Culinary no-no #620


After posting some Culinary “FLASHBACKS” the past few Sundays (busy, busy summer) we return with an original feature this week.

For the longest time I’ve always been attracted to news items that publish rankings or listings for certain categories. A particular Culinary favorite of mine came in 2008 when I simply couldn’t resist exploring some headlines that proclaimed “the perfect burger” and “the burger that will change your life.”  No choice, I just had to read with my full compliments to the creative headline writers.

I’ll tie that in shortly. This week’s blog was inspired by an article I saw not too long ago on the website that tells readers to EAT THIS, NOT THAT!  They state:

Whether you’re in the frozen food aisle, the fast-food drive-thru, the local Olive Garden, or even your own kitchen, you’re faced with dozens of food choices every single day. Which ones will help you look and feel fit and trim—and which are loaded with hidden calories, fats, and other nasty stuff? You’ll never know—unless you have EAT THIS, NOT THAT!

For example:

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Admittedly I always seem to prefer wanting to try the NOT THIS selection. Counting calories is not high on my priority list.

When the website promoted that it would outline the best slice of pizza in every state, like Pavlov’s Dog, I was hooked.

Granted, such an endeavor is an easy target for abuse and skepticism. Surely that’s to be understood. One other website I found reported that there are more than 16 billion combinations of pizza toppings, so who’s to say which is the best. Still I had to find out what is considered the utmost in each state, at least according to this one source.

For Wisconsin the website chose this location.

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You’ll find Novanta in Madison. Six years ago the Wisconsin State Journal wrote in a  review, “Novanta, turns out pizzas that are as good or better than the rest, and best of all, its pizzas don’t skimp on the cheese and other ingredients the way so many authentic Neapolitan pies do. Customers order at a counter from sincere, friendly and helpful employees…The name ‘Novanta’ is 90 in Italian, and refers to the 90 seconds it takes to cook the pizzas in a gorgeously tiled wood-burning oven behind the counter.”

On the restaurant’s Facebook page I discovered this beauty of a pie.

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Slow cooked pork shoulder, balsamic caramelized onions, dijon mustard, and fontina cheese make up The Pizza Porchetta. I’m intrigued, especially since I also just read that pork shoulder is the new steak.

But this is the photo of a Novanta pizza EAT THIS, NOT THAT selected to highlight in their alphabetical compilation of the best pizza shops in every state.

Slide 50 of 51: “I decided to order the Pesto Pizza. It was the perfect size for one person, and most important, it was flavorful and delicious,” said one reviewer on Yelp. Another shared that they appreciated how the pesto sauce wasn’t too oily or loaded with basil.

Of course that’s a pesto pizza.  Two red flags immediately go up for me. One, where’s the meat, and two, since there are billions of ways to order a pizza, no way in Hell I’m deciding on anything green, especially that green. Oh, I’ll bet there are hordes who think that pesto pizza would be scrumptious. I find the photo totally unappetizing.

What was the methodology  you might be wondering. Let’s go to EAT THIS, NOT THAT.

To find out which pizza shops were tops across America, we tapped our friends at Yelp who gladly supplied the data on the best pizza shop in every state. To come to these findings, Yelp sorted through its “Pizza” category and strategically chose the best spot using an algorithm that takes into account both the number of reviews and star rating for each business. We then hand-picked what we thought was the best slice of pizza at each restaurant based off of reviews from Yelp.

I contend the pesto pizza photo wasn’t the best to highlight Novanta, and I’d go so far as to suggest Novanta had no part in the decision to post the pesto or any other pizza. Again, that photo could be a turnoff, doing more harm than good. Relying on Yelp to make these 50 determinations is dubious since Yelp is such an unreliable source to begin with. Not exactly trustworthy.

Now, if I was the proprietor of a pizza establishment that was about to receive national attention I’d want as much food porn utilized as possible.


In this case, that means the most mouth-watering, drool-inspiring pizza on my menu.

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Marty’s in Brookfield.

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Zaffiro’s in Milwaukee.

No photo description available.

Infusino’s in Kenosha


Major point we all can agree on. Pizza is one of the most subjective topics of discussion on the planet. But pizza, like any other food, has boundaries you just shouldn’t cross, as evidenced by the ridiculous summary of pizza places from EAT THIS, NOT THAT.

“Why get a steak sandwich when you can get strips of meat and crumbles of fresh goat cheese topped on a pizza pie?” they write.

Are they serious?

Not even close.

It’s like putting Pee Wee Herman in the ring with Mike Tyson.

Look, Illinois is a God-forsaken place, but they have good pizza. Not by the photo I saw.

And if I never get to Newport, Rhode Island, that’s perfectly OK. Not on my bucket list. Even if they put a superfood (YUCK) on their pizzas.

Here’s the list. Plenty of good, but also bad stuff.

Pizza. Why must we mess?

Bottom line: When someone suggests someone or something is the very best, more often than not, it is darn near impossible to back up such a claim.


You’d be a fool to try to re-heat pizza, wouldn’t you?

Mushroom coffee?

Bernie Sanders ice cream


Culinary no-no #619







One thought on “Culinary no-no #620

  1. Pingback: Culinary no-no #621 | This Just In… From Franklin, WI

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