Friday, March 25, 2011

A Tale of Three Pizzas: One chain, one classic, and one frozen.

Godfather's Hot Stuff Pizza.

Growing up, Shakey’s was what floated my boat, but with the passing of time so passed Shakey’s in these parts. Now, Godfather’s is what I crave for on occasion. But interestingly enough, the Godfather’s franchise in Des Moines doesn’t deliver. [Since I wrote this delivery is now available in the Metro.]

To appease my desire, I popped over to the Godfather’s on University off 42nd St. one day last September for a pie all to myself.

For chain pizza, Godfather’s makes quite a hearty pie. Along the Interstate 80 corridor between Chicago and Lincoln, the only pie more heartier that I’ve chowed into is Orsi’s in Omaha [see blog review].

On this occasion, I ordered up a Hot Stuff pizza, with pepperoni, beef, Italian sausage, jalapeño and onion. Each bite was a thick, delicious delight, with just the right proportions of cheese, sauce, toppings and crust. The best part was the cold leftovers the next day.

Last weekend I talked a pal into dinner at Baratta’s. Now and then over the years (but less so these days) I’ve been able to score cold leftovers of catered Baratta’s pies delivered to work the night before. I'm also a big fan of their spicy Italian grinder [see blog review]. Having enjoyed them so much I was looking forward to trying one straight from the oven.

Small Baratta's Combo Pizza.

I went simple and ordered a small Baratta's Combo, with pepperoni, mushroom, and onion. First things first, the crust is crispy but not crunchy, thick but not doughy. It’s more like a superb flatbread. Oiled and sprinkled with spices, this crust would be the perfect compliment to a great salad. In some ways, I’m reminded of the crust of Battani’s, a former downtown pie joint [see blog post], but more delicate.

The sauce was bright, tasting not of paste but more like an unadulterated tomato. Cheese was perfectly melted with plentiful toppings underneath. All in all, a great pizza pie.

But one thing nagged at me. It didn’t taste like I thought it should. Then it dawned on me: I preferred it cold. All these years of noshing on the occasional slice of Baratta’s from the fridge have ruined my palate for hot and fresh.

I’ll have to test this theory someday, but the problem with that will be not digging in prematurely. Oh, give me strength!

The other day I endured the Hy-Vee from hell, specifically the 86th & Douglas location. It was cramped in the aisles and the deli items under the heat lamps looked tired and sad. Yes, I said the food looked tired and sad. Don’t ask me how, but I suspect the lack of meatloaf throws off the feng shui.

Mama Bosso's Garlic Pizza.

While I was winding my way through the frozen food section like a rat in a maze, I spotted an unfamiliar frozen pizza brand: Mama Bosso from Rock Island. I idly perused their varieties until I came across “Mama’s Garlic Pizza.” In place of sauce, the ingredients listed garlic spread along with sausage, mozzarella, cheddar and onion. This pie had to be tried.

Baked up, this garlic pizza boasted a thin crust with a surprisingly chewy edge, sometimes a little too chewy bordering on tough. The garlic spread melts into a juicy liquid that comes out from under the cheese when you bite into a slice. The sausage adds a nice texture while the onion gets lost in the mix.

For being a pizza flavored with garlic spread it doesn’t boast any more garlic flavor than what your average frozen garlic bread slices boasts, if not less. I could see this being a kid favorite. Give it a try if your kids aren’t complete brand whores when it comes to frozen pizza.

As for myself, for frozen pizza, I’ll opt for Pasquale’s from Humboldt.

Godfather's Pizza on Urbanspoon Baratta's on Urbanspoon Photos from the Picasa Web Album: Reviewed Foods


Ben said...

Interesting theory, preferring cold over fresh from the oven, if true. Definitely follow up on this one...

Stephanie said...

Love Pasquale's. Especially the breakfast pizza.

Barbara said...

I agree; Pasquale's is the most tolerable frozen pizza. The pepperoni is our go-to frozen. Dressed w/peppers, fresh mushrooms & onions, it's not bad.

slakingfool said...

I may also add that Pasquale's is one of the few out there that doesn't put chicken in their pepperoni.

When I see chicken listed on the package, it's a sure bet that you're getting mechanically-separated chicken.