The April Special
April Riggs, otherwise known as @SweetLeafApril, is super cool. A huge lover of music, bikes, and people, she somehow manages to get paid for being herself as the Sweet Leaf Tea marketing guru. April is all over town, all the time. She’s one of those people who seems to have more hours in the day than everyone else.
As one of most loyal readers/commenters, I figured I should finally take her out to pizza. Belatedly, I admit. She’d been gunning for a pizza invite for quite some time, and it definitely took me too long to When we saw each other at last month’s bleet-up, we set a date and made it happen.
She’s a lover of Home Slice, so she knew our waiter and a few others working the lunch shift. Come to think of it, she seems to know everybody in Austin.
Her job at Sweet Leaf Tea as marketing guru allows her to be the public face of the company. Many in that position would be forced by The Man (or The Grandmother?) to water down their persona so as to not ruffle the feathers of any supposedly sensitive consumers. Sweet Leaf Tea, to their credit, gives April plenty of reign to live a public rock and roll lifestyle and let the brand come along for the ride. Actually, I don’t know if they give that freedom or April just takes it, but it works either way. Both on and offline, April comes across as very real, which is exceedingly rare in the marketing world. She lives what appears to be a really fun life, and it makes Sweet Leaf appear more fun as a result.
It turns out that we’re both cultural refugees from Dallas, and we share similar experiences about growing up there and living in Austin. There’s definitely an anti-Dallas vibe in town amongst those who don’t frequent 2nd St., but I think Austin is more colorful because of the contributions of the freaks Dallas expels. I think both Austin and Dallas move a little closer to their true center of polarity when folks like April and I leave Dallas and come to Austin.
At work, she has become known for a Home Slice topping combo known as “The April Special”, which is ricotta, meatballs, artichoke hearts and fresh basil. I gotta admit, it’s not my thing. I don’t do non-anchovy meat on pizzas, and April and I have a long-running, semi-violent feud about ricotta (I find it slimy and tasteless). That said, it works for her, and the combo has earned her brownie points at work. I’m surprised that the folks who make such a delicious product could have such poor taste, but I digress…
Since I get toppings for free, we decided to deviate from The April Special. My side had basil, garlic, green olives, roasted red peppers, and fried eggplant, hers had ricotta, fresh mozzarella, artichoke hearts, meatballs, roasted red peppers, garlic and basil. She liked the eggplant a lot, and it might even have earned a hallowed spot on “The April Special”. One can only hope for so high an honor.
PS – Here’s April’s take.
PPS – Disclosure: April gave me a couple bottles of Sweet Leaf Tea. They were good.
Total this year: $1,088.50