I want to hear about your weird yummy pizza orders!
August 19, 2014 1:48 PM   Subscribe

My in-laws order pizza a lot. They love it. Some people pepperoni, some just cheese. No matter what I do, it's always dry bread with cheese and grease. I'm even getting tired of Hawaiian style, my favorite. Help me innovate more pizza ideas!

My in laws order/go get pizza a lot. 9 times out of 10, they get cheese and pepperoni. Sometimes they change the place, sometimes they change the breadsticks, sometimes there is a little bit of garlic or marinara sauce, but by and large, it's always exactly the same. My biggest problem with pizza is that it's just so much bread. And grease. Honestly, I think I'd like the pizza better if all the ingredients were uncooked. The cheese, pepperoni, ham, and bread would make an okay sandwich. I am so bored and sick of it. I've tried calzones. I've tried a few different standard toppings. I've tried getting different sauces and such, but I'm usually sharing half of the pizza with a normal-pepperoni-lover and sauce has to be the whole pizza.

What is the quirky thing you did with your pizza one time that you think I should try? I would try pretty much anything new. I haven't tried things like anchovies or avacado, but I'm just wondering what Mefi recommends! Thanks!

Bonus points if it is a topping at a pizza place that they can already add. I am usually the one calling for the pizza (they don't like using the phone) so I could really implement any special requests on my half of a pizza as I want.
posted by bbqturtle to Food & Drink (90 answers total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
You could try to find a place that does a thin European style crust. You could be even more European about it and get an egg on top. We also like artichokes, spinach and prosciutto. But I think a quality pizza joint ought to have a palatable cheese and pepperoni pie. Maybe if update with the general location, someone can come up with recommendations.
posted by rocketpup at 1:52 PM on August 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

carmelized onions
pesto sauce
posted by Ms Vegetable at 1:52 PM on August 19, 2014 [4 favorites]

If it's the bread you hate, would thin-crust be an option?

As for toppings, I am all about spinach, feta cheese, garlic, and black olives (usually with pepperoni). Smelly but delicious.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 1:53 PM on August 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

The thing I've noticed about anchovies is that no one is really take-it-or-leave-it about anchovies the way they are about pepperoni or olives or whatever. Either you want them nowhere near your pizza or you'd have them on pizza every time if it were up to you. I fall into the latter category, but you'll definitely want to try them on a single slice first.

Also, try different formulations of pizza like a thin crust or a white pizza.
posted by griphus at 1:56 PM on August 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

Green olives and anchovies. I call it pizza puttanesca. Expect stares, but it's quite delicious.
posted by ubiquity at 1:58 PM on August 19, 2014 [6 favorites]

If you have a New Haven-style pizza place near you, give it a try. Thin, crispy-chewy crust. True Neapolitan pizza is like that, too.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 1:59 PM on August 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

I would love to hear more details about how to buy these ingredients, store them, apply them to the normal pizza, etc. :)
posted by bbqturtle at 1:59 PM on August 19, 2014

I had fresh basil and italian sausage the other day and it was amazing. A+++ would eat again.
posted by craven_morhead at 2:00 PM on August 19, 2014 [4 favorites]

There is a to die for brick oven place near me that does a white sauce pizza with kale and pistachios and lots and lots of garlic. It is way more delicious than any other pizza they do, including all the ones with prosciutto--which would be my next suggestion, along with arugula.

In Ithaca NY, where I used to live, there's a pizza place that cooks the crust with some cheese (no sauce) and adds dressed salad on top. You eat it with a knife and fork. When I lived there it was one of their most popular pizzas.

A local one we sometimes get delivered has white sauce, spinach, chicken, and ricotta.

Iggie's of Baltimore does really interesting ingredients, like rosemary potatoes with pancetta, mozzarella & taleggio. Or sausage, butternut squash, cheese, and sage oil.

Joe Squared in Baltimore has one I love: lamb, eggplant, cheese, and mint.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 2:01 PM on August 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Also, another detail/callout, my main problem with pizza is the dryness, especially after we bring it home. That's in part why I like pineapple on pizza. I love/hate tomato on pizza because part of me can't stand the taste of raw tomato, but it's nice and moist.
posted by bbqturtle at 2:01 PM on August 19, 2014

Goat cheese with spicy sliced banana peppers. Yum!
posted by SpecialSpaghettiBowl at 2:02 PM on August 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Hot sauce really elevates a Hawaiian pie, IMHO. Tabasco, typically, but I like Pickapeppa too. It's not just the spiciness, but the vinegar content, too. And yeah, scrambled egg can be surprisingly good, though it's a rare option in my neck of the woods.
posted by mumkin at 2:02 PM on August 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

There used to be a place on West 10th in Vancouver that would do an oysters and artichokes pizza that was my favourite thing in the world in grad school. The oysters were fresh that day. Like eating the ocean.
posted by bonehead at 2:04 PM on August 19, 2014

You really can't beat a dead simple margherita -- just tomatoes and basil. I would eat it every day if I could. But the trick is, the ingredients have to be super fresh: the tomatoes should have a deep beefsteak-y flavor, the basil piquant, the cheese should have a whiff of whatever sweet clover the cows had been eating.

Can you get your in laws to up their game and get pizza from a place that emphasizes freshness in their ingredients and homemade crust? Cheese and grease is junk food, but lovely fresh pizza with worthy ingredients is sublime.
posted by mochapickle at 2:04 PM on August 19, 2014 [4 favorites]

One way to make an average pizza place's pizza slightly better is to ask for double sauce. Solves your too dry problem.
posted by advicepig at 2:04 PM on August 19, 2014 [4 favorites]

My go to order when its pizza night and I don't want pizza: thin crust, spinach alfredo sauce, no cheese, and with grilled chicken, bacon, and mushrooms. I get this from a famous nationwide delivery joint.
posted by Requiax at 2:05 PM on August 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

If you're looking for some after-market modifications, why not keep some sauces on hand? It's the perfect remedy for dry and bready.
posted by the christopher hundreds at 2:07 PM on August 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Where are you ordering from, are these small, local pizzerias, or Dominos, Papa John's, etc? What part of the country are you in? Pizza can get people (tri-state area vs. Chicago) pretty up in arms, and there are some big differences.
posted by kellyblah at 2:07 PM on August 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

I would love to hear more details about how to buy these ingredients, store them, apply them to the normal pizza, etc. :)

Anchovies come in both little tins and little jars. I prefer the little tins.
posted by griphus at 2:08 PM on August 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Thanks everyone, the more answers, the longer I will last! I would love to hear specific chains/restaurant names. I definitely don't live near any big cities with fancy pizza places, but I still love to hear what you get for travels and the like, and the local places in southwest michigan might have an approximate :)

We mostly order from places like Jets or Cottage Inn, but there are quite a few local pizza places with names like "upper crust" or "joes" that they like to have on rotation.
posted by bbqturtle at 2:08 PM on August 19, 2014

One of my other favourites is a simple, thin-crust anchovy pizza with raw, sliced room-temp tomato added after it comes out of the oven.

(ugh, sorry for drooling all over the page, guys)
posted by SpecialSpaghettiBowl at 2:08 PM on August 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

No cheese, just tomato sauce, kalamata olives, and sun-dried tomatoes or marinated artichoke hearts. Top this with a liberal application of fresh arugula, a sprinkle of red pepper flakes, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Devour with glee.

Semi-related: I will forever trumpet the glories of adding nooch to all pizza forever -- very savory! much umami! -- but I'm vegan so YOMMV (your omnivore mileage may vary). You can pick it up from the bulk bins at Whole Foods.
posted by divined by radio at 2:10 PM on August 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

Pineapple and fresh garlic.

Don't knock it till you try it.
posted by gyusan at 2:12 PM on August 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

My current favourite (as sold at Pizza Express in the UK) is a nice thin Roman-style base with tomato sauce, gorgonzola, pancetta, leeks, artichoke hearts, rosemary and a little chilli oil. Their name for it is a 'Da Morire', and the name works for me.

Greasy pizza is a sign that you've got way too much cheese, and probably the wrong kind. Too much bread is a sign that you've got the wrong sort of pizza. A pizza should be a balance of flavours and textures, not just an inch-thick slab of bread and hot cheese-substitute.
posted by pipeski at 2:14 PM on August 19, 2014

Something you can add at home - arugula tossed (lightly) with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, right on top of the hot pizza. Adds a little bulk, makes it feel less like a brick of starch and dairy.

In general I think you want acidic toppings that cut the greasiness of the cheese - kalamata olives, marinated artichoke hearts, feta, you already tried pineapple which basically does that, stuff like that. Extra sauce will do in a pinch, too.

To address dryness - counterintuitively, try asking for your pizza to be extra well-done. Even a big chain place will do this. They'll bake it longer and the dough will get crisper on the bottom, which adds nice cracker-y textural contrast and makes the pizza more interesting to eat than just a big slab of samey bread.
posted by peachfuzz at 2:16 PM on August 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you are near a California Pizza Kitchen, or another higher-end pizza place, you can try what I do:

I order their California Veggie Pizza with regular crust (which is fairly thin), and it comes with eggplant, onions, artichoke hearts, whole corn kernels, sun-dried tomatoes (or maybe fresh, but you'd probably like sun-dried) and broccolini. It also has a little tomato sauce -- not a huge amount -- and cheese. I always, always ask for double (or triple) broccoli(ni) - the pizza is a lot more healthy that way, true, but it's also more texturally interesting, and yes, moister. Tell the server you're serious about the double broccolini - they may charge extra, but it transforms the pizza utterly.

They also offer goat cheese for this pizza, but that makes it too salty, IMO.

Broccolini is smaller than regular broccoli, and less strong-tasting, so it works well on the pizza.

I don't get the whole wheat crust because it's usually too sweet. There's this widespread belief that one must add sugar to whole wheat dough to help the yeast do its job, but I don't buy it. Whole wheat dough that's been treated that way always _tastes_ sweet, which means the yeast hasn't consumed all that sugar. Just stick with the regular white crust and get your fiber from the vegetables.

I also usually have a salad with the pizza. If you alternate bites, the breadiness of the pizza is a lot less overwhelming. The California Pizza Kitchen crust is thinner and moister than other crusts anyway.
posted by amtho at 2:16 PM on August 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

Oh, you're in SW Michigan - doesn't look like California Pizza Kitchen is there, sorry. My advice? Get lots of olives, get artichoke hearts and double spinach if you can, and always get a salad to go with the pizza. You probably don't want to have an entire meal of pizza anyway, especially if it's that bready.

You might look around for a pizza place that offers good toppings like artichoke hearts and even broccoli -- if you're getting pineapple, you can probably get those things too.

Good luck!

Oh also - if you have a bread machine, making your own pizza dough is a snap, and then you can make it as moist or thin as you want, and delight your in-laws with fresh gourmet homemade pizza to boot.
posted by amtho at 2:20 PM on August 19, 2014

You can make your own pizzas and they are SO AWESOME!

Many supermarket bakery sections now sell pizza dough (for sure Trader Joe's does) our Publix and Kroger do. You can always ask for frozen dough for Italian bread and that would work fine. (Thaw it in a greased bowl)

If you're up to an easy challenge, make the America's Test Kitchen Pizza Dough. I put olive oil and salt on the edges, it's SO GOOD!

I make a simple sauce, but you can use whatever marinara sauce floats your boat.

Then you can do individual pizzas for everyone.

If you order out, don't order from Dominoes, Papa Johns, Little Caesars, or Pizza Hut. Just...yuk.

Find a Mom and Pop place. It might be owned by the San Fillipo family, or the Lopez family, or the Goldbergs, or the Kims. Whatever. There's always a bunch of cars around the joint.

I too like succulent ingredients. To that end, I like black olives, meatball, and chopped tomatoes. I"m also quite fond of breaded eggplant on pizza. Like eggplant Parmesan.

The other thing is that most places that make pizza, make sandwiches and salads and pasta. If pizza just isn't your thing (it's not really mine, either) just order something else off the menu that you DO like.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:21 PM on August 19, 2014 [4 favorites]

Popular addition to pizza in the little part of the world I grew up in: French dressing.
posted by solotoro at 2:22 PM on August 19, 2014

Can you just get a sub or a salad instead? I checked Cottage Inn's website and they have a sub called The Pizza: "Pizza sauce, our fresh gourmet cheese blend and two of your favorite toppings." Get The Pizza with ham and pepperoni and it fits your request:

Honestly, I think I'd like the pizza better if all the ingredients were uncooked. The cheese, pepperoni, ham, and bread would make an okay sandwich.
posted by jabes at 2:24 PM on August 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Here's an article that might show you some cool new joints.

ManiOsteria and Bar looks pretty decent to me.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:25 PM on August 19, 2014

This should be pretty easy for you, with ingredients that should be pretty easy to find:

To a regular cheese pizza add some crumbled Feta, freshly chopped cilantro, and a little fresh lemon zest (just the yellow part, no white.) Throw it in a 350F oven for 5-10 minutes and eat!

I know you said you don't like raw tomato, but adding some slices if fresh tomato to the above will help make a bit moister.
posted by Room 641-A at 2:26 PM on August 19, 2014

Yolo, eh? As a former East-Coaster generally dismayed with West Coast pizza, who's also contemplating a move to Sacramento, your post fills me with despair.

But my own recipe for pizza goodness is topping a regular tomato-sauce-and-cheese pizza with canned pineapple and anchovies. Not everyone's cup of tea, of course.
posted by Rash at 2:27 PM on August 19, 2014

That ATK pizza recipe Ruthless Bunny linked is amazing. And it's fun to make the sauce and set up the toppings while everyone's chatting in the kitchen. A family thing.
posted by mochapickle at 2:27 PM on August 19, 2014

Can you get Chicago-style giardiniera where you are?

Try Giardiniera + italian sausage, thin crust, and have it cooked well done. Like seriously burn the edges of the pizza.
posted by JoeZydeco at 2:27 PM on August 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

I am a big fan of Dominos. They roll the dough in corn meal and it makes a difference in the crust.

Also, I am a fan of: pepperoni, onion, green pepper and pineapple. It's very yummy and totally available via "normal" pizza places. No special ingredients required.
posted by Michele in California at 2:30 PM on August 19, 2014

Not *too* unorthodox, but I enjoy pepperoni, pineapple, and green pepper (with the little pepper flakes on top). You could make it thin crust if you don't like it too doughy.

I'm also in Michigan and I like Cottage Inn. Hungry Howie's is all right too. Are you guys getting Jet's every time? They are totally the worst for doughy and greasy pizza.
posted by sevenofspades at 2:34 PM on August 19, 2014

I'm not a huge pizza person, but Otto's in Harvard Square has always seduced me with its interesting/delicious combinations. The menu might give you some inspiration. My favorites have been the mashed potato, bacon, and scallion; the butternut squash, ricotta, and cranberry; and the pulled pork and mango.
posted by ClaireBear at 2:35 PM on August 19, 2014

I also hate "dry" pizza; when it's an option I get tomato slices. They roast on the pizza and soften, the flavor gets a little more concentrated, and the worst of the wet cooks off but they're not like dried tomatoes.

I would eat tomato and goat cheese pizza all day, but my normal chain pizza is the thinnest possible crust with all the meats.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:42 PM on August 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Here's the trick - hit all the taste receptors.

Pineapple - sweet
olives - sour
jalapeño - spicy
mushrooms - umami

A pineapple, olive, jalapeño, mushroom pizza is the *bomb*
posted by colin_l at 2:43 PM on August 19, 2014 [5 favorites]

Sausage and broccoli rabe.
posted by sciencegeek at 2:46 PM on August 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

There is a small mom-and-pop pizza place within walking distance from my in-laws' house in Connecticut (suburbs of Hartford) that makes a BLT pizza. I don't like mayo, so I haven't eaten it, but my wife and my in-laws say it is to die for.

I usually go for Hawaiian, or Meat Lover's, or BBQ Chicken. Guess I'm not all that inventive with my pizza toppings. I think the most inventive pizza I've ever enjoyed had broccoli on it and some other topping I can't recall at the moment.
posted by tckma at 2:46 PM on August 19, 2014

Whoa whoa whoa:
sometimes there is a little bit of garlic or marinara sauce
Is that to say that the typical pizza near you does not include a tomato based sauce as a standard ingredient? Like, just crust, cheese, and toppings? If so, that is probably about 90% of the problem with regards to pizza being bland, boring and dry. Traditional style pizza without tomato sauce is a crime against humanity.

As for toppings: I'm surprised nobody has mentioned BBQ chicken pizza yet, which is usually a pizza crust with barbecue sauce instead of tomato sauce, with chunks of grilled chicken, maybe some green onion, and cheese.

Regarding calzones: If any of the places near you will make them with ricotta cheese in addition to mozzarella, give that a try. (And as above, make sure it comes with pizza sauce either in it, or as a side for dipping!) Pizza in Los Angeles is generally mediocre, but we got spoiled by the prevalence of ricotta as a default calzone ingredient there... when we moved to our current digs we discovered that *nobody* puts ricotta in calzones, and everyone acts like you're a big weirdo for even suggesting it. (In fact, hardly anyone around here even has it on hand.)
posted by usonian at 2:48 PM on August 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

-Pesto and feta cheese - no marinara
-Pineapple and sun-dried tomatoes
-Banana peppers and pineapple
-Pineapple and sun-dried tomatoes
-Extra cheese and anything
-Feta, red onion, black olives (basically a greek salad on a pizza)
posted by A Terrible Llama at 2:49 PM on August 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

A local place serves a pizza that is almost just a crust that is baked (Neapolitan, wood fired at 830 degrees) and then a salad thrown on top after. I'm sure they oil the crust before baking and may throw some cheese on, but the rest of the toppings are raw.

Another local place offers an Asiago Garlic sauce you can add in addition to whatever regular sauce you have. You may find places that just let you add garlic sauce or offer it for dipping. This is going to be mostly butter, so you may want to find your own less greasy garlic dipping sauce.

You should not have to split a pizza with someone who insists on tomato sauce if you don't want tomato sauce. This why personal/small pizzas exist. If price is an issue, everyone gets a medium or large and has two or three meals from it.

My favorite: Thin crust, white sauce, bacon, spinach, provolone.
posted by soelo at 2:52 PM on August 19, 2014

Up the acid content to balance the grease. Balsamic drizzle (as long as it's not sweetened), banana peppers, jalapenos, olives, peppery greens, lemon...

Breadiness: At some pizza places on this pizza-forsaken coast (MOD pizza), the crust, already thin, has been baked in such a discombobulated way that I've been able to peel off the bottom crust and eat only the thin upper layer + toppings. That's one way to reduce the breadiness: peel your pizza apart.
posted by batter_my_heart at 2:55 PM on August 19, 2014

Apple bits (granny smith!), gorgonzola, and spinach with proscuitto or bacon! (With a garlic olive oil base.)
posted by foxfirefey at 2:57 PM on August 19, 2014 [5 favorites]

the best at not getting dry is an oily pesto base(or even just a spiced oil base, like oil and garlic or even just oil and seasonings). Really grease it up.

This kind of pizza only gets dry and soggy if it's left on heat, like on a hot table at the pizza shop. If it's made, eaten, and left out or refrigerated it basically never gets dried out.

I've gotten really tired of tomato based pizza honestly, and only reach specifically for it occasionally. Oily pesto and white sauce bases are the shit. As are just really thin wood fired crusts, as mentioned above.

If you're cooking this stuff at home, get a pizza stone. If you're transporting it from a shop in the box and then modifying it, fold the flaps on the box shut. The little vent holes. This will seal in the steam and moisture and keep the pizza from drying out. It might get a little soggy, but you can always just let it sit for a bit or heat it back up for a second at home. Still way better than dry.

Also, if the pizza is dry because the crust is way too thick and mushy/bready or just thick and crunchy or crispy, go somewhere else. God i hate that shit. If this isn't an option and it's undercooked, cook it more at home. If it's overcooked and dry and crunchy well... either ask them to cook it less, or go somewhere else. This is why thin crust places are superior. I've basically never gotten a "too dried out" thin crust pizza. A bit soggy, yea, but you're supposed to have to fold it or curve it. Still way better than dry bready pizza.
posted by emptythought at 2:58 PM on August 19, 2014

It's pretty tame but available almost everywhere, and is only a slight deviation from your Hawaiian; it's called Tropical Hawaiian from my local chain. BBQ sauce (instead of regular pizza sauce), bacon, ham, pineapple, cheddar and mozza cheese. On a thin crust I could eat it all day, every day.
posted by cgg at 3:00 PM on August 19, 2014

One of my old favourite pizza place's variants on the Hawaiian was: oven roasted chicken breast, pineapple, raisins, red onions, and chorizo sausage. Can't say what it was exactly, but there was something about those raisins.
posted by Lorin at 3:02 PM on August 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

I am genuinely confused as to why you have to get pizza at all --- 90% of the pizza places near me sell subs also, and often salads and pasta. If you really dislike pizza, why not just get a sub when they put in the pizza order? Seems like it would solve all your problems.

Additional toppings:

Peppers, onions, sausage
Salami, roasted red pepper, goat cheese
White pizza/pizza bianca --- pizza with a white sauce and ricotta instead of tomato sauce. Sometimes with tomato chunks.

Chicken sausage and garlic is also good.
posted by maggiepolitt at 3:12 PM on August 19, 2014

Several years ago, the Pizza Research Institute in Eugene served us the best pizza I've ever had: raspberries and green chile with, I think, a cream sauce and sour cream drizzled over the top. And for some damned reason, they've never had it on their menu since. I'm pretty sure I didn't dream it because my husband remembers it, too.
posted by Beti at 3:20 PM on August 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

If you would like to add ingredients at home, you could order the pizza par-baked and then when it arrives, add your toppings and pop it in the oven. This will prevent it from drying out.

One if my favorites - and you may like this if dry pizza is a problem - is Southwest style. No mozz, no tomato sauce. Shredded cheddar, salsa, avocado, and black beans. Add pineapple if you want (I do!). This would be a hard one for a chain to accommodate.

Another delicious option that may be easier is a no-sauce pizza with mozz, add tomato slices and thin zucchini slices. Top with grated parm and lots of garlic.
posted by pintapicasso at 3:23 PM on August 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

There's a new chain that just recently opened a couple of outlets in the Twin Cities. They're called PizzaRev. They are awesome. All their pizzas are the same price, about $8 for regular crust pizza and $1 or $2 extra for gluten free crust. It's a very thin crust. But they allow you to add as many toppings as you want. And they have a wide selection of great veggies, cheeses, meats and sauces. I love super loaded "garbage" pizzas, but it's usually too expensive at other places. But I can go to PizzaRev and get a mega selection of toppings without breaking the bank. And their toppings are always fresh and high quality. No skimping.

My usual selection includes: red sauce, and maybe a little white sauce, some mozz, maybe a little ricotta and/or feta, pepperoni, sweet fennel sausage, and tons of veggies: mushrooms, red onions, kalamatas, green olives, garlic, basil, spinach, arugula, tomatoes, pineapple and pesto finishing sauce on top.

(I think there are other newer pizza chains that are also going with this concept. Pieology is one I've heard of, though I haven't been there yet.)
posted by marsha56 at 3:27 PM on August 19, 2014

Gorgonzola (or another suitable blue cheese) and smoked salmon.

It sounds weird and off-putting, but the two flavors really work well together.

You do not need much cheese for this recipe, as gorgonzola is a powerful in small doses.
posted by Mr. Six at 3:38 PM on August 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Pepperoni and pineapple is SO much better than ham and pineapple.
posted by Night_owl at 3:42 PM on August 19, 2014

Swap BBQ sauce in place of the pizza sauce - bonus points if the bbq sauce they have is smokey. This adds a whole new taste sensation to existing pizza toppings. That said, I am a fan of red onions, black olives, and feta cheese.
posted by VioletU at 3:50 PM on August 19, 2014

My homemade pizza preference: Afghan bread (that you can get at most Middle Eastern markets), cheeses and tomato sauces of your choice, sprinkled liberally with zaatar, and sujuk (very delicious spicy beef sausage). Someone please get on this so I can order it allthetimes.
posted by raztaj at 3:59 PM on August 19, 2014

I just made a pizza with some garlic/olive oil (instead of tomato sauce), duck, caramelized onions, artichokes, red pepper flakes and a bit of good cheese. It took the overcooked duck leftovers (I told him to only cook it to 160, but did he listen????) and made them into something amazing.

When I was in Korea, sweet potato pizza was the thing to get. But sweet potatoes there are purple. I've seen them in our local Asian market. Also corn. And a mayo drizzle. I didn't think I'd like Korea's idea of pizza, but I did.
posted by kathrynm at 4:09 PM on August 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

-goat cheese
-goat cheese
-goat cheese
-goat cheese
-goat cheese
posted by phunniemee at 4:17 PM on August 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

High end: Goat cheese.
Low end but delicious: Dip a slice in ranch dressing.
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:19 PM on August 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

Cashews! The Seventh Day Adventist pizza place near me had it and I got hooked! Mixes well with so many things.
posted by beccaj at 4:37 PM on August 19, 2014

I know artichoke hearts have been mentioned here, but I would say you don't even need to order it as a topping, my father buys big jars of it from Costco and keeps them, when he orders a pizza he either scatters them all over the whole thing or the individual slice (depending on the general rooms feelings on them). It's cheaper than ordering them as a topping, it lets you spice up a boring topping and you can usually have them around. You can do this for pretty much any ingredient that doesn't really need to be cooked I guess, but that's something he's found helpful.
posted by Carillon at 4:41 PM on August 19, 2014

- goat cheese, smoked salmon, and capers
- clams, like Lombardi's
- Crabmeat, scallops, shrimp, onions, green peppers, garlic butter, covered with mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. (From the Lost Dog Cafe)
- I've been getting these delicious small pizza crusts made with cornmeal and putting pesto, cheese, sometimes hummus, and thin-sliced zucchini, yellow squash, and mushrooms on top.
- I have also used apples, cheese, and honey on these crusts. Peaches with goat cheese and cinnamon would be good, but that's getting a bit away from pizza, I suppose.
- Trader Joe's suggests its lobster bisque as a pizza topping, and I look forward to putting it on the aforementioned crust when they bring that soup back for fall!
posted by jgirl at 5:43 PM on August 19, 2014

I really like ricotta cheese. Not instead of the tomato sauce, but in addition to it. Like, the ricotta is just another topping dolloped on top. That, with sliced garlic, fresh basil, and either sausage or fried eggplant, is amazing and not at all dry.

(W/r/t the crust: some people will dip it in marinara sauce, others prefer ranch dressing. Those of us in the know, though, dip their crusts in honey. That's the only way to go. Honey.)
posted by Weeping_angel at 5:54 PM on August 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

Jalepenos, pepperoni, and pineapple. Fire in the hole!
posted by Marinara at 6:04 PM on August 19, 2014

You might just periodically check The Cheese Board's pizza of the day list. Example odd pizza: Black Mission Fig, mozzarella and Danish blue cheese, arugula in a lemon vinaigrette. My usual spin on hawaiian pizza though is just to add green bell peppers.
posted by belau at 6:10 PM on August 19, 2014

Thin crust pizza, topped with freshly cut basil, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, a sprinkle of maldon sea salt, and a drizzle of very good olive oil?
posted by kathryn at 6:17 PM on August 19, 2014

On the topic of goat cheese, buy a tub of cheap crumbled goat at the grocery store and scatter (not quite as much as you think is enough) when the pizza gets there. That and a grind of fresh pepper will take a blah pizza a pretty long way. (Even Totino's. Shut up.)

Also, of course, Ranch dressing.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:28 PM on August 19, 2014

Some more pizza menus that may inspire you:

Mellow Mushroom
posted by SillyShepherd at 6:31 PM on August 19, 2014

Garlic pizza is awesome. Not sure if they do that in MI but so good. White pizza with clams. Margerita pizza (sauce, fresh mozz and basil) is never dry. Buffalo chicken pizza is also good but super greasy/gut bomby.
posted by shownomercy at 6:48 PM on August 19, 2014

A few that stick out in my mind:
- Frank Pepe's White Clam (fresh clams, fresh garlic, cheese, oregano, no sauce)
- Spaghetti and Meatball pizza - carb overload but surprisingly good
- Carbonara - Tomato sauce, mozzarella, Pancetta, sunny side up eggs, Parmesan and black pepper

Unfortunately, these might be hard for the average pizza shop to implement.
posted by neilbert at 7:03 PM on August 19, 2014

I used to live by a not very good pizza place that actually did have one very good topping: breaded eggplant. You can sometimes find rounds of frozen, breaded eggplant in the freezer section. Bake or fry, then top a pizza you've ordered with extra sauce. I also like a fried egg on pizza. Consider looking for frozen pizza dough at the grocery as well- it takes no more time to make a pizza at home than to order one and pick it up.
posted by oneirodynia at 7:24 PM on August 19, 2014

Feta cheese and bacon.
posted by thomas j wise at 7:39 PM on August 19, 2014

My favorite thing to get is normal sauce/cheese and chopped fresh tomato with breaded eggplant. You could also add pepperoni if you wanted. It's delightful. If you like normal pizza and you like Italian food, it's a good twist on classic flavors.

I'm also fond of some Indian pizzas I've tried. Tandoor or tikka sauce with cheese, paneer, tomato, red onion, green chili, cilantro, ginger, garlic, scallions. Mmmm.

Also, chicken finger pizzas. That's Buffalo wing sauce, bleu cheese, cheese and breaded chicken fingers in sauce.
posted by AppleTurnover at 7:41 PM on August 19, 2014

Don't get pizza! Domino's has mind-blowingly delicious hot sandwiches. I know this does not sound accurate, but please trust me. And I am one of those annoying-as-fuck San Francisco foodies who was like "Why does Dominos even exist here?!" Well did I ever have to eat a piece of humble pie! (#punintended LOL)

I always get the Mediterranean Veggie: "Roasted red peppers, banana peppers, diced tomatoes, fresh baby spinach, fresh onions, feta, provolone and American cheese. On artisan bread and baked to a golden brown." And boy howdy is this thing stuffed to the brim with delicious, melty, high-quality cheese and crazy-juicy vegetables. And you get a thing of marinara sauce into which the sandwich should be dipped. I've gained an embarrassing amount of weight just from ordering these sandwiches all the freaking time. And this is when I could be having Ike's or Patxi's or Little Star.

tl;dr: Get the Domino's hot sandwiches.
posted by Munching Langolier at 9:15 PM on August 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Make your own pizza! You'll never go back.
posted by oceanjesse at 3:57 AM on August 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

At Cottage Inn, try the Spicy Mediterranean. It is bready, but not too greasy, and tastes great.
posted by SandiBeech at 4:24 AM on August 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

Feta cheese, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes
posted by kirkaracha at 6:51 AM on August 20, 2014

This place on Oxford St in Sydney used to do a kind of omelette pizza. Tomatoe Pizza base then I guess they would pour over a mixture of slightly beaten raw eggs, green peas and some salami. then sprinkle some cheese on top.

It was awesome - like a pea and salami omelette on a pizza base.
posted by mary8nne at 7:03 AM on August 20, 2014

actually I guess its just like the Turkish style pide pizzas with egg and sausage. I had never made that connection.
posted by mary8nne at 7:04 AM on August 20, 2014

Since pizzas strike you as being dry, my main piece of advice is, never ever ever order something with chicken. Sometimes those pizzas can be tasty/flavorful, but they always seem dry to me.

Different pizza places put different amounts of sauce on it. Ask around and find someplace that considers themselves to have "famous sauce".

About 10 years ago I ordered a roasted red pepper and tomato pizza from Dominos and it was the best thing I'd had in ages - salty, saucy, and moist. I tried it later at a different Dominos and it didn't have quite the impact, but it was a sauce/tomato issue, the roasted red peppers were still a good idea.
posted by aimedwander at 7:20 AM on August 20, 2014

You mentioned not liking that the pizza is dry, so I recommend dipping it in something yummy! Basically, dip it like a breadstick. :) A lot of people like to do this with Ranch dressing, but I personally cannot stand Ranch dressing, so I do blue cheese. You can order little containers from most pizza places, but you will save a lot of money by just buying a bottle of blue cheese dressing (or Ranch, etc.) and stashing it in the fridge. You could do the same thing with marinara sauce...heat it up in the microwave and dip away.
posted by rainbowbrite at 7:25 AM on August 20, 2014

Fresh garlic and prosciutto! You'll wonder why you haven't been eating it your entire life.

I'll also give the thumbs up for ranch dressing - as trashy as it sounds, there's just something really delicious about how the creamy ranch plays with the tomato sauce.

A remedy for dry pizza - extra sauce. Order it just like any other topping (not as a dip on the side). It really makes a difference (and really works well with the ranch dressing). Also, ordering a lot of toppings (veggies especially) on the same pizza will ensure that it won't be dry.
posted by MsVader at 8:47 AM on August 20, 2014

I say this every time weird pizza toppings come up, ham and sauerkraut. The sauerkraut goes on top of the cheese. It gets nicely browned and comes out tasting salty/sweet. The other toppings stay moist.
posted by Eddie Mars at 10:52 AM on August 20, 2014

The Mellow Mushroom Red Skin Potato Pie is fantastic: "Olive oil and garlic base with sliced roasted red potatoes, Applewood smoked bacon, caramelized onions, cheddar and mozzarella cheeses. Garnished with chives then drizzled with sour cream and spicy ranch dressing."

If you just want more liquid, then double, triple, or quadruple the mushrooms. Get it right and the pizza is drowning in mushroom juice.
posted by telophase at 11:32 AM on August 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

Green olives and pepperoni on thin, chewy crust. Soooooo salty and delicious.
posted by theora55 at 8:00 PM on August 20, 2014

Something which I learned about a couple of years ago: most pizza places will sell you pizza dough. (yes, I know that making pizza dough isn't terribly difficult, but it is awfully easy to buy it on the way home from work)

This means that you can just throw any and all toppings on your pizza, cook the crust at your desired thinness, and enjoy your dinner.
posted by sciencegeek at 3:00 AM on August 21, 2014

Thin crust, pepperoni, olives and roasted garlic.
posted by Splunge at 8:55 AM on August 21, 2014

Erbelli's has super saucy sauce. Bimbo's house special puts a ton of juicy gunk on top of the pizza.
posted by rebent at 9:07 AM on September 4, 2014

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