If you know me, you know I like Detroit pizza. A thick, crunchy crust; smooth, stretchy cheese; spicy, insanely greasy pepperoni; and a nice, mild marinara sauce. So when I saw that Monroe, Michigan-based Tiffany’s Pizza dared to offer up a mashed potato pizza on the menu, I was completely disgusted and enamored at the same time.
So wait – you mean to tell me that not only do they have the audacity to question the wisdom of the ages and replace pizza sauce with mashed potatoes, but they throw in a couple tubes of sour cream to go with it, too? This is simply madness, complete sacrilege! The owner of Tiffany’s Pizza literally rose to prominence in Detroit’s pizza ovens, first at Stromboli’s and then at Dino’s in the suburbs. What could have driven him to such lengths, such heights of pizza insanity along the Raisin River?
Lost in my wild thoughts, I almost didn’t hear the kind cashier call out my name, the mashed potato pizza arriving to me on – of course – a silver platter. Holding the first slice in my hand, it felt unreal, impossible to comprehend. Are those chives? Is that bacon? Exactly how many carbs are on this pizza? Could I die from eating this?
Yes, there’s no bacon on those slices. I do have some sense of propriety.
I looked at the pizza again, my suspicion growing. Oh my God, I really am going to die, I decided.
Undaunted by my grim realization, I took a bite, anyway. There are worse ways to go, you know. The potatoes, the dough – it all swirled in my mouth, a confused mess. What was happening to me? My very life flashed before my eyes, a disappointingly endless stream of carbs and grease that tasted a lot like mashed potatoes.
Eventually, the gustatory overload mercifully subsided into a manageable buzz, and I could think again. And oh yeah, the pizza. If I had to describe it, I guess I’d say the pizza tasted “cute”. Somehow, though, it never quite came together, this unholy marriage of potato and dough, this ill-fated union of star-crossed doom. The bacon was perhaps the sole saving grace, satisfying in the way bacon always is. The blend of mozzarella and cheddar was a little weak and as I squeezed out sour cream from a tube, I felt like maybe they should’ve given me pad of butter and medium-well steak while they were at it, too. That would’ve be the all-American way to go, right?
Clearly, as always, there was a lesson to be gleaned from all this: there are some foods you shouldn’t mess with. Pizza is definitely one of those, right up there with hamburgers and tacos. You can dress a pizza up all you want, but when there are so few places that can still do traditional pizza correctly, it’s wasted energy. Just make a good pizza, and everyone will be ecstatic.
Then again, maybe I’m being a bit too harsh. Tiffany’s is offering up the mashed potato pizza as a novelty, a sideshow attraction for jaded pizza consumers. Their standard pies are darn good, if not especially remarkable.What I’m really trying to say, then, is that if you’re going to sell me a mashed potato pizza for $17, you better have earned that right. I can get a large classic Buddy’s Detroiter for that price, and this pizza didn’t quite convince me.