The Power of Pizza
I'm a little slow to post about our Valentine's Adventures, but still wanted to share a mini review about three pizza places located in Metropolitan Tucson in February 2019,
Instead of the expensive, white tablecloth Valentine's extravaganza, we chose to do something a little bit different this year.
We decided to be secret shoppers, or food critics, and visit three places we've never been that specialize in Pizza. Part of this had to do with an amazing story in the local newspaper about Catalina Craft Pizza, but I'll get to that.
So, after reading that article, I went to Yelp to see what else stood out. I found Fiamme Pizzaa. From there I remembered driving by ZPizza in Oro Valley many a time to see a packed parking lot, so that was place 3.
We decided to judge on Crust, Sauce, and toppings. We ordered the same pizza toppings in each restaurant for continuity.
Fiamme Pizza was our first stop, and the place was minuscule! The greeter at the door rather abruptly asked if we had reservations at 5 p.m., and since we did not, were told we could pick one of the two tables back by the bathrooms without menus on them. I got a bad feeling right away thinking we'd be ignored and forgotten, but it was not the case.
A super congenial and attentive server had us eating our slices in no time at all. And oh...what a slice. I will admit that I am not a connoisseur of Pizza, but these mouthfuls made me a believer. The thinnest crust ever that still stood crispy and chewy against the toppings. No wilted slap too limp to pick up here! The sauce - just the right amount - with a hint or spice. Or was it the sausage...not sure. But overall, a hint of spice that made the pizza memorable. The place had a steady stream of takeout orders being processed.
Next, on to ZPizza in Oro Valley off LaCanada near Naranja Roads. The place had few people at 6:30 - we were surprised. We stood in line to order, picked out a craft beer, and found a table. Service was very fast, and the crust was that lumpy, free-hand made style that looked delicious.
Unfortunately, and perhaps because it was immediately following Fiamme, we found it bland. And limp. Very limp. I took a picture (above) but it didn't come out well. You can see the crust, however. The sausage had fennel in it - not to my taste, but my husband found the pizza okay. The tomato sauce was extremely thin so I wasn't sure it was a balanced bite. So, it didn't succeed in knocking out our first stop as top contender.
To finish, we stopped in Catalina, just north of Oro Valley along Oracle Road, and found the restaurant called Catalina Craft Pizza. I'll admit that the newspaper story had my expectations high. Again, the place had few people, it was 7:30, but we were greeted by a hospital server and made to feel very welcome.
When the pizza arrived, my husband was quick to judge the crust. He felt it was a "frozen" pre-made crust. I thought it was okay, but it didn't have that hand-made, brick oven feel to it. I thought the tomato sauce to meet ratio was well done too.
All in all, the night was a success. Good natured arguing and sharing of opinions. (I'm eating out with a Long Island Italian you see!!) We both put Fiamme on our list to visit again. The other two - probably not. Not because the pizza was bad - because it wasn't. Simply because there's dozens of pizza places out there clamoring for attention.
We are still loyal to Dominick's Real Italian Pizza. Dominic's Real Italian is the first place to change our minds over eating Pizza out. When we have a craving that's our go-to place. Now we'll add Fiamme as an option.
Looking for Pizza in Tucson? Chime in with comments below and share your favorite Pizza spots!
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