Current Weight: 167.6 lbs.
Having been born in California, I was pretty much raised on chain-restaurant pizza.
In high school, m'man Smitty turned me on to Little Caesar's 2 for 1 "pizza pizza" gimmick. When I first moved out on my own, longtime friend o' mine "The Thai" convinced me that Domino's was the way to go since they started selling chicken wings, too.
Later, another one of my boys started working for the Pizza Hut a few blocks from my apartment, so I enjoyed a steady diet of free eats until he got fired for, what I assume, was unrelated to his petty theft. Finally, Mrs. Bootleg and I were patrons of Papa John's until we discovered better pizza at a hole in the wall in a nearby strip mall.
In all honesty, though…I'm kinda sick of pizza.
My son, Jalen, is quite possibly the pickiest eater alive and pizza just happens to be one of the few things he'll eat with regularity. The wife and I wage war with him and his dinner plate from Monday through Friday (although he did eat some of last night's tilapia!) then concede defeat on the weekends.
So, every week – once a week – it's pizza night at Stately Bootleg Manor.
Now, most of you reading this who DON'T live in California probably have an ill-informed stereotype on how we eat pizza out here. And, of all the ill-informed stereotypes of my fellow Californians, the pizza one is…actually pretty accurate.
We don't call a whole pizza a "pie", most places out here don't sell it by the slice and pineapple IS a pretty popular topping. Currently, my favorite pizza comes from a local sports bar and is topped with blackened chicken breast, sweet corn, green onions, fresh cilantro, roasted garlic and Gouda Cheese.
Screw you, New York…it's glorious.
Anyways, we're pretty much regulars at a place called Borelli's. In fact, we frequent the eatery so much that on Jalen's birthday they delivered a molten chocolate cake to us free of charge. Believe me…in this state, it's rare for customers to have that kind of fine, familial relationship with any business.
Unfortunately for Borelli's, on this night I had a coupon for Round Table Pizza – a chain with about 500 locations scattered across the western United States.
Quoting from their website, the "Meatball Marvel" is made with: "oven-roasted meatballs, fire-roasted tomatoes, seven cheeses, garlic and caramelized onions".
Now, I know that my east coast readers would never consider ditching "Franny's" on Flatbush or "Grimaldi's" on Old Fulton or…(why, yes, I did just type "best pizza in New York" into Google) for a chain joint, but the Marvel, m'friends, is a good-ass pizza.
The meatballs, of course, are "oven-roasted"…right from the freezer, but the onions and garlic merge to form
Sorry, but I'm even all over the flavored (parmesan-oregano?) crust, kids. You could probably convince me that the Meatball Marvel can't escape that ubiquitous "chain" taste, though. As a result, I can't give it the five-star treatment. But, a four-and-a-half is nothing to sneeze at.
Besides, not every pizza can bring the sweet corn, fresh cilantro and Gouda.
Grade: 4.5 (out of 5)