The annals of sitcom history overflow with memorable moments and life lessons. However, few are as entertaining - and potentially applicable to our daily lives - as The Costanza Principle from the show Seinfeld, which states that success is within the reach of those who embrace an action that is opposite of what one would normally do. Indeed, contrarians are celebrated in the worlds of business, investing, politics, sport and the arts, so there is a basis for The Constanza Principle working in real life.
Still skeptical? I can’t fault you for that. However, you should not allow your skepticism to keep you from applying the principle to something seemingly trivial to try it out …. something like your weekday lunch, swapping out a staple - say, a slice of pizza - for something less common, like a crisp and chewy pocket of dough filled with cheese, meat and vegetables – a calzone - from Sauce On The Side.
In the spirit of Seinfeld, I can’t think of a better choice off a menu of 14 specialty calzones than the appropriately named Costanza, a homage to Jerry’s Seinfeld’s sidekick George Costanza and the lunchtime meal - a calzone stuffed with cheese, pepperoni and eggplant – that quickly became the obsession of his boss, a fictional George Steinbrenner, longtime owner (and well known contrarian) of the New York Yankees.
Sauce On The Side’s take on this iconic TV calzone may be a bit different from the Bronx-based version from the show. The dough - with a latticework of small, tight air pockets that dominate the interior - is pulled thinner than one might expect and sports a dark browned exterior thanks to a liberal brushing of garlic oil before baking. The combination of sliced pepperoni, strips of eggplant, whole-roasted garlic cloves and a pairing of mozzarella and ricotta cheeses, the later mixed with cracked black pepper for an added bite, is a major-league winner, though.
Making your way from one side of the calzone to the other is kept interesting by the layers of ingredients and a judicious application of red sauce – served on the side – which can make the dish taste like a pizza with red sauce when you want, or a classic white pie when you don’t. No matter which way you attack it, both options are very East Coast, and more importantly contrarian, making it clear that The Costanza Principle is alive and well, even when it comes to lunch.
Sauce on the Side, 903 Pine Street, Downtown, 314.241.5667, eatcalzones.com
Tired of reheating last night's dinner for lunch? Every Monday, food writer Andrew Mark Veety guides you to some of the best midday meals in the St. Louis region, with great places to bring clients or enjoy an outing with your co-workers. Missed one of his columns? Check them out here.