In downtown Orlando surrounded by hotels and convention centers I stumbled upon some unexpectedly good pizza. The tourist trap in which I was staying seemed like the last place I’d find a decent pie; but what I found was not only exceptional, it also provided a release from a rigorous day of working a trade-show floor. My long days in Florida and the delicious pizza I found have me appreciating the old saying “work hard, play hard”.
Just like a solid pizza needs to be balanced between crust, sauce and cheese; we too must find the equilibrium between work and play. Pizza is the ultimate reward after a well exerted effort.
As my colleagues and I explored for dinner we stumbled upon a little spot called Lafayette’s Music Room that specializes in Southern inspired entrees and live Blues, Jazz and Rock n’ Roll 7 nights a week. The menu ranged from jalepeno hushpuppies to jambalaya to chicken and waffles; everything looked amazing, but after scoping the eclectic pizza section, I knew deep down it was pizza time.
After studying the unique pizza options it immediately became apparent that picking a winner would be a challenge, as everything looked awesome. After several minutes of verbally fantasizing the possibilities with my two buddies; we opted for the genius idea of splitting three pizza’s three ways so we could truly experience what Lafayette’s had to offer.
Cajun Crawfish Pizza.
The Cajun Crawfish pizza was everything you’d expect from a cajun infused pizza and better than I anticipated with its exciting flavors. It was sprinkled with clumps of crawfish meat, hot chili peppers, a sprinkle of bacon and drizzled with remoulade sauce. It was spicy and tangy and sweet and savory; a true flavor explosion.
BBQ Pork Belly Pizza.
Slabs of slow roasted pork belly lay nicely across each slice of the BBQ Pork Belly pizza. Beneath the succulent pork is a layer of chipotle BBQ sauce and a mixture of cheddar and mozzarella cheeses. Pickled onion provide an acidic contrast against the sweet sauce and rich meat.
This was not your average buffalo chicken pizza because it had legit fried chicken that could stand on it own. The amazing chicken was nestled into buffalo wing sauce and mozzarella that was speckled lightly with finely diced celery. A ranch drizzle brought the whole pie together. It was the best execution of a buffalo chicken pizza that I have come across.
Pizza tastes better when you’ve earned it.
After the meal it was hard to pick a clear cut favorite out of the trifecta, but it was obvious that the pizzas had provided us a perfect release from the stresses of our work day.
If we push ourselves too hard without a break we can exhaust and burn out. Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness authors of Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success say that in any endeavor we pursue whether it be athletic, in business or creating art all sustainable performance comes from the formula “Stress + rest = growth”. They quote chess master Josh Waitzkin “If you are interested in really improving as a performer, I would suggest incorporating the rhythm of stress and recovery into all aspects of your life.”
In essence work hard, give yourself a breather to avoid burnout and then get back at it recharged and better than before. Work and play should also be in proportion to each other. For example a massive work out will require more recovery time. According to Stulberg and Magness “The best athletes in the world weren’t adhering to a “no pain, no gain” model” “Rather they were systematically alternating between bouts of very intense work and periods of easy training and recovery”.
What pizza taught me:
Work and play are the complementary yin and yang of productivity. To balance hard work and sustain peak performance there may be no better counterpart than pizza.
What I’m eating: Layafatte’s Music Room, Orlando. Cajun Crawfish Pizza, BBQ Pork Belly Pizza, Buffalo Chicken pizza.
What I’m reading: Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success –Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness