Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Little Caesars’ Bacon Wrapped Crust Deep! Deep! Dish Pizza!

A new benchmark in fast food excess may have been set…

As I have stated quite a few times before, pizza is probably my all-time favorite food. There’s just so much you can do with the template, and as the old maxim goes, I don’t think I’ve ever actually had a pizza that I would consider truly, irredeemably bad. And yes, I have had Domino’s before.

In the U.S., Little Caesars is the red-headed step-child of the “Big Four” pizza chains, which I guess would make them the Anthrax to Pizza Hut’s Metallica. I suppose that analogy also means Papa John's is Slayer, except instead of raining in blood, they rain in chili cheese and Fritos.

Here in the Atlanta metropolitan statistical area, the Little Caesars chains practically vanished overnight for a good decade or so, only to reemerge out of the blue, TCBY-style, a few years back. It's one of the great mysteries of life I've always pondered, I tell you what.

To put it bluntly, Little Caesars isn’t exactly known for its robust quality. In fact, the chain’s big claim to fame, I suppose, is their “hot and ready” gimmick, which basically means they make a whole shit load of one or two types of pizza and have them stockpiled for immediate pick-up at certain points of the day. If you want a gustatory experience, go elsewhere -- Little C, clearly, is all about filling up your stomach as quickly as humanly possible.

A few days ago, I received an e-mail from the chain, hailing the arrival of this thing called a “Bacon Wrapped Deep! Deep! Dish Pizza.” I almost never get e-mails of the like, and honestly, I was sort of surprised my spam filter didn’t catch it. Alas, I’m glad Gmail was taking that day off, apparently, because this newfangled product is a fast food event in every connotation of the term.

Yeah, it’s not quite the game-changer that Taco Bell’s national breakfast menu was last -year, but it’s clearly bigger industry news than Chipotle offering tofu, at least. I mean, just look at the ad below … eight-corner, bacon-encrusted deep dish pie, for just $12 USD. According to the email I received, the pizza itself consisted of 36 diametric inches of crispy pork, all glued around the perimeter of the dish like a hickory-smoked bulwark. Yeah, that kind of shit would grab my attention, all right.

After cajoling convincing my girlfriend to give it a try, we recently took home a box. For our more frugal readers out there, we were able to score that, two other large pizzas plus a double order of cheese sticks and crazy bread for a little over $30 -- if DFCS is breathing down your neck to feed all the kids you can’t take care of, then yeah, you might want to locate your nearest Caesars’ pronto.

Admittedly, when I first saw the carryout box, I was a little concerned. First, the box itself was notably smaller than the boxes for the standard pizzas -- clearly, I didn't want to wind up with some underfed, malnourished looking bacon-wrapped abomination. Secondly, and much more concerning, I noticed the bright orange HAZMAT box had the word's "America's Favorite Detroit-Style Deep Dish" plastered on, and that set off tons of alarms in my head. I mean, fuck, when was the last time you saw any product brag about hailing from Detroit?

Alas, when I finally flipped open the cardboard lid, mine eyes were not disappointed...

Now that is a damn good-looking deep dish duo. The eight slice twin pie was shellacked with white cheese and greasier than a teenager's forehead -- the smell of scorched bacon wafted overhead as soon as the box flew open, and indeed, such is the sweetest of all possible smells.

Before I go on to praise the product for the next 1,200 words or so, I would like to begin my formal review with a bit of criticism. While the pizza itself is most certainly wrapped up in bacon (with additional bacon chunks spread out on top of the pie, for good measure) only three sides of each piece contains the promised bacon siding. Granted, it's not a deal breaker by any stretch, but I remained just mildly miffed that I wasn't given a pie with 360 degrees of bacony buffer. I mean, I'm sure there's some sort of baking engineering reason why that couldn't be done, but for the sake of an additional four inches of pork, I would gleefully accept a square pie that was really, really hard to disconnect from the other slices.

Alas, on the three sides that DO include bacon, you're not going to be disappointed. Golden brown, albeit somewhat thin, slivers of bacon encircle the entire dish, and on my pie at least, the bacon itself was very smoky and crispy. Of course, this being a traditional deep dish offering, you also get a couple of slices of pepperoni free of charge, which makes this thing an artery-clogging, cholesterol-raising adventure of a lifetime. And at 450 calories and 23 grams of fat per slice, odds are, that lifetime probably won't be for much longer.

As a card carrying member of the National Deep Dish Pizza Enthusiasts Club (if such a club existed, anyway) I have to say I was plum impressed with Little C's pie. This is actually a damn tasty pizza in its own right -- I mean, it's not on par with the real stuff by any stretch of the imagination, but at the same time, I really can't fathom another national chain having a pizza like this that's as holistically satisfying. Even if you removed all of the extra meat, the pie itself would be a worthy base all by itself -- methinks my next all night Netflix binge, I will probably have to experiment with a special-order jalapeno and pineapple mix, you know, for scientific reasons and all.

So, how does the product fare, you may be pondering? Well, in my humblest of opinions, this is a downright incredible product. It's so brazenly unhealthy and fatty, and I loved every second of digesting it and turning my blood cells into the cardiovascular equivalent of the really fat kids with asthma who can't run during gym class. You could literally taste the delicious unhealthiness dripping down your esophagus with every bite, as if the pie itself was some sort of Faustian forbidden fruit. Per ounce, it might just be the most extravagantly yummy thing available at any fast food pizza joint in the U.S., and hot Jesus, is this thing ever filling. Normally, I can down an entire pizza by myself in roughly the same amount of time it takes most normal folk to set up a DVD player, but after just five slices, I was ready to roll around in the carpet like a beached whale, moaning for my seafaring kin to continue on without me. And as we all know, there is only one kind of food that makes you feel you might actually die from eating it, and that's the absolute best kind of food there is.

A limited-time only product, the Bacon Wrapped Crust Deep! Deep! Dish pizza is expected to leave the official Little Caesars menu by late March. Like winter snow that will soon bleed back into the dirt, nourishing the daisies and posies of April, this dish is but a temporary wonder, a seasonal miracle that will soon give way to the next marvelous sights of spring. As a fan of deep dish pizza, novelty mass marketing and furtive attempts to poison the general public, I give Little Caesar's incredible new offering my highest recommendation, and I strongly encourage each and every person reading this to head out to their nearest chain and pick this one up as soon as they can.

Let's face it ... the FDA isn't going to let this thing stay on the market that much longer, anyway.

1 comment:

  1. I'd be happier about this if Pretzel Crust was still around. Regardless, it looks worth trying.


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