Monday, July 19, 2010
TBG Eats: Tabasco Brand Pepper Sauce on Pizza
Current Weight: 171.2 lbs.
I've previously blogged about my dad's frequent ruination of the few times my family had pizza for dinner:
My dad would grab five slices out of the box, saturate every inch in hot sauce and then remember he hates pizza after a few bites. He'd put the uneaten remains back in the box, forcing my brother and me to intently smell the leftovers. What if one of us overlooked the slices with the equivalent of molten-hot magma comingled with mozzarella cheese? Remember, these were only eight-year-old taste buds, y'all.
In addition, I've previously mentioned that I've kinda-sorta reached "maximum capacity" on pizza consumption. It was the first substantial meal that our six-year-old son Jalen not-so-surprisingly embraced when he was younger. Consequently, the owners of a local hole-in-the-wall Italian spot get so much business from Mrs. Bootleg that they gave Jalen a free cake for his last birthday.
Even when I order something for myself other than pizza on "Family Pizza Night", I end up mauling the leftover pie long after the wife and boy have gone to bed. The guilt that engulfs me is exacerbated the next morning when Jalen sadly asks about the empty pizza box in our recycling bin and I'm forced to shift the blame to Mrs. Bootleg.
I need to fall in love with pizza again, so that I'm not pilfering slices -- earmarked for a six-year-old child -- in the middle of the night. That isn't love...it's a gastronomic booty call.*
*-- Do the kids still say "booty call"? Back in the mid-90s, it was THE crossover urban colloquialism for a few years. It had surprising staying power, outlasting "jiggy", "bout it, bout it" and Bill Bellamy.
Earlier this year, the folks at Tabasco tapped bombastic ESPN Radio personality Mike Golic for an ad campaign that promoted Tabasco as a pizza condiment. The company's marketing department came up with some surprisingly solid phraseology for the print ad:
"...blending with every bite..."
"...amplifying the true taste of pizza..."
"...revealing flavors you never knew were there..."
Remember, kids: advertising doesn't have to be true; it just has to get you to try something new.
Last Friday night, Mrs. Bootleg abandoned her maternal AND spousal duties in favor of an evening out with her girls. The 50th cinematic re-release of Grease was playing, which meant make-up, mojitos and high heels before the movie and bottomless double-butter buckets of popcorn during the film.
Jalen and I were left with a 5:00 PM Oakland A's vs. Kansas City Royals game and, since it was payday, I picked up a $5.00 Little Caesar's pepperoni pizza.
It seemed just short of sacrilege to conduct my Tabasco experiment on the quality mom-n-pop pies we usually order. Instead, the test will be whether or not Tabasco can lift the edible, but unspectacular taste of a national chain pizza to the next level. After a liberal (10-12 shakes) application of pepper sauce on my single slice, I was ready to ravage.
Huh. The flavors of the spices in the pepperoni are actually heightened a bit. They're even creating a wee bit of tang towards the back of my tongue. The tomato sauce is only negligibly improved, though. There's a little more kick, but it still tastes canned and over-processed. Finally, the gloriously oily mozzarella cheese aids in the pooling of the Tabasco on top and -- I'll be damned -- creates a zesty little ooze.
I gave Little Caesar's "Hot-n-Ready" $5.00 pizza a 2.5 grade in my original review. With a dozen or so shots of Tabasco, I'd bump it up to a rock-solid 3.0. Tabasco absolutely improves upon the quality of corporate pizza, but I wouldn't think of using it in any restaurant that takes its name from any ethnic possessive proper noun.