Thursday, February 25, 2010

Hyde Park Pizzeria

Finally, the first post about a specific pizza restaurant. I'm having to rack my brain a little bit to remember Hyde Park Pizzeria, so I'll do my best here. Hyde Park Pizzeria was our first pizza stop on our quest for the best pizza in Cincinnati. At that point, we had not yet decided to evaluate the pepperoni pizza on its own, nor did we think to take pictures of the pizza (we're going to revisit each place for "quality control," so we'll be sure to remember to take pictures the second time around). They had a deal on Thursday when Nik bought the pizza (not sure if it's an all-the-time or just Thursday night thing), where you get a free large pizza with the purchase of 2 larges. Thus, we ended up with 3 large pizzas: pepperoni (the standard), meatball, and veggie (no olives, sub banana peppers).

The overall, average ratings ended up being:

(1-5 scale, 1=worst, 5=best)
Appearance (overall): 3.5
Smell (overall): 4.25
Taste (overall): 3.83
Crust - 3.83
Cheese - 3.83
Toppings - 4
Sauce - 2.83

Pepperoni Pizza (overall): Not Recorded
Specialty Pizza & Menu Options: 3.83
X-factor: 3.33

Nik and I both noted that the pizza was properly cooked. I also thought that the cheese was nicely browned, although there were not any additional exciting cheese options (goat cheese, blue cheese, etc). I also thought that the veggie pizza didn't have that much flavor (I think that was partially due to the fact that the sauce wasn't that exciting). Kevin and I also thought that the pepperoni pizza was fairly greasy, although the pepperoni was my favorite of the 3 (I think Nik's was probably the meatball). Kevin also noted that the pizza does re-heat nicely, although the crust does get soggy.

Overall, the pizza was very good and a great start to our quest!

Hyde Park Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Four weeks in!

So we're four weeks into the Cincy pizza quest (Hyde Park Pizzeria, Chinnati's, Mio's Pizzeria, ZZ's Pizza, and $1 Donato's pizza at a Cyclone's game). Hopefully we'll get some pictures up from the various places soon and tabulated values from our spreadsheet ratings. Speaking of ratings, I think it's going to take several weeks to really get the ratings calibrated right for me.

To help understand what my rankings go by, I feel like I should give some personal pizza background. I grew up in the Chicago area, and thus have a special place in my heart for a good Chicago style pizza (hence on my evening I went with Chinnati's). At the same time, I also grew up having Little Caesar's (Pizza Pizza!) when you actually used to get two pies with each order and loved it. So while I think I can recognize a the good from the not quite so good, my childhood pizza memories influence me today such that I rarely meet a pizza that I don't enjoy.

When it comes to the pizza, I personally rate the cheese and sauce higher than the crust. I think that's a fair way to do it too, especially given that the crust can be such a personal thing (hence folks from brooklyn not thinking there is anything but one half-way decent place to get pizza in Ann Arbor, where I've also lived and enjoyed many great pizzas). As for the cheese, I think it needs to be plentiful and gooey (with good flavor obviously). The sauce I'm more open on. I'm not looking for a particular kind of sauce in order to claim that it's good (sweet vs spicy, etc.). It just needs to fit in well with the rest of the pizza.

That all being said, here's where I'd say our current pizzas have stacked up

1) Chinnati's: I'm hung up on the Chicago style, even if it isn't Lou Malnati's.
2) ZZ's Pizza: Recently reopened, with a good specialty pizza.
3) Hyde Park Pizzera: Our first pizza and delicious to boot!
4) Mio's: We just had the thin crust here (they make a Chicago style), it was okay, but not one I'll have a hankering for soon.
5) $1 Donato's at US Bank Arena: Even for $1 a slice I'd say it was expensive (the slices were small too).

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Inaugural Blog!

Well, we're three weeks in to our Cincinnati Pizza tour and I've decided it's about time to write this inaugural blog (hopefully Kevin and Nik will follow suit!). Kevin, Nik, and I get together on Thursday night's to watch the NBC line-up and about a month ago Kevin had the brilliant idea of making it into a pizza night. Considering that we're all "scientists", we decided to nerd it up and try to find the best pizza in Cincinnati.

I created multiple spreadsheets, as I often do, and the quest began on January 28th with Hyde Park Pizzeria. A pepperoni pizza will be the standard ordered from each pizza joint, and whoever is doing the ordering that week gets to pick out the second pizza. (Yes, I'm pretending that all pepperoni's are made from locally, humanely raised animals....) We worked out a few kinks in the spreadsheet I designed and added/deleted some of the evaluation categories to end up with the following:

(On a 1-5 scale, 1 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Appearance (overall)
Smell (overall)

Pepperoni Pizza (overall)
Specialty Pizza/Overall Menu Options

We have 21 pizza places slated so far to try, including the national chains (Domino's, Papa Johns, etc). So, I hope you enjoy joining us for our quest for the best pizza in Cincinnati!