Pizza Challenge: Who makes the best bargain brand (a.k.a., cheap) frozen pizza? Day 6 - How good is Freshchetta?
Pizza Challenge: Who makes the best bargain brand (a.k.a., cheap) frozen pizza? Day 8 - How good is Newman's Own?

Pizza Challenge: Who makes the best bargain brand (a.k.a., cheap) frozen pizza? Day 7 - How good is California Pizza Kitchen?

By Mike Thayer

Pizza - Perhaps the greatest food invention ever and I don't know about you, but I don't know anybody that does NOT like pizza.....

So who makes the best of the cheap frozen variety?  How will your preferred brand stack up?

I like pepperoni, it's my go-to for a pizza topping and my favorite pizza combo is a thin crust, pepperoni, mushroom, onion, with extra cheese.  You won't find that combo in grocery stores, so with that in mind, part of this review/evaluation of pizzas is the ability to doctor it, as in add your favorite ingredients.  Lord knows the bargain basement brands don't exactly get crazy with copious amounts of meat and cheese.  A lot of folks 'doctor' pizzas before placement in the oven and I'm here to assist with that.  No, that doesn't mean I'm a pizza nurse...  Don't go there.....  

California Pizza Kitchen
California Pizza Kitchen Pepperoni Pizza

It's Day Seven of the challenge and I'm reviewing a pepperoni pizza made by California Pizza Kitchen.  I've never had one of these before and at the first look see they actually use REAL pepperoni!  Bonus points!  For a pizza priced in the bargain range - under $6, this is not normal.   I purchased my California Pizza Kitchen pizza for $5.49 and it weighed in at 13.6 ounces, UNDER the typical weight range of 16 - 20 ounces for a bargain priced pizza.  Must be the California thing, right?  

So how was it? 

Very good, but not great.  Without question, California Pizza Kitchen uses quality ingredients, real pepperoni, real cheese, the pizza has a sauce with some kick and a crust that does justice to the layers of flavor plus my added ingredients.  I only had to add two minutes to the baking time and that crust still came out perfect, light and flaky with every bite from outer edge to the middle point....  But here's what is wrong with the California Pizza Kitchen approach.  They strayed from a classic pepperoni taste.  With all those excellent fresh ingredients they have on hand, they could have made an OUTSTANDING classic pepperoni pizza.  But they went, well, California with it.....  That's a mistake in my book, they could trounce on competitors going classic......  But I digress....  Back to the point, I don't want an overabundance of smoked Gouda cheese mixed with my mozzarella, I don't want an overkill of basil in the sauce.  The pepperoni was excellent, the crust was top notch, the sauce had some kick, but the Gouda and basil was flat out too much!   Do I buy this pizza again?  No.  Despite the quality ingredients, I don't like the California Pizza Kitchen approach.  At this point in the challenge, I'd much rather eat Freschetta.

California Pizza Kitchen
An excellent crust, quality ingredients

The California Pizza Kitchen gets 3 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap Stars.  You get high quality ingredients with this pizza, but it is on the small side and if you don't like to stray from classic flavors, then you won't like this pizza.  You can respect it, but not like it.....

3 stars

Stay tuned for more frozen pizza reviews, with a complete ranking of worst to best to wrap up the challenge.


$pend Wisely My Friends...

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