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Eric's Quest For Pizza - Eric's House Of Ego
March 5th, 2012
10:54 am

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Eric's Quest For Pizza
Two down, many to go.

I want to find the best old fashioned thin crust pizza in the Des Moines area. I'm tired of fancy pizza. I am tired of easy bake oven pizza. I am tired of chain pizza. I am tired of standardized pizza. I want a pizza made in an old fashioned pizza oven with simple ingredients. We decided this weekend that we need to get something specific. In this case one pepperoni pizza, one sausage pizza. More on that as I go.

A couple weeks ago Lizzie and I went to Noah's Ark Restaurant & Lounge. The pizza was exceptional. Great crust, tasty ingredients. We got sausage, green pepper and garlic. I do want to go back and do a more exact test with the new rules. Of the two so far this was Lizzie's favorite.

But mine … Chuck’s Italian-American Restaurant. This is going to be hard to beat. First of all they are not regular. They are not perfect circles. They are odd, oblong. The crust is crispy on the edges, with a bit of burned cheese here and there (a big plus for me). The ingredients are tasty. They use the milder Grazianos sausage, once again a plus. Graziano's sausage is the best I have ever had … period. I prefer the spicier, but for this pizza it was perfect. The pepperoni was wonderfully spicy, too much for WSPA-3, but the sausage was just to her liking.

The difference between the two I think is the difference between analog and digital. Noah's was almost too perfect. Chuck's was better for it's imperfections. You wouldn't see that much burned cheese on the edges at Noah's, something that I think is essential for perfect pizza. The crust had a little flour char to it here and there, another important thing.

Places that have been mentioned so far ... Bordenaro’s, Scornovacca’s, Pagliai's, Paesano's Pizzeria, Orlandos, Limey's, Hilltop Lounge & Restaurant, Fia's, Bianchi Boys Pizza & Pasta

Not sure where we are going next, but this will get updated as I go along.

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From:celtic_catgirl
Date:March 5th, 2012 05:07 pm (UTC)
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I would also add The Tavern to that list.
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From:ericcoleman
Date:March 5th, 2012 05:13 pm (UTC)
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I'm not really a fan. They have, from my memory, one major problem. The ingredients tend to slide off the crust.
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From:celtic_catgirl
Date:March 5th, 2012 05:15 pm (UTC)
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hmmm it's been a while since I've been there. My memory could be fuzzy.
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From:ericcoleman
Date:March 5th, 2012 05:17 pm (UTC)
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It's decent pizza, but I don't think it will make the top of the list. I'm probably going to go there, but down the line a ways.
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From:qnofhrt
Date:March 5th, 2012 05:10 pm (UTC)
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I'm assuming these are places near where you live? Next time you're out this away, you should try Pal Joey's in West Chicago. It is one of the two best pizza places I've ever been to. (The second is Florentine's in my old home town of Grand Rapids MI.)
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From:ericcoleman
Date:March 5th, 2012 05:12 pm (UTC)
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This is Des Moines and the area around.
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From:rowangolightly
Date:March 5th, 2012 05:29 pm (UTC)
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You don't have a Minsky's? Apart from the little home-owned Pizza Shack in my college town, Minsky's is my favorite pizza place.

But then, I don't think I have quite the exacting standards you do. And I just came from Oklahoma where their idea of good pizza was Papa John's. *shudder*
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From:ericcoleman
Date:March 5th, 2012 05:32 pm (UTC)
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Looks like Minsky's is just a Kansas City area thing.

I am uncertain about any sort of chain though. They tend to standardize things.
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From:rowangolightly
Date:March 5th, 2012 05:51 pm (UTC)
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Huh, I didn't realize they were just the Kansas City area; weird. But yes, they are just on both sides of the state line and as far as Springfield, MO.

I'm sure they're probably standardized but OhSoGood. Last time I was there (which was my first time back in 7 years and I would've embarrassed myself by groaning with nearly orgastic glee except that I was with choir friends who grok me) there was 'crunchy cheese' along the edges of my Canadian bacon & mushroom pizza and flour marks on the edge of the crust. And a funny-rude, very personable waiter. But this is on the Plaza.

Tell ya what, if you and Lizzie ever come to down; we'll go there.

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From:celtic_catgirl
Date:March 5th, 2012 05:58 pm (UTC)
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Minsky's is definitely the way to go, I'm also a fan of d'Bronx but I'm not sure I can think of anything quite like either in Des Moines.
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From:ka_klick
Date:March 5th, 2012 08:10 pm (UTC)
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Minskey's used to have an Ames restaurant (where "a place for Ames" is iirc) back in the late 70's / Early 80's then it was on Lincoln Way and there was also one in Nevada until recently. In many ways quite similar to Godfather's - not thin and not really deep-dish. I used to really love Minskey's (it was a fav date/hangout spot in HS). I had heard at one time it was a schism from Godfathers (early on).

It wasn't exactly the criteria you were setting. In your own back yard is one of my fav's but it's almost diametrically opposed to your criteria: Great Plains Sauce & Dough company does Denver style wonderfully.
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From:ericcoleman
Date:March 5th, 2012 08:19 pm (UTC)
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I love Great Plains, but yeah, not the right thing.
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From:tigertoy
Date:March 5th, 2012 05:45 pm (UTC)
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A long time ago, there was a pizza place in C-U called Pagliai's that had very good thin crust pizza. I thought they were just a local restaurant and went out of business. I wonder if the place you name with that name is related.
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From:ericcoleman
Date:March 5th, 2012 05:50 pm (UTC)
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Looking at the website, it looks like they have only been in Iowa. Started here in Ames, then moved to Des Moines and Grinnell.
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From:ericcoleman
Date:March 5th, 2012 07:15 pm (UTC)
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Pagliai's pizza in Iowa City seems to have nothing to do with Pagliai's pizza in Des Moines.
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From:billroper
Date:March 6th, 2012 06:10 am (UTC)
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We had Pagliai's in Champaign and Carbondale that were related to each other.

By the way, it would be helpful if all of the pizza entries had the pizza tag. :)
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From:ericcoleman
Date:March 6th, 2012 09:18 pm (UTC)
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This is the only one so far here, I'll have individual writeups on LJ. It is mirrored in my notes on FB, which I will update as I go along. I will tag accordingly.
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From:billroper
Date:March 6th, 2012 09:27 pm (UTC)
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Thanks! As you can tell, I'm always interested in reading about pizza. :)
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From:b_vainamoinen
Date:March 6th, 2012 01:46 am (UTC)
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I don't like weird pizzas.

All that "bacon lettuce and tomato" or "buffalo chicken wings" or "beef stew" pizzas. I hate them!

If I want to have a pizza - I want a pizza that tastes like pizza. If I want to have bacon lettuce and tomato - I'll have a BLT.

I think those weird ones are more about the pizza makers getting bored than anything else.
From:code_indigo
Date:March 6th, 2012 03:57 pm (UTC)
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Come visit sometime. I need to haul you over to Zippy's in Yamhill
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From:freeimprov
Date:March 7th, 2012 04:52 pm (UTC)
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Sometime when you're in the Twin Cities we should go get Afghan pizza at Crescent Moon. Football-shaped and amazing.
Eric Coleman, Curmudgeon Powered by LiveJournal.com