Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Little Star Pizza (Delivery)

As you know, from time to time, my group at work is unable to have our regular dinner catering for one reason or another.  When such situations hit, I usually have a bit of fun finding an alternative for the group.  I've tended towards seafood, generally raw, since delivery food always winds up lukewarm, and who wants lukewarm fish?  We've had some successes, like high end sushi delivery from Roka Akor, and some mediocre sushi delivery from Pacific Catch, and of course, the famous  takeout from Swan Oyster Depot.  I've also grabbed cold appetizers and desserts togo from nearby Zare at Fly Trap several times, and that has been a bit hit.  When really lazy, I've opted to just order from Munchery.

But of course, I need to appeal to the group, and sometimes, the masses just want pizza.  So, pizza it was.

When I think of pizza in San Francisco, the only place that really stands out is Little Star.  Besides Pizzeria Uno, it was the first deep dish I ever really had (sorry Mom, Schwan's frozen pizza doesn't count!).  Over the years, I've visited the multiple restaurants many times.  I used to love it.  I'd bring every visitor there.  Somehow though, I just stopped liking it.  But when I mentioned Little Star as an option to the group, everyone got very excited (ok, all but one person).  Everyone (except that one person), just loves Little Star.  So, I figured it was worth giving it another try, it had been at least a year since I last had Little Star, and maybe I just wasn't in the mood last time?

I'm a broken record when it comes to Little Star.  As you can read in my previous reviews, I always get the same two pizzas: the Classic and the Little Star.  Which one I prefer tends to change on every visit, or even throughout the visit.  I obviously picked these two pizzas again, although this time I mixed it up and added in another pizza, thin crust no less!  I've never tried the thin crust before, because, why?

Last time I used Caviar to get the delivery, and the service was good enough, but this time I tried Door Dash, just as an experiment in something new.  They have a slightly lower delivery free ($6.99), but do not provide some of the nice aspects like GPS tracking.  They also didn't seem to use a pizza bag, or anything, to keep the pizza hot.  While my delivery from Caviar wasn't piping hot, it was clear they attempted to keep my food warm; the same cannot be said of Door Dash.  I am unlikely to use it again for hot food delivery.

Anyway, spoiler, just like the delivery Little Star from a year ago, and my meal at the restaurant a year before that, I again just didn't like the pizza.  Ojan still liked it, but, I really don't think I'll be ordering Little Star again anytime soon.
Classic, Deep Dish, Large.  $29.45.
"Sausage, mushrooms, onions, and green bells".

I started with the Classic.  Like I've said, sometimes I prefer the Classic, sometimes I prefer the Little Star.  Last time this one came out on top.  This time it didn't.

Just like last time, I found the balance of the pizza just all off.  There was way too much sauce on top.  The sauce was both too tangy and too sweet all at once.  It overwhelmed everything.  I scraped most of it off, and then used it with my crusts.  I like the crusts, and I always want something to dip them in, so the extra sauce I remove isn't *really* a problem, and I just repurpose it.

The cheese was my real problem.  There was just way, way too much.  I thought this last time, and the time before that.  I kinda just don't like generic mozzarella, and that is all I could taste.  If I ever do get Little Star again, perhaps I just need to request light cheese?

The toppings were generously applied, lots of everything. The sausage was in slices, and I thought I always loved their sausage, but I really, really didn't like it this time.  And it isn't that I don't like sausage, I do.  Something about this just didn't appeal.

And ... the pizza was cold, although that isn't Little Star's fault.  The crust was really soggy, again, that is just a failing of delivery.  I did still kinda like the hearty cornmeal crust at least, although, it did seem a bit too oily and heavy.

For nearly $30 for a pizza though, this was sad, and I honestly didn't enjoy it at all.
Little Star, Deep Dish, Small. $21.50.
"Spinach blended with ricotta and feta, mushrooms, onions, and garlic".

Next up, the Little Star, always our vegetarian pick.

I had the exact same complaints about the soggy and oily crust, the excessive amount of cheese, and the overwhelming sauce.

I did at least like the spinach and ricotta blend more than the toppings on The Classic, but, overall, I still wasn't happy.
Cheese + Onions + Roasted Garlic, Thin Crust, Small. $19.85.
I've never had a thin crust pizza from Little Star before.  Yes, seriously.  I've been to the restaurant a slew of times, always with large groups of people, and no one has ever suggested it.  I've ordered delivery for groups, and no one has requested it.  We all know that Little Star is all about the deep dish.

So, why did I bother with a thin crust this time around?  Well, partially I knew that I had kinda fallen out of love with Little Star.  I thought that perhaps the thin crust would be more my speed these days?  At least it would give me something different to try.

I also had slightly ulterior motives: I knew if there were leftovers, I wanted to waffle them.  I'm obsessed with waffling pizza (you'll hear more about this soon).  At this point, I prefer to waffle leftover pizza than even to eat hot and fresh pizza.  But I didn't think deep dish would waffle well.  Hence, the thin crust.

None of the pre-designed thin crust pizzas called out to me.  Chicken.  Pesto.  White sauce.  All meh.  So I created my own, with onions and roasted garlic.  I have no idea why, I've never put those two things on a pizza together before.  But both are delicious, so ... why not?

The thin crust retained heat even worse than the deep dish.  It wasn't even lukewarm.  The crust seemed even soggier.  It wasn't thin style like a fancy pizza place, it really was like a piece of pizza you could get in any town, anywhere in America.  I missed the cornmeal aspect of the deep dish.

On the plus side, the ratio of sauce and cheese was more of what I wanted; no piles of sweet sauce overwhelming everything else, not totally drowning in cheese.  I liked the onions.  I thought I'd love the roasted garlic, whole cloves applied in generous quantity all over the pizza, as I certainly love eating whole cloves of roasted garlic (and, in fact, when I go to Little Star in person, we always get the roasted garlic and bread as an appetizer, and I sit there sucking all the cloves of garlic out of the bulb, long after others have given up).  But ... it didn't do it for me here.

I was glad to try a thin crust, to satisfy my curiosity, but, it really wasn't exciting.

Of course, I did have leftovers, and I did waffle them.  And ... it was magic.  The transformation was everything I wanted it to be.  I genuinely enjoyed my pizza this way.  Stay tuned for a review of that!
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