Friday, June 18, 2010

Just Because . . .

you put it on a crust doesn’t make it pizza.

I admit it. Chuck and I are pizza purists, and we adhere to a very narrow definition of what constitutes a good pizza. So when I read the rave reviews of Home Slice Pizza in Durango, I knew that we needed to visit this place.

Home Slice opened in 2002 and is owned and operated by Cory, Gabe, and Lynn Kitch with the goal of pleasing both New York style pizza lovers and Chicago style pizza lovers. I’m not sure that one can reconcile two such divergent pizza philosophies—even if one believes, as Cory Kitch noted on their website: “A compromise is the art of dividing a pizza in such a way that everyone believes he got the biggest piece.”

So in we wandered one day shortly after noon. Since the street (East College Drive) is an extremely busy one and I object to dust and exhaust fumes with my lunch, we went inside and grabbed one of the twenty seats along the wall. When we arrived there were only a few diners sitting at the tables outside and no one inside. That would not last and soon both inside and out were filled with people munching on pre-made and reheated slices.

From our vantage point, we could see into the open kitchen behind the order counter (right, with the colorful pizza serving stands on top) and could peruse the modern art lining the walls.

Most of the prints were the works of Anthony Falbo. “Anthony’s mission is to create art while living life to the fullest, being happy and using his art to express emotions of love, peace, goodness…” (from the artist’s website). I am not sure if the Home Slice owners selected the art to match the walls or painted the walls to match the art, but the art/paint combination made the most of both.

The menu is written in colored chalk and the chalkboards hang behind the counter. In addition to salads and sandwiches, you can order a “build your own” pizza in twelve- or sixteen-inch New York style or twelve-inch Chicago deep dish style or you can order one of their “Specialty Pies”: the spaghetti and meatball, the Yardbird (chicken, cheddar, and BBQ sauce), the Bacon Double Cheeseburger, the BST (bacon, spinach, and tomato), the Dutch Oven (smoked ham, apples, smoked gouda, garlic oil sauce), the Fa-Gouda-Boutit (breaded eggplant, smoked gouda, smoked bacon, basil), the Thai Pie (curry coconut sauce, shrimp, pineapple, bell pepper, Thai sauce, basil, cilantro), or the Soul Pie (BBQ pork, jalapeno, red onion, cheddar cheese, BBQ sauce).

My reaction to these is a big “yuck.” These are not pizzas. These are crusts with stuff on them.

So, instead, we went to the "build your own" and ordered a sixteen-inch New York style with fresh tomato, garlic oil, basil, and fresh mozzarella.

It’s here that we made a miscalculation.

Whenever we’ve asked for fresh mozzarella, it is “instead of” the gummy stringy cheese and not “in addition to.”

When we got the pie, it was covered with both cheeses and an excess of the gummy variety at that. Since there wasn’t an abundance of tomato or basil, what we were eating was a white cheese pizza with extra cheese. Not good.

The crust was advertized as being "foldable" in the New York style, but I thought the crust was way too thick to fold. And while I like the taste of garlic, I definitely don’t like the taste of raw garlic. This reeked of raw garlic.

Get the sense we didn’t care for this?

As we left, we spied Home Slice’s delivery vehicle – one of two electric Smart Cars that the owners have named Goose and Maverick. But even their environmental correctness can’t elevate their rating any higher than 2.5 Addies.

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