Archive for the ‘Pizza’ Category
Twin Cities Bureau Chief Lauren popped in to Fresh Picked, in the far northern ‘burbs. Had the sausage pie as an eat-in, but observed the take out, including take and bake business was brisker than the inside diners.
“Thinish” but with a thicker crust, she reports it was good, but not great. Exterior of the crust was unevenly cooked, as well.
If you’re ever looking for Shoreview, look for the two 1000+ foot TV towers. Menu.
Fresh Picked Pizza Review
Bagel Bites were invented by Stanley Garczynski and Bob Mosher of Florida, and sold out to a larger food company early on. Today they are in the hands of Ore-Ida (Heinz), not sure why, the company doesn’t have any similar products.
They aren’t even mentioned on Ore-Ida’s main website, but have their own home, where you can read all about the different varieties that are offered.
I haven’t tried these for a couple of decades, my recollection is that they used to be a slightly better pizza snack choice than Jenos/Totinos pizza rolls, which to me, never tasted like anything, let alone pizza.
Verdict? Well, I’m not going to try pizza rolls to compare, but these are OK, really not much flavor, can bake in the oven or microwave. Would I buy these regularly? Nah. And way too many ingredients listed for a product this simple.
Bagel Bites Review
I like things, places that came into existence the same year I did. I had a Seeburg Jukebox of that vintage, and Broadway Pizza and I were born the same year. Back in the day I used to visit the establishment, they had one location, in Northeast Minneapolis (which isn’t northeast, any more than mid city in New Orleans is in the middle of the city!), and it included an assemblage of old railroad cars.
Today they have over a dozen locations around the Twin Cities, and I visited the one in Richfield, which is a ‘southern’ suburb out near the airport and the Mall of America.
I ordered my usual, sausage and olive, thin crust, of course, and the very pleasant server delivered the goods (and numerous soda refills) promptly. The crust was crispy and chewy at the same time, if that’s possible. Toppings and cheese were very generous, and the sausage had some (to me) unidentifiable spice that made it unique (different from traditional Italian “hot” sausage (which isn’t hot) or Italian “sweet” sausage (which isn’t sweet)). This makes Broadway’s sausage in a class by itself.
I liked Broadway decades ago, I like them today. They have become my Twin Cities old-timey go to place, since the demise of the venerable Cafe di Napoli in downtown Minneapolis. Sniff.
In addition to pizza, Broadway has subs, salads, appetizers and pasta dishes available; eat in, take out, or use them for catering.
Menu is online. (Pizza photo is mine, exterior photo above is from Broadway’s website).
I’ve written in the past the story of Kwik Trip and how I became acquainted with them about 40 years ago when they were just starting out. And I’ve written about competitor Casey’s General Store take and eat pizza slices, as well as when 7-Eleven launched into the segment a few year back.
Nobody but nobody holds a candle to Kwik Trip’s assortment of ‘grab and go’ type foods, and they offer a wider variety and deeper selection in each category than any other c-store.
While I think very favorably of Casey’s pizza slices (re-sampled just a couple weeks ago), especially for their flavor and abundance of cheese, I have to say, munching on a Kwik Trip slice the other day, the latter won out, if not for flavor and toppings, then certainly for the crust, which is crispy and light. Casey’s is doughy and often tastes (but not objectionably) not done.
One of the very first radio commercials we did for Kwik Trip 40 years ago said something like “when you run out, run in, to Kwik Trip.” It couldn’t be more true today. Whether you’re in the mood for a hot dog, slice of pizza, pre-made sandwiches, a myriad of baked goods, or even several varieties of soup, Kwik Trip has something for you.
And pick up your weekly staples while you’re in the store. They are often the market leader in pricing bread, eggs, and milk.
Kwik Trip Pizza Review
Started by two Michigan brothers in 1978, this Upper Midwestern chain specializes in what I’d call “Detroit Style” pizza. A bit thicker crust, square in shape, square cut. They offer several different sizes, including one that’s “all corners.”
There are now about 350 Jet’s Pizzas in 19 states, mostly franchise owned and operated. I could be mistaken, but usually I’m not, I think the entire chain is carry out/delivery only.
The outlet I visited, in a suburb of the Twin Cities, was ultra busy, and ultra high production oriented. My large sausage and “bold pepperoni” plus olives pie took 12 minutes on the conveyor oven. Enthusiastic and friendly staff. A lot of them!
In addition to pizza, the menu offers salads, subs, a couple of chicken products, and their variations on “crazy bread,” or whatever the real name is for baked slices of pizza dough with a variety of toppings.
You know what? I was impressed. This is a far more flavorful pie, with more toppings, than any other high production chain. It runs circles around Dominos, Papa Johns, Caesars, and Pizza Hut, for sure.
The sausage was flavorful, the pepperoni indeed “bold” (they also have regular), nice pull on the cheese, and the sauce had it’s own distinct flavor.
Good job, Jett boys. And thank yer ma for coming up with the recipe.
Locator. Menu below.
Jets Pizza Review
Somebody else was buying, so they picked, and they picked Bandito Barney’s. I’ve never been there, I’ve even walked by it and didn’t notice it, the outside is an older home, and there’s only a smallish, faded sign over the door.
But walk inside, and the whole world turns upside down, with massive outdoor bars and patios, sunlit, busy, and all aswarm with attractive server-type women.
Bandito’s menu has ‘something for everyone,’ sandwiches, salads, burgers, pizza, flatbread, appys, and of course, a full bar and plenty of beer. Daily specials, too, like AYCE pasta and the Chicago Friday traditional fish fry.
Burgers come in two sizes, 5 and 8 ounces, with a variety of cheeses and toppings to choose from. The restaurant is able/willing to cook to order, and my medium rare was just that.
I went with regular tots as a side, which were deep fried to a nice crisp. My pal encouraged me to try sweet potato tots, but they are just not for me. Sweet potato dishes are one of those things that puzzles me at restaurants – the raw product costs less than the regular potato, yet they charge more. Go figure.
It’s an above average burger, but not spectacular, on its own.
It may not be delivery, it’s “Digiorno,” but for me, another “d” word motivates me to buy this brand: “desperation.”
Translation? I’m in the mood for a frozen pie and happen to be someplace where this is the only thing available. In the case of last night, at a 7-Eleven, where the self-rising pepperoni was priced at $6.99.
Opening the box, right away I don’t like it, there’s a weird “chemical” smell from the box, which isn’t from the vacuum sealed pizza, but rather ingredients or ink in the cardboard? In any regards, it’s unappealing to me.
Pie-wise, I’m not a fan of thicker crusts. I prefer more cheese and toppings make up the calorie count, rather than bread.
Digiorno is owned by Nestle, along with Jack’s, Tombstone, and some other brands, it was part of a 2010 $3.7 billion acquisition from Kraft, who needed to raise money for other acquisitions. Regardless of what I personally think, apparently Digiorno is the number one frozen brand in the U.S. There’s a reason, I’m sure and it’s not to do with ‘value pricing,” though I did see a woman earlier in the day at a grocery picking up a half dozen, as they were on sale for less than $4 a pop.
It’s a very “non offensive,” pizza, mild toppings, mild sauce, fairly adequate cheese, and it’s probably very filling for a family meal, due to the calories in the bread.
In all fairness, before this pizza hits by pie hole, it has been seriously altered at home, with more toppings, spices, and herbs. So it’s not a very unbiased ‘review.’
The pies are made at a massive factory in Little Chute, Wisconsin, at USDA establishment M5754. Little Chute is parked along the Fox River adjacent to the Appleton-Neenah area. (pix below).
The pies have a whole raft of ingredients, including the dreaded mechanically separated chicken, something I try and avoid.
INGREDIENTS: ENRICHED WHEAT FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMIN MONONITRATE, RIBOFLAVIN, FOLIC ACID), WATER, LOW-MOISTURE PART-SKIM MOZZARELLA CHEESE (PART-SKIM MILK, CHEESE CULTURE, SALT, ENZYMES), PEPPERONI MADE WITH PORK, CHICKEN AND BEEF (PORK, MECHANICALLY SEPARATED CHICKEN, BEEF, SALT, CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF SPICES, DEXTROSE, PORK STOCK, LACTIC ACID STARTER CULTURE, OLEORESIN OF PAPRIKA, FLAVORING, SODIUM NITRITE, SODIUM ASCORBATE, PAPRIKA, NATURAL SMOKE FLAVOR, BHA, BHT, CITRIC ACID), TOMATO PASTE, SUGAR, 2% OR LESS OF WHEAT GLUTEN, VEGETABLE OIL (SOYBEAN OIL AND/OR CORN OIL), DEGERMINATED WHITE CORN MEAL,YEAST, SALT, DEGERMINATED YELLOW CORN MEAL, SEASONING BLEND (SALT, SPICE, DRIED GARLIC), BAKING POWDER (BAKING SODA, SODIUM ALUMINUM PHOSPHATE), DATEM, SODIUM STEAROYL LACTYLATE, ASCORBIC ACID (DOUGH CONDITIONER)
CONTAINS: MILK, WHEAT.
Digiorno Self Rising Pizza Review
There is some relationship between two Chicago-based chains, Rosati’s and Papa Saverio’s, but there aren’t any clues to that online. I don’t think they share any ownership, but they both list the same Italian immigrant Papa Saverio Rosati,as their inspiration and recipe source. Probably some sibling or cousin dispute, but no matter.
Rosati’s has really taken off in the past few years and now has over 200 locations around the country. Papa Saverios started in a Chicago suburb in 1997 and is up to 15 locations, all franchised except the original location.
The pizza recipes are similar, but for my personal tastes, I’m now giving Papa Saverio’s a slight edge.
The crust is a wee bit thicker than Rosati’s, the sausage more flavorful, and they use more cheese. The cheese is so evenly distributed in thickness, I’m almost tempted to say they used sliced product, instead of shredded. They use the ‘spiced Silician’ green olives, which I prefer as well.
Papa Saverios Pizza Review
A family-owned Chicago food manufacturer founded in 1927, Iltaco (originally Illinois Tamale Company) makes frozen snack foods for retail, food service, and c-stores. They have two frozen pizza labels, “Big,” and “Bella,” sell frozen tamales and burritos, but probably their biggest presence is in the niche category of “Pizza Puffs ™.”
A pizza puff is savory ingredients surrounded by a soft flour tortilla and baked til ready to eat. Flavors include: gyro, pulled pork, buffalo chicken, reuben, original, pepperoni, taco, deluxe,ham & cheese, 4 cheese, and beef.
The products are manufactured at Iltaco’s plant on Hubbard, about a mile west of the Loop (pictured below). Frozen puffs can be baked, microwaved, or deep-fried. I went with the bake method, the results shown below. (20 minutes, 425). I like these. The crust is flaky/crispy, the sauce and cheese flavors are very pleasant, as is the pepperoni. I think the cost was less than $1.50. Be good to have some in the freezer to ease a sudden pizza craving.
Good for an after school snack, too.
Obviously these guys were way ahead of the “Hot Pockets” people, which didn’t hit the grocery stores until the mid 1980s.
Iltaco Pizza Puff Review
I’ve written about Reggio’s before; this one, and competitor Home Run Inn (HRI), were both born in Chicago pizzerias, 40-50 years ago. The companies are still in the restaurant business, and do a good business making frozen pies for regional distribution and nationwide shipping direct to enthusiasts.
I’d venture a guess that these two pies do about the same amount of business, and they certainly get the most freezer face at stores I go to, even tho there must be – what – two dozen frozen pizzas out of the Chicago market?
They look the same, pretty much taste the same, and are usually priced the same, but Reggio’s seems to offer sales more often than HRI.
Both boast of a “butter crust,” and you really can taste it. Both are a hair thicker than traditional Chicago thin (cracker) crust, more like “hand tossed” thickness at most places.
Reggio’s has some good sausage and pepperoni, in fairly ample quantities. The 20 ounce pie is described as “dinner size.”
Ounce for ounce, dollar for dollar, I think Reggio’s has proportionately more cheese than most frozen pies, and it’s quality cheese at that, with good stretch.
If you’re in the city, and want to check out a Reggio’s restaurant, you’ll find them here. Or you can order them online, have them shipped to you, four 20 oz pies, including shipping for less than $80. That’s considerably less than most pizza shipping deals in my experience.
In other words? I like Reggio’s pizzas, and they are in my oven as much as any other brand.
Reggios Frozen Pizza Review