Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Palermo’s Primo Thin Garden Pizza

Dan speaks of Batesian Mimicry

Take a glance at the photo on the back of the father and son making an “old-world” style pizza, printed in black and white no less to authenticate that papa and his offspring were cooking pizzas sometime before the mid-50s when Technicolor became all the rage.  The only thing my father and I would be making would be Easy Cheese twists on Triscuit crackers…except my dad wouldn’t be smiling.  There’d be a thick layer of sweat on his brow, running down his cheeks and onto the crackers.  His mouth would be contorted in some unflattering pose, his mind intent on getting the shapes just quite right.  By this point in the photo, I’d be reduced to an out-of-focus head in the background, snacking on some of my mom’s gingersnap cookies.

Half the credit goes to Josh on this one.  I had low expectations when he brought this one to our pizza lovin’ world, but he had the Palermo faith.  I might have been skeptical because the orange box reminded me of Tony’s pizza.  In nature, this is called Batesian mimicry (look it up, kids!), but in this case, it’s reversed.  The other 80% of the credit goes to Papa Palermo.  Let’s drop the smoke and mirrors: this was tasty.  Good toppings with olives, no less.  The crust was really good and measured 1/16 of an inch thick.  (Yes, we got out the tape measure).  And really, hats off for a minimum of ingredients.  There was no xanthan gum, for instance.  And hats off again for a whopping 9 grams of fiber. 

(8.9 pizzas out of 10)

Joshua thinks of Jason Bateman and wonders when the hell that Arrested Development Movie is coming out

So how thin is their thin crust?  It’s so thin that I feel it’s started a whole new genre of comedy, known as “yo crust” jokes.

Yo Crust so thin, Kate Moss is Jealous!
Yo Crust SO thin Karen Carpenter is Jealous! (to soon?)
Yo Crust so thin our education system in the US is a joke!
Yo Crust So thin Wes Anderson wants to cast it instead of Bill Murray in his next movie
Yo Crust so thin it wrote a few new songs for the Britney Spears record!
Yo Crust so thin I could karate chop a dozen of them while still frozen in one swing
Yo Crust so thin that I swear to god if they cancel “sports show” with Norm Macdonald I’m going to drive out to the Comedy Central offices and demand to punch the president in the face
Yo Crust so thin a ghost could eat it.

You see where this is going.  Nowhere.

Not a bad pie, but you know how it goes, and it goes and it goes.  I’m looking for the spectacular, the epic.  They were honest, and the toppings were nicely placed, the crust description was accurate, and the family story on the back of the box was so engrossing I’ve forgotten in completely.  I wouldn’t not run screaming from this pizza if it were offered to me again, but I would not seek it out.  Fair enough?

7 out of 10 I swear “Yo Crust” would do better if it was developed into an MTV series.  Hit me up on my cell tv execs, I’m so generation next it hurts.

oh sure, it's a thin pizza, but is it as thin yet as vast as this black hole I stumbled upon?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Trader Joe’s Organic Woodfired Sicilian-style pizza

Dan drops some mad science from his head

I penned a limerick in honor of my first Trader Joe’s pizza experience:

Pizza like this will make your mouth shout,
Organic and wood-fired are quality beyond a doubt,
Delicious with provolone and pearl mozzarella,
It made me a very happy fella,
It laps up the competition in a frozen rout.

(9.2 pizzas out of 10)

with frozen pizza this good... I'm homeless

Joshua let's the fame get to his head

well, first off Dan and I and our guest contributor Heather made it into a web series called :24. 


we're in episode 16, but you should really just check the whole thing out.  A nicely filmed well done parody of a fox show, which is funny cause usually fox shows are parodies in and of themselves (come on.. the guy who once sang "love in an elevator, living it up when I'm going down" as well as "cause I practice on the peach most every night" is trying to tell kids how to be superstars....)

next on the agenda, I want to thank you all for your endless praise on our pizza blog.  Yes, Dan and I want to come to your place and eat the frozen pizza you know we haven't tried yet.  We do we do, it's just there's so many requests and so little time.  Fame is a weird beast.  It swallows you whole and leaves you empty... but in a really large house.  (for example, see Phil Collins.... jesus man, stop being so hard on yourself).

the next thing I want to point out is that no matter how shitty your love life is, or if you don't even have one at all, keep this phrase in mind and then say it to yourself to cheer yourself up every day "At least I'm not with Carl Tanzler"

wanna know what I'm talking about... Hit me with the link Benny!


if you haven't heard this story before, prepare for the part of your brain that develops nightmares to start doing a really long and involved happy dance.

and finally, since I know you turn to Dan and I for pizza wisdom here it is.  This pizza was the best pizza I've had since we started this frozen pizza journey. 

I often feel in the world of frozen pizza that it's still a big unknown wasteland.  It's still the wild west and there's no real rules or regulations.  People and companies are just out there throwing random amounts of toppings on crusts they hope will keep well when frozen and just kind of crossing their fingers and hoping for  the best and it shows.

when I come across a pizza like trader joe's that has a crust that is amazing and takes me back to the pizza I used to enjoy back in my college days, and toppings that taste like someone checked to make sure they weren't expired before hand I'm just elated.  Someone took the time to make something with quality.  Keep that in mind kids.  You can mass market crap and the masses will get it, cause they won't know where else to look.  But there are people out there who want quality and when they find it, they will shout it out to the heavens, or at least write about it in a silly blog alongside a webseries plug and the mention of a horrible man who loved a corpse (spoiler alert to the carl story).

Alright, let's give it a score and move on with our wonderful confusing lives!

10 out of 10.

even the barcode is great on this pizza....

I love this pizza so much, I'm going to start a holy war!

Tombstone Original Pepperoni

Dan Obits

No one, not even me, remembers the advertising slogan for Tombstone pizzas-- “What do you want on your Tombstone?”  But it got me thinking about what I want on mine.

10) Beloved husband of Amy
9) Manfred Von Richthofen II
8) A few slices short of a pizza
7) Half-baked till the end
6) Ultimate Supreme
5) Devoted husband of Amy
4) Always delivered
3) Colgate toothpaste user
2) Meat lover
1) Give me some damn olives, I’m dead!

Tombstone gets high marks for exceeding my expectations.  First and foremost, they are the leader in eco-friendly frozen pizza packaging.  There’s no messing around here—what you see is what you get—with no box to hide anything.  It’s just the pizza on a piece of cardboard, wrapped in cellophane. 

Two, for a $5 pizza, it was actually all right.  The cheese had a little bit of a funky taste—funky in the sense that I noticed it was unlike other cheese toppings I’ve tasted—but not off-putting.  But, watch out DiGiornio, this pizza actually used spices in their pizza sauce.  By no means extraordinary, the pepperoni added to the flavor in a positive way and the crust was good.  All in all, all right.

6.0 pizzas out of 10

BONUS Fun Fact: The name came from The Tombstone Tap, a tavern the founders, Joe "Pep" and Ron Simek, owned across from a cemetery.

Joshua Omits

It's your grave.

Next time someone asks you a question about themselves make sure you use that as your answer.  It works for anything.

some exmaples
"does this dress make me look fat?"   "It's Your grave!"
"what are we going to do about these fourth quarter losses!?" "It's Your Grave!"
"should I eat this whole bucket of generic store brand cookies and cream ice cream?"  "It's Your grave"
"should I pay for my grandmothers headstone?"  "....."

alright, 75% of the time it's a great joke.  We really need to stop talking about graves and cemeteries 25% of the time, it kills my bit.

you know, there was nothing flashy about this pizza and that's what I like about it.  No elaborate ad campaigns, no fancy packaging, just "here you go, it's a damn pizza that's been frozen"  and I appreciate it's bluntness.  Not the best but at least it was forward and honest.

7.5 out of 10 zombie films that didn't need to be made

this is me doing my best crypt keeper impression, "watch out kiddies you might catch an infectious pizease! hehehehehehehe"

Monday, April 11, 2011

Amy’s Rice Crust Spinach Pizza

Dan collaborates with Taylor Swift

Almost without fail, every friend and blog admirer I told I was going to eat a rice crust, vegan, and gluten-free pizza from my homegirl Amy was greeted with some verbal or mouth twitch of “ewwh”.  I gotta say, ladies and germs, this pizza did all right.  It did so all right of a job that I left a Taylor Swift song on for its full duration on my ride home that evening.  The one where “she’s a cheer captain and I’m on the bleachers…”  Oh yeah…

***NEWS UPDATE***If you happened to read my earlier post about Amy’s Spinach Pizza, Josh and I were debating Amy’s age.  ‘Turns out the dickens is in her early 20s.  Born in 1987, Amy is the daughter of the founders and the company was named after her.  I’m beyond smitten!

Again, another rounding of the bases for Amy.  The rice crust, while different in texture from a traditional wheat crust, was very good.  It tasted like it had some kind of olive oil infusion that made it tender, but I’m not 100% sure.  Plenty of spinach on the pizza, but fireworks going off for some tasty soy cheese.  Nice blend of spices.  Overall, a very satisfying pizza tasting experience.  However, there were some whack instructions on the box. 

You cook the pizza for 12 minutes at 425—okay, nothing crazy, nothing unusual there.  Josh opened the oven door after 12 minutes and the soy cheese looked like it hadn’t been affected at all by high heat.  We were both kinda scratching our heads.  We turned to the box and realized in the instructions that we had to move the pizza to a higher rack in the oven and broil, yes, broil the damn thing for like 2 minutes on high in order to melt the cheese.  That was a little disturbing.  You tell me if you can name 5 perishable items you can put into an oven for 12 minutes at 425 and will remain in the same form.  If you can, you can guest blog on our site and I’ll buy you whatever soda flavor you wish.

(8.6 pizzas out of 10)

Amy, can we be friends on facebook?  I set up a hotline for you to call at 1 800 AMY-LOVE

Joshua collaborates with Melissa Ethridge

Amy Amy Amy.  So we meet again.  This time with a gluten free soy cheese spinach pie with crust made of rice. 

I once read a book called “I am the cheese” in 8th grade solely because that was the title of the book.  It turned out to be a pretty decent read if my memory serves me well.  Seeing the words “Soy Cheese” made me think of it (3 years of Spanish classes Didn’t pay off a bit!)

Amy keeps poking and prodding and beating people over the head with how healthy her pizzas are.  I still think she’s trying to hard to be liked by society.  If this was just marketed as a regular pizza and not put in the special organic section of the store I think it would go over well.  It is a touch pricy, but sometimes you have to shell out a little more for quality and maybe even an extra fifty cents to not feel like you’ve been punched in the stomach by a pizza that was supposed to nourish and sustain you.

Amy, you’re doing a good job, just don’t try so hard.  People will like you for you, and if they don’t, it doesn’t matter.  Wear your soy cheese with pride, but don’t be so concerned about every ones opinions.

Just like Melissa Etheridge once sang

I don’t care what they think
I don’t care what they say
What do they know about gluten free pizzas

8 out of 10 it’s only fear that makes you run the feelings that you’re hiding from’s

we'll make a crust.... OUT OF RICE!

Heinens Rising Crust Four Meat Pizza

Dan breaks the fourth wall

The Heinen’s variety of pizza will only mean something to Northeast Ohio residents where this blog is being typed in front of a live studio audience.  Heinen’s is a local supermarket chain, a bit on the expensive side, but an all-together, all-right place to shop for goods.  Now onto our regularly scheduled programming…

This pizza was made in Canada.  Does that strike anyone as a bit, um, out of place?  Anyone’s who spent more than 6 weeks with me knows of my fondness for our neighbors up north.  My Buick was built in Canada—no joke—and I recently bought a friend some Canadian-themed stickers for a project she was working on.  Okay, random story.  I was flying to Denmark a couple of years ago.  I, like many Americans, poke good-natured fun at Canadians’ use of “eh” to end their questions.  I had not really met a real Canadian and Paul Shaffer and Marty Short, who both ranked in my top 100 entertainers of 2010, were the only Canadians I knew.  I sat next to a Canadian and was constantly amused by his use of “eh” to end questions. 

Back to the pizza: since it was made in Canada, Josh and I searched for the packets of maple syrup that we assumed were in there.  None were found.  The pizza was the Canadian step-sister of DiGiornio.  A tough, seasonless, too-much-dough crust and crumbly, indistinguishable meat toppings.  I believe this pizza had bacon, sausage, hamburger, and pepperoni on it—all of which were kinda blah.  I had about a piece and a half before calling it quits.  Definite bloating/indigestion afterward.  I would probably take the DiGiornio variety over this Heinen’s on most days, except major federally-recognized holidays and the third Thursday of each month.

(4.4 pizzas out of 10)

Joshua breaks your heart

Heineins Deluxe Meat Pizza

I’m going to do you all a favor and tell you about some pick up lines that don’t work

-         would you mind if I collected a sample of your urine for testing?
-         I want to lick your whole face
-         I just want to start off by saying “I am Jesus Christ!”
-         Hey baby, you wanna be on my reality TV show?  It’s called “who wants to bone an idiot?”
-         Hey!  Raise your hand if you’ve killed someone! (then you raise your hand and just stare at him/her longingly)
-         I have no dignity or pants!
-    Hey, did you know I write a frozen pizza blog!
-         I like Grocery Store brand meat pizzas
-         I believe in fairies
-         Let’s have a contest to see who can pick the grossest thing out of their nose!
-         Hey, wanna come over to my place and put on a few outfits made of human skin I’ve been compiling for several years and then eat a Heinens Deluxe Meat Pizza?

On that last one, all was well until you brought up the pizza. 

3 out of 10 silent lambs

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Newman’s Own White Pizza

we're still clueless as to why there's a silicon breast implant to the right of that tomato
Dan Speaks of Charity

Let me jump right to what I call the “sports pages” of a pizza blog.  Solid, overall effort here on the white pizza.  Not my favorite, but a solid effort here by Paul.  I discovered that I’m not a fan of the white sauce, which was a sour cream and cream cheese-based concoction.  A bit salty for my taste—largely due to the feta cheese—but a solid, trustable crust with a good amount of spinach.

(7.9 pizzas out of 10)

Now, here’s the op-ed piece of the pizza blog.  I know, I know, the Newman’s brand is great not only because it tastes good, but also because they give their profits to charity.  Well, really, in all seriousness, kudos to them.  Now, see the box is kind of like your guide if the world’s an okay place or not.  It says, “Paul Newman and Newman’s Own Foundation have given over $300 million to thousands of charities since 1982.”  I can only do first-grade math.  $300 million is a lot of coin, but given to thousands of charities?!?  I could see some Sisters of the Poor charity whose federal funding just got cut getting this check from Newman’s Own for $786.13 one day as one of the other thousand plus charities out there vying for the dough (pun intended). 

Now, it says over $300 million. That could mean they gave $600 million.  And, by all means, ‘rah’ for them.  So if they’re being modest, cut the crap and let us know how much you’ve actually donated so that the charity that donates tasseled loafers to the retired auto workers union knows just how many loafers they can buy this year.  Okay?

Joshua Speaks of Chastity 
So Newman (who is still better then you’ll ever be)  has a White Pizza.  But it’s NOT his pizza!  At least that’s not what I gathered by reading the “legend” on the back of the box that was all about how Pepe was an awful cook who accidentally won the Nobel Prize for culinary invention.

It does give me hope though, that I might screw up so badly, so so very badly that I could win an award someday.

Is it just me or is everything that was ever great in this world derived from messing something else up?

For example, I’m sure there was once a young boy who was asked to collect water from the town well so his family could drink and bathe for the day, but since he was a total idiot he collected a few gallons of elephant piss.  His father, who was one of the town elders and did not want the whole town to realize what a complete and total ass his son was so he decided to gather all the towns people and tell them that the elephant urine when consumed would make you better at hunting alligators in the local river nearby.  Thus, Gatorade was born.

Or there was the story of the Second City comedy performer who over indulged in drugs and food and loathed himself so that one day his heart just gave out.  After he died everyone said “who will be the funny fat guy who falls in all the movies?”.  And that my friends is the story of how Kevin James came to be.

Anyhow, thanks Newman for proving time and time again that you’re better then me.  One day if I ever have a family crest made up there will be a little cartoon of me peeing on your grave Paul N.  Just saying.

8 out of 10 Matt Foley motivational speaker sketches were alright despite their repetitiveness.

my god!  where did all the batteries go?  NEEEEEWWWWW MAAAAAAN!

H_Ram speaks of Charlie

The white sauce was good, but there wasn't enough of it. On some pieces it felt like there was none at all. It was a shame, because if the whole thing had been as creamily delicious as some of my first few bites, it would've possibly made it into consideration for some (extremely likely, I'm sure) future where I buy frozen pizzas for myself.

The spinach was surprisingly palatable. I'm generally on okay terms with spinach, but I had severe doubts about how it'd hold up on a frozen pizza. The answer, at least for Newman's Own: pretty well. At least well enough that I didn't find myself disturbed by it.

Being a rather meat-pizza-oriented person, it sorta felt like something was missing. Spinach is fine and all, but it doesn't really feel like anything is even there, so it was basically just eating a cheese pizza with a bit of a different cheese combo.

Now I feel like I'm just complaining to complain.

You win, Newman. It was good.