Saturday, January 16, 2010

New Dominos: Worst Pizza Ever.

Let me preface this by saying that I'm actually a bit of a food snob, and wouldn't normally eat this so-called "food." But I also take a kitchy pleasure indulging in junk and fast food from time to time. And so...

Anyone watching TV these days has perhaps seen Dominos Pizza's new advertising campaign, a mea culpa to the public where the company's management admits to previously having bad pizza. Having been bombarded with these ads over the course of the past several weeks, my roommate and I finally succumb to our curiosity and went by a Dominos to pick up two medium pies and give it a shot.

It's hard to express in words what a bad idea this was. (But here goes...)

Even before my teeth sank all the way through my first bite, the pizza was already nauseating, though I wasn't able to identify why until my second bite. At first, I wondered if the green peppers had gone bad, but, while they were lifeless and seemed as though they had been frozen, they weren't the source of the real problem. There was a rotten, artificial odor that pervaded the surface of the pizza. And then I figured it out: the crust.

More specifically, the new "garlic and herb" coating they've added to the crust. It had the taste and smell of artificial butter topping and slightly rancid oil, mixed in with stale garlic powder. A quick visit to Dominos' ingredients page confirmed my analysis:
Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin Folic Acid), Water, Malt, Sugar, Whey, Malted Barley Flour, Yeast, Soybean Oil. Zzesty Blend: Butter Flavored Oil (Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Soy Lecithin, Artificial And Natural Butter Flavoring, Vitamin A Palmitate And Beta-Carotene for Color), Imitation Parmesan Cheese (Water, Modified Food Starch, Casein And Or Caseinate, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Cellulose Powder, Salt, Sodium Phosphates, Stabilizers [Mono And Diglycerides, Guar Gum, Carrageenan], Natural Flavor, Lactic Acid, Sorbic Acid [As A Preservative]), Onion And Garlic, Spices, Salt, Lactic Acid, Butter Flavor, Tomato Powder, Bell Pepper. Dextrose, Citric Acid, Extractive Of Paprika And Lemon And Orange Oil With No Greater Than 2% Calcium Silicate And/Or Soybean Oil Added to Prevent Caking, Corn Meal (used in preparation).
Not one, but TWO forms of artificial butter. "Zzesty" blend? What, because you were afraid of being liable for using "zesty?" How pathetic.

Aside from that nauseating topping, the crust itself was doughy and flavorless, the sauce sparse and under- seasoned, and the cheese thin and lacking any punch. The pepperoni should have been called "meat rounds" - it lacked any discernible taste and had the consistency of plastic - and the vegetables were just sad. The only topping which even remotely had any flavor was their Italian sausage, but even that was only just mediocre - no spice at all.

And when I say "nauseating," I'm not being hyperbolic. I felt sick after eating the pizza, which I only finished because I was 1) really hungry and 2) hate wasting food, even when it's only "food." Even now, hours later as I write this, I still feel sick and lethargic.

The sad thing is, they had a real opportunity here. It's been well over 2 decades since I've had a slice of Dominos pizza, but this new ad campaign was so refreshingly "honest" that it actually made me curious enough to give it another try. Even though we KNEW it was going to be awful, we wanted to see if they had made it slightly more palatable.

But instead of simply improving the product by using higher quality ingredients and preparation methods, they decided to go with a gimmick. Herbed crust. And in doing so, they actually took a step backwards, made their pizza worse, and ensured that I, and undoubtedly others, will never eat Dominos again.

And some of us will even go on to blog about it.

(Hashmarking #newpizza sends your Twitter comment right to their "Pizza Turnaround" webpage. Like so!)

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