Archive for the ‘pizza’ Category

So apparently Papa John of Papa John’s Pizza thinks uppity black athletes protesting about police shooting unarmed black people are the cause of his pizza joint’s sales woes.

Uhm, no, dude. It’s the fact that you cut your staffing after Obamacare passed and thus your restaurants are dirty, slow, and nasty places and so is your food (dirty, slow, and nasty, I mean). The fact that you’re a right-wing nut case who treats his workers like shit and runs his chain as a political statement rather than a business even when that results in worse customer service and worse product, that’s what’s causing your sales slump.

In short: quit making your business about politics and make it about baking a better pie, and you’ll get a bigger piece of the pie. That means treating your workers right rather than trying to cheat them all the time (because unhappy workers aren’t going to bake a better pie), and it means spending your time making sure you’re using good ingredients and that your restaurants are clean and attractive rather than spending all this time ranting about political BS. It ain’t rocket science. It’s just Business 101. Do it, dude, or you’ll end up in the same basket of fail as Shakey’s Pizza. Except without as many fond memories.

– Badtux the Pizza Loving Penguin


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Let’s face it, sometimes your choice is a frozen pizza, or Little Caesars, because you don’t have the dough to buy a real pizzeria pizza. I reviewed their regular pepperoni pizza earlier and found that it was better than some frozen pizzas, but not as good as the best frozen pizzas — the skimpy amount of pepperoni and the bland crust caused it to lose points. So, how about this new pizza they just introduced that claims to have four times the pepperoni and cheese?

First, the good news. They increased the amount of pepperoni and sauce, and the thickness of the crust, too in order to keep the pepperoni from overwhelming the works.

But the crust… man. That crust hasn’t gotten any better. Whatever leavening agent they’re using (obviously not yeast) leaves the crust tasting like library paste. A thicker crust pizza should have a crust that’s bread-y in flavor. This is just bland and tasteless. It serves to offset the massive amount of pepperoni added to this pizza, but without adding any flavor of its own to the proceedings.

So — this is yet another of those pizzas that’s better than some frozen pizzas, but not as good as the best frozen pizzas. But this time it’s the crust that torpedos it. I’m not sure if they can fix that, given their process, which doesn’t include the amount of manual labor and time needed to get a good bready crust made with yeast. So it appears that, once again, Little Caesars is the frozen pizza that you eat when you’re feeling too lazy even for popping a frozen pizza into the oven. Which is obviously a workable market niche for them, but man, it could have been great with the cheese and pepperoni and sauce on this thing…. Sigh. Oh well.

– Badtux the Pizza Penguin

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Wait, this is a Safeway store-brand pizza?

Okay, so this is a Safeway house brand, as you can see in the photo to the right. First thoughts upon taking it out of the box: “Wow, this has a lot of pepperoni on it!” And indeed, that is what it tastes like — oodles of greasy yummy pepperoni, and a fair amount of cheese to go with it to keep it from becoming totally obnoxious.

Too bad about the sauce. It is completely overwhelmed by all this pepperoni and cheese. I have no idea what it tastes like. As for the crust… it’s nicely crunchy, but that’s all it adds. It is basically overwhelmed and adds nothing.

Still, if you love pepperoni and cheese, this Safeway brand pizza will definitely fill your craving!

– Badtux the Pizza Penguin

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Tonight’s frozen pizza for review came from Grocery Outlet, my local surplus outlet for weird foods. Meaning I’ll never see it again. Pity.

The pizza is “Palermo’s Primo Thin Uncured Pepperoni Pizza”. It boasts on the cover that it has no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives and has an “ultra thin crust”. So how does it taste?

Pretty good, actually. The crust is very toasty, like a thin crust should be. The sauce is tasty but scarce enough in quantity to not overpower the crust. The pepperoni is tangy and tasty. It could probably use just a tiny bit more cheese to balance out the pepperoni, but as is, the amount of cheese is a sufficient base underneath the tangy pepperoni.

I won’t say it’s the best frozen pizza I’ve ever eaten. But it’s in the top tier. Recommended, if you like thin crust pizzas.

– Badtux the Pizza Review Penguin

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It’s been a while since I last posted a frozen pizza review. During that time, the Digiorno brand was sold by Kraft (the cheese people) to Nestle’ (the, uhm, not-cheese people).

Their Pizzeria!(sic) line of pizzas are the first new pizzas they’ve produced since that takeover. The one I tried was what they call their “primo pepperoni pizza PREMIUM PEPPERONI” (yes, that’s their exact capitalization, though the “premium pepperoni” is in a smaller font). So… what’s the verdict?

Crust: Pretty bland and flavorless. I prefer a bready-tasting crust with a bit of a toasty taste. This was slightly toasty, but otherwise pretty mediocre.

Pepperoni: Decent. I wouldn’t call it “premium pepperoni” but it is nicely flavorful.

Cheese: Definitely not the quality of cheese that I’m accustomed to on a Digiorno-brand pizza. They appear to have cheaped out on the cheese, it is neither the quality nor the quantity of tasteful cheese that the Kraft-era Digiorno pizzas had.

Sauce: They appear to be attempting to pep up their sauce a bit, the sauce has always been the weak point of Digiorno pizzas, traditionally being a rather bland watery tasteless substance that mostly just kept out of the way of the cheese and crust. The problem though is that their attempt to pep up their sauce is total fail. Rather than the peppy sauce of the Schwan brand pizzas (Red Baron, Freschetta), what they have is something that tastes like stale garlic and some mysterious bitter herb that I cannot identify. The only pizza I’ve tasted that was worse was the Digiorno “Garlic Crust” pizza that I tested a few years back, which tasted like rancid butter and stale garlic (but at least had the benefit of good cheese). I like garlic. But it has to be *fresh* garlic, or at least taste like it — and has to be offset with plenty of tangy tomato taste, not the weak watery sauce that Digiorno is trying to pep up here.

So, was this pizza worth the $5 (on sale) that I paid for it? In a word, no. It is a mediocre pizza being marketed as a premium pizza. I prefer Little Caesar’s $5 pizza to this pizza, which is just how mediocre it is. Bad Nestle. Bad, bad Nestle. Go to your room now and reconsider how to make good pizzas. Please. Because if you don’t, your competition is going to eat you alive.

– Badtux the Pizza Penguin

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More pizza reviews

This one is the “Freschetta PizzAmore’ Hand Tossed Style Crust Pepperoni Duo Pizza”.

This is a Schwan pizza brand, and Schwan generally has good crusts, sauce, and pepperoni, but tends to be a bit weak on the cheese. So how does this one turn out?

The pizza slid out of the box in a little black cardboard tray. The directions say to put the tray into the oven with the pizza on it. I usually cook pizzas on a pizza stone nowadays because it provides a much more even temperature, but I was okay with skipping that for the purpose of this exercise. Looking at the pizza, it seemed a bit scant on the pepperoni, but seemed to have plenty of cheese. So I put it in the preheated oven and waited for it to be done.

Upon sliding it out, there was a pool of grease in the middle of the pizza. Apparently I underestimated how much pepperoni was on the pizza, I guess there was some hiding under the cheese. So the first thing I did was sop up some of the grease with paper towels. And the verdict is…

First off, the pepperoni and sauce are typically peppy Schwan. The cheese on this pizza would be rather lackadaisical, except for one thing: Schwan has put some parmesan cheese into the mix. It adds a pep that works well with the pep of the sauce and pepperoni. I think a smoother cheese would have made for a better balanced pizza, but if you like a peppy pizza, you’ll like this.

The only real downer is the crust. It’s not a *bad* crust, but it doesn’t rise up above the pedestrian. The peppy nature of the toppings really call for a bready crust with a hint of sweetness to balance out the peppy toppings. This crust, however, is a fairly neutral crust that keeps the toppings off the bottom of the oven but otherwise doesn’t contribute much to the pizza. The only good thing about it is that the texture is better than I expected given the thin cardboard “baking pan” that it was cooked in. Still, it could have been better.

So my final verdict is that this thing is one star short of excellent. I rate it four out of five — if you see it on sale at your local grocer, get it. But it definitely will not surpass any good home-made pizza with a nicely bready home-made crust – though it’s certainly better than the soggy atrocities you get delivered.

— Badtux the Pizza Penguin

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A new king is crowned

No, not the Reverend. But, rather, something altogether more important: PIZZA! Today’s pizza for review is the Digiorno Crispy Flatbread Pizza, Pepperoni and Fire-Roasted Bell Peppers. So what’s it taste like?

In a word: Yummy.

The crust: It has a toasty taste as a thin crust pizza should have, but also has an appropriate bready taste, like a freshly-baked loaf of bread. The pepperoni is plentiful and zesty. The cheese is rich and smooth and complements the zesty taste of the pepperoni quite well. The bell peppers added an interesting flavor of its own to the mix, and the sauce was appropriately tangy and well balanced with the taste of the crust and cheese.

The only real flaw of this pizza was that the sauce was a bit skimpy in places, a thin crust pizza cannot have much sauce on it or it becomes soupy, but the sauce was not evenly distributed and there were places where it tasted a bit cheesier-breadier than it should have (that is, it fell out of balance). Still, the cheese and crust were good enough that this was not obnoxious. Hopefully they will improve their quality control on how they spread their sauce in the future to spread it more evenly. But still, even with that flaw, this is the best frozen pizza I’ve ever eaten — well, other than the Digiorno Rising Crust Pepperoni, which had similar traits. Digiorno’s slogan is “It’s not delivery, it’s DiGiorno”. In my opinion, this pizza goes way beyond any thin-crust pizza I’ve ever had delivered, which invariably ends up steamed and limp. Definitely two flippers up!

— Badtux the Pizza Penguin

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