Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Pizza! Domino's Pizza, Trader Joe's Gluten Free 3 Cheese Pizza, scraping slices, Da Vinci Pizzeria, the Pie, Conte's brand GF Italian food

I don't usually buy frozen pizzas because they're always disappointing.  Regular frozen pizzas have their place in the American diet.  I distinctly recall the taste of a DiGiorno or a Freschetta pizza fresh and leftover.  Sometime last week, I was browsing the Amazon Fresh gluten-free catalog to determine if it was worth my time to pay for this service, and I noticed that they had a gluten-free Freschetta pizza.  I've been thinking about it ever since.  Could it be similar to the original?

Why does this photo of the Signature Pepperoni Pizza show fewer pepperoni?  Is that like shortening your signature?

I live in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, a neighborhood famous for its Italian population.  We have some of the best pizzerias on earth.  Of course, most of them don't have a gluten-free option.  On a particular stretch of 18th avenue, you encounter two of the absolute best: J & V's, and DaVinci.  J&V is something I've never been lucky enough to eat myself, having gone gluten free before ever tasting it.  I've scraped the cheese and sauce off of many a slice in my day (another trick from my mom) and I'm confident this really is the best pizza on earth.  It helps that this neighborhood makes its own ricotta and mozzarella, the white pizza is phenomenal.  I do NOT recommend you scrape the toppings off of any pizza if you're Celiac, and it should be done with great care to ensure you're not pulling crust bits into your cheese.

Da Vinci Pizzeria offers a gluten-free personal pie for $10.00.  It's a decent size and comes with your own plastic pizza slicer with the Conte's logo.  I had it several times before admitting to myself that the Conte crust they use is absolutely horrible, and nothing adheres to it properly.  Come to think of it, I've never had a Conte's product that wasn't a total and complete disappointment.  Their gnocchi, stuffed shells, ravioli...all bad.
Da Vinci probably uses a commercial packaging of this crust.
I feel lucky to be offered any gluten-free crust at all, so I don't dare tell them how bad it is.
Truly a waste of their amazing sauce and cheese.

Conte's brand: consistently gross

Anyhow, I was thinking about this topic because of that Freschetta pizza on Amazon Fresh.  It would be a godsend if it actually tasted like a real Freschetta frozen pizza, that would make it better than every other gluten-free Pizza out there.  Except for maybe the Pie Pizzeria's Gluten-free pizza in Salt Lake City, which is excellent, though the GF Cheesy pull-a-parts were nothing like the original.  Another good pizza is at Lorenzo's in Brooklyn, though they keep changing owners and once put breaded chicken on my Gluten-free pizza, and tried to blame me.  But that's a story for another time.  Domino's offers a gluten-free pie that seems to be available all across the country, but its crust is that gummy, sweet rice flour that tastes like a big mochi wad.  I get it with pepperoni and olives to combat the sweetness as much as possible, but it's still not worth it.  Unless you're at some party where friends are ordering Domino's and you need to eat the same thing to feel like you're participating.
I remembered that I had a Trader Joe's Gluten Free 3 Cheese Pizza in the freezer from my last exodus there.

Trader Joe's Gluten Free 3 Cheese Pizza is only $5, which is part of why I risked the purchase.  How bad could it be? I need a little variety in my meals, and this is a total bargain for NYC.  I bought it to save for a rainy day, or one where it was worth baking something in the oven, anyway.

The directions said to place this directly on the oven rack.  I put it on a cookie sheet instead, because I noticed that the crust was cracked and didn't want to get crumbs everywhere.  I baked it according to the directions, allowed it to cool to edible temperature.  What a disappointment.  All I could taste was oregano, the vulgar cheap kind.  I added Parmigiano Reggiano and some fresh Whole Milk Ricotta (As I said, they make the cheeses fresh in my neighborhood), as well as some salt, and threw it back in to melt them down.  It still couldn't mask that oregano flavor.  The crust itself was browned properly around the edges, but couldn't decide if it wanted to be soggy or crumbly in the center.  Leftovers fared better, as the microwave gave the crust a bendable texture,  It would give this product 2 stars.  I'd order it again in a pinch, but probably would be happier with other items.  Still, you got a lot of food for $5, and at 700 calories for the whole thing, you could eat it whole for dinner.

Interestingly, on another reviewer's blog, several people mentioned that they got sick from eating this pizza, so it may not be the best choice for someone with Celiac, as it is not Certified Gluten Free.  I do not envy my Celiac brothers and sisters out there, that they must take this extra layer of caution.  My Celiac uncle was mistakenly fed full-gluten pasta in a restaurant, and the staff was afraid to tell him.  So they watched him eat the entire meal before informing him.  But again, another story for another day.

This is just my opinion. Another reviewer loved it.

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