Monday, August 16, 2010

The Great Pizza War of 2010- Part 1

     Pizza- it's just one of those "go to" comfort foods that no matter what else is going on, I can sit down with a slice and let it go. When we moved to Kentuckiana- we left behind our favorite spots so the search was on for a new favorite.

     I should say right up front that while hubby is somewhat picky when it comes to many foods-pizza is not one of them. He is happy as long as his pepperoni is sliced not ground and the pizza is fully cooked. He has no problems falling back on the chains- Domino's, Papa John's, Pizza Hut, Little Ceasars- he can eat them all. That said- I cannot tell you how many different places we sampled. Most often we go for "plain old" cheese pizza as I am a veggie pizza gal and he is an all meat pizza guy. Cheese is a good way to test your pizza as it's very basic and lets the flavors of the components speak for themselves. We did the national chains (yuk!), we did the local chains, we did mom and pop shops- and I was SO disappointed. Part of it is the style of pizza. We are close enough to Chicago that most of the pizza out this way tends to be thick crust and with a pretty sweet sauce. That is too heavy for me. I am a fan of New York style pizza. The difference is extreme and it's funny how definite people are in their preferance- us included. 

     I was close to convinced that our only choice was to make our own. Then, one day after following a fellow New England transplant ( @Loueyville -follow her; she's funny, interesting and loves Louisville as much if not more than I do.) for a while on Twitter- I asked if she recalled my favorite chain from that area and if so- could she recommend some place in Louisville that was comparable. She sent us to Spinelli's Pizza and we were THRILLED.  It was, by far, the closest thing we had found to NY Style.  Spinelli's claims to be "Philly Style".  There is no small or large, it's an 18" pie and that's that.  It's got a nice crust- thin where it counts and thick enough on the sides to grab hold of and go for it.  A good balance between sweet and salty in the sauce and a healthy but not overwhelming amount of cheese.  Equally important in a two person family with an 18 inch pie- it held up overnight at room temp (our preference- neither of us will eat "cold pizza" that has been refridgerated) for a good "next day" pizza.  Chicago style just tends to get mushy overnight and a good NY Pizza gets slightly chewier and the flavors hold up.  We were so pleased that we were more than happy to "cross that bridge" (oh the horror!) and to make the drive into Kentucky when we wanted our pizza. We even took my folks there to introduce them to Spinelli's when they came to visit.  So we should have been content with that culinary hole in our lives filled, no?  We were- really!  Until.......

     We read THIS article.  Now- we had tried Wicks- neither of us particularly liked it.  We didn't out and out hate it- but we definitely did not LOVE it the way many of the people who suggested it do.  For us it just wasn't memorable.  At first glance we saw the pictures of Spinelli's and Wicks in the article and were firmly in Spinelli's corner, and then we saw Papalino's.  Papalino's claims full on New York Style pizza- with the ingredients kicked up a notch.  Our interest was piqued so the next time we had a hankering for pizza- I took a run to check them out.  Perfect thin crust, slightly saltier sauce and the addition of fresh basil as it came out of the oven and it also passed the overnight test-it was a home run in my opinion.  I felt that it was the absolute closest to our NE chain of choice.  While he also really enjoyed Papalino's -hubby did not agree- he was still leaning toward Spinelli's. 

     We came up with an easy compromise for enjoying both by switching back and forth each time we ordered but we had a running argument as to which one was "best".  We didn't think there would ever be a way to settle it until my dear friend came to visit.  As she and I have enjoyed many a pizza together- we enlisted her as an impartial judge.  We did warn her in advance so she didn't eat lunch on her way and on the way home from the airport, we stopped at both places to get a pie for a late lunch.  We did not tell her which of us preferred which pizza- we wanted no bias.  Both smelled wonderful, both were well cooked and had plenty of "bubbles" (we LOVE those-lol) and visually the only immediate difference was the basil on Papalino's.  Her first reaction after tasting both was to go with Spinelli's.  I was ready to concede defeat to the man- but then she said that she was changing her opinion- she kept going back to the Papalino's because there was just "something" about it.  In the end- the next day after we did the overnight test- Papalino's was declared the winner by a very small margin. 

So what does all of this have to do with gratitude and positivity?  I am grateful that my friend came to visit and that she was able to settle this difference of opinions for us.  I am also positive that I won ;-) (HA!) Actually- sometimes it only takes the little things in life to make you happy- and a good pizza is one of mine.

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