Friday, December 11, 2009

Week 7: Italiano Supremo (Pizza Supreme vs. Venice Pizzeria)

This weeks pizza bracket competition had controversy of jumbo proportions. The competitors this week were Pizza Supreme and Venice Pizzeria from the East St. John's district.

Right out of the gate we were faced with our first hurdle. Venice would not deliver to Donovan's, despite my attempt to sweeten the delivery charge topping it to $10. Apparently Venice has enough demand in the surrounding areas that venturing into the Pearl is not a wise business strategy. Knowing the seriousness of the competition I volunteered to make the run, not only to pick up Venice but to stop into Pizza Supreme along the way as well. After discussing the most efficient route with Howard and Sam and making use of Google Map's street view feature I decided the route I would take would be to go out the outer ring, cut through Thorburn Road, onto Columbus Drive, then shoot down to Elizabeth Ave to pick up Pizza Supreme, then dart down Torbay Road and meet up with Military Road where Venice is located. I did have to make a couple U-turns in the process to orient myself in the right direction, but picking up both pizzas was an efficient process. The decision to take Freshwater Road then Kenmount Road on the way back, not such a good idea. That's where the bottle neck was and where most of the hour long ride was absorbed. That however is not where the controversy lies. Upon ordering the pizzas there was speculation that a guest judge might attend today's event, as well there was a late comer also participating. This all happened after the pizzas had been ordered. As a result it was necessary to call back and append more pizza to both orders as well to add an order of souvlaki to the Venice order for Wally. Aside from that there were a couple "one piece" participants. Feeling the stress of trying to balance coordinating today's bracket competition and handling these gray area decisions I felt the legitimate necessity of a pizza senate to decide such matter so I didn't come off as the bad guy. Upon presenting the idea of "one piece" participants and the associated per slice cost to the make-shift pizza senate it was decided (albeit unofficially) that if there was excess pizza and enough money was collected from participating pizza judges to cover the cost of the pizza then the per slice fee would be free. But of course this is a one-off sort of thing, not a weekly routine. More discussion may be necessary on this topic. Regarding the late comers, I think we should either make the cut off time later (say 11am) or make the cut off time explicit as in once the pizzas are ordered, then no additional judges can participate, but again this is something that should be decided by an appointed pizza senate.

After I returned from the epic round trip journey to pick up the pizzas I was greeted by a group of eager hungry judges. Promptly paper plates were distributed and the pizza pictures were taken, while Dale decorated our office Christmas tree. This week there were two large pizzas ordered from Pizza Supreme and a large and jumbo ordered from Venice. Another element of controversy arose from this "uncontrolled" case. Upon calling to append to the Venice order I was told that the jumbo pizza had already been prepared so I didn't feel right canceling it, hence I added a large to the order. On the ride back I thought about how this would affect the outcome of today's competition. It seems that the large pizza was favorable compared to it's jumbo brother. The jumbo seemed to be a little soggy in places. It was uncertain what caused this, but I'm sure the fact that it had been sitting for quite some time before it was eaten may have had something to do with it. Both pizzas this week came in brown boxes, so to those who weren't aware of which order had the jumbo it was a blind vote. Speculations were made as to which pizza came from where. Speculations that seemed to outweigh the truth of the matter. Josh was convinced that the Pizza Supreme pizza was in fact Venice, even after Exhibit A (i.e. Venice receipt) was presented which indicated where the jumbo pizza had originated from. Sam too was a little skeptical of this receipt. In the end we agreed to disagree. But of course I know they were both wrong. In any case both pizzas were comparable, regardless of the fact that some thought both were crap and some thought both were good. The subtle difference seemed to be one having a "saltier bland sauce taste". Trust me, this synopsis makes sense after you've tried both pizzas. Appearance wise both pizzas were also comparable, with Venice having a slight edge. Sam did comment that the Pizza Supreme pizza's cheese had a distinctive oven baked glow. The dough and crust seemed to be where most of the distinction could be made. The Venice pizza had a somewhat fluffy and crispy nature to it's dough base, whereas the Pizza Supreme had a more condensed doughier base. I found myself needing to take a sip of my drink to get through each slice of the Pizza Supreme as the dough seemed to absorb the majority of the saliva in my mouth. I'm sure the saltiness contributed to this as well. The Venice I found did not pack as much of a doughy punch. The dough acted as more of a vehicle for the toppings and sauce and seemed to come together better as a full package. It should be noted that Pizza Supreme's primary business seems to come from their per slice sales. This may be why their pizza was designed to have a substantial and filling nature.

The outcome of today's competition was also not without controversy. Judges today included: Josh, Sam, Howard, Chuck, Heidi, Stephen, Mark, Mutema, and myself. Unfortunately Mutema was in a meeting by the time I arrived with the pizzas and we commenced the eating and judging process without him. Four pieces were saved for Mutema, two from each competitor, with a pizza center support acting as a clear distinction of "Pizza B". After dramatically counting the eight votes cast by judges present the vote was at a 4-4 stand still. The tension and excitement exceeded that of any Survivor Tribal meeting that I have witnessed. This of course meant Mutema was the swing vote. Some concern was expressed over the fact that the pizza was now cold and wasn't optimal for judging. But since it would truly be a blind vote and it was necessary to have a winner today we forged ahead. Mutema managed to squeeze his judging duties in between back to back meetings. I applaud him for his efforts. As we all anxiously awaited his decision, there were many predictions and discussions of the outcome. Within several minutes Mutema stuck his head in the lunch room and verbally cast his vote for Pizza B. This of course was Venice, thereby eliminating Pizza Supreme from the Bracket. Applause and celebration commenced and Mutema received a hero's welcome being hoisted up on the shoulders of the other judges and paraded throughout the office while onlookers sang songs of courage and bravery....

Ok, there was some fiction involved in that last part, but what is factual in nature is that the pizza torch ignited by Jim of Mr. Jim's still burns strong as his Greek family recipe and traditions have been passed along and pave the way for other Greek descendants to light their own torches. I'm not saying that Greek ancestry played a role in today's outcome, but that's a helluva lot more interesting.

Upon talking to Mutema after his meeting ended I asked if the temperature of the pizza contributed to his decision. He told me that he does not favor a particular temperature of pizza and that his decision was not compromised. Upon asking him of the quality of this week's pizzas he said, "neither pizza was spectacular, but hey, I don't want a Danny Williams pizza". Words we can all live by.

1 comment:

  1. "I found myself needing to take a sip of my drink to get through each slice of the Pizza Supreme as the dough seemed to absorb the majority of the saliva in my mouth."

    - A Word from the Gospel according to Ricky Bobby.