REVIEW: Papa Johns Crispy Cuppy’ Roni Papadia

Doesn’t it seem like all the pizza chains have been releasing products with crispy cupped pepperoni? As someone who follows this stuff more than any normal person should, it’s hard to ignore it. Little Caesars, Pizza Hut, Domino’s. Oh wait, Domino’s doesn’t have cupped pepperoni…yet. But beating Domino’s to the punch is Papa Johns with its Crispy Cuppy’ Roni line of products: XL New York Pizza, Papadia, and Papa Bites.

Because it’s been windy here, and I didn’t want an extra large pizza box to become a sail in that wind, but I wanted to feel like I ate a pizza, I ended up getting the Papadia version that features crispy, cuppy pepperoni, creamy tomato sauce, and a three cheese blend folded in the chain’s fresh, never frozen original dough to create a handheld flatbread-style sandwich. Mine also came with a side of pizza sauce for plunging, but you can get it with any sauce Papa offers.

Having cupped pepperoni from other chains, I knew what to expect with these curled slices of meat, crispy edges, and a slightly different taste than the regular pepperoni. And that’s what I got here. Well, at least with the ones peeking out from the edges of the crust. Those that were compressed between cheese and dough weren’t as crispy, and I wish I had taken the chance of being blown away by gusts of wind and got the pizza instead. But I did get some crispiness back with the edges of the dough. Also, the promotional photos appear to have a plentiful amount of pepperoni, but my Papadia was poorly packed with meat. Perhaps four or five per half.

I’ve read that the creamy tomato sauce is a new addition to this Papadia, but Papa’s usual pizza sauce is still available. The only taste difference I noticed is that the new sauce is not as sweet as Papa’s regular pizza sauce, making it not too prominent among the cheese, meat, and bread. But if you want to wash over your taste buds with that sweet, red sauce, you can always get it in a dipping cup.

Papa Johns Crispy Cuppy’ Roni Papadia is pleasant, and I’d order it again. But if you want a better experience with the new cupped pepperoni, getting the XL New York Pizza might be the way to go.

Purchased Price: $9.99
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 870 calories, 42 grams of fat, 21 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 105 milligrams of cholesterol, 2120 milligrams of sodium, 81 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, and 39 grams of protein.

*Because I live on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, things are a bit pricier here. You’ll probably pay less than I did.

REVIEW: Little Caesars Crazy Puffs

There’s a product on shelves now called The Pizza Cupcake that was seen on Shark Tank. I’m not saying Little Caesars’ cupcake-looking Crazy Puffs are heavily influenced by those, but they sure seem like they were heavily influenced by those.

Little Caesars’ Crazy Puffs are available in two varieties: Pepperoni and 3 Cheese & Herb. The 3 Cheese & Herb one features four hand-held pizza puffs with mozzarella and pizza sauce topped with a buttery-garlic flavored drizzle, Italian herb, and parmesan seasoning. The Pepperoni option includes everything in the other one, plus pepperoni. I ended up picking up both because I’m crazy.

The employee handing me my order told me that these were good. I asked her which one she liked more, and without skipping a beat, she said the pepperoni one but with a little hidden-mouth action, like she didn’t want the 3 Cheese & Herb ones to hear her.

They came in a box about the size of a Pizza Hut Personal Pan Pizza box but much more rugged and corrugated. I guess you could think of this as individual-sized Little Caesars pizza. After eating two of both varieties, I wasn’t stuffed, but I wasn’t hungry. So, the four per order seems like the right amount for a meal for one — well, at least for me.

Looking at the Pepperoni ones from above, it seems like I might’ve been cheated out of some pepperoni, but most of the slices are under that cheese layer. As for the 3 Cheese & Herb Crazy Puffs, the Little Caesars employee was right, I enjoyed it slightly less than the Pepperoni one, but that might be the carnivore in me talking. There’s enough topping on (in?) both to ensure you don’t end up with a crust-only bite. I wish both varieties were a bit more garlicky and herby, but they are something I’d pick up again if I want the Little Caesars pizza flavor without having to buy an entire pizza.

The drizzle and seasonings add enough flavor that it’s not necessary to dip them in the included marinara tub. However, there’s a piddly amount of pizza sauce in the Crazy Puffs, so the container will come in handy if you want more of that slightly sweet, slightly acidic red sauce. The well-baked areas on the crust had some crispiness, but for the most part, the bread-y sections were soft and easy to bite through.

Overall, Little Caesars Crazy Puffs aren’t crazy good. They’re just good.

Purchased Price: $4.99 each*
Size: 4-pieces
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Pepperoni), 7 out of 10 (3 Cheese & Herb)
Nutrition Facts: Pepperoni – 690 calories. 3 Cheese & Herb – 610 calories. No other nutritional information is available on the website, but I assume the caloric numbers are for all four pieces.

*Because I live on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, things are a bit pricier here. You’ll probably pay less than I did.

REVIEW: Pizza Hut Hot Honey Double Pepperoni Pizza

I’m all for this hot honey trend that seems to have been going on for the past year or so. Just thinking of “hot honey” makes me smile. But not for the reasons you think.

It brings a smile to my face because saying, hearing, or reading the words “hot honey” makes me imagine Winnie the Pooh saying, “Oh, you’re looking hot, honey,” to an enticing, overfilled jar of honey in the most seductive voice that Winnie the Pooh can conjure up while rubbing his belly with both hands and wiggling his hips, with Piglet and Eeyore shaking their heads and covering their eyes.

Pizza Hut has jumped on the hot honey trend train with its new Hot Honey Double Pepperoni Pizza that features classic and crispy, cupped pepperoni and the chain’s new habanero-infused honey sauce, which, on this pizza, made me rub my belly with both hands and wiggle my hips.

Don’t let the words “habanero-infused” scare you if you’re afraid of habaneros because the hot honey doesn’t sting. There was a little burn, but it mostly made my mouth tingle. Pizza Hut’s crushed red peppers are spicier. The topping had a slight peppery flavor but mainly provided a pleasant burst of sweetness that went well with the savory meats and cheese. I liked the hot honey enough that when I got a bite that lacked any sweetness, which was rare, I lamented for a bit.

At first, I thought the addition of two different pepperoni was overkill. However, on top of the cupped pepperoni providing a crispy texture and a slightly different meaty flavor, they were also used as cups to contain the hot honey. I don’t know if that was intentional, but if it was, kudos, Pizza Hut.

If you want a pizza that’ll make you sweat or cause your mouth to burn so much that it’ll make you want to drink a cold glass of someone else’s sweat, Pizza Hut’s Hot Honey Pizza will not meet your high heat standards. But for me, saying its name and eating it makes me as happy as a particular pants-less teddy bear finding honey, and I would order it again over a regular pepperoni pizza.

Purchased Price: $15.99*
Size: Medium
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 medium pizza slice) 270 calories, 12 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 560 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 11 grams of protein.

*Because I live on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, things are a bit pricier here. You’ll probably pay less than I did.

REVIEW: Papa Johns Cheesy Calzone Epic Stuffed Crust Pizza

While I’ve eaten less lasagna than Garfield the Cat over my lifetime, thanks to the layered Italian dish, I’m familiar with what ricotta cheese tastes and feels like. So I find it a bit odd that Papa Johns’ Cheesy Calzone Epic Stuffed Crust Pizza, which has a blend of mozzarella and garlic herb ricotta packed into the crust, lacks any indication that the latter cheese is there.

Even when I pulled open the end crust, it only looked like a sea of mozzarella, and there were no herbs. Sure, the person who made mine might’ve not included it, or Garfield the Cat used Odie to distract the Papa Johns employees to suck out the ricotta while the pizza was sitting to be picked up. But I do taste something garlicky in the crust, so I assume the ricotta must be there. That flavor definitely does not come from the crust’s exterior because it looks and tastes as plain as plain can be. Heck, if you look at the whole pizza, it looks as if it’s seen a ghost.

Of course, the amount of ricotta you get in your crust may vary, and the lack of a strong flavor with the end crust can easily be remedied by dipping it into the dependable special garlic sauce that comes with the pizza. But without the sauce, it’s pretty much just a regular stuffed crust pizza.

The end crust of a Papa Johns Cheesy Calzone Epic Stuffed Crust Pizza is supposed to have the flavors of a calzone, but mine didn’t scream CALZONE, nor did it say it at a normal talking volume. I don’t hate it as much as Garfield the Cat hates Mondays, but if the amount of ricotta I got in my pizza is what I’m supposed to get, then it’s very disappointing.

Purchased Price: $18.99*
Size: Large
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 slice) 350 calories, 14 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 35 mc 910 milligrams of sodium, 41 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, and 14 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Little Caesars Stuffed Crazy Crust Pizza

Remember when Little Caesars pizza was available in Kmart stores? You could celebrate a Kmart Red Light Special with a hot and ready pizza for five bucks. Then Kmart went bankrupt and was purchased by Sears, which also went bankrupt. But those events weren’t enough to kill Little Caesars, which still stands tall. Pizza! Pizza! Its latest product is the Stuffed Crazy Crust Pizza.

The round offering features a stuffed crust brushed with the chain’s signature Crazy Crust, a buttery-flavored garlic spread sprinkled with Parmesan. Pepperoni and cheese versions are being advertised, but if you create your own pizza, it’s available as a crust option. I decided to go with the pepperoni. Also, this review will focus only on the Stuffed Crazy Crust since there’s nothing new about the pepperoni and cheese.

Before trying this, the only question I had was, “If an end crust hater stole this pizza from me, ate only the inner parts of the pizza while I chased him around in an abandoned Kmart with Yakety Sax playing on the PA system, and then gave back the box with only the stuffed crust, is what’s left tasty enough that I would eat it instead of discarding it, feeding it to birds, or pressing charges against the end crust hater?”

Well, if that wacky hypothetical series of events ever happened, I’d be perfectly fine with eating just the Stuffed Crazy Crust because I was pleasantly surprised by how good it is.

For this review, I purposely chopped the end crust off two slices and ate them. While I wish the garlic spread was strong enough to make me self-conscious during a conversation, it’s relatively noticeable. Also, the garlic does enhance the rest of the pizza if you take a bite of the crust and follow it up with a bite from the other end. But the Parmesan is quite mild. Although, as you can see in the photos throughout this review, it wasn’t sprinkled liberally on my order. The mozzarella inside provides some salty, cheesy goodness, but its flavor is milder than the Parmesan. As for its texture, there’s a slight crispiness in some areas, but for the most part, it’s similar to regular stuffed crust.

Overall, end crust haters are gonna end crust hate, but I think what Little Caesars’ Stuffed Crazy Crust Pizza offers might be flavorful enough to make some end crust haters think twice before tossing it back into the box.

Purchased Price: $11.99*
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1/8 pizza) 393 calories, 21 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 49 milligrams of cholesterol, 990 milligrams of sodium, 33 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 19 grams of protein.

*Because I live on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, things are a bit pricier here. You’ll probably pay less than I did.