360˚ Mafia

Kashflow

There is a famous rapper named Soulja Boy. You may remember his 2007 hit “Crank That”. His crew goes under the name Stacks On Deck (shortened to S.O.D.), referring to the stacks of paper money they have. They are not to be mistaken for metal/thrash crossover jokers S.O.D, well-known for being racist and fat.

KASHFLOW and Kamonster are less famous rappers from Stone Mountain, Georgia. Together, they seem to rap under the name Kassassin and are affliated with a crew called U.N.  The second song on their MySpace page is a pizza-themed anthem called “Pizza on Deck” that sounds (exactly) like early Three 6 Mafia. It is great! Pizza on Deck has not been shortened to P.O.D, most likely to avoid confusion with nu-metal butt-rockers P.O.D, well known for being boring and Christian.

Pizza Punk is dead………Pizza-themed horror-core-rap is alive and well.

Finally, a very literal interpretation of Pizza on Deck:

Pizza on Deck

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Published in: on June 28, 2009 at 5:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“It’s hard out here for a Celiac”

gluten-free3

Prego Pizza

5860-111 street Edmonton

I should probably be writing a Father’s Day post, but since my Mother’s Day post was really about both of my parents, I’ll do pappy one better: write a review for a gluten free pizza joint.

When my man Luke returned from living in Australia a few years back, he was greeted by a cold city and an unpleasant case of Celiac disease. As a Celiac, Luke has to either cut-out food that contains gluten (which is a lot of things) from his diet, or buy specialty food products (which are a lot of money).

Luckily for Luke, more and more restaurants are becoming more and more accommodating to Celiacs. One such restaurant is Pizzeria Prego, home to “Edmonton’s only gluten free pizza”. Bold claims aside (i have not substantiated their claim, nor have i looked into it), I had heard very good things about this new place, so I decided to take Luke out for an Uncle’s Day pizza dinner.

Located in a Lendrum Place strip mall near Southgate, Pizzeria Prego, or Prego Pizza, or I heart Pizza, or I heart Prego Pizza is a small take-out pizza place with only a few tables for those wanting to sit and eat. Their menu runs the gamut from classic pizza (pepperoni and cheese) to what they quaintly refer to as ‘exotic’ pizza (blueberry, cheese and cinnamon). For a 4 dollar surcharge, every pizza can be made gluten-free with the exception of those containing Alfredo sauce (fool me once…). The Gluten-full dough is made by hand, while the gluten-free dough is packaged from local gluten-free grocers Kinnkinnick. Because it is packaged, it only comes in one size: 10″. They also have Foothills Ice Cream on deck.

Luke and I ordered ‘The Constant Gardener’, a pizza that has parsnip, broccoli, sliced yams, spinach, cheese, and a silly name (maybe they haven’t seen the movie – lord knows I haven’t). The pizza is really good. Broccoli was steamed, and the spinach and yam slices were layered under cheese like a mini-lasagna. The yam slices were oddly crisp, something i did not expect. The gluten-free crust was obviously packaged, and a little too crispy, greasy and dry, but not enough to effect the overall experience. I would really like to try the gluten-full pizza also; some other day, some other uncle.

Highlight: to use Prego’s washroom, you have to walk through their office room. Trusting staff.

2nd highlight: Prego’s motto is “We plan to earn your patronage” (not to be confused with Cash Money motto: “drink till you throw up”)

Click the picture to go to their website

Prego

Published in: on June 23, 2009 at 11:04 pm  Comments (5)  
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Off-Campus Pizza

CPCampus Pizza

7610 112 St NW


Technically, Campus Pizza is not on campus. It is in the neighbourhood of McKernan which, in addition to being home to many U of A students, is a beautiful place. Nice houses, lots of green, and great people.

The block that houses Campus Pizza (roughly 113st to 112st on 76 Ave) is also home to a TD bank, a pharmacist, a book store, the south side location of Tra Amici Italian Cafe, and my trusty Barber (XL Hair – check for my Barber Shop blog in 2010). The mighty McKernan Fresh Market once occupied a large chunk of the block before its closure last year (last year? i think so…..). The fire hall on the west corner completes the block’s small town look.

After a long day of thrifting, swimming and frisbeeing in Wabamun and Devon, some buds and i decided to order a pizza. As we were in McKernan, and down for a walk, we decided on Campus for a pick-up pie.

The charming whole-in-the-wall joint is small: only enough room for a small handful of tables with torn up chairs, and a 1942 arcade machine (not to be mistaken for the game 1492, in which an aerial shot follows the Santa Maria as it drops smiles on the new world). Staff is friendly enough, and bottles of water cost an impressive 50 cents. We left with a large Jalapeno/Pineapple pizza and 500 bottles of water for my evening bath.

The pizza was really good. Sauce was a little thin and seemed to be replaced by a sheen of grease, but I am fairly certain that is intentional. Campus chooses the square slice options for its large pizzas, and while I don’t like this on a practical level (no crust to grab on to), it makes for a (relatively) exciting eating experience. Crust is good.

Quick note: Items omitted from Campus Pizza’s take-away menu have been done one-by-one with a black pen. I can only assume that this is more cost effective than reprinting menus.

If you disagree with this review and want to talk it out, check for me at the McKernan baseball diamonds on Monday nights.

Published in: on June 17, 2009 at 1:54 am  Comments (2)  
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Cabfare

Bob James - Touchdown

Checker’s Pizza
10658 82 Avenue Nw

Checker’s pizza is one of the few places (surprisingly) selling pizza-by-the-slice in Old Strathcona, and I’ve always thought it was shit. After a recent midnight walk and bar visit, I decided to try it again. Before I get into all of that, let me paint a picture of my only Checker’s Pizza experience prior to this one:

It was nearly 2 years ago. Me and a (unnamed) friend went to a (unnamed) Whyte ave night club with two lady friends named Lisa Miller and Janine Stephans. After a night of dancing to radio hits on an empty dancefloor and awkward sexual advances, we stumbled home. It is worth mentioning that at this point in my life – especially at this time of night – my “home” was my friend’s couch. Halfway there, all four of us stopped at Checker’s for food. I had never seen anything like it:

Besides being mesmerized by a mural depicting a pizza chef beat juggling two 12 inch pizzas, we were “entertained” by loud-assed techno music. As we got our slices and sat down, time seemed to slow down as the music changed to Baltimora’s Tarazan Boy, a fight broke out, and an older fella on a solo pizza outing began to sing along loudly to the 80’s anthem. Despite all this stimulus, I thought the pizza was shit.

We left the joint and headed home. Arriving at my friends house, it had become increasingly clear that the couch space, generally reserved for me, was spoken-for by one of our female dance partners.

Fast forward 2 years:  I have a real home and I no longer like dancing. My recent visit to Checker’s (under new, Kosher and Halal friendly management) brought clarity to 2 things: one) what I had thought was a mural of a DJ’ing chef was a modest sized framed painting, and two) the Pizza is pretty good.

The dough is still far too substantial, and there is nothing particularly interesting about the rest. Taste is decent overall, and very passable.

I Love that they are Halal and Kosher…….those weren’t those ladies’ real names.

Cab Fare

Published in: on June 9, 2009 at 6:38 am  Comments (3)  
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“Ecco Pub, Far Away in Time”

marthandthemuffins

Martha and the Muffins pose for a photo just before writing the worst song ever, “Echo Beach”.

(quick retract: I have visited recently, and would like to say that Happy Joe’s Pizza is better than I initially made it out to be.)

Ecco Neighbourhood pub

9605 66 Avenue Edmonton

This blog is quickly turning into one about neighbourhood pubs instead of pizza. It is not my fault that pizza is served in pubs, nor is it my fault that they all serve similar pizza, forcing me to focus on those things that make them unique.

Strong sliceoflife supporter Mike (havingsomethoughts, for those reading the comments) suggested we check out Ecco Neighbourhood Pub in the south east ‘hood of Hazeldean. The pub is on the east end of Hazeldean’s shopping Plaza which includes a bakery, a pharmacist, a greasy spoon diner (which apparently used to be a punk hangout), and a small grocery store. The plaza is directly across the street from Hazeldean School’s field, on which a huge (base?)ball game was going on. The Pub’s awning is decorated with a painting of a dolphin, a theme that continued as we got settled inside the joint. (You’ll notice that I am deliberatly avoiding references to the Sega Genesis game, it is just too easy)

I got immediate positive vibes as we stepped up in the place. At least 3 wall-sized murals, PacMan arcade and a heated (seriously) pool tourney in progress. On top of that, there was a warmth coming from all the patrons, the most intense of which coming from dude with a loud San Fransisco 49ers shirt and Family Guy sweats. Waitress was super nice, and the owner even stopped by to make sure we were doing alright. Major highlight: talking Siberian oil-rig shop with buddy who insisted on wishing us Bon Apetit in Russian.

With 28 types of Pizza, Ecco’s pizza menu is deep, and sizes vary from “NOON ER” (smallest, for the Lunch crowd) to “PARTY” (largest, for the party crowd). They have a pretty standard toppings selection, but were flexible enough to accommodate our pineapple and jalapeno (this place does not fuck with banana peppers) pizza.

Ecco Pub has great pizza! While it does not stray too far from your average pub-pizza, it avoided all the pitfalls that plague most joints. Crust was perfect, toppings were fresh enough and the cheese was nice. Sauce left a little bit to be desired, but was still good.

Ecco is perfect. I wholeheartedly endorse.

Finally, serious Bass-Face at Ecco’s pub:Picturez 061_ed070529_600px

Published in: on June 5, 2009 at 8:10 am  Comments (4)  
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“You Got to Check Out the Avenue”

 

 

Avenue Pizza and Lounge

8515 112 Street, Edmonton

In 1990 Run DMC were played-out and nothing showed this more than their video for “The Avenue”. As the biggest Rap stars of the 80’s, they sounded and looked unnatural trying to fit in with the grittier sound and look of the 90’s.

As a modest campus sports bar, Avenue Pizza and Lounge struggles with the same identity issues that faced the “kings of rock”. When you compare the old, marked-up wooden tables, the giant Kokanee mural, the digital jukebox that must’ve been pretty impressive in 1996, and the wall-mounted sports memorabilia to the newly renovated Earl’s down the block, Avenue looks a little bit dated. Like Run DMC in 1990, Avenue Pizza and Lounge is a leftover from a previous generation. But unlike Run DMC, Avenue has stood the test of time.

Alright, I’ll admit, this comparison is as forced as Reverend Run sporting an EPMD bucket hat or the ragamuffin MC at the one minute 19 seconds mark of The Avenue video. To be honest, I have had this non-anthem stuck in my head since visiting the restaurant, and I needed to get it out of my system. I’ll get down to business:

As a lounge, Avenue is great. It’s part Boston Pizza with a more sincere sports focus, and part Garneau Pub with a more up-to-date jukebox. Pool Table, Buck Hunter Safari edition, old wood tables, nice bar to post-up at, darts.

I did not like their pizza though.

I had the Chicken Alfredo pizza (big news: I am eating meat these days!), which I was told was an Avenue specialty: Chicken, red onions, mushrooms, bacon, and Alfredo sauce instead of tomato. Before I slam their pizza, I should mention that my disappointment could have been affected by the following variables: I am new to eating meat, I failed to ask for thin crust (an available option), and importantly, I ordered a pizza that replaced tomato sauce with Alfredo sauce. Even with all this in mind, I would be hard pressed to order an Avenue Pizza again.

The bar is great though, and would love to watch the Penguins make their come-back here.

If you like Boston Pizza give this place a shot. If you like the Garneau Pub give this place a shot. If you like pizza, stay at home (or at least stick to familiar toppings).

Published in: on June 4, 2009 at 2:28 pm  Comments (2)  
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