Thursday, February 24, 2011

Frozen Pizza Chronicles: Wegmans Bake & Rise Pizza Four Cheese

Wegmans Bake & Rise Pizza Four Cheese
The four cheeses are: Mozzarella, Parmesan, Romano & Asiago. The box wants us to know that "Our Crust RIses as it Bakes for a Truly Authentic Pizzeria Style Pizza!" We'll be the judge of that Wegmans . . .

The directions are easy, heat oven to 425ยบ, remove pizza from box and overwrap and place it directly on the rack in the oven.

Bake for 20 -24 minutes and done! The pizza smells good while cooking, like fresh bread. My oven was running a little bit hotter than I thought it was and the pizza came out a little more "done" than expected.

The crust did rise immensely. The pizza itself is very doughy. It tastes very mild, not a strong sauce flavor. The sauce is watery and a little spicy, spicy in the same way pepperoni is spicy. It is hard to taste the four cheeses, the bread taste is overpowering. I would have preferred to have a puffy crust and for the inside to be a little less risen.

It looks tasty and that is 30% of the battle. The surface is glistening and cheesy. It looks much nicer than it tastes. It looks like it should taste awesome, but it falls short. This is no way gross frozen pizza, just a different take on it.

This pizza cost $3.99 at Wegmans in Hunt Valley, so overall pretty good for the price.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Baltimore Pizza Club-In-Exile: Pizza Stop

Pizza Stop

1020 Portion Rd., Ronkonkoma, Long Island

You wouldn't expect the best pizza in the known universe to be found in Ronkonkoma, in the nether reaches of Long Island, in a strip mall with a funeral home, a tattoo parlor, and a golf supply store. So that's not where you will find the best pizza in the known universe. I'm not going to say I was bitterly disappointed, we don't need to get all touchy-feely here. What I'm saying is that there are moments in life when one looks to pizza to restore one's faith in the benevolence of the cosmos and the essential goodness of humanity. I was searching for redemption and/or transcendence. At the same time, I realized that pinning any kind of broader metaphorical significance to this pizza was probably a bad idea, and in this I was correct.

My friend Colin grew up in Ronkonkoma and he has repeatedly made statements about Pizza Stop preparing “the best pizza in the known universe,” “pizza that far surpasses any human capacity to enjoy pizza,” etc. etc. I never in my wildest dreams hoped to be able to test that claim, but in the interest of making the best of things, I decided to seek out Pizza Stop after a long day of moving my grandma and her extremely numerous worldly possessions from Brooklyn to a retirement complex. If you've ever been to a Walmart on Long Island and purchased multiple jumbo-packs of Depends, you know the psychological territory we're dealing with here.

So let's stick to talking about pizza. I consider myself a person of science. The claim was that Pizza Stop serves the best pizza in the known universe. Through systematic observation and experiment, I believe that I have disproved this claim.

In order to get a representative sample of Pizza Stop's product, we ordered a fresh pie with broccoli, peppers, and onions. The crust was somewhat doughy in the middle, although it did perform well around the edges. The sauce was probably not great, since I didn't notice it enough to write anything down while taking notes and I don't remember it now. The cheese had a good elasticity factor, and tasted fresh, as did the toppings which seemed to be recently sauteed. All of this made for a satisfactory pizza experience. I've had worse pizza. But you know what, I've also had better pizza is the thing. I've had much better pizza. So this was kind of like climbing to the top of some guru-mountain in Tibet and having a stupid New Yorker-cartoon scenario play out where the guru is actually a cat or the guru tells you to try different lipstick or some shit like that.

4/8 slices: just stay in Baltimore.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Pub Dog

On January 27 we had a very successful meeting at Pub Dog in Federal Hill.

They offer 10" thin crust pizza so they are more personal size, that allows you to trade slices with your friends and are able to try a larger selection of pizzas than if you only ordered two or three large pizzas. "The personal size pizzas allow you to try a lot of different pizzas if you came with a group." - Bonnie

The pizzas that were ordered were: "the Original" Wing Dog pizza, the Baja Chihuahua (2), Bruscetta, Alaskan Husky, Thai Chicken, Fox and the Hound, Margherita, Chicken Pesto, and the Smash Up with the Baja Chihuahua and "the Original" Wing Dog pizzas sandwiched together.


There is a fireplace in the corner of the first floor with a smaller table in front of it. We decided that it would be a nice date table. It is a bar/restaurant experience. They had very efficient service and although we were a large group, we were all able to sit together.

Fox and the Hound

Thai Chicken

Wing Dog with ranch

Baja Chihuaha

Chuck came into the meeting with a bias against thin crust pizza. Though the pizza is thin crust, the crust was chewy, not crispy, which was surprising. Emily thought the pizza was "really delicious". Multiple times throughout the meal the word "good" was heard being said. The Buffalo sauce on the wing pizza was a bit spicy, but relays back to tomato. There was heavy cheese on it and they presented it with a cup of ranch sauce to dip the pizza in. The Fox and the Hound pizza was reminiscent of post-soccer pizza. We all were initially skeptical of the size of the pizzas, but they actually have a lot of food to them and fill you up. The Alaskan pizza tasted like garlic bread. The Chihuahua was quite spicy, but with a nice kick, not too over powering. The tomatoes used as topping were kind of bad. Jen thought they sucked. It is wintertime in January and I'm pretty sure that the majority of tomatoes being served in restaurants are going to be bad to mediocre.

We had a really good group that formed a symbiotic pizza relationship. Jen did not want to eat the crust of her pizza and Bonnie ate all of it because she needed something plain after the Thai pizza.

Pub Dog brews their own beer and give you two smaller glasses of beer at a time. Usually they are 2 for $4, but during happy hour they are 2 for $3. Their pizza selection was very large and there is something for everyone there.

"Good place to go with friends." - Sara

Pub Dog
20 East Cross Street
Baltimore, MD


Stay tuned for the presentation and compilation of the survey data taken by Chuck Green.