Wednesday, March 30, 2011

WIAW: A Search For the Best Local Pizza Begins


It's Wednesday!
And you know what that means?

It's time to party again!

"it's a celebration every time we link up"
~Nicki Minaj [Moment 4 Life]

I'm linking today's post with

Peas and Crayons


meet my friend LaVerne.

LaVerne and I met over 10 years ago as freshmen
at the University of Northern Iowa.
[go Panthers!]

We lived in neighboring dorms and his dorm hall was our "Brother dorm."
Let's just say we've had our fair share of good times.
LaVerne has been a really good friend to me over the years.
He always stays in touch even when I fall off the face of the earth.
There's a group of us former Panthers that frequently get together to catch up.
Remember in January when I went out for an all-raw sushi dinner with friends?
LaVerne was with us!

So why am I introducing LV today you ask...

You see-
LaVerne has always been what I would consider a
"social butterfly"
He's everywhere it seems!
He is also my go-to tweet buddy if ever I have questions about Twitter.
Recently LV, along with some other friends of his, came up with a genius plan
that involves PIZZA.

They decided to organize a city-wide competition to determine
just WHO'S pizza in our fine city and its surrounding cities
will be deemed the best pizza of the Greater Des Moines area.

They've organized a "tournament"that's gaining some momentum...
It's called
The Greater Des Moines Pizza Tournament
and Ryan and I couldn't wait to declare ourselves judges.

I don't do March Madness and I rarely {if ever} watch sports-
[except UFC and SYTYCD]
so these are the types of brackets I can get down with filling out!

 This past Sunday I put my game face on
and headed to a local joint called
"El Chisme"
which means
for round 1.

It was nice to be seated and find a rose.

{original photo from yesterday's rose shot}

With an entire menu of pizza that sounded awesome
Ryan clearly needed complete concentration in order to make the best selection.

We settled on two "personal pizzas"
{which were HUGE}

My choice was
El Chisme #2

I was planning on omitting the pepperoni but I forgot.
I wish I would have, but otherwise this pizza was stellar.

I was a big fan.

We share our pizza
(only because I wanted his)
so here's how we scored
El Chisme #2

Ryan's choice was the legendary
*Al Pastor*

 [Marinated pork, Cheese and Green Sauce topped with Cilantro & Onions]

Even though this was "his" choice...
can I just say
*holy yum*

In was so good I even had to tweet this:

Here's how it scored:

Chef Jesus heard that there was a celebrity judging his pizza
so he rushed out to get my autograph.

He asked how we liked his freshly made pizzas.
We told him we didn't enjoy them one bit.

In fact...
after eating all this pizza and feeling soooo stuffed-
I finally understood the artwork on the wall.
So that's how I made Ryan carry me out the door.

Local peeps-
If you want in for Round 2 of the GDMPT...
let me know!!


I love Hawaiin. Something about pineapple and cheese.

"Ideas are like pizza dough, made to be tossed around."
~Anna Quindlen


Tara said...

What an awesome idea! Houston is probably too big to even make an attempt at that.

My favorite kind of pizza is BBQ... and in Texas we have some goooood BBQ!

Paula @ Eat:Watch:Run said...

Are you trying to kill me with those pictures?

My favorite pizza is ham and tomatoes. I draw the line at fruit on my pizza though. A very dark and serious line. :-)

helennaturally said...

Love pineapple on my pizza. I usually go for the pineapple with Canadian bacon or the veggie pizza :)

Julia said...

ummm I SO wish I lived in the area so that I could participate in this amazing event. I am obsessed with pizza and eat it at least once per week. YUM. My favorite kind is supreme with lots of veggies and bbq chicken pizza.

jessica_mott said...

If Corigliano's would ever get the grand opening going, I think it could be in the running for this competition...and I can help you fill out the brackets. Brackets are one thing I know and <3....although, my NCAA one did not turn out so well thing year.

Anonymous said...

Ryan said...

Oh my gosh, your followers are on point when they say you are so creative. I can't believe you fit in that artwork. hahahha I see why now that I think about it. I do kinda look like and have the spirit of an Aztec warrior....and you are that easy to pick up.

rsstoney said...

You know I am not a big pizza fan, but those pictures looked really good. I liked the California pizza wherever we had James's b-day, and also Hawaiian. Has to be thin crust.

Kate (What Kate is Cooking) said...

I am totally happy with plain cheese pizza :) The more cheese, the better!

SweetsQueen said...

*drool* I'm dying over here. I want pizza...right now. :(

Amanda said...

I really like the pizza dough quote at the end! And all of these pizzas look SO good! What a fun idea! :)

Jennifer said...

pizza tournament?!?!!? ahhh i'm in heaven! I'm going to just show up on your doorstep some day ;)

and you quoted miss nicky! omg I got a kick out of that! <3

Jenn @ Peas & Crayons

Sarah said...

Fiery Hawaiian has been a favorite of ours lately: Jalapenos, pineapple, canadian bacon, smoked bacon and hot sauce. Delish. I love El Chisme, but I've only ever had their Mexican food. You guys should try Big Tomato. I've only had it once, but they have really unique pizza combinations, and John's a fan. :)

Jim ... 50after40 said...

I was just in Des Moines today (now in Iowa City) ... I'll have to check that pizza out for sure!

Kristina @ spabettie said...

SO fun - what a great idea - I love the brackets! :) can't wait for round 2 - wish I could come along!

a restaurant owner + food blogger here in Portland did something similar - last year he ate just about every burger in Portland (no brackets...) and rated them. it was fun to follow along - sometimes he would eat two dinners in one night - ouch.

Danielle said...

I did fill out a March Madness bracket, but I think I might like this one even more! I like just about any kind of pizza!! LOVE it.

Lindsay and James Cotter said...

oh now thats too fun!! I will now be having dreams of that pizza.

Michael said...

First, a pizza tournament is just AWESOME!! Second, that pizza looks amazing!! Now I am hungry and I just had dinner.

Meri said...

How fun! I'm planning something sort of similar but with voting for my April posts. You'll have to weigh in on it
As for pizza, I like mushrooms, peppers, and olives on mine. Oh, and artichokes. Mmm, and goat cheese. and onions. I'm so hungry now!

theAlmostRunner said...


Judy said...

I've been lurking around here for awhile... (I knew your parents in high school. Found the blog through your mom's FB. I think I remember seeing you as a baby with your mom at the mall.) Anyway....
Have you heard of Great Plains Sauce & Dough in Ames? Oh, it is goood! LOVE the whole wheat crust.

constantlyunwinding said...

We had pizza tonight for dinner! My fav is cheese and mushroom!

Maryea @ Happy Healthy Mama said...

Wow does that pizza look amazing! Margarehta pizza is my fave, but I've rarely met a pizza I didn't like.

Dorry said...

What a fun idea! There's a pizza walking tour in NYC that I always wanted to do when Billy lived there, but we never did. My favorite pizza has mushrooms, jalapenos, green bell pepper, etc, etc. I love a little bit of spice (rather than sweet) in my tomato sauce. I need to master a gluten-free crust at home!

ms. caboo said...

That pizza with the green sauce looks awesome! Next time I hit Des Moines, I will have to have Bud take me there for supper.

My favorite pizza is either taco, or canadian bacon w/black olives.

sarahlearns said...

that sounds like the most fun competition ever! i wish i could join in! i'm good at eating pizza. :)

Jen said...

That is my kind of March madness! You are one lucky girl! That all looks so yummy!

Dad said...


Great idea! 64 pizza places in a tourney format. I think you should hit them all by say, umm, June 4th.
You should always order the large or family size. This way you can get a much better sampling of the crust and the flavor of all the other ingredients are just, well, more. Also beer, yes beer, in large quantities must be consumed to keep the palate cleansed. Finally, it is a great when you stop for ice cream on the way home! :)

Edible Art said...

i had so much fun reading that

the last picture was THE TOPPER.
literally gave me the LOL's . (:

and that pizza; Al pastor, oh my godddd.........

i think that just about explains everything.

Quinton J said...

This is hilarious. I’ve never seen anyone take pizza this seriously.

fancy nancy said...

We are huge pizza fans here! Does this post come with free samples? Oh my yummyness!!!!

Maia said...

Yummmmm!!! EVen though I don't live in IA- I am excited to see how this tournament ends up!!

Pam said...

You should have posted a *DO NOT OPEN THIS LINK IF YOU'RE ALREADY STARVING* warning in the title of this post. My mouth is watering!

Julie said...

I've never met a pizza I didn't like...but Hawaiian is def one of my faves, too!!

If I could pick one food to eat for the rest of my life, it WOULD BE PIZZA!

BeePieRuns said...

I would DIE for a pizza place like that in my town! We've got a few that are "okay" but nothing worthy of brackets. What a fun idea and a great way to carb-load ;)

Sam {} said...

oh my word. i LOVE pizza so much! i'd be all over this sort of competition :)

oliepants said...

See this is a sport I can get into! :) Pizza is probably one of my favorite foods. How sad is that?!

Stefanie D. said...

My mouth is watering. I'm pretty sure I'm going to have pizza for lunch today now. :)

Morgan said...

MY favorite kind of pizza is margherita pizza/tomato basil pizza. yum!

Alyssa @ Life of bLyss said...

HOLY GRACIOUSNESS, that pizza looks like the

Cindy said...

Hi Stephanie!
My Mom is from Iowa! I used to have family in Des Moines...small world.

My all time favorite pizza is Hawaiian too so NICE and any pizza competition would be totally cool with me.

caree said...

can't go wrong with pizza!! my fave is veggie!

Christine @ Merf In Progress said...

I'm so glad you found my blog. I have been on a desperate search for blogs of either 30-somethings (like me!) or moms (like me!). Thanks so much for stopping by and saying hi. Love this post. I have no appetite whatsoever for greasy gross Dominoes pizza. But gourmet pizza with five kinds of cheese, spinach, tomatoes, etc... that I could eat five meals a day.

Rebecca said...

That sounds like my kind of bracket. I like Chicago-style pepperoni pizza best.

Jessica said...

Mmmmm....both of those pizzas look delicious. Usually I like just regular pepperoni or vegetarian.

Stephanie said...

Oh my gosh...those are PERSONAL pan pizzas?!? They're crazy huge! They look amazing! I think it's so cute that the chef came out to meet you. Good luck on the judging...I know that you're making a huge sacrifice for the good of pizza-lovers everywhere.

Kurt @ Becoming An Ironman said...

Ummm... I might just have to make a vacation trip soon! I couldn't help but laugh when I saw the brackets. This is amazing.

Good luck trying to decide who wins!

Jenn said...

That totally beats March Madness!

That's how you made Ryan carry you out the door-Hilarious! Pizza is my absolute favorite food. Margherita or Greek with Kalamata Olives. My hubby is building a brick oven off our deck. We might just eat pizza for every meal this summer! Yes, pizza with a side of fresh garden vegetables which I'm also SUPER excited for. Unfortunately, there is like a mound of snow out there yet.

Hope you have a great weekend! Happy birthday to your daughter:)

Sarah Soon-To-Be said...

What a freaking awesome idea. I'm so jealous and am not INSTANTLY starving for pizza. I'll live my pizza-dreams vicariously through you for now. :)

Have a lovely weekend, Steph!

lookingupwhileslimmingdown said...

Those pizzas look so good! I love pizza with eggplant, roasted peppers and goat cheese. But I also love it with pineapple and pepperoni. Now I want pizza. :)

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