Friday, November 27, 2009

Week 5: week of the "Threeza"

This week most of the blodder (blog fodder) comes from circumstances leading up to today's competition. There had been a lot of discussion of who would replace Greco (closed up operation) in the East St. John's bracket. Some agreed that Acropolis might be a good candidate since it appeared to be decent looking when Dale had brought a slice for lunch one day and because it was not part of the competition in the Mount Pearl district. Some concern was expressed that there should not be inner district matching in the first round of the bracket. Pizza Supreme was offered as an alternate choice. In the end it was decided that Pizza Supreme would indeed replace Greco, but Acropolis would be added to the competition this week for a three pizza shoot out, hence Threeza. One would think that this would be the end of the controversy...

After ordering pizzas from the three location, Acropolis, Dominoes, and Pizza Delight (actually two pizzas and garlic fingers plus a "crappy" Greek Panzoretti for Wally were ordered from PD) it was time to collect money. It was at this point that the unexpected happened. Heidi, who had confirmed her participation earlier in the week, had to bow out of the competition since Newfoundland Jesus had dropped his car into the garage and could not be home to care for their dog, thus it was necessary for Heidi to assume this role. This turn of events was not greeted with understanding. I attempt to coerce Heidi into participating in the bracket competition, but was unsuccessful in my convincing efforts. Upon hearing of Heidi's withdrawal from the bracket Chuck commented "I don't care if a dog shits on the floor". Other commentary ensued, and needless to say this commentary was not favorable on Heidi's character. This is where the unthinkable happened. Pappy, overhearing the dissing, promptly confronted Heidi and told her that people were talking about her and it wasn't nice. Heidi called Newfoundland Jesus to console her after hearing what had been said. Miraculously Newfoundland Jesus had his car back from the garage and he could take the role of dog sitter and Heidi could participate in the competition. Everyone was happy. So ends the pre face.

The actual pizza bracket event started with the Acropolis pizza arriving 15 minutes early and being jumbo in size rather than the large ordered. The others arrived within several minutes of each other at around noon. Everyone commenced in the large conference room since there were three pizzas and enough people to warrant the move. Judges for this week include: Heidi, Chuck, Howard, Josh, Stephen, Mutema, Sam, and myself. Also participating in this weeks judging was guest judge Sarah, who was greeted with a warm welcome after an hype filled introduction by myself. All three pizzas this week were non-blank box pizzas with Acropolis actually getting the most box design approval. There was some discussion of how the voting would be cast for a three pizza competition, but as it turns out the competition was narrowed down to the two original match ups with Acropolis getting no votes. In the end Pizza Delight narrowly edged out Dominoes in an exciting 5-4 result. Commentary regarding the outcome seemed to indicate that the sweeter sauce on the Pizza Delight pizza contributed to its victory. Both pizzas were close in terms of quality and taste, while Acropolis fell by the wayside, even having leftovers (probably due to the fact that it was a jumbo). I can say that the Dominoes was a little crispier and had a more predominant crust, whereas the Pizza Delight had a doughier feel and had a crust that tapered off, rather than rise up. In the end I think the sauce was the deciding factor. The garlic fingers were a success as well, but consumption was held of until votes were cast to prevent any influence of decision.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Week 4: No Name Pizza vs. Boston Pizza

This week the intended competitors were Pizza Pros (picture right) and Boston Pizza (picture left). After calling Pizza Pros three times and letting it ring several times it was determined they were closed and thus eliminated from the bracket. One of the necessary criteria to be part of the pizza bracket is that a competitor has to be opened during the lunch hour. Obviously Pizza Pros are a supper/late night alternative. To fill their void we called upon No Name Pizza on Ropewalk Lane. This choice provided quite the competition. Judges this week included: Stephen, Sam, Josh, Howard, Chuck, Mutema, Mark, and myself. Wally also sampled the pizza, but did not contribute to the voting. All judges were in agreement that decision this week was a tough one. In the end Boston Pizza won 6-2 (6-3 if you count Wally's unofficial vote). It came down to sauce, crust, and bacon. Bacon was pretty much the topic of discussion during the judging process. Namely, the absurd amount of bacon on the Boston Pizza. It appeared to have a layer of cheese, topped with a generous layer of crumbled bacon, mushroom was also in the mix, topped with another layer of cheese, then topped off with brilliant green peppers. It was unanimous that the bacon flavor dominated the pizza. The appearance of the No name was a little lackluster in comparison, especially the bacon quantity. Chuck compared eating a slice of No Name to a lottery where you have about a 40% chance of getting bacon. The sauce on the No Name was quite good, but the crust required some strenuous effort to get through. Despite the short comings of the No Name, it was agreed that it was one of the better pizzas that had been part of the competition to date. Wally commented that it was "the best pizza I've ever had". Notable from a guy who typically doesn't like pizza, especially since he voted against his beloved Boston Pizza.

Today's event was overall a success. Pizzas arrived within a couple minutes of each other, the per person pizza consumption was off the charts as there is still leftover pizza, and the pizza competitors were both of good value. The only concern was the low quantity of Diet Pepsi, but that did not seem to have an effect of the outcome.

One thing that can be said about Boston Pizza is that you'll be hard pressed to find a pizza with more bacon.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Week 3: Stoggers' vs. Old Town Pizzeria

Week three of the Pizza Bracket seen east end contenders Stoggers (picture left) and Old Town Pizzeria (picture right) pitted against each other. This week most of the organizing was handled by Howard and Sam as I was out with a cold Thursday and earlier this morning. But the Pizza Bracket must go on! Sam ordered the Stoggers pizza from the east end. Delivery charges to Mount Pearl was $10, an additional $5 compared to deliveries within the district. That seemed fair. Unfortunately the east end Old Town would not delivery to Mount Pearl since they had a location in Mount Pearl. I called the east end location to attain a verbal guarantee that the pizza received from the Mount Pearl location was the same as what would be provided by the east end. This was confirmed, but we will never truly know. Another oddity with the Mount Pearl location was that they would only deliver 11:45am or 12:15pm, not at noon. A little suspicious. In any case both pizzas arrived within a 10 minute window. Old Town was the first non-blank box pizza that's been part of the competition. Stoggers was blank box. Not saying that contributed to the decision, just sayin.

There seemed to be a lot of hype surrounding Stoggers. This hype had been carried over from the previous week as people looked forward to a quality match up since last weeks contenders were mediocre at best. Overall I don't think Stoggers lived up to the hype. Judges this week included: Sam, Mark, Howard, Chuck, Josh, Alfred, Mutema, Dale, and myself. The outcome was surprising. A 5-4 upset by Old Town Pizzeria. This vote did not go without controversy. Upon hearing the results of the vote and observing the quantity of toppings on the remaining slices of Stoggers Chuck requested to change his vote, thereby swinging the decision to Stoggers. This request did not go without opposition. There was much discussion of how allowing a vote change may compromise the integrity of the Pizza Bracket. But it was Mark who said that the purpose of the Pizza Bracket is to determine the best pizza, not to abide by the strict rules of the Bracket (something along those lines at least). I believe this to be a profound statement. Sometimes people get to involved in ensuring rules are followed without focus on what the purpose of the rules are. When the dust settled Chuck decided to retract his request to change his vote and the official winner this week was declared to be Old Town Pizzeria. One item to note is that the Old Town Pizza was completely gone at least 10 minutes before the last slice of Stoggers was eaten. One could argue that no one wanted to eat the last slice and be seen as the glutton.

The controversy observed during today's Pizza Bracket challenge is not typical of an ordinary pizza order. Most times the controversy lies in the topping selection. Since this is a controlled condition in the Pizza Bracket this was not the issue. The controversy seen here today displays the dedication, fairness, and pride the judges of the Pizza Bracket try to instill into the competition to find the best pizza in St. john's and surrounding areas.

A notable quote regarding Stoggers loss to Old town Pizzeria comes from Mutema who was heard to say, "It wasn't everything I hoped and dreamed it would be." I think this is the essence of why Stoggers lost. Sure it only lost by one vote, but if it had lived up to the hype and met the expectations it was held to then one vote would not have made the difference. The decision would have been unanimous.

p.s. Sam has already paid for next week. And we have plates for the pizza bracket now.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Week 2 Pizza match-up

We continued The Gimongous Avalon Pizza Bracket this week with yet another blank-box bout. Peter's Pizza (picture far) vs. Topsail Road (picture near) pizza. We had more interest this week, compared to last week, probably due to early notice of the event. Judges this week included: Heather, Sam, Josh, Mark, Stephen, Howard, Chuck, and myself. We also had Mutema available as a tie-breaker if necessary. As it turned out we did not need an extra vote as the clear victor was Peter's Pizza with a 5-3 win. Peter's Pizza was here on time and there was a wait for the Topsail Rd. Pizza. As it turns out the delivery drivers car had the alternator die en route and had to get a back up vehicle for the delivery. So the lateness was excused, although there was some anxious people waiting to eat. There was some discussion of implementing a 15 minute cut-off where eating will commence if one pizza has arrived and the other has not arrived within 15 minutes of the expected delivery time. this is still up for debate though.

Discussions throughout the judging process included much debate over which pizza was "blander". Chuck was heard to comment that, while Peter's Pizza was deficient in topping quantity and crust, looked a little over cook, and was generally greasier, the sum of it's pieces came together to create a superior pizza. The Topsail Road pizza did have a healthy quantity of cheese and toppings as well as a thicker crust, but there was some topping/crust separation that in some cases required and claw-like grip of pizza to control toppings. Mutema, who was acting as a swing voter if necessary, was heard to comment that, being a resident of the west end, Topsail Road pizza had been his go-to pizza of choice, but after today's competition he has switched to Peter's. This is clearly a significant statement as a resident of the region has been won over by the competitor.

Some observations concerning today's pizza off include the fact that visual appearance of a pizza does not necessarily determine it's quality, nor does it's topping or crust quantity. This statement of course is general in nature and one's personal preference may dictate otherwise.