The stars were aligned for this showdown. On my way back from the first of the three places I checked out, I got behind a car in traffic with a license plate that seemed to be a correspondence from the heavens. I’ve included a pic of that car that I safely took with my camera-phone while driving. Have a look at that license plate.
So then my friend Debi made these homemade mini-pizzas for our board-gaming group the other evening. To add some spice to my life, I unsafely took a picture of those while stationary.
So with that in mind, I checked out three pies from places I’ve recently seen advertised on television. My favorite crust is hand tossed. My favorite toppings are meat and onion. So this week is large hand tossed, with Italian sausage, pepperoni, and onion week!
It was a very good week.
I give a lot of credit to Domino’s for that whole “Sorry our pizza was worthless, we’ve reformulated to add flavor, try us again,” thing they did within the last year or two. That was a smart and interesting move by them, I’d thought. I was excited to hear them acknowledge their 20+ years of pizza ineptitude. I was eager to try Domino’s again.
Fast forward to this week, and I still had never tried the “new” Domino’s. Turns out that “Alright, tonight I eat Domino’s,” is just something I still haven’t found a comfort with saying. That’s come to an end. The new pizza is pretty sensational.
It is now easily the spiciest of the national chains. It’s heavy on oregano, which I found interesting as I’d figured that tastier pizza probably just meant more garlic. That’s some good, chewy hand-tossed crust they use as well, however it did not hold up its end of the flavor bargain. Fine, flavorful, quality toppings and the perfect amount for the size of the pie.
The Domino’s Good: At $9 plus change, you can’t beat that price. Strong flavors were the best. Domino’s has found a way to create a tasty “Italian” dish without throwing garlic haymakers at you.
The Domino’s Bad: The crust wasn’t tasty, and I still don’t like that awkward box. Not only was it closed improperly when I picked the pizza up, but I couldn’t close it properly in the comfort of my own kitchen where I had all the time in the world to do it.
Papa John’s has never really excited me terribly much. I’d never eaten it while trying to figure out how to tell people about it before, and as such had never formulated words to describe my opinion. It’s just always been Papa John’s to me. Kind of a different thing. You don’t see mom-and-pop pizzerias serve a pizza like they do.
So now I want to tell you about it. The crust. The crust is what I dis-love about the pizza. It’s almost too much like a sandwich bread both in terms of softness and in terms of flavor. Not a lot doing there. But I have now identified who the lovers of Papa John’s are – ingredientophiles.
If you are the type who focuses on the toppings, you love Papa John’s. Talk about freshness. Of all three properly baked pizzas I ate this week, here is where I could most sense the quality of the toppings. The onion just tasted like you get at the grocer, and the meats just had this tender, juicy goodness about them.
The Papa John’s Good: ‘Dem toppings.
The Papa John’s Bad: Crust that tastes like it was inspired by the bread on Mom’s bologna sandwiches.
I’ve loved Pizza Hut for years. It’s the stuff I was born and raised on. I was a “Book-It” child, so I was indoctrinated early. When I set out to do this week’s research, I figured “I already know what to say. It’s Pizza Hut; I’ve had it before.
Turns out I have no idea what to say. The crust is okay, same with the toppings. The sauce is okay. It’s a great pizza – I loved it – but it’s all just kind of okay. Nothing pretentious, nothing but good enough.
Which, I guess, is how you make a good pizza.
The Pizza Hut Good: The pizza.
The Pizza Hut Bad: The amount of inspiration the pizza gave me to do this writing.
And the winner is… Domino’s. Who’d of thunk?