Sunday, April 29, 2007
Pizza comparison: Frozen vs. Little Caesar's
As you know, I did a long frozen pizza bake-off. I found that the best frozen pizzas were actually quite tasty, not at all like the stale lardy pizza-like manhole covers of yore. The average price of the frozen pizzas that I tested was approximately $5.50 apiece, so we aren't talking about 50 cent Totino's pizzas, but we're still talking cheaper than the typical $11-$15 pizzaria pizza.
Recently, however, a pizza chain called "Little Caesars" opened up a shop near where my iceberg is currently docked, and advertised a $5 "Hot and Ready" pepperoni pizza. If you go there between 5PM and 8PM, they also advertise a $6 "Hot and Ready" thick-crust pepperoni pizza. So how does this "Hot and Ready" pizza compare to the best frozen pizzas?
Crust: This is actually the best part of the Little Caesar's $5 pizza. It tastes like fresh bread, exactly like pizza crust is supposed to taste. The crust on the $6 pizza, on the other hand, tastes more like grease. The crust on the $6 pizza is utterly inedible.
Sauce: Too little, and somewhat watery, without the tang of the best sauce (the tangy sauce used on the Schwan's Freschetta and Red Baron brands). The lack of sauce is especially pronounced on the $6 pizza, where the taste of greasy crust is all you can taste.
Cheese: Too little, and little flavor. Nowhere near as good as the rich flavorful cheese flavor on the Kraft pizzas (Digiorno and Tombstone). Maybe as good as on the Red Baron pizzas (Schwan's doesn't do cheese as well as Kraft does, hmm, go figure). But if so, only barely.
Pepperoni: You get maybe two pepperonis per slice. All of the best frozen pizzas had more pepperoni.
All in all, my rating is: $5 hand-tossed: Edible. Barely. And only because of the nice bready crust. $6 thick-crust: Inedible. Utterly inedible.
The one and only reason to buy one of these pizzas is if you're in a hurry and not willing to wait the 14 to 24 minutes needed to bake a good-quality frozen pizza. Otherwise, if you are wanting a thick-crust pizza buy a DiGiorno Rising Crust Pepperoni (NOT the "garlic bread" crust one though, that one is nasty) or the Freschetta Naturally Rising Crust Pepperoni. If you are wanting a thin-crust pizza, get the Freschetta Brick Oven Pepperoni or the Red Baron Ultimate Pepperoni Thin Crust pizzas. All of those frozen pizzas are far, far, far superior to the Little Caesar's pizzas. Indeed, they are so yummy that just writing about them I'm *almost* hungry for a pizza, despite being somewhat pizza'ed out after eating pizza for 10 days over the course of two weeks. But I shall resist, because 10 days of pizza also equalled 5 pounds of weight gain. Ah well, the sacrifices that a penguin must make for science's sake...
-- Badtux the Pizza Penguin
Labels: bachelor's cookbook, food, pizza
Posted by: BadTux / 4/29/2007 09:30:00 PM
I had Little Ceasar's once, about eight years ago. It was just as bad then. I really never thought pizza could be that bad! Makes frozen pizza tempting.
Hey, thanks for the shout outs. Your fingers have been working overtime.
# posted by niCk (Mem Beth) : 30/4/07 6:17 AM
That's like eating cardboard with a little red sauce smeared on it. I agree with your ratings.
# posted by Share Cropper : 30/4/07 7:38 AM
I worked in a L'il Caesars in high school!
Yeah, the pizzas were subpar, but I got to experiment and make my own calzones and mess with recipes after hours.
# posted by Evil Spock : 30/4/07 11:33 AM
We used to refer to Little Ceasar's as Petit Mal Pizza.
Not only because of the little seizure reference, but also because one would have to be in that state to eat one.
# posted by : 30/4/07 12:33 PM
If you can find a PAPA Johns, on Mondays, at least in the KC area have a $6 large Pepperoni, or Sausage, or Plain Pizza. Pretty decent, better the the Pizza hut stuff around here anyway. And they are always sending coupons once a week if you let them have your e-mail account. Tasty sauce, garlick butter to dip the rest of the crust in and a hot petter (mild) for that price.
# posted by : 30/4/07 6:43 PM
If you're down Gilroy way try Pinochio's on Monterey Hwy. They make a great New York style pizza. The calzone has a nice garlic hit to it.
# posted by : 30/4/07 7:16 PM