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PuckOTG22

Staff Picks: Do You Prefer Chocolate Chip or Oatmeal Raisin Cookies?

I say that Oatmeal Raisin Cookies are the great impostor of the cookie world.

You go to a party - you see a tan cookie with large, dark bits through it - what do you think? "Mmmmm! Oatmeal Raisin!" Hell no you don't! You think "Mmmmm! Chocolate Chip!"

I have been tricked more than once into eating an Oatmeal Raisin Cookie and it pisses me off every time!

ORC's are evil. They should all be destroyed.

And BTW - Who was the genius that said - hey, lets eat these withered grapes...I bet they are yummy. Blech! CCC's all the way!!! VIVA LA CHOCOLATE CHIP!

Frozen Pies and The Uncanny Valley of Pizza

I'd much prefer a 'fresh' pizza to a frozen pizza any day - however, I do think there are a few good frozen pizzas.

Personally - I think Freshetta makes some of the best frozen pizza's I've ever had. In fact - I think their Hawaiian Style pizza is fantastic. My roomie *LOVES* that pizza...The ham gets some crispy edges and the pineapple stays good and juicy. It's very nice. I also enjoy their 'brick oven' Pepperoni. As far as Frozen pizza's go - I think they are by far the best. The crust texture on the brick oven pizzas are nice and thin crust gets really nice and crisp! I have tried DiGiorno and I think they are all terrible. Bleh!

Also, I think the Target Brand 'Archer Farms' has a decent pizza too. I have had the Bolognese pizza and it was decent.

What is the worst pizza you have ever eaten?

This place here in Nashville. It's called Bella Napoli : http://bellanapolipizzeria.com/

They claim to be the only 'authentic' Italian pizza you can get in the area. If that is authentic (as I've never been to Italy) I'll stick to 'Americanized' pizza.

I was REALLY excited to try the pizza. It looked good and the air coming from around the corner walking up to the place smelled great as well. However, the middle of the Margherita pizza was soggy and goopy. Like, clumps of dough would fall off when you try to pick it up. The edges were fine, however. The sauce was flavorless and there wasn't enough basil or mozzarella on there to help give it any type of flavor. I realize Margherita pizza isn't 'IN YOUR FACE' or anything - but still...bland doesn't even beging to describe it. It tasted like nothing. The only thing I could taste was smoke from the wood fired oven. It was pretty much the worst thing I've ever had. I've had frozen pizza's with better flavor.

Chicago Essential: Home Run Inn

Yeah, I'll have to agree with some other people on here...the HRI Frozen pizza I've had has barely been edible. In fact, I threw most of it out. I actually like the Freshetta frozen pizza's the best out of all of them.

Steak and Shake Coming to NYC in Midtown

Personally - I love the Steak n' Shake Frisco Melt....Sooooo good!

Pizza Protips: A Different Sort of Peel

Is this really a new idea? I mean - if it is - then I really missed out. I have used a piece of parchment paper to help slide a pizza onto a peel and then from a peel onto a hot stone. Or am I missing the point...?

Poll: Do You 'Doctor' Your Frozen Pizza?

Regardless of the frozen pizza type - I always add a little something to it before putting it in the oven. Usually a drizzle of olive oil and sometimes a few grinds from my McCormick seasoning 'Italian Grinder' (http://www.mccormick.com/Products/Herbs-and-Spices/Grinders/Italian-Herb-Seasoning-Grinder.aspx )

That, along with the olive oil really help I think. Oh, and of course I always use my pizza stone. Not the best pizzas ever - but they come out better than they would have otherwise.

NCAA Final Four: Which Team Wins for Best Food Town?

OMG - How awesome is that picture of the doughnuts from Spalding's?!

I was just scrolling through the articles and I saw that box of doughnuts and said to myself "Oh man - those look like Spalding's.. I need to get back to Lexington soon..." And then saw the article and was surprised that they WERE Spalding's!!! Man - I need some Spalding's soon! I'm telling you - there is not a doughnut out there like this. Every time I take a friend back home with me I have to stop by Spalding's to introduce them to probably the ugliest doughnut on the planet - but also one of the best tasting.

One tip - if you happen to go to Spalding's - you better go early in the morning. People start lining up before they open to try and get some. Once they sell out - that's it for the day. And they always sell out. Best Doughnuts on the planet.

A pound of ground beef. What would you make?

I'd either make chili, which I love and can go pretty far...

Or I'd make some taco meat. What I like to do with taco meat is, instead of making tacos...make taco salad.

However, I think I do taco salad different that most.

What I do is get some tortilla chips (even doritios) and heat them up in the microwave - just to get them warm. Then I spoon on the taco meat, salsa, cheese, sour cream, etc...and eat. Everything but the taco meat is premade and its a really quick, easy dinner.

Reality Check: Royale Steakburger and M&M Shake from Steak 'n Shake

The Frisco melt is my favorite thing at Steak N' Shake. I haven't been to one in a while - but I need to go back soon. This inspired me! :-) I may have to go this weekend!

Chain Reaction: Cracker Barrel

Actually - cracker barrel has two burgers. They have the regular burger - which you likely got this last time. The time before you probably got the hamburger steak served on grilled sourdough (which is what I always get). The hamburger steak is MUCH better and the grilled sourdough is awesome. I have never had a 'regular' burger there...but its because I love the hamburger steak so much. Go back and order the hamburger steak with grilled sourdough and cheese on the burger.

Survey: What Pizza Topping Is a Dealbreaker for You?

Mushrooms. Ugh - the texture is just gross.

Any type of seafood (tuna, anchovies, etc).

Olives. Just don't like the texture of them either. Blerg!

The Best Way to Reheat a Pizza Slice

I had that same problem with the pizza being 'dry' after reheating. So, what I usually do is I wet a papertowel, wrap the pizza in it - and then microwave on half power for about 60 seconds. So far its worked out very well. The pizza doesn't get tough, everything is hot and its not dried out. I have enjoyed this method quite a bit. :-)

SE Staff Picks: Our Favorite Girl Scout Cookies, and How to Eat Them

@Carrie Vasios - They DO sell Samoas at the Supermarket. They are made by Keebler and they are called "Coconut Dreams".

http://www.amazon.com/Fudge-Shoppe-Cookies-8-5-Ounce-Packages/dp/B003ZXG0VW

Also, if you have Little Debbie Snacks in your area - they make something akin to the Samoas - but much larger. They are called German Chocolate Cookie Rings. They are softer and larger than a Samoa -but the taste is pretty much dead on. However, the Keebler cookies look and taste like they were lifted from a package of Girl Scout cookies and put into a Keebler box. No lie. I buy them waaaay too often.

http://www.littledebbie.com/products/CookieRings.asp

Can you cook pizza on parchment paper?

Its funny this is a topic. I actually have been using parchment paper for a long time...but it was just an idea I had. Before I found this site (or even thought to look for pizza blogs) - I just played around with recipes and ways of doing things. The whole reason I used parchment paper was not for ease of transporting things to the oven, although it was a bonus. My issue was I don't have a pizza peel or a screen or any other method of making my pizzas a similar size.

So, I decided that I wanted to make pizzas for a bunch of my friends for a pizza party and see what they thought. So, with only one pizza pan I thought - man, this is going to take a long time. So, then it dawned on me...I had seen a recipe for 'par-baking' a pan pizza crust. Although I was doing a more 'hand tossed' style - I thought - what the hell. What if I just make a bunch of dough, stretch it and par-bake it and then keep those pre-cooked crusts in the fridge until its time for the party.

So, I tried just oiling the pizza pan. That was messy and then the pan would have to cool down before I could make another one (or dunk it in water - which was messy too since now I had to dry it and oil it again). This made things slow-going. Finally - I thought - what about parchment paper? It has a high temperature rating. So, I put the paper down, stretched the dough with the pan underneath the parchment and then pulled the pizzas up and par-baked them one by one on the parchment paper. It worked out beautifully. So, that is how I still do it when I have a pizza party at my house.

So, long story short - yes, I use parchment paper a LOT. Its a great tool for me to use to get the pizzas cranked out quickly!

Taste Test: Delivery Pepperoni Pizza

@bobthunder - I always ask for my Papa John's pizzas to be 'well done'. If you order it online - there is a special instruction box for it when ordering (or if calling - just ask for it well done). I always ask for mine well done because I feel the same way. I never feel like it is cooked well enough for me.

Pizza at IKEA: No Assembly Required

I wish we had an Ikea close to me. The closest two are both about 4 hours away - Atlanta and the Cincinnati area. It'd be lovely if Nashville got one! However, whenever I do go to Atlanta we try to go to Ikea and usually do get lunch at the cafeteria. The meatballs are great...and I do love the desserts they have. The almond cake thing is really good...as is the greenish, tennis ball looking dessert. Don't know how else to explain it - but they are all pretty good. Especially for the price. That quality of food for as little as you pay is great I think.

Everything You Wanted to Know about Pepperoni

I still love Pepperoni Pizza. However, when I'm making it at home - I go to the Publix Deli and have them slice up some sandwich pepperoni - razor thin - and then I put it on my pizza's. I have had friends who BEG me to have another pizza night tell me that they love my Pepperoni pizza more than they have loved any other Pepperoni pizza before. I don't know that I do anything different to them than the other pies I make - so, I guess the credit would have to go to the type of pepperoni. I know it goes without saying - but not all pepperoni is created equal. And I happen to prefer the Boar's Head when it comes down to it. Yes, its sandwich size so its HUGE - but it is REALLY good - and crisps up well when cooked.

Cheese and Beer Go Together Better

The best beer and cheese pairing, in my humble opinion, is 'Beer Cheese'. The people from Kentucky (myself included) have enjoyed the pairing of beer and cheese into "Beer Cheese" for decades. In fact, some of the most famous 'Beer Cheese' is found at 'Hall's on the River' - just south of Lexington. You can also find things like beer cheese soup and beer cheese burgers. In fact, Malone's (one of the Top 10 steakhouses in the country) serves up a great burger with beer cheese - aptly named "Beer Cheese Burger" with a great cut of beef, ground up and topped with a generous helping of their own homemade beer cheese, crispy onion straws, bacon, lettuce and tomato. A great burger for sure - but they don't serve it all the time. It's on the 'specials' menu from time to time. However, the revelation that beer and cheese go together well has been something most Kentuckians have known for a while know! ;-) (I'm just ribbing you of course - but if you haven't had beer cheese - you should try it. Hall's being my personal favorite. Its VERY hot and spicy).

Great article however!! I will have to try your pairing sometime.

United States of Pizza: Kentucky

@Willow Tree - Yeah, I was a bit surprised on the choices for Lexington Pizza too. Sure, Joe's should be in there. No question. Smashing Tomato might be good - I've never eaten there before but I see it whenever I drive to Hamburg and have wanted to try it...But Sir Pizza? I mean - its decent if you are trashed and its 4am (since they are one of a few that are open that late and still deliver)...but never really thought it'd get a mention. Suttons and Grey Goose I'm not familiar with - so, I'll reserve judgment. However, I do think GoodFella's should have had a mention too. HUGE NY slices that don't fit in the boxes and those are good - regardless if you are trashed or not. :-)

And you are ABSOLUTELY correct in getting the ale8 in glass bottles. That is the ONLY way to drink it. If I can get the tall bottles I prefer that over the smaller bottles - but I always get it in the bottle when possible. And there a few places (in Winchester) where you can get Ale8 from the fountain. I prefer it like that - but unless I'm in Winchester - its hard to find.

Mail Ordering Chicago Style Stuff Crust Pizza. Suggestions?

I actually brought a frozen pizza from Chicago back to Nashville that I picked up at Gino's East. They are the same pies they make in the store and shipped from the store. So, its the real, authentic thing. HOWEVER - there is a lot to be said about the cast iron pans and the way its cooked. Although I can attest that the frozen ones are the same ones you get in the store - the pizza tastes slightly different. Again, I think it is due to the fact that I didn't have a round cast iron pan to heat it in plus my oven probably doesn't get as hot as the pizza ovens they have. It was good none-the-less...but still, the only way you can get authentic chicago pizza is by going to chicago and eating it. There is something to be said about a fresh, out of the oven pizza delivered to your table in that cast iron skillet. But ordering from Gino's East is about as close as you are going to get. I think think the pizza I had in store was better though.

http://featuredfoods.com/cgi-local/SoftCart.exe/a-store/c-GinoAns_East.shtml?E+scstore+ginos

Home Run Inn Frozen Pizza. Yes, It's Good

One of two things have to be happening here.

1) The pizza we get at Costco in Nashville is made by a different company located closer to Nashville who has screwed up the pizza in some unimaginable way or...

2) I got a bad batch.

Look, I'm in the camp of "Even bad pizza is pretty good" - but the Home Run Inn pizza I had from Costco - I think it was sold in a 3 pack - I couldn't eat. I had one of the pizzas and threw the other two away they were so terrible. I love pizza and even those dollar, microwave round ones with the weird bubbly crust and diced pepperoni were better than this. I'm going to go with ' I got a bad batch ' - because honestly - I've never had a worse pizza in my life. After hearing such good things about it I was excited to try it - but wow - it was terrible.

Poll: How Often Do You Eat Frozen Pizza?

Actually, I can get "Home Run Inn" pizza at Costco here in Nashville. I think it came in a 2 or 3 pack. I've had it before and it was pretty good.

Poll: How Often Do You Eat Frozen Pizza?

I hate to admit that I eat frozen pizza - but usually its Freshetta which I think has a great sauce. Sometimes I eat Red Baron - but I *ALWAYS* doctor either one up a bit. I have an 'italian spice grinder' I use along with a little olive oil and always use my pizza stone. So, it makes adequate pizza a little better. And after cutting I sprinkle a little Parmesan and fresh ground pepper which help kick it up a bit. So, my frozen pizzas rarely taste like 'a frozen pizza'.

Taste Test: Wendy's New Fries

Yeah - I tried them too and felt the same. They didn't taste much different. However, being completely unsatisfied with Wendy's fries in the past I usually add the salt that comes in those little tube packages they give out. I really like that salt because its very, very finely ground and seems to really stick to the fries. That improved the flavor a lot. I also really enjoy dipping them into a frosty. I know that sounds kinda weird - but its always tasted good to me. And with enough Ketchup most any of them are good. However, I have never really enjoyed any of the fast food chain fries. McDonald's fries are almost always cold and dry. Burger King's are ok I guess. However, if I could have any fast food fries I'd go with Rally's / Checker's french fries. They were crispy, flavorful (since they were seasoned) and you always got a ton of them. They don't have the best burgers in the world - but what I used to do was go to Wendy's and get a burger and then drive by Rally's and get some fries. The best of both worlds - in my opinion anyway.

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