REVIEW: Pizza Hut Cheesy Bites Pizza

Pizza Hut Cheesy Bites Pizza

I love commercials, and I believe good advertising should be rewarded. I recently bought a case of Old Spice body wash only because I wish the Old Spice guy would be my BFF and/or life coach.

On the flip side, bad commercials infuriate me, like the recent Pizza Hut one called “Your Favorites. Your Pizza.” It features a bunch of Pizza Hut employees describing why THIS isn’t just a pizza. It starts out sensibly and quickly descends into madness:

THIS means more one-on-one time with your daughter.

That’s kind of sweet, and I certainly see how dinner brings the family together.

THIS is the reason folks show up to your budget meeting.

Well, I suppose that could be true, though they usually don’t make budget meetings optional in the first place.

THIS is how you guarantee a second date.


First of all, there is an actual legal definition for the word “guarantee,” and Pizza Hut shouldn’t bandy the word about so casually. I would hate to think that future law students may be required to read about the landmark class-action lawsuit Bunch of Awkward Teenagers v. Pizza Hut.

But even if we’re just informally thinking about this, it’s doubtful anyone has EVER gone to Pizza Hut on the first date and believed that the second date was already in the bag. In fact, I would be more inclined to add that to the list of ways to guarantee you DON’T get a second date. (Note: I can’t imagine anyone actually does keep such a list, but if you do, “mentioning that you keep a list of ways to guarantee you don’t get a second date” should definitely be the first item on it.)

Yet occasionally products that intrigue me can overcome commercials that annoy me, and I continue to eat at Pizza Hut because they keep coming up with new products that I have to try just once, such as The Edge, the Four-in-One, and the P’Zone, to name just a few.

Pizza Hut Cheesy Bites Pizza Closeup

The Cheesy Bites Pizza is the spiritual descendant of the Stuffed Crust Pizza. First introduced in 2006, it has 28 detachable cheese-filled bites in lieu of a regular crust. I had been hoping the bites would be coated with the same parmesan powder found on Pizza Hut’s breadsticks, but the garlic flavoring they use instead is pretty tasty in its own right, and I like that they include a separate container of what is normally breadstick dipping sauce. For the first couple bites — or rather, the first couple bites of the first couple Bites — the cheese was as indulgently gooey as I had hoped, but they quickly cooled and hardened and became far less appetizing. I also noticed that the amount of cheese from Bite to Bite was not very consistent.

After a slice or two of eating the Bites first and being left with awkwardly crust-less pizza, I decided to eat my next slice the normal way. This turned out to be a good decision. While the Bites are easy to pull apart from one another, they were still sturdy enough to support the more conventional pizza-eating tactic.

And speaking of the non-crust part of the pizza, well, I don’t really have much to say, because it wasn’t anything special. It was just a regular thin crust Pizza Hut pizza, although it’s possible it had more pepperoni than normal. In reality, I think there was just less area to put the same number of pepperoni, as the Bites are much thicker than a normal crust. And since they’re thicker but not actually one continuous crust, the pizza is ultimately less filling than a normal large pizza. I suppose that’s my biggest beef with this specialty pie — I was promised a large pizza but it felt more like a medium. I’m not saying I ate the whole thing in one sitting, but I’m not saying I didn’t, either.

(Fine, you got me, I ate the whole thing in one sitting. Are you happy now?)

All together, the Pizza Hut Cheesy Bites pizza was not bad, but certainly not great. If you were going to Pizza Hut anyway…say, on a first date, or, in the event that you didn’t go there on your first date, your second one…go ahead and try the Cheesy Bites pizza. Otherwise, I’m sure your local pizza joint makes more delicious albeit less innovative pies. In fact, I guarantee it!*

*I don’t guarantee it. Please don’t sue me.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 slice – 370 calories, 140 calories from fat, 16 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 1000 milligrams of sodium, 40 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 7 grams of sugar and 16 grams of protein.)

Item: Pizza Hut Cheesy Bites Pizza
Price: $11.99 (14″)
Size: Large/8 slices
Purchased at: Pizza Hut
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Tasty garlic powder. Separate container of dipping sauce. Indulgently gooey cheese. High pepperoni concentration. Eating pizza the normal way. The Old Spice guy. Bunch of Awkward Teenagers v. Pizza Hut.
Cons: Bites much less appetizing when cheese cools. Inconsistent cheesiness. Smaller-than-expected pizzas. Being awkwardly crust-less. First dates at Pizza Hut. False guarantees. Eating entire pizzas in one sitting.

REVIEW: Cinnabon Pecanbon Center of the Roll

Cinnabon Pecanbon Center of the Roll

Ah, Cinnabon. You are the destroyer of diets, the widener of waistlines. You ought to be the adversary of ample alliterators like myself, and yet I have never gained an ounce of weight from your baked goods.

This is because I only eat Cinnabon in airports, and as everyone knows, airport calories don’t count. You get so stressed out from traveling and you have to burn so much extra energy to stop yourself from screaming at the little boy kicking your seat the entire flight that your body allows you to eat whatever you want, and everything still comes out even in the end. Airport calories are close relatives of “It’s finals week and I’ve done no reading all semester” calories, “I’m still at the office way past midnight” calories, and “I just had a breakup and have to eat my feelings” calories. Obviously, none of these calories should be held against you. This was all a very convoluted way of saying thank goodness I had to go to an airport this Thanksgiving break. Otherwise, we’d have no review of the Cinnabon Pecanbon Center of the Roll.
Cinnabon offers its new Center of the Roll (CotR from now on) in both classic and Pecanbon varieties, with pecans and caramel added to the latter. Given that the company website describes the CotR as just “the ooey, gooey middle” of a Classic Roll, I had been expecting something the size and shape of a Minibon but with a gooier texture. What I got was… well, it was sort of hard to say what I got at first, as everything had been placed in a big cup and drenched in cream cheese frosting. It seems like they split up the inner layers of a Classic Roll, cut the layers into slightly smaller chunks, and just put a handful of chunks into each cup. The separated nature of the CotR allows the cream cheese frosting to drip naturally through the cracks and get on each individual piece, sparing the eater of having to make the difficult decision of whether to ration the frosting on top or splurge on the extra cup of frosting. (Hint: in that situation, always go with the extra cup. It’s only 99 cents more, and you’re already eating a Cinnabon. As the proverb goes, “in for a penny, in for a pound.”)
And yes, the CotR actually does seem to be from the center of the roll.  At the very least, the pieces are too soft to be from the outside of the roll, and the sponginess of the chunks plays really well with the crunchiness of the pecans. The caramel, however, was rather disappointing. There was enough caramel to change the color of the frosting noticeably, yet I could barely catch any hint of its flavor. Upon further review, I suppose it’s not the caramel’s fault. My expectations of its effect were just unrealistic, and the Cinnabon product designer’s intentions are unclear. The cream cheese frosting is so tasty because it adds a tartness that melds with and subdues what is otherwise an onslaught of total sweetness. Caramel is by definition just melted sugar, so to expect it to stand out would be plain silly. The Superman that is the frosting already has super-speed/sugar; why would you bother inviting caramel-as-The Flash to join the Cinnabon’s Justice League? Wow, that analogy was much less terrible in my head, but at least now you can check “comic book reference” off your TIB Bingo Card.
All things considered, I really enjoyed the Pecanbon Center of the Roll, and I appreciate Cinnabon’s efforts to introduce new items without straying too far from their core products. If you’re a Cinnabon fan to begin with, make sure to try one the next time you’re at an airport. Even if your body doesn’t believe in the airport calorie theory, I’m sure it’ll agree that “What that TSA agent just did to me might mean we’re married in some religions and I really need to eat something” calories should get a free pass.
(Nutrition Facts – Not available on website)

Item: Cinnabon Pecanbon Center of the Roll
Price: $3.49
Size: one cup
Purchased at: Cinnabon (in an airport)
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Frosting on every piece. Gooier than regular whole Cinnabon. Crunchiness of the pecans. Alliteration. Airport calories not counting. Always getting the extra cup of frosting. TIB Bingo.
Cons: Caramel is unnecessary. Airport calories might actually count. Analogies that seem better in your head. New TSA regulations.

ANNOUNCEMENT: New Impulsive Buy Reviewer Jasper

Hello readers! I’m Jasper, one of The Impulsive Buy’s new reviewers. I’ll have to keep this introduction short, since I wrote this on Taco Tuesday and I hate typing while sitting on the toilet. “Whoa, a poop joke in his very first paragraph,” you just gasped. Yeah, that’s right. I plan on being a real high-brow writer, so you better get used to it.

I’m fresh out of college and living in Boston, though I spent my first 18 years in New Jersey. (Yes, I do use a lot of hair gel; no, I’ve never worn sunglasses at night.) Food has always been very important to me, and I’ve always been something of an overeater. I distinctly remember being 6 years old, inhaling one too many ribs at the local Sizzler, and throwing up on the welcome mat on the way out. To be honest, things haven’t really changed over the years: my final semester, I left an exam two hours early because the dining halls were serving a limited number of hand-breaded chicken tenders for only the second day all year, and hell if I was going to prioritize graduating on schedule over gorging myself on those delicious tenders one last time.

But just because I value quantity doesn’t mean I’m unable to recognize quality. On the contrary, I’ve developed a pretty discerning palate thanks to a huge appetite that has allowed me to try both a large amount and a wide variety of foods. If a product tastes terrible, I’ll be able to tell you as much. It’s just that I’ll probably eat the rest of the bag/bowl/box anyway.

In terms of my prose, my only recent experience with “humor” writing has involved spending way too much time crafting hilarious jokes for emails that people probably barely glanced at. Needless to say, I’m very happy to have a bigger platform and hopefully a more attentive audience. I’ll strive to dazzle and delight you, though a more realistic goal would be to keep you occupied for at least a couple minutes after you’ve played all of today’s Sporcle quizzes.

It’s been a pleasure to make your acquaintance, TIB readers. And now, I’m off to the bathroom.