(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.)