The Slice As Big As Your Head - A Report From The Road - Swampy's Kitchen Blog at - 188604

Swampy's Kitchen

The Slice As Big As Your Head - a report from the road 
Aug. 3, 2010 8:07 am 
Updated: Aug. 16, 2010 8:31 pm
(I mentioned in my last blog that I get to travel for work and when I do travel, I get to try various styles of regional cuisine & regional culinary legends. In March of 2009 I wrote up my first visit to one of these restaurants to see if what they say on TV about the food was really true. I realize it’s a leftover and that we all prefer fresh but I thought it might give all of you an idea as to where we are coming from & where we will be going.)

Now those 2 or 3 of you that actually read my blogs know that I have an affinity for food – eating it, cooking it and watching it on TV. I have written about it. I have taken pictures of it. I have shared recipes which I think haven’t killed anyone yet but if they died, they aren’t talking so who cares. One of the very few side benefits of my job is that I do get to travel and I do get to make my own schedule so I can make it fit my own needs every once in a while and that is what I did this past Monday when I needed to head back to Georgia for an early morning meeting on Tuesday.

Now a few weeks back I mentioned a tremendous new show on the Travel Channel called Man vs Food where the host, Adam Richman, travels around the country visiting different cities and attempting the various food challenges at the various restaurants, diners & dives that he visits. On his trip to , he went north of the city to the town of to visit the BIG PIE IN THE SKY PIZZERIA - the home of the 11 lb “Carnivore Challenge” and the slices as BIG AS YOUR HEAD. Adam and his local eating partner attempted to eat this 30” 11lb 5 meat pizza in one hour for the prize of $250 in house money but like all the comers before them, they failed. Now I go to Georgia on business on a regular basis so I knew that it was only going to be a matter of time before I found myself in that neck of the nape with a hankering for a SLICE AS BIG AS MY HEAD.

Imagine my delight when I realized that a meeting I was scheduling with a major client would have me driving right past the place at dinner time. I braved a major northeast snowstorm and flew into with just a minimal delay on Monday night. I grabbed my Toyota Rav4 from National Car Rental (it was that or a PT Cruiser again), programmed the address into the GPS and started north. rush hour traffic does suck but when you know a SLICE AS BIG AS YOUR HEAD is waiting for you at the other end, it becomes a bit more tolerable.

I wended my way up I-75, found my exit and pulled up to a small Publix strip mall where the BIG PIE IN THE SKY PIZZERIA was located. I grabbed my camera & my appetite and headed inside. It was your basic dive. Linoleum tables with metal frame chairs. A TV playing in the corner but the place was absolutely packed. There was a big “As seen on MAN VS FOOD” painted in the window and a whiteboard to the left of the cashier spelled out the “Carnivore Challenge” rules. While I waited in line I debated as to what I should order and I decided that to truly judge the pizza, I had to try a plain SLICE AS BIG AS YOUR HEAD because no matter how fancy the trimmings, if the foundation is no good, then the fixings won’t matter. I also noticed while standing in line that the kid who had thrown up during the Man vs Food challenge was actually working in the kitchen (was this a good sign ?) and that the hot blonde from the show was working on the cash register (definitely a good sign). I placed my order for a SLICE AS BIG AS YOUR HEAD and a sweet tea, paid my $5 and headed over to a table to wait.

I was beginning to feel pretty good about this as I saw a giant 30” pizza come out of the kitchen and get delivered to the table full of rednecks next to me (they had truck, nascar & skoal hats on – it wasn’t a wild guess). They all dove in with gusto but I did notice that some of them were actually cutting the slices in half so I had to question their pizza eating ability despite the fact that the it was a pie made up of a variety of meats and SLICES AS BIG AS YOUR HEAD. I sipped my watered down sweet tea (not a good sign) as I watched & waited for my SLICE AS BIG AS YOUR HEAD to come out of the kitchen. When I finally saw the waitress walk out with it, I waved her over and gazed upon the SLICE AS BIG AS YOUR HEAD for the first time…

That sucker was big. Smelled pretty good too but was it really a SLICE AS BIG AS YOUR HEAD ? Only one way to truly find out….

Yep – it was and I don’t exactly have a small melon…

I grabbed the red pepper flakes because no piece of pizza is truly complete without red pepper flakes and had to use about half the bottle to cover this SLICE AS BIG AS YOUR HEAD. Then I tried to pick it up for that first bite…

Not an easy task when you are trying to do it one handed and take a picture at the same time. I had to put the camera down in order to give it a true New York Fold and I took that first bite…

Suffice to say, this was one of those cases where size was all that mattered and was all it had going for it. No matter how you slice it, a SLICE AS BIG AS YOUR HEAD of bad pizza is still an awful lot of bad pizza. The crust was so tough that it could have been used as a chew toy for a rabid wolverine. The pizza sauce was the right color but it was tasteless and lacking in all areas of flavor. The cheese was generic and obviously did not come from happy cows. I sat there chewing on that first bite while trying to rationalize in my head that maybe I had built this pizza up too much beforehand but when I took that second bite, I knew it was going to be a long time eating it. I even almost broke a crown trying to chew the crust but I did get the whole SLICE AS BIG AS YOUR HEAD down somehow and I decided not to push my luck and order a 2nd slice for comparison. I was too disappointed.

I walked back out to my manly rental car and drove north with memories of the SLICE AS BIG AS YOUR HEAD receding in my rearview.

(It’s been a year & a half since I tried the SLICE AS BIG AS YOUR HEAD and it is still the biggest culinary disappointment I have come across and I have suffered quite a few.

That’s it for now from Swampy’s Kitchen - Tune in next time when we visit another culinary legend and give you an honest opinion & another shovelful of useless prose.)
The Slice As Big As Your Head
Photo Detail
It's Bigger Than My Head
Photo Detail
It's hard to photograph and bite it at the same time
Photo Detail
All you need is a good New York Fold
Photo Detail
Aug. 3, 2010 8:48 am
I think I am one of your 2 or 3 readers! Too bad they only get attention for quantity and not quality. Thanks for helping me avoid that place!
Aug. 3, 2010 8:51 am
Well I appreciate the 2 or 3 of you out there Dog Fish Head aka Fabius. The kids in the place seemed to like it but what do they know ? It was all about the novelty for them.
Aug. 3, 2010 9:10 am
Man! I saw your pics and started salivating for NY pizza but then i read your blog and was soooo disappointed for you!!!! Great story. Try and get some great pizza to 'wash away' the memories of this one. Anyway, good thing you still have your dental work intact,hahah!
Aug. 3, 2010 9:53 am
Sorry about your disappointment. To me, crust is everything!
Aug. 3, 2010 10:13 am
I'm here in NYC Mom's Diner but I am on Park Ave north of Grand central - we don't have any great pizza joints around here. I do love my Don Pepi's before every NY Rangers game.
Aug. 3, 2010 10:14 am
Hey Sus@n - it was but one meal - there will always be more. I may have to write about the Arcade Restaurant in Memphis next.
Aug. 3, 2010 10:23 am
disappointing! In the picture that pizza looked fabulous!! Do you have any new york style thin pizza recipes that you would recommend making? Always looking for a good pizza as I live in the FL Keys and we have none around!
Aug. 3, 2010 10:33 am
My wife makes our pizza at home angermanns and she doesn't do a typical NY Style thin Crust because that is everyone makes where we are. Sorry I can't help.
Aug. 3, 2010 10:48 am
Wow, AR's very own version of Drive-Ins, Diners, and Dives! I guess I'll stop in to see your further adventures....even if you're a Rangers fan! :")
Aug. 3, 2010 4:14 pm
I'll be checking up on some of those stops to see if that food is really as good as they claim it is on TV - the real quality comes through when the TV cameras aren't around.....and you must be an "ice chickens" fan.... B-)
Aug. 4, 2010 4:42 am
I was so hoping the taste would be "BIG", too. :o(
Aug. 4, 2010 5:03 am
Actually I'm a Capitals fan via their AHL affiliate - the Hershey Bears. Don't like the Pens nor their mascot Sindey.
Aug. 4, 2010 5:32 am
See Doug you have more than 2 or 3 readers!
Aug. 4, 2010 6:11 am
Hi Doug, If you want a really good SLICE OF PIZZA AS BIG AS YOUR HEAD you need to go the the Woodshed Bar which is located at the far end of the Seaside Heights Boardwalk in New Jersey. The slices are bigger than the ones shown and really really good. Mag
Aug. 4, 2010 10:17 am
Thanks for sharing! Bummer that it wasn't better but I'm glad you went so you could share it with us here.
Aug. 4, 2010 3:56 pm
thanks for stopping by Hezzy_tant_Cook - I'm hoping for better results on my next trip
Aug. 4, 2010 3:57 pm
I may not like the Caps banshezmom but I like the ice chickens even less
Aug. 4, 2010 3:59 pm
We are headed to the shore later this month yo.mags - if we can brave the situation, we may check in on your suggestion - thanks
Aug. 4, 2010 4:00 pm
Thanks Cat - I am going to Salt Lake City next week to check out the Red Iguana.
Aug. 5, 2010 4:13 am
Thanks for sharing your experience (and making me crave pizza!), Doug. I, too, look forward to reading more of your culinary adventures...If you ever find yourself in the middle of nowhere, PA, check out Denny's Beer Barrel in Clearfield PA...
Aug. 5, 2010 5:10 am
trust me, I am well aware of Denny's - my office's Culinary Idol - Kate Stelnick - was the first to best the burger challenge. I hope to one day visit this shrine.
Aug. 5, 2010 10:54 am
I love watching that show and my husband & I always talk about hitting some of the places that are featured (& also on triple D). Wow, disappointing - just goes to show you bigger isn't always better!
Aug. 5, 2010 11:01 am
Doug looks like you have more readers than you think! I watch that show all the time and saw that segment. Too bad, nothing worse than a whole lot of bad food. What a dissapointment, you built it up so well though! So did Adam Richman. He is fun to watch as you are a fun read!
Aug. 5, 2010 11:23 am
I am regularly dissappointed by "great" places. Living on the gulf coast I pictured plates of steaming shrimp, bubbly gumbo, and biscuits and gravy to die for. Imagine my surprise when the best place to eat is at home.
Aug. 5, 2010 1:17 pm
This was indeed a fun read and I liked the honest feedback! I'll check back again to see what you are up to next. Now... off to break my diet and get GOOD pizza for dinner!!
Aug. 5, 2010 3:37 pm
Too bad it was disappointing. Your blog was a very interesting read. Thank you for writing it. This past weekend, I was able to visit a resturant featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. I have to say I was not disappointed and it was as good as they portrayed it to be.
Aug. 5, 2010 6:10 pm
You big galoot. Hilarious. Next time you see my relatives, you know the rednecks wearing truck, Nascar and Skoal hats? That's Darryl, Darryl and their other brother Bubba. Say howdy for me!! ;)
Aug. 5, 2010 6:50 pm
This was a fun read and I am sorry you were not fond of the slice as big as your head! I do like that show and the three D's too. They are fun to watch. Better luck next time!!!
Aug. 5, 2010 8:27 pm
Great story. Sorry A SLICE AS BIG AS YOUR HEAD! had no substance, but made for a funny memory!
Aug. 5, 2010 11:44 pm
Great post! You can up your readership to at least 3 or 4 now, as I will be following! A SABAYHsounds like a good waste of food. Bummer!
Aug. 6, 2010 3:39 am
I adore pizza, as most americans :) jumbo slice in DC is amazing
Aug. 6, 2010 4:59 am
Wow - I walk away from the computer for a night and BAM all of sudden a bunch of you appear....well let me set some more places at the table and get another jug out from the root cellar. Thanks to all for stopping in.
Aug. 6, 2010 5:01 am
Karen P - I am sure that not every place will be a let down - I did get to the Hash House A Go Go in Las Vegas last year and it was every bit as good as on TV. Thanks for commenting.
Aug. 6, 2010 5:02 am
Peggy Mitchell - thanks for stopping in. the one place & challenge I want to try is the Habanero Balls in Portland. Now to find a work reason to go.
Aug. 6, 2010 5:03 am
I agree RLOGANO1 - the best food is at home - go check my pictures of my crawfish pie and tell me if they pass the Gulf Coast test
Aug. 6, 2010 5:04 am
I hope you found that GOOD pizza for your dinner KDizzle
Aug. 6, 2010 5:07 am
Hi Joan - I am glad that your experience was a good one - Tuesday night I am hitting a DDD restaurant so look for a blog on Wednesday.
Aug. 6, 2010 5:08 am
Oh I am pretty sure SouthernGma that I set next to those boys when I went to the Arcade in Memphis for the Peanut Butter & Banana Sandwich....story on that one to come
Aug. 6, 2010 5:09 am
Hey grannygigi - thanks for coming by - I will be on the road again next week so keep an eye for another report
Aug. 6, 2010 5:11 am
That's exactly why I do it He's Not the Apple of My Pie - it makes for a great story whether it's good or bad. And now for a question, if not apple in your pie, what kind of fruit is in it ?
Aug. 6, 2010 5:13 am
Thanks for commenting Good EatNZ - I have to admit, my latent new yorkerism probably was showing through as I bit into that slice because the people all around me seemed to be enjoying themselves. Of course if this was the only pizza I got to eat, I might think it was good too.
Aug. 6, 2010 5:14 am
ncolquett - there are a lot of good everythings down in the DC area - can you get good pizza in the UK ?
Aug. 16, 2010 1:35 am
I just ran across your blog tonight and love it. With two culinary students in the house, food is now the main focus. I'm not a big fan of Man vs Food, just because it seems to be a lot of hype and drama with the food, but hey. So sorry the pizza sucked. Since I am completely addicted to pizza in any form, I was trying to imagine how bad it might really be with melted cheese in a form you could pick up, but I understand your swampy taste buds were offended! *wink* Did you notice that the more you learn about food, the less you buy in the middle of the store, and the less you like what is offered in restaurants? That is happening at our house. Things we've loved for years are now off the shopping list because we read (and understood) the labels. But, gotta say that melted cheese is melted cheese, and you can always pass your leftovers my way.
Aug. 16, 2010 8:31 pm
Hey KittyFanatic - not a lot of leftovers in this house - my 3 swamprats do a pretty good job of wiping out what is on the plate. Mrs Swampy is italian so when it comes to pizza, the swamprats are spoiled. I know they would have rejected this pizza as standard bouncy house party fare. Have fun with those culinary students and stop by next week when I talk about my trip to The Red Iguana.
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Doug Matthews

Home Town
Princeton, New Jersey, USA
Living In
Mendham, New Jersey, USA

Member Since
Mar. 2000

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Baking, Grilling & BBQ, Stir Frying, Slow Cooking, Asian, Mexican, Southern, Healthy, Kids, Quick & Easy

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About Me
My mother decided early on that her sons would never have to rely on someone to feed them so we all learned to cook at an early age. I really started to branch out when I moved out west to Denver, SF & Dallas. Combine that with extended business travel to Louisiana & my growing love of spices and you get a real mix of flavors.
My favorite things to cook
Love to make cajun food with my favorites being crawfish pie, alligator stew & alligator chili - I go nuts on Super Bowl Sunday
My favorite family cooking traditions
We didn't have a lot of traditions per se but you could count on pancakes or waffles on sundays - dad making scrambled eggs twice a year on christmas morning & mother's day - veal parmagiana on christmas eve, Thanksgiving with Grandma Matthews and any menu of your choice on your birthday. We weren't a spicy family so I learned a lot of good strong basics in the kitchen from Mom that I have carried over into my cooking today.
My cooking triumphs
I love to experiment with variations of dishes I try around the country. My biggest success is here on allrecipes where I had 2 recipes published in the same cookbook - Southwestern Turkey Soup & Curried Carrot Soup. I think my corn muffins are a great starting point and my alligator chili has become a much requested Super Bowl favorite.
My cooking tragedies
There have been a few times in the past where I tossed everything and took everyone to a restaurant instead. I'm not too proud to say my cooking is awful when it really is.
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