Review: Pepperoni Pizza and Crazy Bread from Little Caesars
Ever sworn off drinking after waking up with a splitting headache from a good bender, only to find yourself back on the horse the very next weekend? We’ve all been there. I seem to have that same problem with fast food. I’ll eat a big gut bomb burger, leaving me feeling bloated and self-conscious of my double (OK, triple) chin. But, then, after a week or so of salads, I’m back in line at one of our oft mentioned burger joints. I have an analogous, yet very different problem with Little Caesars Pizza.
Different because the intervals of my return are much longer than with my other addictions. Perhaps it’s because I actually enjoy the taste of a burger or the buzz from a beer, whereas, I do not recall liking the taste of a Little Caesars Pizza, nor do I recall losing my inhibitions after ingesting it. This, of course, begs the question: Why do I return at all? Well, I think it’s my fascination with the all-American idea of a “Hot ‘N Ready” pizza for $5. This concept encompasses all that is America: Fast. Cheap. Stupid. I can’t resist. I want it to be good so badly that I keep coming back, hoping that I was mistaken the last time and that I will discover an unbelievably convenient, affordable, and tolerable pizza hiding right under my nose, all this time.
Finding myself hungry, pressed for time and heading home where I knew there were no leftovers in the fridge, a relapse was a real possibility. Once again, the tantalizing offer of a $5 Hot ‘N Ready pizza from a run-down mini-mall had me in its grasp. One thing I will say for Little Caesars is that there’s no false advertising. The pizza is hot; and it is ready. I was literally in and out of the store in under 30 seconds with pizza and crazy bread in tow. The counter is even awkwardly close to the door so it doesn’t take you long to walk up, place your order, hand over a Lincoln, grab your pizza, and duck out before anyone from your support group sees you.
The last time I had a weak moment, I compounded my mistake by ordering some sort of “supreme” pizza which I remember had mushrooms and green peppers among other ingredients which proved not only lackluster, but actually just terrible. With that bad memory stuck in my medulla oblongata, I decided if I was to return to Little Caesars, it would not involve any frills; back to the basics. Therefore, the order was a simple pepperoni pizza. Then, as any patriotic consumer who wants to do their part for the struggling economy does these days, I allowed the person working the register to talk me into adding unnecessary starch to my order, this time in the form of aptly named “Crazy Bread”.
Because I like to end things on a positive note, I’ll start with the Crazy Bread. At almost the same cost as the pizza, this was definitely not worth the money. Although the portions were more than adequate, with probably a dozen breadsticks, I still could not find one that was not chewy and over-seasoned with garlic flavoring. To make matters worse, the marinara sauce that came with them was ice-cold. Why would you serve me ice-cold marinara sauce with a Hot ‘N Ready pizza? I’m sure the answer lies somewhere in the lap of that person who spilled their hot coffee and sued the bejesus out of the restaurant that served it them. But seriously, I would venture to guess most people ordering Crazy Bread from Little Caesars are not really expecting to have to go home and heat up their meal. At any rate, after a short zap in the microwave, the sauce turns out to be fairly decent, but still not enough to tone down the garlic flavor or distract me from the rubbery consistency.
On to the pizza. I suppose for the true effect, I should have opened the box and scarfed down a slice before I got to my vehicle to complete the crave-purchase-eat cycle in less than a minute flat. But, alas, I waited until I was in the privacy of my home to dig in. At first glance, this was a standard pizza with familiar smells and proper proportions. Everything was in its place. Even at first taste, this was, at the very least, what I paid for: a below average pizza, for a below average price. It wasn’t until slice 3 that I realized one of the reasons it takes me two years or so to forget why I don’t go back to Little Caesars to take advantage of this great deal. By slice 3, my jaw began to tire of the incessant chewing and my palate stagnated with the persistent doughy taste of the thick and tasteless underlayment, capped with a thicker and more tasteless crust roll. I think if you’re one of those Atkins diet people who scrape off the toppings and eat pizza as a blob of pepperoni, cheese and red sauce, you might find Little Caesars to be just fine. I’m not saying the thin pepperoni slices and modest amounts of cheese are world-class, I’m just saying, they could be worse. Maybe it’s just that I like a good thin crust pizza with lots of cheese and maybe those of you who don’t mind a crust-dominated pie will find the Hot ‘N Ready to be fine ‘n dandy.
Sadly, I will probably go back to Little Caesars a year or two from now, for the promise of a Hot ‘N Ready pizza for just 5 bucks. As all good addicts know, the first step to recovery is to admit you have a problem, so here goes: Hi, my name is Murray, and I inexplicably return to Little Caesar’s Pizza once every couple of years.
Pros: Incredibly convenient. Hot. Ready. $5.
Cons: Breadsticks were like eating garlic flavored licorice; crust dominates pizza; toppings not good enough to compensate for bad crust.
Taste: 4.00 Crazy Bread 4.50 Pepperoni Pizza
Value: 4.00 Crazy Bread 7.50 Pepperoni Pizza
Grubbing on-the-go: 7.50 Crazy Bread 9.50 Pepperoni Pizza
Price: Crazy Bread ($3.50 as part of a combo w/Pizza) Pepperoni Pizza ($5.00)
Overall GrubGrade: 3.50 Crazy Bread 4.00 Pepperoni Pizza
More Info: LittleCaesars.com
1 Slice Pepperoni - 280 cal, 11 g fat, 25 mg cholesterol, 560 mg sodium, 32 g carbs.
1 breadstick - 100 cal, 3 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 150 mg sodium, 15 g carbs.