Thursday, February 25, 2010

After the pizza bracket...

When we started the pizza bracket we had one objective: to find out which of the local pizzerias had the best pizza in town. There was a list of criteria, the primary being hours of operation including lunch time. Putting all health concerns aside we stuck with what we intended to do and with that comes a certain amount of pride. I think people respect that and I appreciate the attention and acknowledgment we've gotten. I think it's fair to say that what we've done here is something special. It's not like we just picked up a select few small pizzas on a Friday night and wrote a column in the Telegram. My goal for the blog was to not only document the outcome of this event but to display the time and effort invested as well as the hardships endured during the process. I think this serves to ensure the outcome is credible. I am told people have referenced the blog on occasion when deciding where to order pizza from. This makes me feel as though our efforts have been worthwhile. I thank all those involved in the competition and those who followed along. Could this be the end of the pizza blog?

On that note I should mention that while people were relieved to have a well deserved break from pizza a couple times since the pizza bracket ended some interest in extending the pizza bracket has arose. One such occasion involved Sam showing off a flyer for Cheapie Cheapie Pizza. The discussion escalated to the point where we considered having mini brackets that would determine a competitor for a title bout against Venice. Unfortunately though Cheapie Cheapie Pizza's hours of operation did not include lunch time. This extinguished the idea at the time, but I think there as still a few hot spots that may ignite sometime in the future. While we have crowned a pizza champion of the world I don't think the Gimongous Avalon Pizza Bracket is truly over...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Week 13: Final Round (Peter's Pizza vs. Venice Pizza)

Today's final competition for the prestigious prize of being heralded as the pizza champion of the world met and even exceeded our expectations. We pulled out all the stops and ordered two jumbo pizzas since we had in attendance the most judges we've had for a pizza bracket competition and because we didn't feel having Peter's pizza as a finalist would be justified without having a pizza box with a cartoon Peter's head on it. I had become familiar with the return trip to Venice so I made that run while I ordered delivery from Peter's. My timing was impeccable as upon returning I passed the Peter's delivery drive in the parking lot. I knew then that this would be a glorious competition. When I returned there was quite a buzz surrounding predictions of the outcome. Upon initial comparison of the pizzas we found them both to be quite similar. There was a slight difference in shade of crust, but both had similar consistency and greasiness. Peter's seemed to have fresher veggie toppings, while Venice appeared to have canned mushrooms. The cheese on the Venice was a little more baked on with a slightly brown tinge to it. In the end though these did not contribute to the outcome. It all boiled down to the sauce...

Initially there were 12 judges: Heather, Nick, Mutema, Alex, Mark, Sam, Chuck, Josh, Howard, Heidi, Dale and myself. Sam counted the ballots in dramatic fashion only to find out that there was a 6-6 tie. We had considered the potential for a draw resulting from and even number of judges at the outset of the pizza bracket, but never in our wildest dreams did we thing that it would be the final competition where this came into effect. Fortunately though we had ordered jumbo pizzas and there was some left over. All we needed were additional judges. We rounded up three judges, Wally, Pappy, and Don. We cut the remaining pieces in to three pairs of pizza slivers. We decided a blind test would be the best method considering the importance of this outcome. The additional judges we confined to a separate room with their individual plates ho0lding the respective pizza slivers and told they were not allowed to leave until they had come to a conclusion. During their deliberation there was a combination of nervousness, impatience, and excitement felt amongst the other judges. We all wanted to know who would be crowned as the pizza champion of the world and what pizza we could be eating at the super bowl party. When the additional three votes we cast and count we were all surprised to find that all three votes were for Venice. And as we later found out it was all to do with the sauce. Pappy was heard to comment that he voted for what he thoughts was Peter's because it tasted like Peter's sauce which he liked. Obviously he was fooled. But considering both these finalists came from the same decedent it's understandable that one might mix them up in a blind taste. Some Peter's fans were in disgust of the outcome and would not accept the newly crowned Venice as the pizza champion of the world. Maybe it was an off day for Peter's or an on day for Venice, however the stars aligned for today's outcome I'm glad that a pizza has been crowned and we can take a break from weekly pizza.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Week 12: Semi-Final 2 (Venice Pizzeria vs. Boston Pizza)

After a week long break from pizza there was renewed interest in the second semi-final round. The end was drawing near and excitement was brewing as this pizza bracket of gimongous measures was soon coming to an end. Also, there was quite some interest in the outcome of today's competition between the local veterans Venice Pizzeria and the corporate giant Boston Pizza. Many wondered if this would be the demise of the baconator. Judges today included Mark, Josh, Howard, Chuck, Nicklovin', Alex, Mutema, and myself. I made the run to get Venice while Heather offered to pick up Boston Pizza. When I returned I found the judges eagerly awaiting. Both pizzas were quite different. Boston Pizza had as per usual a brilliant green pepper array on top concealing the thick bacon layer beneath. One thing I have to comment on about Boston Pizza is their consistency. Every time we've had it it pretty much looked exactly the same and I am always surprised at just how much bacon is on it. Venice, while not as consistent, did bring it's A game today. Normally the crust is a little soggy/greasy, but today it was acceptable. It's a good thing, because competing with copious amounts of bacon isn't an easy task. When the crumbs settles Venice won 7-3, much to the surprise of bacon enthusiasts Mutema and Wally. Wally was heard to say that he does not believe in a final that is without the baconator. The demise of the baconator proves that it is possible to have too much of a good thing.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Week 11.5: Semi-Final Round 1 (Pizza Delight vs. Peter's Pizza)

In sports and other multi-round tournament competitions the first semi-final round is typically associated with the onset of excitement and anxiousness as the inferior competitors have been eliminated and only the best of the best remain. With respect to this pizza bracket that was not the case. Today's competition is the second this week and will be the fourth time in two week's we've had pizza. It was quite difficult to hype up today's competition as to put it blatantly we're starting to get sick of pizza. The bracket has now become an obligation as we've come this far and eaten so much pizza that to stop now would be devastating. Combine that with the fact that Peter's has become a favorite and the general consensus is that Pizza Delight's days are numbered there was a lack of excitement for today's outcome. Judges for today included Mutema, Josh, Howard, Sam, Chuck, Alex, Nick, Mark, and myself. Two large pizza's with the usual toppings were ordered from each location, with the addition of a medium garlic fingers from Pizza Delight being ordered as part of the special. As expected Peter's won with a commanding 8-1 victory with only a single vote representing the sweet sauce of Pizza Delight. There was some speculation as to who placed this sweet sauce vote, but the name of this individual will be protected as part of the (unwritten) Gimongous Avalon Pizza Bracket rules and guidelines. Without Peter's Pal's being on hand to swing the vote Peter's still managed to follow through with the assumed outcome. Peter's is participant one of the finals!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Week 11: Return of the Baconator (Boston Pizza vs. Pizza Experts)

My apologies once again for the delay in updating the blog entries to those who have been loyally following the pizza bracket. As you can see from above the outcome has been decided, but I am devoted to updating the content such that you the reader can get a glimpse of how this outcome came to be. I've also figured out how to change the post date such that I can go back in time...

This week we once again have two pizza bracket competitions. The first of which pitted two infamous corporate giants against each other: Boston Pizza vs. Pizza Experts. Most people could still recall the toll that copious amounts of crumbled bacon had on their bodies from the first round. As a result people were diligent in ensuring that they were properly hydrated before this competition. I actually considered consulting Gatorade for a custom formula that not only optimizes hydration during the consumption of excessive amounts of bacon, but also eases heart burn in the process. In the end we relied on water and Pepsi to combat the baconator. Judges this week included Josh, Howard, Sam, Chuck, Alex, Mark, Nicklovin', Mutema, and myself. There was definitely a split between those who enjoyed the distinct bacon flavor and those who preferred the sweeter sauce of Pizza Experts. While there were differences in crust composition and veggie appearance, it really boiled down to who wanted the baconator to continue its salty run to the top. In the end the baconator did succeed in knocking out Pizza Experts with a final vote of 5-4. Could the baconator in fact be a pizza that Danny Williams would consider eating? If in fact it is that would explain a lot considering the recent news of the premiers heart surgery...

Week 10.5: Old Italy (Old Town vs. Venice Pizza)

Old Town Mount Pearl/Venice

Old Town East End

Two pizza brackets in a week combined with a busy work schedule has resulted in a slip of me updating the blog. In fact, as I hurry to write this blog update I await the delivery of pizzas for today's competition. But for now let's step back in time to last Friday to the battle of Old Italy...

If you recall from the first round competition of Old Town vs. Stogger's in the East End district the Portugal Cove Road Old town would not deliver, while Stogger's would. In talking to the lady working at the Portugal Cove Road Old Town location I begged and pleaded, to no avail, for her to have the pizzas delivered at any cost. The reasoning was that there was a Mount Pearl location and we're in that district, hence that's where we get our Old Town. I reluctantly accepted this response, but asked for a guarantee that the pizza from the Mount Pearl location would be the same. Her response was that it was in fact the same pizza. The trusting tone in her voice led me to believe this was true, but today we would challenge her word...

It was decided that not only would we order pizza from Venice and the Mount Pearl Old Town location, we would also order a pizza from the Portugal Cove Road Old Town location so we could decide if in fact both Old Town pizzas we the same. I had made a request for pizza runners and in no time I had Alex and Heather offering to made a run. It was decided to order three jumbos to level the playing field. I ordered Venice first without any issue. Next I ordered from the east end Old Town. I found out that they had just received an order for 25 jumbos and there would be a slight delay in when the pizza would be ready. Nothing we could do so I proceeded with the order and moved on. I ordered the Mount Pearl Old Town next and had that delivered. From here it was a waiting game.

Alex returned first with the Venice, followed by Mount Pearl Old Town. After waiting a few minutes for Heather to arrive with the east end Old Town hunger outweighed patience and we started in on the pizzas in front of us. Heather arrived seconds later with the east end Old Town and the true competition could begin. First it was decided that we determine if the two Old Town pizzas were indeed comparable. The results were quite surprising. Put to a vote it was decided that Mount Pearl Old Town was the better with a result of 5-4. The appearance was similar, but the crust was a little doughy/uncooked on the east end pizza (probably due to the rush caused by the big 25 jumbo order, nonetheless still not acceptable). Also there seemed to be a difference in the flavor of the pizza with people commenting that the sauce was different. Some judges even went to say that both pizzas were completely different.

Once it was decided that the Mount Pearl Old Town was the better Old Town we then put forth the question of which pizza between Venice and Mount Pearl Old Town was better? Most people seemed to comment that the Venice was tastier overall, though my reaction was that it was due to the absurd amount of grease on the pizza. Of course, grease and fat make everything taste better. In any case Venice won the competition 5-4. It makes you wonder though if we had gone with the east end Old Town in the first round would it have made it through to the second round. Like many other speculations had during the course of this pizza bracket, we'll never know!

Judges for this week included: Mutema, Josh, Howard, Chuck, Mark, Sam, Nicklovin', Alex and myself. Special thanks to the pizza runners Alex and Heather.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Week 10: Challenge without a Name (Peter's Pizza vs. Big Cheese)

After mulling over a few combination's of the words "Big", "Peter", and "Cheese" it was decided that it was probably best to do without a name for today's competition. Today's competition was initially slated to happen this past Friday, but was usurped by Free-lunch Friday. What an emotional roller coaster ride that was! In any event with hockey yesterday and the requirement to have pizza two times this week it was decided today was the day. There was much anticipation for this match up, stemming from last week. Newfoundland Jesus "appeared" as a guest judge for this event. Anticipating this I only ordered a single small pizza, figuring NJ would work some miracles. Ah religious humor...but I digress. A single jumbo pizza was ordered from Peter's Pizza, while two jumbo pizzas were ordered from Big Cheese. Yes this was controversial. And yes it was expected that Big Cheese would be the better pizza (keeping in mind it knocked out the Hut in the first round). A pleasant surprise in ordering the jumbo Peter's Pizza is the box is nice and colorful with a cartoon-like Peter head on the box. Quite the novelty. Big cheese of course had a blank box. It should be noted that the cost of two Big Cheese jumbos was pretty much the same price as a single jumbo from Peter's. This was attributed to the box tax. That fancy box could not have been free!

Judges today included: Sam, Howard, Chuck, Mark, Alex, Nicklovin', Josh, myself, Heidi, and Newfoundland Jesus. There wasn't as much discussion this week regarding pizza quality. The distinct difference between the two seemed to be Peter's being saltier, while the Big Cheese tasted much like the cardboard box it came in would taste like. I didn't agree with this sentiment, but I like to provide commentary from both sides. Heidi and NJ both agreed that the Big Cheese received today was A LOT better than the Big Cheese they had during the course of this past weekend. Heidi even went so far as to text me during the weekend questioning how Big Cheese managed to beat the Hut. I did not have an answer, other than maybe the stars aligned that day for the Big Cheese. Other discussion included the inconsistency in the Big Cheese crust, with some parts being doughier than others. But let's keep in mind here that it's an $11 jumbo. Oh, one more thing worth mentioning is that it seems Big Cheese uses yellow pepper if there is not enough green pepper to go around. This seemed a little odd. I didn't order yellow pepper and I'm pretty certain I specified green. In any case there was hardly any distinction in flavor as overall there was none.

It was a hard pill to swallow, albeit not as a hard to swallow as big bite pizza without a drink, but tough nonetheless, when Big Cheese lost to Peter's 8-2. I did contribute one of those two votes, mainly to counteract one of the Peter's Pizza Pal votes since they came with the intention of voting for Peter's. Also, I like the underdog Big Cheese and thought maybe this unknown legend would make it to the top. But alas, it was not to be. What I did get from Big Cheese's run at the title is a late night alternative if Mr. Jim's is closed. Also, if I'm ordering for a bunch of drunk people and I'm on a budget I know where to go.

p.s. Some of you may have suggestions for blog content, just as Newfoundland Jesus expressed today. To that I say piss off and write your own blog ;P