains a mystery to Mr. Pat and I. Mr. Pat has tried to recreate AP&D’s crafty work, but to no success. So we take heart in knowing that one of our favorite joints has the goods.
Or… it HAD the goods. Looking at the menu a few nights ago (see photo above), I noticed the Gouda Sticks were erased. I immediately dismissed it as mishap by one of the employees. Silly kids and their dusting. However, something ran down the back of my spine, and I started to have a bad feeling.
I was told by the lady taking our order that the Gouda Sticks were taken off the menu because “they were not very popular”. Mr. Pat was busy getting situated at our table when I turned to him to give him the devastating news. My heart sunk in my chest, and I could only imagine how Mr. Pat, he of the Cheese-o-holics Grand Council, would react to this news.
My face turned emotionless, and I told Pat that the Gouda Sticks were no longer on the menu. Now I can’t say for sure, but he might have slumped over from the weight of the crushing news. There was a literal three minutes of silence as we stood there in shock and speechless (lucky for us nobody was in line behind us).
I knew that we had to keep moving, if only to avoid the spectacle of breaking down in front of a Deli full of people. I quickly ordered the Mozzarella sticks to try and cushion the blow to our appetites.
Even after my order was taken, I continued to stare at the spot of the menu where the Gouda Sticks had been. My denial had set in very quickly. We sat at our table and could barely say a word. I kept glancing up at the menu, and I guess I was hoping the item would appear again.
Mr. Pat and finally were able to get over the initial shock, and we discussed how, if possible, we could get Gouda sticks back on the menu at AP&D. First we would encourage every patron who comes into the deli to ask for Gouda sticks. We also talked about making signs and picketing outside the place to demand the return of Gouda.
The truth is I am heartbroken (I will not speak for Mr. Pat on this issue). I awoke the day after and I felt like a part of me was no longer there. As for the long term impacts of this devastating turn of events, it is unclear. Perhaps with therapy, and proper medication, I can learn to love the world again.
It will be hard to go on. I wish I knew how to quit you, Gouda!