pizza party!

One of my favorite decadent foods is pizza. You too? I thought so. So I thought it would be fun to revisit the local-only pizza tasting party I had for my birthday last month. We are grateful to have a lot of independently-owned pizza joints in the Traverse City area and we love to support the mom-and-pops, but I always forget what I like the best. Hence, a pizza tasting party! Plus, wine and cheese tasting parties are so 2005, right?! Ha. Actually, if you invited me to one, I would be very excited and try to wear a pretty dress, but I digress…

So here’s how it worked. I invited a bunch of friends and their families to come to a local microbrewery that allows patrons to bring in their own food. Each family was assigned a different locally-made pizza to bring. I assigned the pizza place to each family based on geography so it would help with pick-ups on the way to the brewery. Each family got to choose what kind of pizza they ordered. I originally thought I wanted to have two categories, e.g., cheese or meat, to even the playing field, but Chris and I decided this would be too bossy (who, me?) and each family would have more fun if they picked out their own kind. People then ordered and brought the pizzas, or had them delivered to the brewery, around 5 p.m. on a Saturday. I thought this would be a family-friendly time for a party and also would be quieter at the brewery.

I created simple signs for each pizza that we posted and we cut most of the pizzas into smaller pieces upon arrival.

Let the mayhem fun begin!

I created a “Local Pizza Tasting Card,” that guided the tasting experience. The categories under consideration were: appearance, crust, toppings, cheese and overall favorite pizza. Each person circled his/her favorite choice in each category.

Hard work, but someone had to do it…

And the overall favorite? Pizza from our favorite Italian restaurant, Trattoria Stella. Crispy, airy, cheesy, fresh, seasonal toppings… ooh la la. Of course, there weren’t any pizzas that people didn’t like, but we all got great ideas for branching out into the cornucopia of toppings that our local pizza joints offer. Therein lies the beauty of a tasting party! Most of us wouldn’t ordinarily commit to a Friday night pizza for the family with something new like roasted eggplant and goat cheese, or chicken with blue cheese and bbq sauce. But now, heck yes we would! Delish.

Dear pizza, you are a wonder food that often brings me back from the dead. And unites my friends and family. For this I thank you, pizza!

it’s paczki time

Happy Fat Tuesday to you, lovelies! Even though I’m not Catholic, I went to a Catholic school and some of the rituals have stuck with me. Especially the part about eating lots of decadent food on Fat Tuesday in preparation for giving up something for Lent. Since I feel like I’ve been on a major junk food, sugar-laden bender since the run-up to Halloween (!), I’m more than ready for a ritual cleansing fast. Do you follow a similar ritual? Or do you just like the part about eating a paczki or two? OK, me too.

And the little birdie is apparently a paczki fan too! Are you?