First up… Savannah, Georgia’s Holy Shiitake Pizza at Mellow Mushroom. I live in Savannah, so it’s only natural that I tackle it first. There are tons of Mellow Mushrooms to choose from, even outside of Georgia, but since it was started in the 70s in Georgia, I guess we get to claim it. I have to admit, I was a little nervous about this decision to eat 50 pizzas and blog about it. I’m not a blogger, nor am I a food critic, but I thought, what the hell? If Miley Cyrus can be an artist, Tim Tebow can be a quarterback, and turkey can masquerade as every other meat on the planet… I’m a blogging food critic. Let’s start by recapping Zagat’s review of the pizza:
“Mellow Mushroom is super consistent in their theme. From the decor to the pizza titles, they’re a psychedelic joint who likes to have fun. And that translates to their pizzas. The Holy Shiitake pie is incredibly loaded: it has shiitake, button and Portobello mushrooms, caramelized onions, mozzarella and Montamore cheeses, garlic aïoli, black truffle oil, fresh chives and shaved Parmesan. Holy shiitake is right: there are so many elements here that it’s hard to decide which one probably makes it best, but we’re now wondering why we’ve never put aïoli on a pizza before.” (Photo credit below and above review below to Zagat and this article.)
As Carla and I parked and walked to Mellow Mushroom, that was when the nerves set in… For those of you keeping track, you may have just caught that in the last blog I said we were walking… It’s cold outside, and Carla told her coworkers that she couldn’t go out for Happy Hour, so we were sneaky-bandit pizza critiquing and walking would have made us too vulnerable to both the polar vortex and coworker judgments. I digress… As we walked in, I decided to own this pizza critic thing, puffed my chest out, and walked with purpose to the hostess stand and told her we needed a table for two. She told me I was at the to-go station and pointed me to the actual hostess stand.
Now, I have been in more Mellow Mushrooms than I can even remember. I love Mellow. I was sorely disappointed when I saw the Holy Shiitake pizza was to be not only the pizza chosen for the entire state of Georgia, but for Mellow Mushroom. I generally stick to my classic pepperoni and jalapeno, but in the name of the ancient Greek god Zagat, I powered through.
A little about my co-pilot, Carla, because she is sure to show up on another adventure… Carla is crazy. I love her, but she’s cray cray, and I mean that in the best way. She is absolutely convinced that iceberg lettuce will kill her; in fact, tonight, when we sat down, she said, “I’m going to tell the server that I’m allergic to iceberg lettuce and don’t you tell on me!!!” She ended up not telling this fib, but the amount that most people hate racism, ignorance, or poverty… that is the same amount that Carla hates iceberg lettuce. Now tonight, Carla didn’t play pizza critic with me… I say she’s crazy for a reason… She’s tried every whacky diet and supplement ever posted on CraigsList. Currently, Carla is on the Atkins Diet, so she couldn’t eat pizza with me. Generally when I hear other people say things like this about their friends, I picture something different. Carla is 5’4″, teeny, gorgeous, and even though she’s 10ish years older than me, people generally think we’re the same age. Of course I assume she’s young and gorgeous looking, not that I look 10 years older. In fact, New Year’s Eve, I had to tell my own date to take his friendly paws off of her. 🙂
Now, now… back to the pizza… I ordered a small Holy Shiitake pizza, desperately just wanting my normal Jerk Chicken Sandwich or Pepperoni and Jalapeno Pizza, while Carla ordered a Chef Salad… Spring Mix only. No green peppers. No croutons. No happiness.
I had a glass of wine, and Carla(tkins) watched, while we caught up, and I found that I was still really anxious about this pizza. I decided that I needed to take photos, since I would be blogging about it, but I didn’t want to be THAT girl. I was already rocking my Ugg Boots (again, Polar Vortex… get off me), so that last thing I wanted other restaurant patrons to see was me snapping photos that were sure to be uploaded to Instagram #pizzawednesday #yummm #jealz. If you know me at all, you know that I can only operate Instagram while drinking, and I upload photos from cabs, Elton John concerts, and Taco Bell… exclusively.
When my pizza arrived, I nervously (and flashlessly because there was no way in Hades I was going to get caught taking food photos), snapped this one:
So let’s talk comparision of my photo versus Zagat’s photo. I was clearly shorted on the shaved parmesan cheese versus the crumbled stuff above, and I’m pretty sure that there were only button mushrooms and portabellas, and lastly, I suspect there was nothing but mozzarella, but I didn’t even care. Whatever they did, they did it right. I have been going to Mellow Mushrooms, and not infrequently, for almost 10 years, and I can’t believe I’ve never tried this pizza. The caramelized onions were a perfect pairing with the mushrooms, and the garlic aoili just tied it all together. The garlic was heavy, which I am only noticing now that I’m home, but it was perfect on the pizza, and I didn’t even notice it at the time. Mellow Mushroom’s pizzas have this crust that is almost pretzel-like, and I’ve never experienced it anywhere else. If you haven’t been to a Mellow Mushroom yet, go. Order this pizza, order any pizza, but always… always order a side of Esperanza to dunk your crust. I was dreading this pizza. I don’t know why, because I’ve always loved Mellow Mushroom, but I was skeptical of this pizza. Actually, that’s why I put it first on the list. I thought if I started with the worst first, we couldn’t go anywhere but up. I have been happily proven wrong.
PS-Don’t worry, kids. Crazy Carla assures me that once she’s done, she’ll try the same pizza and guest blog about it!