Thursday, 13 December 2012

The Hotfella: a pizza, not a gay dating site.

The Hotfella is Goodfella's new spicy pizza. It's like their regular frozen deep-pan only a bit spicier. I can't tell you much more than that because I was pretty drunk when I cooked it. Whenever I have a naughty little pre-bed, hangover-thwarting, booze pizza I wake up convinced that I left the oven on and burned my kitchen down, or worse, wasted loads of our gas credit. So far, to the best of my knowledge, I haven't caused any drunk pizza related fatalities, but that said, I can be quite unobservant and it's possible I'm directly responsible for numerous casualties in a Sgt. Frank Drebin from the Naked Gun kind of way. Happily whistling away, totally oblivious to the motorway pile up I just caused by throwing away that banana skin. Or something like that. Ignorance is bliss so it's probably best if I don't ask too many questions about my frequent memory blanks between 11pm and 4am, the bloody kitchen knives under my bed and the growing pile of prostitue corpses that I keep finding in my cupboard. I'll just do what Leslie Nielsen (R.I.P.) would; a wide-eyed grimace, a gulp and a nervous shuffle away from the scene of the crime. Because that will work. If slapstick comedy has taught us anything it's that old men know gymnastics, people being shot and falling off buildings is hilarious so long as they're relatively insignificant characters and that OJ Simpson was too funny to have done it.

I'm usually a bit of a wimp about really spicy food. Partly because it can give me a dicky belly, but also because once my brother decided he was a big dog and ordered a Vindaloo at an Indian restaurant. He got a third of the way through and had to be given two massive jugs of water, cucumber dipped in yoghurt and a cold towel on his forehead to stop him passing out. I'm way too self-conscious to handle that much attention. Anyway this pizza wasn't that spicy at all, and if there was any justice in the world then Will.I.Am's career would have gotten no further than 'Canned Goods Aisle Manager', and this pizza would be called something more accurate. Like the 'Warmfella', which in my opinion, sounds just as homoerotic, albeit in a slightly fuzzier, long-term commitment, kind of way.

6 out of 10

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Halo. Is it me you're looking for?

Well no-scope me out of a Warthog and call me the Reclaimer, if Pizza Hut haven't thought of yet another way to make me hate them, myself, the world, you probably, and just about everything ever. You don't have to be Cortana to know that the thing stuffed crusts are definitely not lacking is more cheese. So it's slightly perplexing as to why 'the Hut' have decided to celebrate the release of Halo 4 by sprinkling – although it's more like 'coating' really, let's call a horse a horse – their stuffed crust with Red Leicester. I guess it's because it's in the shape of a halo, and the video game's called Halo, and those two words are the same and so it all makes sense and could be totally justified in a war crimes tribunal. Which, after experiencing what can only be described as digestive genocide, seems a likely direction for events to unfold in. I don't know if you've ever played Halo. If you're not sure either, a good way of checking is to quickly assess if you have any or all of the following: 

1. A healthy, non-racist-expletive filled, social life.
2. A girl/boyfriend who doesn't thoroughly resent you. 
3. Regular interactions with sunlight.

If these sound familiar, then chances are you haven't played it. If however, you're like me and have decided a worthwhile way to spend the dwindling remnants of youth is to perfect your four-shot with the Battle Rifle, then add a brother up and we'll go smoke some suckers. My Xbox Live gamertag is 'Ninjoe'. It's a combination of the the word 'ninja' and 'Joe'. I thought of it about ten years ago and it is, by far, my greatest achievement and contribution to the world to date.

Anyway, this pizza is gross and unnecessary and I hate it and I hate Pizza Hut. Also, the other night, at the bar I work in, I got talking to a guy who said he does the advertising for Pizza Hut and apparently their CEO is some sadistic, psycho-devil woman who everyone in the industry (the pizza advertising industry presumably *vom*) totally hates. Kind of like Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada, except with pizza instead of fashion magazines. So there's that too.

0 out of 10

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Reggae Reggae Jerk Chicken Stonebaked Pizza

The pizza so nice, they technically named it once but repeated a word. Levi Roots, the man behind Reggae Reggae sauce, not a new denim heritage collection, has decided that just selling sauce in bottles is boring and that he needs to step in and give people ready made examples of what they could be putting the sauce on. All that time spent in the Dragon's Den - presumably fighting off dwarves and sleeping on huge piles of gold or whatever, I dunno, I don't watch the show. LOL JK I do. Loads. I live for that shit - has really rubbed off on him and turned him from a mildly eccentric Jamaican man who sings to grumpy rich white men for money into a shrewd capitalist, devoted to expanding his jerk sauce empire. I read somewhere (possibly in a daily publication I get called My Imagination) that a couple of years ago, Reggae Reggae sauce outsold Heinz Ketchup. I find that hard to believe because I get through, on average, four bottles of tomato sauce a day. And I don't buy any of that Daddie's shit. But then I am just one man and can only do so much. For now at least... *glares at nervous group of bioengineers locked in my basement. They yelp and scamper back to work on their cloning machine*.

Jerk chicken is great, and I feel far less of what psychotherapist's don't call, but should, 'Carnivore's guilt', when eating it. It's reassuring to know that I'm eating a very unpopular chicken, that chances are, the chicken community is grateful this chicken is dead. I like to think that jerk chickens would bully the other chickens, perhaps make jokes about their cowardice, throw their unborn children at their coops, or dress up as Colonel Sanders for chicken Halloween. Stuff like that. And now they've got their comeuppance by being eaten by someone like me. Surely the ultimate, final humiliation.

6 out of 10

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Pizzeria da Mario: Pizza Mario

The other week I went up to Oxford to visit my two little brothers. They're both at University there and when I tell people that they always ask if I mean Oxford Brookes. I don't, I mean actual Oxford-Oxford, as in the closest-any-of-us-stupid-muggles-will-get-to-Hogwarts-Oxford, and whoever I'm telling is a little surprised by this. They may deny it but I can read their eyebrows like two, hairy little books. I don't blame them for their scepticism, because it seems like a bit of a stretch that the same sperm - egg DNA combo can produce such wildly different levels of academic success; but such is the miracle of genetics, and it serves as a reminder that God is both very real and has a sick, sadistic sense of humour. Also don't we share something like 96% of DNA with potatoes or whatever? I can kind of believe this though because there are days when I sit around for so long I get this weird urge to peel off all my skin, chop myself up into strips and hug fried fish.

Anyway, this little place is on Cowley Road which is about as rough as central Oxford gets. I feel pretty confident I could mince up and down the Cowley Road at 2am on a Saturday night in acid-washed denim hot pants, several sealed and boxed iPhone 5s hanging round my neck on easy-to-snap chains, telling track-suited, overly gelled teenage boys I think they're sexy and slapping their cans of Skol out of their hands and not get 'crimed against' once, but then maybe the savage, everyday-is-a-battle-for-survival lifestyle I lead on the Mad Max 2-esque streets of Stoke Newington has given me an overly rosy view of the Cotswolds.

This was a good pizza even and, although it had artichokes on, we didn't have any problems. (It also usually comes with olives, but obviously I demanded they take those shrivelled little hell nuggets off because I had a whole colostomy bag of AIDS-blood soaked razor blades I'd sooner eat before I'd let  Lucifer's testicles get anywhere near my gorgeous, gorgeous face).

8 out of 10

Friday, 12 October 2012

Who 'Demands' Pizza Hut's Garlic Butter Stuffed Crust?

Woah, woah, and another woah Pizza Hut. Hold that drove of horses you've let run rampant through the quiet town of Plausibilityville (the potentially incredible sequel to Pleasantville, where a couple of teenagers are sucked into a TV town where everything happens under very likely and unsurprising circumstances. Also starring William H. Macy). Pizza Hut do you really expect me and every other pizza-centric, linguistically pedantic chump with too much free time who walks past this sign to just nod and accept whatever you say like a drunk monkey asking for more wine gums? Popular demand? What happened, did someone send you a petition?

"Dear Pizza Hut,

Below you'll find 50,000 signatures of concerned individuals who feel your decision to cease the option of adding a garlic butter stuffed crust to your pizzas (large only) both insulting, irresponsible and possibly a little homophobic. Please rectify this blatant oversight by returning the garlic butter stuffed crust to it's rightful place as a staple on the Pizza Hut takeaway menu. Your understanding on this matter is appreciated and we just hope you take steps to make amends for the hurt your decisions have caused.

We sincerely hope you do the right thing.


Loads and loads of people apparently."

Bah. If Pizza Hut brought out a limited edition 'Elixir of Everlasting Life' stuffed crust I'd be surprised if I could muster up the energy to do anything about it when the offer expired. But then sometimes I worry I'm a kind of pioneer, testing the boundaries of the human capacity for lethargy so don't go by my example by any means. 

Monday, 10 September 2012

Papa John's: The Works

I fell out with Papa John a while ago. He wouldn't deliver a pizza to me when I was only 5 minutes up the road and this made me quite cross. It felt like he was being lazy and boy, do I hate laziness. I'd sure as heck do something about if I could be bothered and this bed wasn't so comfortable and I didn't already have a full day of sitting around in pants booked into my diary. I know calling him out for laziness is a bit rich coming from a semi-unemployed Call of Duty addict who hasn't updated this blog for two months, but then this is the Internet not afternoon tea with Aunt Judie so I can be as rude and unreasonable as I want and the worst you can do is stop reading. (Please, for the love of God don't stop reading. I'm a drowning man and you're my oxygen, don't leave me. I love you).

Anyway, in retaliation for not getting a pizza, I sent him numerous inflammatory e-mails and a couple of sexy dick pics (you know, just in case that greased the wheels in my favour). You can read about the whole, tawdry, regretful affair right here. Suffice to say, I didn't get my pizza. :(

That was over a year ago now and, since then, I feel I've grown both spiritually and gastronomically. So, as I was both really hungry and willing to overlook past slights, I returned to Papa John's with my tail between my legs. (I don't have a tail. This is just a phrase. I don't really understand why a tail's location would indicate being sorry. Maybe it's a cat thing. I'd ask my cat but he's an idiot and we're not talking at the moment).

In fairness the pizza was pretty good. Obviously I swapped the olives for something else because I'd rather lick between the toes of a dead hobo that eat those shrivelled little demon goolies, but overall a tasty meal was had by all (It was just me. I'm so lonely). HOWEVER, and I'm sorry to bring politics up, it's something I try not to do on account of knowing nothing about anything, but did you know that in America, Papa John has gone to great lengths to advertise the fact that he is raising the price of pizzas a few cents to pay for their employee's Medicare and that it's all Obama's fault? He's basically saying: "Sorry guys, Obama's making me do this because he's a dick. Why are you such a dick Obama you dick?" For a multi-national company that peddles in auto-chubbening cheese disasters, contributing to the clearing up of the mess they make seems like the least they could do. Obviously this doesn't apply to me in any way whatsoever because I'm English, live in England and am very happy to shave off decades of my life in exchange for extra pepperoni. Still, seems like a dick move if you ask me.

6 out of 10

Monday, 9 July 2012

Waitrose's Unconventional Fruit Pizzas!! Double Review Power Edition!!

I've been going to Waitrose quite a bit recently because it's fun to pretend I'm successful and middle class, when in reality I live in something that can only be described as half-flat, half-armpit. If there was someone in charge of maintaining the standards of middle-class living and they were to inspect my house, I would be stripped of my Cotswold laurels, dragged into the back of a pristine 4x4 and thrown onto the pavement outside the Sports Soccer in Swindon. And rightly so. 

Anyway, fruit on pizzas is not new. Look at Hawaiians. The pizza not the race of people. Although feel free to look at them as well, just don't be obvious about it. Wear sunglasses and do that thing where your head is facing one way and your eyes are facing another, but no one can see because you're wearing sunglasses. That's my favourite stalking/perving technique. I have many, but that's my favourite. Or at least my favourite that doesn't involve a full-body ghillie suit and pinhole cameras. 

Here's a couple of Waitrose's recent and ambitious forays into fruit on pizza. Let's all take a look shall we? No? No? Not you either? None of you? Fine. Just me then. It's cool, I'm quite happy in my own company and I have the new Usher song on my iPod, so screw you guys.

Calabria Inspired Salami, Red Onion and FIG Pizza

Before we get all figgy with it, can I talk about the fact that the salami has been inspired by something? How does that work? Is the pig shown flattering pictures of real Calabrese Salami and encouraged to reach for something greater than just being a run-of-the-mill, blue collar pork product? Was this salami made from a particularly aspirational herd of pigs? How do you inspire meat? I don't want to sound like a nit-picker, but if it can be inspired then are you sure it's dead enough to eat. It all sounds a bit silly to me. Silly old salami, silly old Waitrose, silly old pizza. (Also, I should point out I have no idea why this passage is highlighted in beige. I didn't do that, and if I did, I wouldn't have chosen beige. My theory is that, as the last person on Earth using Blogspot, the website's feeling starved of attention and has decided to act up in a pathetic, self-destructive cry for help. The Internet equivalent of facial tattoos.)

I'm not sure how I feel about figs. I think I'm slightly prejudiced towards them because of that Christmas carol about demanding figgy pudding. I always felt like a fat, Dudley Dursley-esque spoilt brat singing that. That's not to say I wasn't. It was just tough hearing it confirmed, out loud, by me and everyone else in the room. I'm sure you can understand the depth of the emotional scar this could leave on a child. Poor me and my Christmases spent feeling bad about the songs I had to sing. Where's my TV charity appeal Lenny Henry? Why haven't you recreated Flashdance to help me with my struggle Robert Webb? Needless to say, these experiences have left me a quivering shell of a man, full of nothing but insecurity, crippling terror and the odd internal organ. 

6 OUT OF 10

Lombardia Pizza with Salame Brianza, Blue Cheese and PEAR

I feel bad for pears sometimes. Not so bad that it registers on any kind of emotional scale, but bad enough that it seems worth talking about here and trying to desperately drag out a hundred or so words. This space won't fill itself you know. (<-- God's angry Mother, two minutes before the Big Bang). Anyway, the reason I sympathise with pears is twofold: A) I have too much time on my hands and so am able to spend it thinking about things this pointless and B) because I feel they get overlooked in favour of apples as the 'go-to' British fruit, when in fact they are much juicier, less easily bruised, and don't taste gross if they're more than a week old. I sort of see them as the best friend of a dull, yet hot and popular girl in this rather weak school = a fruitbowl metaphor. A bit like Ugly Betty. Although I've never seen Ugly Betty, I'm just guessing that that's what happens in Ugly Betty. It looks like that's what happens. I'd ask someone but have you ever met anyone that watches it? Of course you haven't. The only person that watches Ugly Betty spends all his time at home, watching Ugly Betty, not outside meeting people like you. If the 'pears are the overlooked, yet beautiful on the inside, (and out, post makeover montage obvs) girl' thing doesn't make sense, just watch any film about teenagers ever made. That's not a method of explaining my point, just a fun suggestion to pass the time because who doesn't like High School movies?

7 out of 10

Friday, 11 May 2012

Pronto Pizza: Pepperoni

When this arrived the other night I was concerned because it looked like they'd got my order wrong. Play 'Where's Wally?' on the picture above, except this time it's called 'Where's Pepperoni?'. You'll lose. It was there though, just hidden under the cheese. Like they were trying to smuggle it past the border that is my mouth, into the low-paying horticultural and landscaping industry that is my belly. It worked and I was awash with pepperoni/illegal immigrants. If my body was a democracy, (it's not, it's a dictatorship and I'm the dictator and I will be until I die) then a right-wing government would probably print off a series of campaign posters with pictures of evil looking pepperoni with exaggerated, racist facial features groping young girls, robbing old people and hogging jobs. Thankfully for struggling pepperonis all over the world, when it comes to meat immigration, I have a pretty relaxed policy. I don't think I even have customs or passport checks or anything like that. Everyone's welcome. Come on in. I might regret this one day, or even today in fact. Actually definitely today, because I've recently noticed a significant increase in the amount of tummy I have. It's OK, I'm going to start jogging twice a year. That should sort it out. I just wish someone had told me excessively eating stodgy, fatty foods on an almost daily basis and then lying or sitting down all the time would give me the chubbs. Misled youth or what?

Pronto Pizza is on Stoke Newington Church Street and has a whole selection of contradictory offers that you'd need a complex diagram to fully understand. I took the easy option and went for the 'Buy One, Get One Half Price'. Which was pretty good because they're not that expensive to begin with and assuming you have friends, (perhaps a foolhardy assumption) it means you can get an XL for around £7. Not bad. Also they're pretty tasty and have that kind of oil that makes paper transparent and if you get it on your clothes, it will literally never come out. This makes the whole thing more exciting because there's that little hint of danger. If you're not careful, you could ruin a t-shirt. The only way you could get higher stakes than that would be if you hot-boxed a slaughterhouse.

8 out of 10

Monday, 30 April 2012

Co-op: Chilli Chilli Bang Bang

Someone in Co-op's branding department needs to get fired. I'm all for a good pun. In fact there's not much I like more than a witty play on words. In the unlikely event of you being curious, here's some of the few things I do like more than puns: Take Me Out, my cat, freshly squeezed orange juice, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Krysten Ritter. That's about it. Everything else can git aurrt as far as I'm concerned.

Anyway, what ground my gears about the name of this pizza was that, sure, it had chillies on, and 'chilli' sounds like 'chitty' and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a film, but so what? Chitty Chitty Bang Bang has nothing to do with this pizza, or any pizza. Perhaps if this pizza could somehow abduct children or had a terrible-to-the-point-of-being-potentially-racist cockney accent then I'd get it. But, to my knowledge, it can't and doesn't. (I should point out there weren't any children present at the eating of this pizza so I can't confirm or deny it's kidnapping skills outright). Also does Dick Van Dyke even have his silly accent in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang? Or is that just in Mary Poppins? Don't answer, I so don't care about whether he does or not that I'm annoyed I even wrote it down, and I'm not going to waste even more time deleting it. But then explaining it to this extent is actually taking up even more time. Oh God. I'm just going to stop before this gets worse and I scratch my own eyes out.

6 out of 10

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Franco Manca

If you don't know me in real life then it would be so great if we could pretend that my recent splurge in inactivity is due to me being in prison for a really cool crime. Some Ocean's 11 style con or fighting off a gang of rapists and accidentally killing one like Nicolas Cage in Con Air. I'd be pretty pleased if I went to prison for something like that. After I got out I'd definitely try and slip the fact I'd been sent down into as many conversations as I could. Typically I imagine it would go something like this:

Person: "Nice weather we're having huh?"

Me: "Yeah. Do you know where you don't really see much weather?"

Person: "No."

Me: "In prison."

Person: "Mmhmm."

Me: "Yep. I know that because I just got out."

Person: "Right."

Me: "Of prison that is. I've been in prison."

Person: Makes ringing noise out of the side of their mouth. Answers pretend phone call. Walks away.

Me: Sobs silently into hands.

Pretty dramatic right?

Anyway, the opinion of the enlightened masses is that Franco Manca do one of the best pizzas in the UK and whenever I'm in Brixton I eat there because how often am I in Brixton? (Clue: Not often, because I like my belongings). They use some fancy kind of dough that takes 20 hours to rise. That seems like a long time but I can't be too critical because that's about the same amount of time it takes me to get up in the morning (or afternoon), (or evening. BTW my life's a joke). This confirms what I've been telling my mother/therapist/whoever's sitting next to me on the bus for years. I am as lazy as pizza dough. It's not like I'm asleep, it's more like there's very little I need to get done that involves getting out of bed. Also I have a wonderful cat who comes and sleeps on my belly and if you can get up and walk away from that you must have a heart made of soggy, popped tennis balls.

My favourite thing about these pizzas would have to be the fact that they're chewy. Kind of like a marshmallow, only heterosexual. Marshmallows are definitely the Russell Grants of the confectionary world, in the sense that they're fat, gay and harmless. Not that they possess any astrological insight. But then I've never asked one about my zodiac so what do I know? In case you're curious, I'm a Gemini. Which means you can't trust me with anything. I will fuck you over and stab you in the back 100% of the time because of planets and space or some shit. You've been warned.

If I was a character in Glee or Gossip Girl or some TV show that isn't Game of Thrones I'd probably describe these pizzas as 'totes delish' but I just checked and do still have balls so I can't really get away with that. So instead I'll simply call them 'really quite tasty'. Apparently there's a Franco Manca in the Westfield in Stratford which is much closer to me so if anyone wants to go one day I'd be totally up for it. I don't even care if I know you or not, but if I don't then please don't expect me to talk or look at you, that would be weird.

10 out of 10

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Pizza Sandwich 2

I tried this a while ago, and unless you consider mid-evening, self induced vomiting a sign of success, it was an unmitigated disaster. I refuse to believe the concept was the problem, because I still feel it's a pretty solid idea. I think where I went wrong the first time (aside from making the various life choices that led me to trying it in the first place) was that I let quantity take precedence over quality. I've since realised that when you're putting two pizzas on top of one another to make a giant pizza sandwich, quantity isn't really an issue. This was a mistake I was reluctant to make twice. Only reluctant, mind you, not incapable.

Anyway, Sainsbury's were doing a buy one get one free on Pizza Express and this seemed like enough of a sign to consider having another go at giving myself heart disease. Besides, other than being an atheist sceptic, who am I to deny fate itself?

One of the lessons I'd taken from last time was that despite what workaholic dentists may tell you, there is such a thing as too much filling. With this in mind, I bought one Sloppy Giuseppe and one Margherita. I'm OK with Pizza Express. Even though they're expensive and too small, they're still better than most store bought pizzas. Don't be too impressed by this however, because on the scale of achievements, 'being better than most store bought pizzas' sits between 'putting your shoes on the correct feet first time round' and 'getting through a bus journey without crying'.

Overall, it was pretty good. Certainly better than the last attempt, but then snorting a line of iron filings would have been better than the last attempt so who knows what that means. I certainly don't, and I wrote it, so what chance do you have?

7 out of 10