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Pizza Quest: Day 1- Pizza Italian in Five Points

October 1, 2012

Pizza Italian is practically an institution in Five Points. It has been serving the area for over 35 years, and the decor looks like it hasn’t changed since then either. As you walk in you will see what appears to be wallpaper from GoodFellas pasted to the wall. Chintzy looking sculptures and pictures hang about giving the place a comfy, old-time ambiance. This is not a bad thing, but instead lends an air of authenticity to their long standing in the area.

Even their menus seem old, despite being up to date and extensive. They are small, paper menus with some classical frescoes printed on them. As I said, their menu is extensive and offers enough different dishes and pizzas that anyone should be able to find something to enjoy.

I was greeted by a nice lady who, despite being in her late 50’s or early 60’s, sported several tattoos, but I was in Riverside so it isn’t totally surprising. She was so nice and accommodating. I wasn’t going to hold the tattoos against her, especially when she kept calling me “Baby”. She was even nice when I told her that I forgot they were a cash only establishment and had to run to the ATM.

Ten minutes later, when I returned, my Sprite was still sitting there waiting for me and my food was almost ready. It came out two minutes later and was very hot, as it should be. I ordered a small pepperoni pizza, and their small is no joke. It is SMALL. I got six pieces that were maybe 3 inches long and they honestly didn’t have a lot of pepperoni on them. I picked up a piece and the steam was just a tad too hot, so I set it down for a couple of minutes and tried my garlic bread and side of meatballs in meat sauce and mozzarella.

The bread was just right, just enough crust, just enough butter and just enough garlic. The meatballs were fantastic, as was the meat sauce. I cut into a meatball, swirled it in the cheese and pulled up. The cheese kept stretching and stretching and stretching. I used my front teeth like scissors and clipped the cheese. As I did that, the cheese snapped back and smacked me in the face. My dinner was fighting back. I liked that. I used the first of many napkins.

My pizza had cooled just enough to eat. I pulled off a piece of pepperoni and tried it. It had a balanced pepperoni flavor. It wasn’t too spicy. The crust was thin, with not much clearance above the sauce and cheese to hold the slice, but that’s okay. I refuse to use a knife and fork to eat pizza. I took a bite. The chewy cheese all slid off at once so I got a little hot mouth and decided I would be more careful with the rest.

What did strike me was the flavor of the sauce. This did not taste like some ready made pizza sauce from a can, nor did it taste overly sweet like a national pizza delivery chain sauce. No, sir. If this sauce wasn’t made there I’d be surprised. It tasted fresh and not overly sweet. It was the perfect balance of the tomato and spices. Since all of the cheese had slid off on the first bite, I got to enjoy the great flavor of the sauce and then the crust. It tasted like it was freshly made with real flour. It was very good.

So I continued on with eating the pizza and never could quite get the knack of keeping the cheese on the slice with that first bite. I think that may demonstrate something about it being real cheese as opposed to cheese made with oil which tends to separate more easily. It was damn fine tasting mozzarella.

All in all, the flavor of the pizza was very good and was well worth the low price I paid: $10.58 for the pizza, meatballs, garlic bread and endless Sprites; $14.58 including the tip. I will be back to Pizza Italian in the future, to try more pizzas and to possibly try everything else on the menu.


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