The Pizza Cookery

The Pizza Cookery

After securing the pizza ingredients, it was time to channel my inner Master Chef. I feel confident with this challenge, I have been perfecting this dish for over a decade. That said, you do not win Master Chef by playing it safe, so I decided to try a few new things such as garlic salt to stand out from the competition — I can hear Gordon Ramsay asking me in his British accent “Why on earth would you choose to try something you’ve never done before on such a crucial night?

Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately for me, today’s dish will not be evaluated by our standard judges; but rather, by the most important person on earth, my stunning wife. She has flown all the way from the living room to be in this Master Chef kitchen with us tonight. I feel privileged and honored to be cooking for such a distinguished guest tonight.

I am looking at my fresh basil, succulent Roma tomato, and spicy jalapeno, and I feel good about what’s in my metaphorical basket. I am ready when suddenly, in an unprecedented turn of events, a new judge emerges from behind the scenes, right in the middle of the competition — a first in Master Chef. Introducing for the first time, our beloved third member of the family, Bagheera.

Bagheera, or Baggsy as I like to call her, is an even tougher judge. She’s been in the eating business for 3 years, and has an insatiable desire to eat all the cat food worldwide. Now, she’s looking for the one person good enough to become America’s first, Baggsy Chef. Just look at her intently evaluating the freshness of the basil. With 90 minutes on the clock, the competition begins, now!

Graham Elliot approaches my station and asks me why pizza. “As an American of partial Italian descent, pizza is very close to my heart” I reply while focusing on adding the right amount of salt to my flour. “What’s the most important thing to do right now for your dish?” he asks. “The dough, I need to make sure it has enough time to rise” I respond as I begin to knead the dough. “Will you have enough time to let the dough rise?” he follows up. “Yes Chef” I assure him. “Good luck!” he says with skeptical undertones. “Thank you Chef” I conclude the conversation as I move on to the sauce.

With just enough time for the pizza to bake, I place it in the oven and hope that the risks pay off. I stare at my pie through the oven window as the crusts begin to turn golden brown. The clock keeps ticking. I look at the pie, then at the clock, and back to the pie. We are down to the last few minutes. I open the oven door, confirm it is cooked, and take the pie out. “60 seconds remaining,” I hear the judges say. I briefly let the pizza cool down before plating. “5, 4, 3, 2, 1, hands up!” they shout.

It came down to the last second, but I did it! Feeling accomplished, the judges ask me to come up. Joe Bastianich makes his way to me, “describe your plate” he commands. I imagine him throwing my plate in the trash, then snap out of it. “Today I present an American rendition of a traditional Margherita pie composed of fresh mozzarella, Roma tomatoes instead of San Marzano, and organic basil, drizzled with garlic-infused olive oil.” He looks at my plate, then at me. We make eye contact when, enter our guest judges, wife and Baggsy.

The wife is pleased and the Baggsy is satisfied just sniffing. I exhale a sigh of relief! That was an intense challenge, one that ultimately was worth it just to see my gorgeous wife smile.

Tell me, have you ever made pizza from scratch? Do you enjoy cooking, or do you prefer take-out? What is your favorite dish to cook?

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(Featured Image by: Mr. Ramdolfi)

The Pizza Ingredients

The Pizza Ingredients

The wife and I have been watching Master Chef lately — a famous cooking competition show that we had somehow managed to unintentionally evade since its inception a decade ago. It was originally intended to be background noise as we took care of chores such as folding laundry or washing dishes. But with time, we started to pay attention. Before we knew it, we were invested. Now, I am inspired to cook.

I, like most people, have passionately loved pizza since, well, since I can remember. For that reason, 13 years ago I decided to try making my own, from scratch. Long story short, it was disgusting. The dough was under-cooked, the sauce was unbearably salty, and the toppings were sub-par — the memory still haunts me. Over a decade later, through perseverance and multiple, multiple attempts, I have perfected The Ramdolfi Pizza™ (not actually trademarked).

Master Chef in mind and inspiration in heart, we drove to the grocery store to acquire the freshest of ingredients for the freshest of pizzas. Admittedly, Mrs. Ramdolfi is vastly more talented in selecting the perfect fruits, including tomatoes — and yes, they are technically considered fruits. For that reason, the stunning wife pictured above helped me pick the perfect tomato for this pie.

Ready to create the perfect pizza sauce with the perfect tomatoes, I proceeded to inspect the store’s basil for freshness, as pictured above. Satisfied with their selection, we moved on to the garlic, mozzarella, and other secret ingredients. It’s actually a rather simple recipe, but it is one that I’ve been developing since the mid 2000’s.

Fun fact: The wife enjoys riding the ends of shopping carts — up until I decide to take pictures, then she is just unamused. I like to give her a hard time, but the truth is that I think it’s adorable, which is why I also tend to encourage it.

Back to Master Chef. Upon securing the most delicious ingredients, I spotted some items that beckoned me with their tempting convenience…

I entertained them for an instant, and even lifted them just to confirm what I instinctively knew, they were but a mockery of Italian cuisine. Could they make a decent pie? Maybe. But would I have to turn in my Italian card? Absolutely. Unamused by these Americanized ingredients, we headed straight to the self-checkout stations, and on to our Master Chef challenge at home.

Tell me, do you like to have shows playing as background noise? Do you pronounce it tomato or to-mah-to? Would you rather buy premade meals or make your own from scratch?

Thank you so much for visiting our corner of the internet! If you enjoyed this post, please make sure to subscribe and follow us on Instagram for more caffeinated content! Have an awesome day! ☕️️

(Featured Image by: Mr. Ramdolfi)

It’Sugar Candy Store

It’Sugar Candy Store

Spider-Man: Far From Home was awesome! But our date was far from over. Universal CityWalk still had much to offer. As we wandered around, we stumbled upon some interesting shops, including It’Sugar — and no, that’s not a typo.

The Ramdolfis wandering around CityWalk for fun

It’Sugar is a large candy store that offers specialty sweets, some of which I had never even heard of before. The wife spotted the store and quickly led me into it. I was initially reluctant to follow, but she was so excited! It’s difficult to say no to an excited wife.

The thing about candy is that it’s delicious, but unless you have Mrs. Ramdolfi’s metabolism, you are certain to pay the price. If you’re like me, you were not blessed with the genetic material required to consume sweets and process them like they’re veggies. As such, I was not amused by the plethora of colorful temptations surrounding me — but wife was.

Mr. Ramdolfi unamused with the plethora of sweets tempting him to make poor decisions

The truth is that I have actively been trying to get back in shape for the last few months, so partaking in any of these treats would be counterproductive to say the least — even if they do have all sorts of Jelly Belly jelly bean flavors including Krispy Kreme!

It’Sugar was a fun stop, but ultimately we chose to be responsible adults, with aging bodies that prefer nutrition over tasty empty calories, and leave before we changed our minds.

Tell me, do you have a sweet tooth? What is your favorite candy? Are you still able to consume sugar confections without gaining a pound, or have you reached the age of conscious eating?

Thank you so much for visiting our corner of the internet! If you enjoyed this post, please make sure to subscribe and follow us on Instagram for more caffeinated content! Have an awesome day! ☕️️

(Featured Image by: Mr. Ramdolfi)

Spider-Man: Far From Home

Spider-Man: Far From Home

While at Universal CityWalk, we had the opportunity to watch the latest installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Spider-Man: Far From Home. Needless to say, it was awesome!

We watched Spider-Man in theater No. 5

If you are into Marvel Superheroes, I urge you to go watch Spider-Man: Far From Home today, nay, yesterday. This film was perhaps the best Spider-Man movie thus far — and that is considering Sam Raimi’s second installment in his trilogy. We expected to enjoy it, but I do not think either of us expected to love it.

I am grateful that we were able to watch this movie at our favorite theater. Universal Cinema AMC is always a fantastic cinematic experience. It is definitely on the pricier end, but I would say it’s worth it. The luxurious reclining seats alone are worth the premium. Still, we reserve this theater for special occasions.

The Ramdolfis at Universal Cinema AMC

Two hours and nine minutes of awesome movie fun later, we were on our way to more adventures at Universal CityWalk.

Tell me, have you seen Spider-Man: Far From Home? What did you think of it? Which iteration of Spider-Man do you like best?

Thank you so much for visiting our corner of the internet! If you enjoyed this post, please make sure to subscribe and follow us on Instagram for more caffeinated content! Have an awesome day! ☕️️

(Featured Image by: Mr. Ramdolfi)

Random Ralphs Run

Random Ralphs Run

Finally back at home, the wife wanted a watermelon, for which I summoned my best Princess Bride impersonation and replied: “As you wish!” We jumped in the car and were on our way to our local Ralphs for a quick grocery run.

Mr. Ramdolfi sporting his new Shady Rays on the way to Ralphs.

A hop, skip, and a jump later, we had arrived. The parking lot was mostly full as expected, it almost always is. After catching sight of someone backing up and proceeding to take their former spot, I offered the Mrs. a hand, and we headed toward our first grocery trip as a married couple. Mundane as it may have been, it felt special.

I always try taking turns carrying the grocery basket, but somehow it always ends up being my turn…

We headed straight to the produce section at the entrance of the store. Right away we spotted the reason for our trip: watermelons! At 19¢ a pound, it was an offer we could not resist — for a second there that felt like one of my coffee reviews.

The object of our trip!

The wife knocked on each of the watermelons, listening intently for their degree of ripeness. She sought a hollow sound, which she claims means the watermelon is more crisp and juicy — likely a better method than mine, which admittedly consists of grabbing whichever one is closest.

It wouldn’t be a Ramdolfi grocery trip without the wife picking up some strawberries.

After selecting the winning watermelon (and some unscheduled strawberries), we briefly considered perusing the isles for snacks and goodies. Tempting. However, we are trying to live our best lives, and that includes healthy eating — hence the fruit instead of, say, Spicy Nacho Doritos. Those are reserved for cheat days.

Mr. Ramdolfi secures the goods.

Fruit in hand, we checked out at the self-checkout stations. We usually choose self-checkouts whenever possible, we find them to be more efficient. And just like that, our first local adventure as a married couple had come to an end. Mission Accomplished.

Tell me, do you enjoy grocery shopping, or do you consider it a chore? Would you rather have fresh fruit or chips as a snack? Do you prefer to check out with a cashier or at a self-checkout?

Thank you so much for visiting our corner of the internet! If you enjoyed this post, please make sure to subscribe and follow us on Instagram for more caffeinated content! Have an awesome day! ☕️️

(Featured Image by: Mr. Ramdolfi)

At Last, The Wedding Vows

At Last, The Wedding Vows

If you’re reading this, I have just spoken the following vows to my wife.

Over a decade ago I walked into a youth group for the first time. That Wednesday night God introduced me to the most amazing girl I would ever meet. The type that you never forget, no matter the time, or distance. That night was the first step in the journey that would bring us to this very moment, and what a journey it has been.

I will not narrate every chapter of our story, mainly because I was told I only had 5 minutes, tops. I will however highlight, that you were always the first I would visit on my random unsolicited drives to friends’ houses in high school. You were always the first I would invite to every one of my fraternity’s date events during college. And you were always the first I would talk about with my friends in New York. You were always there, even when you weren’t. I am privileged to call you my friend, let alone my best friend.

Before today I sincerely believed people said I married my best friend because it sounded sweet. I mean up until you, each of these men had held that title. I must admit that asking a friend out was a foreign concept to me, which only made that night at Royce Hall all the more daunting. But for some unexplainable reason you said yes, twice. To say that I am blessed would be an understatement of unprecedented proportions.

But for once, enough about me. Love, you are, everything. You are loving, faithful, and kind. You are selfless, the likes of which I have only read in the Bible. You are caring, compassionate, and empathetic. You always put others before yourself, and you are the first to offer a helping hand, even when it’s inconvenient, specially when it’s inconvenient. You are intelligent, stunning, and much, much more than I have time to share. You are unlike anyone I have ever met. You are the love of my life.

Today, I vow to put you before myself. Hold and cherish, sickness and health, I vow to love you with the full force of my relentless narcissism. To do everything I can to make you as happy as you make me. To be the man that you deserve, and the one you need. To support, encourage, and inspire you. To be your partner, til death do us part. I pray that God gives me the wisdom to be the best husband, for who I already know will be the best wife.

Love, I have never been accused of lacking confidence, and as such I can say, I have never been more confident about anything else in my life, than us. I am thankful for the past 11 years of friendship and I look forward to a lifetime of marriage. I look forward to all of it! From building a family and growing old together, to sharing my shirts with you, spending 30 minutes to an hour recreating that scene from the Notebook every time I ask you what you want for dinner, and getting up to open the window, even though I had just gotten comfortable.

In all seriousness, I look forward to the adventure of a lifetime with you by my side, as one, under God. I love you, Mrs. Ramdolfi.

Introducing, Mr. & Mrs. Ramdolfi

(Featured Image by: Mr. Ramdolfi)

Getting Married, This Week

Getting Married, This Week

A few months ago I started this lifestyle blog to spread positivity, optimism, and a vicarious insight to life on the west coast, through married life in Los Angeles under the influence of caffeine. I was supposed to start writing next week, after the wedding. But if you’re reading this, chances are that you chose to follow my caffeinated adventure — thank you, you’re the best! — and thus know that I started early with engaged life in Los Angeles under the influence of caffeine. That, or you’re reading this from the future — perhaps our children reading what your parents’ life was like in their youth? Hi kids, dinner’s ready, get off you holographic smartwatches and come to the table.

At last, the wedding is days away. After 11 years since I met her, 3 years since I started pursuing her, 2 years since I asked her to be my girlfriend, and 1 year since the engagement, it’s time. Finally, I get to become one with my best friend under the eyes of God. To say that I am blessed, would be the understatement of the century. I am not trying to boast, but rather share the joy of this moment — and perhaps inspire you to believe in love.

As I wrap up my journey as a bachelor, I think of the long and broken road that led me here. I wish things had been different. I am thankful for every stage of the journey, but I wish I could have had all of those years we spent as friends, as the lovers that we are today. That said, if given the chance I would not change a thing. I would not choose asking her out on day one if that meant risking arriving at “I do.” It was a long, long road, but it was well worth the drive; and I for one, cannot wait to start the next journey later this week.

Tell me, how long did it take you to ask your significant other out? Would you change things if you could? Do you think we’ll have commercially available holographic technology in our lifetime?

(Featured Image by: Pixabay)