Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Super Bowl Sunday

For the most part, I just don't care about football. I do know enough about the game to almost run the recent football category on Jeopardy. The purple people eaters one would have gone by me. If I was forced to pick a team, I think it would be nice for the Bills to be competitive again, but that is probably more because I like Buffalo more than I like football. What we had done in the past was take the kids out to a nicer than usual restaurant (if you go back to 2012, there was illness, a kitchen remodel and store bought pizza shells - not my proudest moment). For those with young kids, it's perfect. The restaurant is happy for the business, the kids get a nicer than Moe's/burger joint/Friendly's/diner type experience and because the place is empty, if your 3 year old gets a little loud, no one is around to care. Now my kids are old enough that I can take them anywhere without worrying about their behavior. Finding them something they'd be willing to eat might be the harder issue. This summer we took a cruise and they tried some things in the main dining room on the boat that they probably wouldn't have tried in a restaurant on land. And the reason for that was the safety net of the buffet upstairs. If they tried something new and hated it, there was always something they would like at the buffet. For the most part, they did well. I only had to have two dinners once or twice. But back to Super Sunday.

The meal this Super Bowl Sunday was very enjoyable. The four of us had a really good time. There was only one flaw in the meal. It was the cheese pizza one of my kids ordered.

If I wasn't a pizza obsessive, none of this would bother me. The pizza wouldn't have detracted anything from the meal. It would have been just a kid's pizza.  No one left the restaurant hungry. The pizza was gone when left, although that is probably because I was going a little overboard tasting the crust. I didn't take a picture because we were out having a good time, I prefer to keep a phone away from the table and I didn't want to announce "pizza freak" to the waitstaff. I didn't realize I'd be thinking about this pizza steadily for a full day and with 20/20 hindsight, I regret not taking the photo. So with all that said and remembering we had a very nice evening, let's start bitching about the pizza.

1. I didn't really check the layout of the kitchen but I believe the pizza is made in a different area than the rest of the menu. I bet if the head chef saw this particular pizza, it would have become a snack for the waitstaff and another pizza would have been made and served. If I pulled that pizza out of my oven, I would not have served it. Hell, just from looking at the shape, I might not have bothered to top it with sauce and cheese. Dough is cheap. I'm guessing there was less than 25 cents worth of ingredients in that dough ball before it was topped. Probably wouldn't have been the end of the world to start over.

2. The bake was completely unbalanced.  The rim of the crust was pale and under cooked. The shape was not round, which can be OK. I'm pretty sure this was meant to be round. And a bigger diameter. If this dough ball was stretched rounder and bigger, the big dough crust rim would have been smaller, less dense and might have properly baked.

3. I liked the sauce.

4. Whoever made the pizza needs to get better at launching a pizza. The peel had to have been coated with a lot of flour to leave that much raw flour on the undercarriage of the pizza. Try a sprinkling of rice flour on the peel instead of that much extra bench flour. .

Well, I feel a little better. The appetizer we had was lovely. Three entrees were nice too. Some shrimp were cooked beautifully. Service was attentive and friendly. If I lived closer, I would want to be a regular customer. I suggested the possibility of having the upcoming family Birthday Dinner here. Unfortunately I think it's just a little too far away from home. But the pizza, that needs some work. Maybe just more experience.

Later this week, my wife and I will have been a couple for 26 years. While she and I were critiquing this pizza at the restaurant she commented that she was surprised how quickly she became a pizza snob.

Back off. She's with me.


  1. You naming names? Seems only fair...

    1. I didn't name names for a few reasons. First, I honestly believe someone snuck an inferior pizza past the chef. Sure that's a failure at some level, but it has to be tough to see every single thing before it goes out. Maybe the regular pizza maker was off watching the Super Bowl and I found a crack in the system. Second, this is an incredibly small sample size and I don't want to bash a place based on just that especially since everything else was very enjoyable. Third, even though I was clearly disappointed in the pizza, this level of disappointment isn't close to other places I've never mentioned here so I don't think it's fair. I would classify this as disappointing. I've been outright pissed at places. Angry for a week pissed. (Yes, I understand that is an absurd over reaction to a bad slice.) And finally, when I call a specific place out I prefer for it to be only good. Doesn't always happen that way, but it is definitely a preference.

  2. I know you are trying to be a good person by not naming names, which is commendable. But I have to say that as a reader, getting through the whole post without finding out the restaurant was intensely frustrating. The only information I am left with is that you got a bad slice of pizza. Without knowing where, the post does not have value for a reader. Of course, perhaps writing it made you feel better, which is certainly your prerogative on your own blog. Just wanted to provide some reader feedback.

    1. My apologies and thank you for the feedback. It was never meant to be a frustrating post for the reader. Based on twice as many comments than a post normally gets, it's definitely a frustrating post. When I'm putting up a post, the only person I expect to read it is my mother. Anyone else telling me they saw some in this space is an infrequent surprise.

      I worked in a few places when I was younger (a pub, a Friendly's and a bakery). That combined with researching a potential food business plan, I know how hard the business is. So I didn't want me whining in an unedited rant to drive away a potential customer. When pizza is involved, I try to go in with low expectations for the quality so I can be pleasantly surprised instead of disappointed. On Sunday, I was optimistic and excited...then disappointed and that's what lead to the post (which actually was cathartic for me).

      I do plan to return to this restaurant as soon as possible to see if this was an anomaly or if that's just the pizza there. Maybe I'll summon the courage for either a full review or a disection of the pizza with pictures...and a name.

      Thanks for stopping by. Hopefully you'll do it again sometime.

    2. Thanks for the kind reply. I look forward to seeing the post when you return to the place. I read your blog when All Over Albany links to it in their weekly roundup.

  3. All Over Albany is a great site. I was very excited to join the Neighborhood.