Friday, June 8, 2012

Lunch at the Leaning Tower of Pizza in Ankeny. I wouldn't suggest strenuous activity afterward.

If you're an Ankeny resident, you likely know about the Leaning Tower of Pizza in the Uptown neighborhood. What you may not know is that the pizzeria started in Des Moines in the 1960s, before pulling up stakes and moving to Ankeny in the 1970s.

I fondly remember their phone book ads with Snoopy as the World War I ace as a kid, but never had the pleasure of trying their pizza. My dysfunctional family rarely ate out.

Not being one to make the trip to Ankeny often, I had already spent the morning at Topped Doughnuts [see blog post] followed by a White Russian and a shot of Jim Beam with a beerback at the Yankee Clipper.

Seated for lunch inside the small confines of Leaning Tower's dining space I ordered up a house salad for starters and a large pizza with one half Potter's, the other half Piperoni.

House salad consisted of Iceberg lettuce, a few shreds of cabbage and carrot, croutons, pepperoni, peperoncini, and a tomato wedge. The creamy garlic house dressing is zippy, garlicky, and would make a great dip for crudités.

The Potter's side of my pizza is loaded! I appreciate the generous amount of green pepper and the meatiness; the house sausage is quite flavorful. Along with ham, pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, celery, green olive, and enough mozzarella to cap all those toppings, the Potter's is a juicy mouthful, and well spiced with a little zip.

The Piperoni half is a pepperoni lovers dream, sporting two layers: one on top crisping under the heat, and one under the cheese exuding its flavorful juices into the already spicy sauce. Banana peppers add a vinegary bite that cuts through the mozzarella and cheddar, the latter accounting for the pizza's garish hue.

Crust is quite thin, but still sturdy enough to hold all the toppings while tender enough to chew. The volume of juicy toppings on the Potter's paired with the inexplicable cardboard disc the pizza is served upon do not make a good combination: the moistened crust wants to adhere to the disc. I highly suggest running a fork underneath to keep the pizza from sticking. The Piperoni suffers less from its stay on the cardboard but warrants inspection nonetheless.

Afterward with the majority of the pizza untouched, I haul the boxed-up remainder on a two-and-half mile trek across southeast Ankeny to the nearest bus stop with the earliest pick-up time. I thought loafing around Uptown until the first afternoon bus pickup in the neighborhood, but worried that my leftovers might pass the point of safe eating. But the fifty minute trek in the sweltering heat – with little shade and packing a couple pounds of pizza – damn near killed me. I gotta remember I'm not thirty-something anymore, nor even on the back side of forty. The more-than-full belly certainly didn't help either.

Leaning Tower of Pizza on Urbanspoon

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