Lord have mercy
One year ago, literally to the day, some schmuck emailed me asking my opinion of Papa Murphy's. I told him that it was outside the scope of my blog, but 'maybe I'd make an exception.' Well that guy is probably dead by now, or living in the vast sewers underneath Las Vegas or maybe he's joined a professional basketball team in Europe. He's dead to me, anyway, that's all that matters! He sorta sent me on this horrible mission and is therefore sorta responsible for the bullshit I had to endure. Hell, I'm still enduring it; a lot of it is still just sitting in my fridge, mocking me.
I didn't know what to expect from this weirdo establishment. Their website is dumb as hell, and I couldn't find much real, tangible information readily available. Entering the store was not much of a help, either; prices were listed on boards somewhat haphazardly, for various sundry pizzas. It confused me, but, in their defense, so do simple things like magnets and hirsute women. Even as I write this review, I don't know whether to handle this like a normal pizza review or one of my throwaway frozen pizza reviews. It's not frozen but it might as well be. I mean i guess it's "fresh" in the sense that they made it right in front of me and shit, but I still have to trek home, crank the oven and throw the bastard in.
So this is the medium cheese pizza. To it I added oregano and crushed red pepper (as always), and half of it got some jalapenos, because fuck you, that's why. This thing cooked at 425F for like 12 minutes, maybe. It came out looking a little scary. One thing of note is that this medium pizza seemed pretty big to me. It also had like a million pounds of cheese on it. So if you like mountains of shitty cheese, this is for you. Also I guess it was a mix of cheeses but regardless it was bland. Hot out of the oven it was stringy and whatnot but when it cooled down for like half a minute, it became a solid mass of gutbusting misery. Bite into it and it all just sloughs off. Terrible.
The sauce was pasty and unremarkable, overcooked and overseasoned and stupid. The crust was bland and offensive in its inoffensiveness. Overall, I got the distinct impression that I was eating school pizza, except worse, crossed with my mom's crappy homemade pizza, except worse. It was pretty bad. The sad thing is that I might get another pizza from here, except with toppings. God, why did I even think that just now. Fuck me.
I guess I'll give this thing a rating, since, even though it's worse than most frozen pizza, at least it's "fresh." Right?
7 1/2 recircs out of a possible 8 recircs (lower is better)Papa Murphy's - $5.10 after a $2-off coupon 2804 South College Road, Wilmington, NC
A first time for everything
It struck me that I haven't posted a real review since, like, fucking October. It's goddamn January. As it happens, it's 2012 and the fucking world is ending and I need to make haste. I need to do important things such as finishing this blog. And yet, there are new places springing up all the time offering their shitty versions of pizza. It's as if people have realized that flour, water, tomato paste and crummy cheese are not so costly and exhibit exorbitant potential profit margins. As it happens, I'm fairly sick of that shit and indeed don't know why I ever started down the path of such lackluster establishments, praise Tebow. Yet that is where we find ourselves.
And as such it is no wonder my ladyfriend assumed that I was acquiring for us a Papa Murphy's pizza for dinner when I informed her of her impending pizza decimation. After all, there is not much left in town to review, just some stragglers. When I arrived home with a legitimate pizza box, she exclaimed "Terrazo's!?" Such a presumptuous affront could not go unaccounted for and so I responded, "No, bitch, take yon seat." In truth I had a pizza from Siena, too expensive by far and too late to the party to matter. Scratch that, I don't even know what I just wrote (whiskey).
I had avoided Siena for a time because for one it's not terribly convenient for me to get to, location- or time-wise. It's also kind of expensive unless you buy an eat-in pizza on a Tuesday. As it turns out the aforementioned lady tends to think of a deal on food to mean an excuse to order high-priced cocktails. So I opted for a $15 takeout pizza (~17" I'd guess) as opposed to a $10 dinein pizza accompanied by top shelf mixed drinks costing me an arm, leg, a couple wazoos and a few fuck yous too. Call me a fucking genius if you will, that's fine.
Fucking hell I need to talk about the pizza. It was both better than I thought it would be and vaguely lackluster at the same time, but mostly it was unexpected. Living and dying within a prototypical cardboard pizza box I found something rather akin to a NY-style pizza.
The cheese was acceptable, maybe even good, though not as grease-laden as my fat self prefers. It was reminiscent of some pies I've had in New York, in a way, and at the very least better than inoffensive. The sauce was kind of bitter, but it was pretty good in its own right. It was spiced but not overly-so; it might have done better with some sugar. The crust was more of a challenge. On the one hand it was a bit too soft and chewy, particularly along the rim of the pie. On the other hand, it was well-browned on the bottom and structurally sound. It's difficult for me to take points off here because I know that a ten minute ride in a box (heh heh) will soften if not destroy the integrity of any pizza crust. In fact, as time went by afterwards, the crust redefined itself and wasn't half-bad. It was still lacking for salt, though.
Bottom line: this is better than most pizza you will find in Wilmington. Is it worth $15 after tax? Nope. On Tuesdays is it worth $10 to split with a friend at the bar plus a couple $3 beers? I'm not being generous when I say Fuck Yes It Is.
I'm on a boat, bitch.
3 1/2 recircs out of a possible 8 recircs (lower is better)Siena - $15 3315 Masonboro Loop Road, Wilmington NC
Disappointment never left such a terrible taste in my mouth
As all of you who read this blog with some regularity know, I'm fairly incompetent. One example of said incompetence is that I thought this Incredible location was no longer in existence. I got it in my pea-sized brain that the newish Slice of Life shithole took over their spot. I don't remember why I decided upon this nonsense, but as usual I was entirely wrong; as you can see, this place totally exists.
Which is kind of a shame because the pizza was bad, in the must bummer sorta way possible. It's a real big bastard that doesn't look too bad at first, really:
The only positive thing I can say about this slice is that it's very large. It's not quite as large as those found at the Incredible location off New Centre, but that thing was simply gargantuan. The crust was misshapen and extraordinarily dry. It also had a general burnt taste to it, which struck me as kind of inexplicable since it didn't appear burnt.
There wasn't enough cheese on here, nor was there enough sauce. I think the sauce may have been okay but the cheese was crummy, I think. It was either really bland, or low- fat, or maybe it's just that there was so little of it on the slice. Based on the lack of grease, I'd say they're using some shitty low-fat mozzarella and not much of it.
All I could taste was burnt crap in my mouth, and it was dry as all get out. Real bummer because I went here expecting something good like you can get at their sister pizzeria off New Centre. This right here is definitely some of the shittier NY-style pizza in town, so if that's what you are looking for, stop looking and drive on over.
I hope they were just having an off day.
6 1/2 recircs out of a possible 8 recircs (lower is better)Incredible Gourmet Pizza - $2.70
1414 S College Rd # 105 Wilmington, NC 28403
Now this is the Carolina Beach I was expecting
I like Carolina Beach. There, I said it. And I wanted to like Frank's Pizza. In fact, I was expecting to like this place. I was expecting this to be the grand wizard of Carolina Beach's pitiful pizza scene. Sadly, that is just not how the pizza crumbled. The pizza did crumble, though. Hold on. Imma let you finish, but this was one of the strangest pizzas of all time!
Check this wacky motherfucker out:
What a weird fucking slice! Looks like the fatsos nearby on the beach with fat rolls for days. This is like the least appetizing looking slice of pizza I've ever bought. In terms of sheer, abjectly absurd ugliness it even trumps that fucking stupid slice I got from Slice of Life (though not by much).
Of note is that all that oregano on there was put on by them. And I think that is the fucking bees knees. Not many places around here do this and it's a shame because it's a quick and easy and, most importantly, legitimate way to add flavor to your otherwise mediocre pizza.
A picture really does tell a thousand words in this case. Obviously the crust is garbage. It was formed by a real jerk of a human, clearly. Additionally, it's too thin. And it has approximately zero salt in it. Also there may be no yeast. Like at all. It was so dry the rim crumbled when I fucking glanced at it. It's like some asshole stole some unleavened, tasteless dough from a miscellaneous Jew and pretended it was pizza dough for his own malevolent purposes. There was nothing good about this slice's crust. Here's another picture:
Here's the bottom of the crust. It looks burnt but it's not quite to that point. This is some pretty good browning here, in my opinion. But then look at the top of the pizza and it looks undercooked. It's a shame. But, the strangest motherfucking thing of all is that even though the bottom of this crust was nearly burnt, it was paradoxically the softest crust I've ever experienced. I cannot explain this. I will not even try. It was off-putting and sort of horrible.
The good news is that the rest of this slice was good. The cheese was pretty damn good, and the oregano was awesome, I loved it. The sauce was also pretty damn good. On the whole, I'll even say that the slice tasted pretty good, because of the spice, the sauce and the cheese. The crust, though, had zero flavor, zero moisture, a pitiful, unleavened crumb and it just made me want to recirc into infinity.
As I was leaving, one of the pizza makers dropped an entire pie onto the floor, as he was taking it out of the oven. Maybe he did the same with this plain pie, and maybe that would explain the shortcomings of the product which I received. Maybe this is just how they make pizzas here: 1. Make pie; 2. Throw it on the floor; 3. Sell that shit.
Points taken off for a terrible crust and what can only be described as a complete lack of pride in the product they peddle.
Dough is paramount.
5 1/2 recircs out of a possible 8 recircs (lower is better)Frank's Pizza - $2.43
8 N Carolina Beach Ave, Carolina Beach, NC 28428
The best Michaelangelos location is in Carolina Beach. There is no God
Never been here before. Like the other Michaelangelos locations northwards, this location has the same sign, similar decor, same wall ornaments and dispensers, menu, specials, the works. Except I don't think they have the all-you-can-eat lunch special that the one by UNCW offers. However, that special is aneurysm-inducing. It makes no sense to me. It's as if fat kids reinvented Christmas and decided to have it make even less sense than a magical obese furry scooting down billions of chimneys, giving out sack-presents and stealing baked goods. Oh, and Fatty Christmas happens every day.
I wasn't really expecting much when I arrived here. In fact, I had so written off Carolina Beach that I had previously, for the purposes of this blog, decided to ignore the entire area and pretend that pizza didn't exist here. In my defense, Carolina Beach isn't really Wilmington. It will be soon enough though, when the Wilmington Borg feasts upon it and adds it to its fatty outer layers, but that's a tale for a different and terrible day.
Out of fucking nowhere, the weather gods shined upon our section of the world, and I felt like going for a drive. Driving through the hellish innards of Wilmington is akin to Sisyphus' eternal struggle, so I went for a leisurely drive southwards. Spring lasts for exactly 4 days in Wilmington before the terrible, searing, awful heat of summer hits. If there is a perfect time to just leisurely cruise around, this is it.
Upon first glance, I felt like I was looking at your standard Michaelangelos slice. That is to say, a rather basic pizza, vaguely soulless, yet structurally very well-crafted, made from substandard ingredients and recipes:
Fat shitbird that I am, I took a bite before remembering to snap a photo. The slice looks alright for the most part. The rim looks a bit under and floury, and there are a few weirdo craters. Sort of like a zitty pubescent female with an undeveloped understanding of makeup, maybe. I don't know. As shown in this photo, I've added some oregano and crushed red pepper, as is my habit whenever they are made readily available.
The star of the show here is the sauce. This slice has some pretty god damn good sauce. The vaguely-nearby Monkey Junction Michaelangelos may use the same sauce recipe, but their slice was overpowered by a ton of shitty cheese when I went there, so I cannot say for sure. The Carolina Beach sauce was definitely a lot better than the the sauce at the Michaelangelos by UNCW. I also felt that the CB cheese was far above the Monkey Junction location and at least on par with UNCW's. Even Carolina Beach Michaelangelos' crust was better than their brethren (though even here it was clearly the key area which demanded improvement). In every respect this slice at the very least equals the other Michaelangelos locations.
All in all it was a pretty damn good slice of pizza by Wilmington standards, and goddamnit we're talking about Carolina Beach here, which, at the time of day I went, had no other pizza slices for sale fucking anywhere: At the time, this was the only game in town if you wanted a slice of pizza. It's not an outstanding deal at $2.54, but its not shockingly bad either (especially because it's pretty large), plus if you are feeling quite fat, they offer a $4.99+tax small cheese pizza lunch special, or some bullshit. I personally hate the idea of a NY-style joint serving pizzas smaller than 18", but I think even Brooklyn does that now. This is the primary reason that I bemoan our floundering, decrepit economy - even my ever-expanding list of broken bones and other unattended medical issues take second place to the horror of decent pizzerias stooping to such unholy lows as offering personal-size pizzas. It's disgraceful!
The main downside is that the crust, though fairly decent, could be better. I'll just take a moment to bust out my pizza nerd cred and tell these guys to use high gluten flour, for the Pete's sake.
I'm kind of flummoxed and disappointed; I feel like I'm letting my 3 readers down by not blasting this bitch to space like the Russian chimpanzee we all wish it was. Hopefully I'll review some more shitty, gross, mind-fuckingly bad pizza soon, but this shit right here was a pretty good slice!
I woulda eaten another, gladly. In fact, I considered just that.
2 1/2 recircs out of a possible 8 recircs (lower is better)Michaelangelos Pizza - $2.54
9 South Lake Park Boulevard, Carolina Beach, NC 28428
Slice of Shit
This place is fucking stupid. Pizzeria that serves booze? You had me at pizzeria. But god damn do I love booze. This should be an easy winner. Slice has new locations popping up like herpes sores in Jersey.Also I'm not going to link their website, cuz it just destroyed the fuck out of my eardrums because my shit was turned up too high and their website was made by an idiot. Guess I'll remove it from the other Slice review too. While waiting for my slice I wrote in my notes (yes I keep notes), "I dread this." Upon receiving my slice, I followed this note up with: "worse than I could've imagined." That pretty much sums it up. Jesus shitdick Christ.
Part of me wishes this picture came out better, but I'm also kind of glad it came out so poorly because this shit is painful to recollect. It kind of looks like a crust bubble up and janged this slice up, but no dice. What's going on here is that it looks like they made a vaguely okay slice and then some shitass dumbfuck took his grubby mitts and just totally mangled it, somehow, for some unholy reason. I can't think of a single time in my life that I've sent food back, but I would've sent this back if not for this stupid blog.
Also this slice is way fucking small. Really fucking small. Smallest pizza in town yet, and the most expensive. That's about what you can expect from Slice of Life in most regards. For example, here is what they consider to be drink "specials":
Garbage. Okay, back to the pizza. Similar shitty crust to the downtown location, but I dont think it had that weird garlic butter shit on it, which is a plus. The cheese was okay and the sauce was okay, in fairly decent ratios. But the crust fucked this slice right to hell (where it ate shit with Michaelangelo and Jesus, forever). It was cooked on a screen and when I say cooked, I mean burnt to shit on the bottom. The interior of the crust was no better. It was, in fact, considerably worse because it was super fucked up kinds of raw. I couldn't even finish this shit.
I always finish my food, because my mother and father instilled in me the One American Truth: Only a policy of rampant waste and overconsumption can save the poor starving children in China. The fact that I didn't finish this gross shit speaks volumes. Worst slice of pizza I've ever had in Wilmington.
Commence the recirc.
7 1/2 recircs out of a possible 8 recircs (lower is better)Slice of Life Pizzeria & Pub - $2.70 (or something) 3715 Patriot Way Unit 101, Wilmington, NC 28412