Tuesday, July 7, 2009

3 days of Pizza - it's all about crust

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

How did this happen? It seemed convenient. I was at Hot House with some former coworkers on a Friday night so that's pizza #1. Pizza #2 was at Pizzeria Libretto on Saturday coz it was the talk of the town for pizza so Stacey and I decided to make an impromptu trip. Pizza #3 was Pizza Hut, coz we ran out of food and it was just around the corner.

How could we stomach it? If I had pizza from the same place for 3 days, I'd barf. These pizzas were sufficiently distinct that it was easy and tasty to have pizza 3 days in a row. And the main difference? 'Turns out it was the crust.

Pizza #1 Hot House "il Diavolo" - blackened chicken, spicy Italian sausage, jalapenos, roasted garlic, mozzarella and fontina

Hot house serves my favourite pizzas. The toppings are great: juicy, meaty, tasty. The sauce was full of flavour: smooth, complex and hearty.

Heat source: Fiery roast jalapenos

Crust verdict - Thin and soft, a vessel to carry the sauce and toppings. Not really noticeable, but maybe that's the point. Completes the yummy package.

Pizza #2 Pizzeria Libretto "margherita" (the flagship Neapolitan pizza) - tomato, basil, mozarella

Fresh ingredients: the tomato sauce is noticeably authentic, the mozzarella is mild and really good, the fresh basil was so good but so sparse. Maybe I'm just not cut out for authentic Neapolitan. I found the sauce very acidic, and I found the quantity of other topings lacking.

Heat source: A bottle of chilli oil on the side, that I found to be all oil and no chilli, despite its hot colour. That first slice just doubled its calories without upping its flavour.

Crust verdict - Although we saw the sacks of imported Italian pizzeria flour stashed in the basement by the washrooms, I was not too impressed. It's certainly a unique crust cooked in a wood-fired oven at 900 degrees F, and I'd definitely try it once in my lifetime. The crust was reminiscent of naan though a little too bitter at the charred parts, and very tough to cut even with the little steak knives provided. It was very tiring to chew... elastic to the point of being rubbery.

Pizza #3 Pizza Hut "Supreme Lover's" - pepperoni, mild sausage, hearty beef topping, crisp green peppers, sliced mushrooms, red onions and 100% Pizza Mozzarella

Good all around pizza. Greasy but tasty. Excellent cheese flavour. The sausage and beef are so-so. The red onions are great and give a lot of flavour and texture.

Heat source: I douse this baby with Tabasco sauce. Pretty hot.

Crust verdict - I saw on the Food Network last week that they actually put oil on the pan under the crust.... and I thought it was the cheese leaching out all that grease. Icky, but really good every now and then. Notice that this method gives the crust a churros like bite. Like a Mentos it's crunchy outside, but chewy inside. I like this pizza.

Though I would've liked to have reviewed more pizzas, for cardio-vascular reasons it's probably not a good idea. Some other notable pizzas we like are Dr. Oetker "funghi," and Domino's with extra cheese, pepperoni, mushrooms and their fabulous fennel infused "italian sausage."

*Watch out for Stacey's full review of Pizzeria Libretto, coming soon. Please feel free to comment on this post below.

- Mark