Round 2 Roundup: Northampton

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It has been a wild round 2 with some shake-ups, some rule changes, and a lot of good pizza!  I’ve had a blast working on this so far and can’t wait to see who comes out on top.  Here is a quick overview of the past few weeks in Round 2.

 

Pizza Paradiso vs. Filo’s Greek Taverna

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Filo’s on the left, Pizzeria Paradiso on the right

 

This was a great challenge with two stellar pies, both quite different from each other, but both delicious.  Pizza Paradiso’s delicious gourmet pie eked out the victory on the strength of its wonderfully crispy yet chewy crust, though Filo’s did not disappoint, actually winning the flavor category and tying the toppings category.  Although we feel sad that Filo’s was a one-and-done competitor, it really did deserve the bye it got and was vastly superior to some of the other pies that made it to round 2.  Either one of these would make for a delicious night of take-out, but we did choose a winner!

Winner: Pizza Paradiso

 

Hungry Ghost Bread vs. Mimmo’s Pizza

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Hungry Ghost on the left, Mimmo’s on the right

 

You couldn’t ask for two different pies than this.  Mimmo’s, our winner from round 1, delivers a huge and delicious New York-style pizza with good chewy crust and sturdy, if not amazing, toppings.  On the other hand, Hungry Ghost Bread, which as you might have guessed is known for its bread, supplies a pizza of a smaller stature that also has a tasty crust, but comes with some extras you wouldn’t have guessed.  This tasting caused us to tweak our voting rules a little, since we had a very large group that week that raved over the quality of the Hungry Ghost toppings, but weren’t as excited about the flavors (including a fried egg, roasted garlic, and ricotta that we weren’t expecting).  Previously, we had assigned the victory to the pie that received the most total votes, but in this case we noticed that Mimmo’s actually won two out of the three categories (crust and flavor), but was just barely beaten out by the total vote count.  Because of this we decided that whoever won more categories would win the challenge, and if there was a tie then the total number of votes would decide it.  I looked back and it looks like all of our previous challenges won by category just as they should, and the total vote count was incidental, so we felt good about making this change.

Winner: Mimmo’s Pizza

 

Pinocchio Pizzeria vs. Pizza Amore

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Pizza Amore on the left, Pinocchio Pizzeria on the right

 

This one was interesting due to the topping of the week, which was eggplant.  The eggplant on the Pizza Amore pizza was terrific: fried, crispy, and just the right amount.  On the other hand, the Pinocchio Pizzeria’s eggplant was overwhelming and soggy, kind of gross actually.  The funny thing is that otherwise, the Pinocchio’s pizza was superior in every way.  The crust was better and the cheese was better, but we were really let down by the eggplant.

Winner: Pizzeria Pinocchio

 

Big Y vs. Sam’s Pizzeria & Cafe

Big Y on the left, Sam's on the right

Big Y on the left, Sam’s on the right

 

Finally, two gigantic 18″ monsters!  We’re used to seeing a monster like Mimmo’s up against a much smaller pie, it was fun to see two similarly sized pies for once.  While Sam’s won all three categories, the Big Y pizza’s crust was better than the one we saw in Round 1 and actually quite good.  We were put off by the perfectly round sausage balls on the Big Y pie, but they were tasty and zingy, and the mushrooms were good.  We also didn’t really like the sauce on the Big Y pizza, which we found to be a bit too cafeteria-like.  For Sam’s we liked the cheese and the sausage, and the crust was just slightly preferred over Big Y.

Winner: Sam’s Pizzeria & Cafe

 

Top 8 from Round 2

  1. Pizzeria Paradiso – Good quality gourment, brick-oven fired pizzas.  Nice chewy crust, subtle flavors in sauce and toppings.
  2. Filo’s Greek Taverna – Good all-around pizza
  3. Mimmo’s Pizza – A giant of a pizza for a good price.  Nice chew on the crust.  Get a party size for large crowds.
  4. Hungry Ghost Bread – Go here for a new and interesting experience.
  5. Sam’s Pizzeria & Cafe – Huge pies with decent quality.
  6. Pinocchio Pizzeria – Great for a slice at lunch.  There are better options for dinner takeout.
  7. Big Y – Good “office pizza”, inexpensive and inoffensive.  Cooked right, the crust might be decent. Toppings are fresh and tasty.
  8. Pizza Amore – If the crust were improved they would be a contender.  Not bad, but I prefer the pita sandwiches (which are great).
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