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Apr 25, 2016

Lynda Carter Digs Shakey's Pizza

To get your Monday started on a good note..  Here's an old picture of Lynda Carter wearing a Shakey's Tee circa late 70s / early 80s. 

I've got to say.. I would definitely buy a T-shirt emblazoned with this image on it!

Apr 23, 2016

Tips to avoid watery homemade veggie pizza

During my last 26 years of making pizzas at home, I've had my fair share of experiences with adding vegetables to pizza.  Early on, it resulted in the vegetables leaving puddles of water across my pizzas.  I became so frustrated, that I didn't even bother adding vegetables to my pies for years.

As I eventually became bored with crafting only meat pizzas, I started slowly experimenting with veggies again.  If you've experienced the same problem with watery pies, here are a few tips that took me years to figure out on my own..

Brined and preserved veggies
Vegetables preserved in liquid retain tons of moisture.  I always use fresh veggies with the exception of black olives, as well as some peppers like peperoncini and banana peppers.  I take these brined veggies and press them by hand in between two paper towels.  Veggies are also the last toppings I add to the pizza, as they get the longest exposure to the heat.

Adding salt to fresh veggies after prep and well before your cook, can really help to remove lots of water from your veggies.

Salted vegetables that are sautéed in a good olive oil can make for some incredible pizza.  Sautéed onions get a nice caramelization that can really kick up the tastiness of a pie.  Other veggies sauteed alongside the onions will reap the same tasty benefits.

Bring the heat
I've found that not using enough heat, will cause moisture from the veggies (as well as fresh mozzarella) to puddle on the pie, rather than evaporating as it's expelled.  In my oven, I've found the perfect temperature to cook my pizza is between 425 and 450 degrees, depending on how thick the crust is.

So there you go.  A few techniques I learned over the last couple of decades of pizza making.  I wouldn't be surprised if I pick up a few more, and if/when I do, I'll make sure to post them here.


Apr 18, 2016

Review - Old Chicago Restaurant "Oh my Spaghetti Pie"

Okay, so it's NOT a pizza per say, but it's served up like a slice of pizza.  Plus, this menu item from Old Chicago was so good, I just had to share my thoughts about it somewhere.

Old Chicago has a menu item that's called "Oh my Spaghetti Pie".  I wasn't expecting much from this dish, but I have to say that I was thoroughly impressed.  Basically, the "OMSP" consists of Spaghetti tossed in made-from-scratch Alfredo sauce with Parmesan, mozzarella, Romano and provolone cheeses.  It's then slow baked then oven toasted, topped with more Alfredo and mozzarella, provolone and Asiago cheeses.  Finally, it is served by the slice over house marinara.

The dish was rich, succulent, and incredibly tasty.  Presentation was enhanced with a nice piece of garlic bread flanking one side of the pie slice, as well as freshly chopped basil sprinkled atop the slice itself.  The richness of the cheese and Alfredo was balanced out by the lovely pool of marinara it was surrounded by.

At first I thought the price of  $10.99 was a bit of a stretch, but I have a hearty appetite, and was completely satisfied after eating the portion I was served for lunch.  From my experience, there's not too many pictures of food items on a menu that look exactly like the plate you will inevitably be served at a restaurant.  However, my serving of  "OMSP" looked pretty darn close to the picture on the Old Chicago menu.

If you're not a fan of cheesy, rich, pasta goodness.. then don't bother trying this dish.  Somehow.. I'm thinking most won't have this aversion to something so delicious.

See more of Old Chicago's new menu items here

Apr 15, 2016

Everybody has secrets

Everybody has their secrets right?  I guess that includes this guy..

This is one of my favorite tees that I bought a few years back from Glennz Tees.  Now you know why Ronald disappears during the lunch and dinner rush at Mickey D's!  This design along with many other great ones are still currently available at Glennz Tees.

Apr 8, 2016

Old pizza chain logos

I'm a sucker for ingenious marketing and branding. I especially appreciate the talent and effort it takes to create a good looking corporate logo that can withstand the test of time.  That being said,  many old pizza logos are permanently emblazoned deep in my memory banks.  Here are some of my favorite old time pizza logos, along with their new counterparts..

 Shakey's Pizza Retro Logo

New Shakey's Logo

Shakey's Pizza was my family's favorite pizza chain when I was a a boy.  Most of the old signs in front of the restaurants also read "& Ye public House" at the very bottom of the sign.  The logo just had a classic feel to it, that just screamed good old fashioned pizza.  While the newer logo doesn't exude the retro goodness that the old one does, it definitely does scream fun.

If you're a big fan of the old logo like I am, many of the Shakey's restaurants in the United States still utilize the old logo throughout the restaurants, and some even still use the classic signs out in front of the stores.  

Early Pizza Inn Logo

Current Pizza Inn Logo

Pizza Inn was a restaurant chain I remember seeing a lot when I was a kid.  I always loved the old logo featuring an Italian cat hand tossing a pizza.  In fact.. his name happens to be "JoJo" and if I could buy a shirt or hat featuring his friendly looking mug, I most certainly would!  The Pizza Inn Logo directly above been simplified a bit, but still has a nice retro look to it. I'm just happy they have never broke away from using JoJo's happy face!

Old school Pizza Hut Logo from before my time!

1980s Pizza Hut Logo I remember as a kid

The current Pizza Hut Logo

The new Pizza Hut logo.  In my humble opinion it's a bit snazzier, albeit more vanilla, with a home desktop publishing vibe to it.

1959 Little Caesars logo

1980s Logo

Current Logo
Little Caesars has made some minor tweak to their mascot over the years, but all in all, they've stuck with a logo reminiscent to the original.  If it ain't broke, don't fix it.. right?

1970s Domino's Pizza Logo

Current Domino's Logo

So while the logo hasn't radically changed, Domino's recently launched a advertising campaign adamantly stating that they were changing their name from Domino's Pizza, simply to "DOMINO'S".  Basically, they want to be known for more than just pizza.  My suggestion (take it for what it's worth) is that in business, you should stick with what you know, and not try to be something you're not.  I've seen many a business nose dive because of over diversifying.

So that's it for now.  There are many more pizza logos out there that have been totally re-tweaked over the years, so I very well may have to do another post like this one in the future to showcase them.

Apr 4, 2016

Screamin' Sicilian "Spicy Clucker" Pizza Review

Our rating..
5 out of 5 slices!

If you haven't had the pleasure of trying a Screamin' Sicilian frozen pizza.. I suggest you do so STAT!  The distinctive packaging and the cut away mouth that gives you a peek into the box, instantly gives you a sense that this is no ordinary frozen pizza.

Whenever I'm in the mood for a spicy pie, I head to the supermarket and reach for a "Spicy Clucker".  This pizza sports beautiful jalapeno slices, pulled chicken, bacon strips, creamy ranch sauce, Wisconsin whole milk mozzarella, and white cheddar.

The very first time I bought one of these pizzas and opened it up, I noticed right off the bat that even though it was still totally frozen, the toppings already smelled amazing!  If I were to guess, I'd say that these pies are made with the freshest ingredients available and then flash frozen to preserve freshness.

All in all, this pizza was everything I had hoped for it to be and more.  To emphasize just how great this pizza is.. I'll break down the pizza by individual ingredient.

The jalapenos looked, smelled, and tasted like they were just sliced and thrown on the pie.  They added a very nice kick that brought some nice heat to my lips and mouth.

Pulled Chicken
Incredible generous chunks of juicy and tasty chicken were liberally added to this pie.

Bacon Strips
The bacon on this pie was beautiful.  It was thick, smoky, tasty, and of incredible quality.

The sauce
A beautiful creamy ranch sauce perfectly complimented every ingredient on this pie, neither being smothering or overpowering.

The Cheese
A white cheddar and Wisconsin whole milk mozzarella is what you will find on this pie, and I'm happy to say they did not skimp on either variety.

The crust
A tasty and beautiful crispy crust is the vessel that holds this hefty pizza all together.  It's recommended that you cook the pizza on your oven rack rather than a pan, so that's exactly what I did.  Not only does it aid in the pizza cooking correctly, but the crust will in turn have just the right amount of crispiness to it!  With no preservatives pumped into it, the crust tastes freshly made unlike other so called "fresh tasting" frozen pies.

I love Screamin' Sicilian pizza, and have got to say there is no other frozen pie like it on the market!  Screamin' Sicilian didn't have me screaming, but rather.. very zen like, and a bit "Old Timey" (Thanks to the punch out handlebar mustache on the back of the box). 

Nothing about this pizza tasted like a frozen pizza. Quite the opposite in fact.  It tasted fresh, and all the ingredients played off of each other beautifully.  It was rich and tasty to the very last bite, and I for one even prefer this pizza hands down over 95% of the major pizza chains out there.

If you haven't done so already, do yourself a favor and give Screamin' Sicilian Pizza a try.  You won't believe you're eating a frozen pizza, and will get an incredibly fresh tasting pie and High Quality pie, for a fraction of the cost that the big pizza chains charge you.

Visit Screamin' Sicilian Online