Sunday, August 30, 2015

PoPo's Pursuit of the Perfect Pizza

Other than family and friends, there are only a few things I miss about living in the New York Tri-State Area:  apple, strawberry, and blueberry picking; visiting New York City at Christmastime; dining quarterly at our all-time favorite restaurant, Benjamin’s Steakhouse in Midtown Manhattan; and PIZZA!

Our hometown was only 10 square miles, and we had 9 pizza joints from which to choose!  If you had a hankering for a pizza, one was just a phone call away, anytime from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.!

And our hometown wasn’t much different from others within the NY/NJ/PA area.  Whether we were visiting Saugerties (New York Mid-Hudson Region), Lodi (North Jersey), Stroudsburg (Northeast Pennsylvania), we found terrific pizza parlors, all which ran “specials” where you could get a 16-18 inch hot, bubbling, delectable cheese pie with the perfect crust for 10 bucks or less!  It was a dream come true for a cheese-eating rat like me!

We have been here in the Black Hills for nearly four months, and since the day we arrived I have been in pursuit of a perfect pizza.

Our first stop was Lintz Bros. Pizza in Hermosa, which came highly recommended by several folks.  My first thought was what does someone with a German surname know about pizza?  But my pizza craving overtook my good senses.  We traversed in pouring rain and high winds to arrive at 5 p.m. on a Sunday evening, only to find the place packed!  Popular joint—a good sign that the pizza is good!  A review of the menu shows there are lots of decisions to make:  thick crust, thin crust; gluten-free; extra toppings; 12”, 14”, or 16”.  Then we reviewed the “specialty” pie list, which included:

  • Taco Pizza.  Lettuce, tomato, refried beans, salsa, and everything you put on a regular taco.  Looked like a salad on top of a Boboli when we glimpsed the order of the folks next to us!
  • Flaming German Samoan.  Canadian ham, sausage, pineapple, sauerkraut, and jalapenos.  WHAT!  Sounds like they needed to clean out their fridge and instead of throwing stuff away, threw it on a pizza!  And these “specialty” pies cost about $24 each!

We settled on a thin crust, 16” pie with just one topping, CHEESE.  It arrived hot, but oddly cut into “squares” rather than “slices”.  It was tasty, but couldn’t compare to what we have enjoyed in the past, not to mention we were still hungry after we left.   And it cost us $16 for this pizza!  I initially awarded this pizza just a 3-cheese rating.  However, after our next stop, Lintz Bros. Pizza moved up to a 4-cheese rating.

Pie for the People in Keystone boasts that its two owners hail from California and New York, so they know everything about good pizza.  WRONG!  WHAT A FIASCO!

We ordered the Margherita Specialty Pie.  We are pizza purists and have enjoyed this type of pie at numerous other places.  Everywhere we ordered this pizza previously, it contained Fresh Mozzarella, and most times it consisted of Buffalo Mozzarella, which has a completely different texture than regular mozzarella.  So being here in the Black Hills where buffalo are abundant, we were looking forward to getting the “real deal”.  The pizza arrived so dried out, you could use it as a frisbee, throw it at the wall, and it wouldn’t even crack!  Not only was it not buffalo mozzarella, it wasn’t even fresh mozzarella!  And for this we paid $23, $6 more than a regular cheese pie!  This place gets my Rotten Tomato Award—the absolute WORST pizza I have ever eaten in all my life!

When Aunt Laurie and Uncle Rob visited recently, they took me to Eno’s Pizza in Keystone for lunch.  They knew how frustrated I was and how much I was craving a good pizza.  Once again, very disappointing.  Not to mention we ordered a calzone and it didn’t even have ricotta cheese in it!  A travesty!

A pizza consists of only 3 parts:  crust, cheese, and tomato sauce.  How hard is it to get it right?   Apparently, it is no easy feat for the pizza establishments in the Black Hills.

Bottom Line:  If you want a decent-tasting, reasonably-priced pizza in the Black Hills area, stop in the frozen food section of Walmart and buy a DiGiorno’s !

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