REVIEW: DiGiorno Deadpool & Wolverine Spicy Wolvie Pie Pizza

As a lifelong X-Men fan, I have a bone (claw?) to pick with DiGiorno. Over his fifty-some-odd-year publication history, Wolverine has been many things, but “spicy” isn’t one of them. Now, if they were to release a Spicy Gambit Pie with Cajun seasoning, that would be thematically appropriate and fairly innovative for a frozen pizza. Why not opt to do this? The concept was right there!

“But Karen,” you say, “The movie being promoted is called Deadpool & Wolverine. Gambit is probably not even in it.” Oh, you think you’re so smart. Did you know that Gambit was in Wolverine: Origins back in the day with both Wolverine AND Deadpool? Did we get any pizzas for that movie? I think, after sitting through that, a Gambit-themed pizza is the least Marvel can do for me.

Nevertheless, the Wolvie Pie is the one we were given, thus the one I will review. If you’re interested in these Deadpool & Wolverine DiGiorno tie-ins, there are actually four to choose from: The Wade Special (pineapple and black olives), Gimmi Chimi (spicy cumin sauce, beef topping, jalapeno and cheddar and mozzarella), Maximum Pep (lots of sliced and diced pepperoni), and the Spicy Wolvie Pie (pepperoni, chorizo and bacon.) The idea behind the Wolvie pizza is that Wolverine likes eating meat, so you should too. Clearly, Wolverine also likes sodium.

All varieties come with a Deadpool mask except the Spicy Wolvie. Why wasn’t a Wolverine mask included? That’s just lazy.

I was a little confused about the toppings. It’s obvious what the pepperoni is, of course, but which of the tiny little bits of meat were the bacon and which were the chorizo? The taste of the chorizo was dominant, so if you’d told me all the little bits were chorizo, I would have believed you. Not a lot of bacon flavor here.

The chorizo gave the pizza a nice level of heat. It was more than a “subtle” level, but definitely not as spicy as something like Wendy’s Spicy Nuggets. I kept trying to decide whether or not this pie was spicy enough; sure, there’s some spice there, but “Spicy” is literally in the title. I think it should have been pushed a little further.

That said, it’s still an enjoyable meal. If you’ve had any DiGiorno pizza before, you’ll know exactly what to expect here, but the funny branding adds a little bit of joy to the proceedings. If you find you enjoy role-playing Wolvie and mirroring his eating habits is not enough, you could always go out and hit on a few redheads, although I doubt DiGiorno would take responsibility for that.

Hey, that makes me think about what a Jean Grey pizza would be like. Maybe a strawberry dessert pizza to honor her color scheme? Or a much more spicy Ghost Pepper pie to allude to the universe-scorching heat of the Phoenix Force? DiGiorno, when the MCU finally starts churning out X-Men movies by the dozens, you really have no excuse not to go down this road. Just get on making that Spicy Gambit pizza, and maybe I’ll give you my ideas for the perfect pizza incarnations of all twelve million X-Men characters.

Purchased Price: $6.49
Purchased at: Shop Rite
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1/4 pizza) 350 calories, 17 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 810 milligrams of sodium, 34 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of sugar, 2 grams of fiber, and 16 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Pizza Hut Chicago Tavern Style Pizza

As a born and bred New Yorker, just hearing “Chicago-style pizza” puts me in a fighting mood. Deep-dish pizza is not pizza! It’s a casserole! How many times do we need to have this debate? How long will it take for everyone to accept the plain, unvarnished truth?

Then I read that Pizza Hut has released a Chicago Tavern-style pizza, which has a thin crust, not unlike a certain other type of pizza that gets enthusiastically consumed in my house on a nearly weekly basis. Ah well, I guess I need to put away the boxing gloves and nunchaku and give this thing a fair shot. You have a choice of Double Pepperoni, Pesto Margherita, Spicy Chicken Sausage, or Ultimate. I went with the Double Pepperoni since I didn’t want the different toppings to complicate the eating experience.

My first thought was that the crust was actually not as thin as I was expecting; I think Domino’s has had thin crust pizza with thinner crust than this. Aside from being a little thinner and cut differently, the Tavern-style pizza is actually very similar to another Pizza Hut product, The Big New Yorker; it has the same parmesan-forward taste. The main differences are that the thinner crust on the Tavern pizza makes for a cheesier bite (although it’s a fairly subtle difference), and the whole thing is a fair bit less greasy.

And yes, I have ordered The Big New Yorker several times, despite being located in NY and having access to actual, authentic NY pizzerias. I can only attribute this to some kind of sophisticated mind control programming on Pizza Hut’s part. I always start dialing the number to Johnny D’s Authentic New York Pizza, then slam the phone down, muttering, “But you can’t Out-Pizza the Hut….”

Ahem, anyway, due to the nonstandard cut, some pieces of the Tavern-style pizza have toppings that go all the way to the edge, while some have a more traditional crusted end. I found the exposed crust, pleasantly studded with air bubbles, was the most fun part of the pizza to eat. It’s just really satisfying on a texture level, almost like eating a cannoli and feeling the crust flake apart under your teeth. That said, it was kind of a bummer that many of the slices in the box were missing this feature.

Also, don’t make the mistake of thinking this is lighter fare because it’s thinner: I ate three pieces, which, while much smaller than three slices of traditional pizza, made me feel like I just ate enough fat and salt for the rest of the week. However, it was not to be the extent of my salt and fat intake for the week because I had some again…the next day. Microwaved.

I know, I know, microwaving pizza—especially thin-crust pizza—is usually a bad idea. I can only argue that I was extremely hungry and impatient and was easily swayed to the dark side. Surprisingly, this pizza holds up pretty well to microwaving. Some of the crust became limp, but the crunchy end pieces were still delightfully crunchy.

On the whole, Pizza Hut’s Chicago Tavern Style Pizza was enjoyable enough to make this New Yorker consider the possibility that maybe good pizza can come from other states. Just don’t try to get me to compliment Detroit-style pizza. I have my limits.

Purchased Price: $12.00
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (Double Pepperoni)120 calories, 6 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 15 mg of cholesterol, 290 milligrams of sodium, 11 grams of carbohydrates, and 6 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Papa Johns Bacon Cheesy Burger Papa Bites

With the introduction of its Bacon Cheesy Burger Papa Bites, popular pizza purveyor Papa Johns now offers three ways to get the taste of a burger. The other two options are the returning Cheesy Burger Pizza and Cheesy Burger Papadia (which had different names in the past). With their small size, I kind of liken these Papa Bites to be the sliders of the three.

These limited-time-only savory noms feature beef, bacon bits, dill pickles, burger sauce, and cheese rolled up with the chain’s fresh, never-frozen original dough to create eight bites. They’re also served with a side of burger sauce for dipping. Besides presentation, another significant difference between these Papa Bites and the other two burger-flavored offerings is that these are the only ones that come with bacon bits by default. They’re paid add-ons for the others.

Beef was the dominant meat, but there was an underlying smokiness from the bacon. The only ingredient that was more potent was the pickle. Most pieces had one slice, and its tangy taste did a lot to convince me this was burger-flavored. The cheese, which looks like a combination of cheddar and mozzarella, added a mild cheesiness, but not one that I’d associate with burgers. I guess I’ve eaten too many processed cheese product slices on my fast food sandwiches. But for the most part its flavors did remind me of a burger.

The orange sauce added a pleasant tanginess to everything. But I wouldn’t say it’s necessary to dip the bites in it because a little bit of the sauce was added when they were being made. So, if you happen to not get a container or someone accidentally spills yours, all is not lost. However, having a copious amount of it on each piece makes everything a bit tastier.

If there’s one issue I had with my order, it is that the end pieces ended up being almost all dough, but thankfully, I still had some sauce left to make those a little more tolerable.

I don’t recall eating the pizza or the Papadia versions (although others here have reviewed them), but after eating these Papa Bites, I think Papa Johns does a better job of nailing down the flavors of a cheeseburger better than Pizza Hut’s Cheeseburger Melt I sampled several weeks ago. If you’re a fan of Papa Johns’ Cheesy Burger Pizza or Papadia, I’m certain you’ll find these Papa Bites as enjoyable.

Purchased Price: $8.99
Size: 8 pieces
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 Papa Bites) 100 calories, 5 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 290 milligrams of sodium, 10 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Tombstone Tavern Style Thin Crust Pizza

Living in Chicago taught me a few important things. 1) Your eyelashes can (and will) freeze together much easier than you’d expect them to, 2) “dibs” on parking spots is a very divisive, very serious thing, and 3) the best pizza isn’t the Chicago deep dish (which, I know, I know, some don’t consider “pizza” at all) but is instead the thin, crunchy crusted, party-cut, tavern-style pie.

But what if you’re not in Chicago? Well, I’m sure you have at least one local place that tries their hand at it. Even still, if you’re like me, you like to have a frozen pizza or two on standby for an easy, cheap dinner. And if you’re even MORE like me, a general frozen pizza guideline is, “The less crust, the better.” With the exception of the best frozen pizza, period (Motor City Pizza Co.), most frozen pizza crust, to put it bluntly, sucks. That’s why I was excited when I spotted Tombstone’s new Tavern Style Thin Crust Pizza.

Tombstone tends to be one of my preferred options when it comes to the low-end of frozen pizza. The crust isn’t too thick, the sauce isn’t applied too heavily, and the pepperoni version uses round slices and the little cubed kind. When they’re on sale, and I notice it, I’ll pick one up. Would I buy the new Tavern Style again? Eh. Probably not for more than a couple of bucks.

It’s offered in two versions: The Primo, featuring pepperoni, sausage, red onions, and banana peppers, and the one I tried for this review, the Let’s Meat Up (a brief aside about products everywhere using puns for names these days: what’s the deal?) featuring pepperoni, pork belly crumbles, and, in addition to mozzarella, cheddar cheese (The Primo only has mozz). The website copy further suggests that the sauce is “zesty” and the crust is “buttery.”

While I wouldn’t necessarily call the sauce “zesty,” it was mildly noticeable. It tasted like generic frozen pizza sauce. The crust was in no way buttery. It was bland and inoffensive, but it held up fine under the weight of the… okay, there was no weight to the pizza. The pepperoni— which was your run-of-the-mill round Tombstone pepperoni— was sparse. So, too, was the application of “pork belly crumbles,” which were salty and crispy. They reminded me, for better or worse, of pre-cooked bacon crumbles you get in a bag to put on a salad. I enjoyed their presence, as they were the only thing keeping this from being a completely pedestrian and unmemorable frozen pizza. The cheese types were indistinguishable from one another; you could’ve paid me a thousand dollars, and I’d have never been able to tell you it had mozzarella AND cheddar.

I’m willing to bet these will be quickly gone, like your dibs in some neighborhoods, and not exactly missed, like the sensation of your eyes freezing together on the Montrose Brown line platform at 7 a.m. in the middle of January.

Purchased Price: $5.99 (on sale)
Size: 19.8 oz
Purchased at: Hy-Vee
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1/4 pizza) 350 calories, 19 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 870 milligrams of sodium, 31 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar (including 5 grams of added sugar), and 15 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Domino’s New York Style Pizza

Where can you find Domino’s hometown, Joe’s Pizza’s first non-NYC location, the OGs of Detroit-Style pizza, AND Little Caesars’ hometown within a 30-mile radius?

The lower “thumb*” area of Michigan, of course! And I just happen to reside in this microcosm of pizza. So when Domino’s introduced its New York Style Pizza, I felt particularly compelled to try it because of Domino’s hometown roots AND because there’s a legit NYC institution (Joe’s Pizza) down the street.

Domino’s offers five types of pizza crusts: pan, hand tossed, crunchy thin, gluten free, and now New York Style.

Ordered as-is, the New York-style pie was an X-large 16″ pizza with the standard “Robust Inspired Tomato Sauce” and a cheese blend of cheddar, mozzarella, and provolone. It was also cut into six slices, rather than eight, to enable folding.

Compared to the regular hand tossed, it was noticeably flatter and less seasoned looking. This wasn’t surprising as the hand tossed crust includes a garlic-oil seasoning blend. Unfortunately, this visual translated to a lack of flavor. It was rather bland and cardboard-like, especially with the thinner nature of it. Also, despite the robust tomato sauce (rather than the hearty marinara sauce), it didn’t impart any robust flavor.

Domino’s achieved the texture, though! It folded nicely, stayed firm, and wasn’t super greasy. I must mention that I clearly did not test it with any other toppings except for cheese, so the foldability was not rigorously tested. While I would test this further, none of the other toppings really interested or screamed NYC to me. Like, where’s the white pizza at?!

However, if we’re really nitpicking here, while the texture was foldable and structurally sound, it lacked that slight chewiness and springiness in the classic NYC crust.

If you want to switch up crusts, why not try the New York Style? I won’t stop ya. But if you’re on the fence, I don’t really find it worthy of replacing your go-to order.

*Because the physical state of Michigan is shaped somewhat like a mitten (Mitten State!), Michiganders use their hands to show where they generally reside – e.g., the thumb area, the palm area, the fingertips, etc.)

Purchased Price: $13.99
Size: XL (16”)
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (199g) 510 calories, 24 grams of fat, 13 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 70 milligrams of cholesterol, 1050 milligrams of sodium, 48 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 5 grams of total sugar, and 23 grams of protein.