Believe it or not, Manfred von Richthofen — AKA the Red Baron, the most famous flying ace in history, with 80 confirmed kills — was by his own admission not a great pilot. He was decent, but his younger brother Lothar (with “only” 40 kills) was a much better pilot, though Manfred worried about him because he was reckless and took too many risks. Yes, that’s right: the von Richthofen family produced both a Maverick and an Iceman in the same generation.
If you’re thinking none of that has anything to do with the product we’re reviewing today, well, that’s true; but hell, neither does the Red Baron. I would wager money von Richthofen never ate a slice of pizza in his life. Still, I find this kind of stuff cool, and our review today is of frozen pizza. Let us be perfectly frank and honest with ourselves: that is not the most exciting of food products.
Not that they haven’t tried to sexy it up, though, with the addition of mozzarella sticks. In general I think the majority of frozen pizzas are exactly as good as every other one, but in looking for a way to stand out from the crowd, I’d say the Rittmeister is off to a good start. Pizza and mozzarella sticks are two foods I don’t normally associate with each other, but if your main philosophy in life is that the heart is evil and must be punished, it’s hard to imagine a better one-two punch. (Bacon cheeseburgers and waffles?) The box promises 11-13 mozzarella sticks, which I find hilarious. I’ve seen other boxes for the same product that simply promise 12, so I’m guessing someone raised a big enough stink about how there wasn’t no 12 mozzarella sticks in their dang package that the good folks at Red Baron decided to be on the safe side. (I received an even dozen, in case you were wondering.)
Pre-cooking, the pizza looked exactly like any frozen pizza would, although as you can see from the picture, the pepperoni distribution was by Picasso. I don’t recall getting into any ’70s cop film-esque car chases on the way home from the grocery store, so I’m going to assume that’s how it was constructed. No problem, redistributing it was easy and the pepperoni was plentiful.
As for the taste? Well, you’ve all heard the cliche that sex is like pizza: even when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good. That’s pretty accurate in that it’s hard to make bad pizza (not impossible, sadly), and this particular one is certainly not bad. Actually, that’s underselling things — it’s honestly pretty good. The cheese was relatively plentiful, the sauce had some decent spices, and the crust was pretty firm. I can’t say it tasted substantially different from almost every other frozen pizza ever, but perhaps a little better. The overall size of the pie was more than plentiful — between this and the sticks, you’re set for at least two meals, maybe even three.
To be honest I was more curious about the mozzarella sticks, since I very rarely prepare frozen ones myself. It’s not exactly a very complex dish, but for my money the easiest way to ruin sticks is to under-spice them. I was worried that would be the case here, but they hit the balance pretty well. On the other hand, the amount of cheese within them was slightly lacking, especially when some of it ran out during the baking process. More cheese would’ve taken them from good to great; Baron, I want you to pretend the mozzarella is machine gun bullets and the sticks are enemy Sopwith Camels. Really pepper it in there.
I’m happy my initial fear about the Red Baron Pizza & Sides Pepperoni Pizza & Mozzarella Sticks — that the Avengers ad would be the most exciting thing about it — was proved wrong. It’s not going to be mistaken for fresh out of a pizzeria’s oven at any point, but for a quick meal that will last for a day or two, it does the trick. (Note, however, that any time you save in food preparation will be more than negated by the extra time you’ll need to spend in the gym working off this gargantuan calorie bomb.) There’s also another entry in the “Pizza & Sides” line that comes with 7-9 Buffalo Wyngs. However, the deliberate misspelling of “wings” means you have only yourself to blame if it turns out you’re actually eating processed chicken anus. Enjoy!
(Nutrition Facts — 1/4 pizza — 370 calories, 140 calories from fat, 16 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 790 milligrams of sodium, 250 milligrams of potassium, 43 grams of total carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 9 grams of sugars, 15 grams of protein. 4 Mozzarella pieces — 250 calories, 140 calories from fat, 16 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol, 560 milligrams of sodium, 40 milligrams of potassium, 16 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 0 grams of sugars, and 10 grams of protein.)
Item: Red Baron Pizza & Sides Pepperoni Pizza & Breaded Mozzarella Sticks
Size: 1 pizza and 11-13 mozzarella sticks
Purchased at: Giant
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Maverick and Iceman in the same family. Large serving. Did indeed fulfill “11-13 sticks” vow. Pretty tasty pizza. Well-spiced mozzarella sticks. Artistic pepperoni distribution. Hulk looking like he’s about to punch Captain America.
Cons: Slightly odd combo. Actually may be worse for you than a bacon cheeseburger & waffles. Not enough cheese in the mozzarella sticks. Even good frozen pizza can’t hold a candle to fresh-made slices from a pizzeria. Losing dogfights to a beagle.