Screen Name: Marla Collins Husband
Real Name: Daniel Zemans
Came out of the Oven: Chicago (Hyde Park)
Favorite toppings: Sausage and mushrooms
First Pizza Club Meeting: O'Fame Italian Restaurant, October 5, 2006
Favorite Deep Dish Pizza: Lou Malnati's
Favorite Stuffed Pizza: Bacino's
Favorite Thin Crust Pizza: Pat's Pizza
Favorite Pizza outside of Chicago: Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix
Had Pizza in the Motherland? Yes, in Rome, and at the time I thought it was a dry cracker with too little cheese, too little sauce, and too few toppings. My pizza palate has developed significantly since then; I think a return to Italy is in order.
What Do You Do When Not Eating Pizza? When the Cubs season is over, I just dream about pizza and stare lovingly into the eyes of my favorite pizza club member, Fred.
Personal Pizza Statement: Growing up in Hyde Park, I was aware of three pizzerias: Giordano's, Edwardo's and Medici. In my mind, the stuffed pizza at Giordano's and Edwardo's was the definition of Chicago-style pizza. They both served (and still serve) thin crust pizza, but I don't think I've ever had it. Medici serves a pan pizza and a thin crust (again, never tried it). I was not a big fan of Medici. I did like going there once a year to make my own pizza, something I got to do because the owner's daughter was in my elementary school class, but compared to stuffed pies, the pan pizzas had no chance. I had heard of Lou Malnatti's because they used to advertise on the back of Bulls tickets in the early 80s, but I don't ever remember having pizza in Chicago outside of Hyde Park. I do remember when I was eleven and visiting relatives in southern California who insisted on taking us to their favorite pizza place in LA. I was served a large pile of ass, beginning my realization that the best pizza on the planet was in my hometown.
I didn't try a more traditional deep dish pizza until a friend visited Chicago during college and wanted to try Gino's East. I thought it was good (especially the amount of sausage), but found it didn't have enough cheese. After college in Minnesota where the only pizza I had was a local late night delivery place, and a year in St. Louis, home of provel cheese pizza, I returned to Chicago and worked two blocks from a Lou Malnatti's. I ventured over there one day for lunch and my pizza worldview was changed forever. I still like stuffed pizza, but Lou Malnatti's is the pie I crave the most.
After foolishly leaving Chicago to spend three years in New York, I was forced to start eating thin crust pizza. New York has plenty of good pizza and whole lot of bad pizza. That said, the city did open my eyes to the possibility that thin crust pizza could be a satisfying meal, but I was content limiting my pizza intake to deep dish and stuffed.
Today, my pizza appreciation seems to know no bounds. Stuffed, deep dish, pan, thin crust, cracker crust, Sicilian, Grandma's, Neapolitan, coal-oven...they're all good. In addition to my time at CPC, I also write pizza reviews at Slice, the most popular and most thorough (if a little New York centric) pizza website around.
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