The New Domino's Pizza Recipe: An Extended Taste Test Review From Both Coasts (And an Appreciation of Domino's Exquisite Online User Experience)
Mary HK Choi: Really quick background question: were you prompted to eat Domino's because of their new ad campaign?
David Cho: Oh for sure, I'd been watching those commercials for the last couple of weeks.
Mary: Me too.
David: They make a really compelling argument!
Mary: Agreed. There's something about contrition that makes me want to throw money at it.
Mary: Was the line "When they said our sauce tasted like ketchup it broke my heart" what got you?
Mary: Because it definitely did me.
David: Not to mention the guarantee.
David: What percentage of people ever actually follow through with something like that, to go to the trouble of saying, "I'M NOT SATISFIED WITH THIS PIZZA, GIMME MY MONEY BACK"?
Mary: So from a business standpoint you respect their G also?
David: Yeah, I just like when brands prey on people's laziness by making promises that seem to mean more than they actually do.
David: Very savvy.
David: I also like 40% more herbs in the sauce.
Mary: You love numbers.
David: I LOVE CBS HOUR-LONG DRAMAS!
Mary: Final background question: How often did you eat Domino's before the new formula?
David: Not much really.
David: My fast food pizza allegiance lies with Papa John's.
David: I think I would eat anything covered in that garlic butter.
Mary: Even more so than the mom and pop fold 'em up New York pizza parlors?
David: 95% of the pizza in this city is not as good as Papa John's, based solely on the garlic butter.
Mary: POWERFUL statement. And one I do not totally disagree with.
David: But let me qualify that comment by saying that it's really like comparing apples and oranges.
Mary: Right. Like how Taco Bell is not Mexican food so much as its own food group.
David: But I just say that because a lot of uppity people sleep on Papa John's because they're like, OH I HAVE TO GO TO LUZZO'S OR DI FARA'S OR WTF-EVER.
Mary: Right. We are excluding all pizza parlors you have to wait forever like an asshole for, because that shit is some fetishistic annoying "foodie" shit.
David: I mean I get that it's delicious, but Papa John's has its own charm and delicious-ness too!
Mary: Of course and you and I are lazies so we like when they bring it to us, and bring lots of it.
Mary: With SAUCE!
Mary: So let's talk about the damn pie.
David: I once went to a friend's house 20 blocks away one time because Papa John's doesn't deliver to my neighborhood.
PART ONE: THE SAUCE. 40% MORE HERBS T/F???
Mary: And by "herbs" I mean, things that make it taste like it has more layers of flavor.
Mary: Because who knows if they are real herbs.
David: It's better though!
David: It tastes more like something!
Mary: More salty? T/F?
David: VERY MUCH MORE SALTY.
Mary: Better for sure.
Mary: And slightly more sweet.
David: HERE'S A WORD OF ADVICE TO ANYONE WHO'S THINKING OF ORDERING A DOMINO'S PIZZA
David: Do NOT get Italian sausage on it unless you are prepared for a very high level of salty AND sweetness created by the combo of the sausage and sauce.
Mary: Which was my folly, for half my pie.
Mary: Let's discuss crust.
Mary: Because we should've worked outside in.
PART TWO: THE CRUST. THOUGHTS?
David: Yes, Mary?
Mary: I detected more yellowish butter flavor crystals.
David: You're doing the crust a disservice
David: If you get this new pizza, the crust is THE KEY.
Mary: I agree.
Mary: And it's TASTY with the new sauce.
David: The highest praise I could give this crust is that it tastes like BREAD STIX™.
Mary: This is absolutely accurate.
David: Isn't that what we always want from our pizza crust though?
Mary: Well, you and I do. we've discussed that we prefer this to the "cracker" crust.
Mary: Texturally as well. Good pushback. Toothsome, as it were.
David: JUST LIKE I LIKE MY WOMEN.
David: Which actually isn't true at all.
Mary: I know.
Mary: You like rexi bitches.
David: BE SUBMISSIVE LIKE A GOOD ASIAN LADY KTHXBAI.
Mary: AND THIN THIIIIN.
Mary: Actually not like that second "thin," it's too fat.
David: So final answer: Domino's crust is nothing like girls that I want to date and the one's that your mother wishes you were more like.
Mary: YES. And yellow.
Mary: There wasn't however a cheese element to the crust right?
Mary: Because now I am getting confused because the bread stix do.
David: No cheese, all garlic I thought.
David: Buttery and garlicky.
David: Well, there's two things
David: 1) bread stix.
David: 2) CHEESY stix.
David: Yeah, so a bread stick/x can just be with the glaze and the taste.
Mary: OK. Correct. Let's talk dough as a different factor from crust.
David: Not different at all.
David: Which I'm OK with.
David: My pizza palate isn't like the ones of pizza bloggers where they talk about "the hole."
Mary: I thought it was sturdy and good.
David: Yeah, tasted fine.
David: DID NOT BREAK.
Mary: OK. Let's talk cheese.
PART THREE: CHEESE. IS IT DIFFERENT?
David: So the last claim of the Domino's commercial is that they're using higher quality cheese with a blend.
Mary: I thought it was a more complex cheese flavor than the usual white epoxy cheese that they use.
Mary: It didn't taste like, say, a fresh buffalo mozz because that expectation is crazytown.
David: How do you think it compared as an "upgrade" compared to the sauce and crust though?
Mary: I did not think it was as marked an upgrade as crust and sauce.
Mary: BUT also a little saltier.
David: Are you sure that wasn't your sausage or sauce though?
Mary: The one thing I did notice was there was less cheese.
Mary: But I ordered mine in Los Angeles.
David: Really? Mine had a TON of cheese.
David: My roommate commented that it was almost "too cheesy"
Mary: Mischief's afoot.
Mary: I always pick off all the cheese.
Mary: Rearrange all the fixin's.
Mary: And then redistribute the cheese.
Mary: But in LA I did not have to.
David: So I guess the takeaway is don't order pizza from Domino's in LA?
Mary: Also, you're right. I have no idea about sausage saltiness as a factor for the cheese. Because that sausage salt cauterized my tongue into one giant pulsing tastebud.
David: Wait, do you do that with pizza here?
David: Like you go to a pizza place and rearrange the pizza to your likings?
Mary: All the time.
David: Oh gosh.
David: Your hands must get GROSS.
Mary: Well sure.
Mary: But I am a disgusting eating partner.
Mary: At least, I blot and then redistribute.
David: So high maint.
Mary: And then I start wheedling whoever I'm with for their crust before anyone has gotten there.
Mary: And maybe have some of their drink because I love fountain soda
David: Oh man.
David: I was at the Subway on Houston and Mott the other day
David: And I got a $5 footlong and some dude was trying to go get a refill at the fountain soda machine.
David: And the proprietor was like, "No, 50 cents for a refill!"
David: I found that for some reason very, very disturbing.
Mary: You should.
Mary: That's deplorable.
Mary: It's like 3 cents worth of syrup for fuck's sake.
David: I KNOW.
David: They also don't have three types of "meat" in their Cold Cut Combo, but don't get me started.
Mary: Did you know that in Starbucks they won't give you a refill if you've ever stepped outside with your cup?
David: The economy is ruining our fast food.
Mary: I used to just carry the one 20oz cup from sbux to sbux and get refills for a dime.
Mary: I also used to totally want kidney stones obvi.
Mary: ANYWAY. Let's talk about my folly and then move to our favorite thing about D's.
PART FOUR: WE HAVE OTHER THOUGHTS ON DOMINO'S.
David: What other takeaways did we have from our respective Domino's ordering experiences?
Mary: The customer service.
Mary: So I didn't get the two medium, two toppings for $5.99.
Mary: Which was INSANE of me.
Mary: I know.
Mary: I got a large, with willy nilly toppings, and spent a fortune, and I got half this, half that.
David: What toppings did you get, and what toppings would you recommend?
Mary: i got pepp on the other side and almost made myself turn into jerky.
Mary: SO salty.
Mary: With olives.
Mary: Almost died.
Mary: I would actually suggest going veggies?
Mary: And I know that's bananas.
Mary: But it's honestly what I'd do. Like olives and onions or some shit. The sodium nitrate bombs are too intense.
Mary: I was parched for days.
David: Well. I DID get the 2 medium 2-toppings for $5.99 each.
Mary: Because you're a champion.
Mary: And good with numbers.
David: And I got one with pepperoni and onion.
David: And the other with sausage and spinach.
Mary: OOOOH spinach!
Mary: I never do that.
David: Both of which were a little salty, but I would RECOMMEND STILL.
David: That brings us to what I LOVED about my Domino's experience: ORDERING AND USER EXPERIENCE.
David: So, when you order a Domino's online, it's like a video game in which you make your own pizzas!
Mary: Indeed! And it's an incredibly intuitive user experience.
David: They have this pizza that you add toppings and then when you click them they show up on the screen!
Mary: And your half toppings show up too.
David: Even my spinach decision was based on how nice the spinach looked on screen!
David: And I chose not to get black olives for that same reason!
David: It's really incredible.
Mary: And they keep "your Domino's" on file, which is nice.
David: I'm not sure I want people being able to trace that back to me?
David: Never leave a paper trail.
David: SO that's great? But also?
David: They have this thing that let's you TRACK YOUR PIZZA WHILE IT'S GETTING MADE.
David: AND THE PIZZA TRACKER IS UNBELIEVABLE.
Mary: IT IS.
David: Mine told me at what stage of preparation my pizza was in AND who was doing it.
David: LUIS CHECKED MY PIZZA'S QUALITY.
David: SERGIO DELIVERED IT.
David: AND I confirmed with my delivery guy that his name was in fact Sergio!
David: Like, isn't this the future?
David: Has the Internet ever been used more effectively
Mary: Not even one time.
David: SORRY, GOOGLE.
Mary: But again, the intuitiveness? There's something so human about being satisfied when a little bar tells you that your pizza has come out of the oven.
Mary: There's nothing worse than having no gauge for when your order will appear.
Mary: Other than "it's been longer than 45 minutes."
Mary: Because whenever you call? They tell you it's on the way. And sometimes? It's just not. And you know it's not!
David: If there was a way that Seamless Web could integrate this into my order of hot wings, it would be UNREAL.
David: A boy can dream I guess.
Mary: I need a little handholding with seamless.
Mary: A little personal touch.
Mary: Like SERGIO.
David: So. Final thoughts?
Mary: We will not be asking for our money back
Mary: Also, I would do this again. Even though their pasta in the bread bowl things make me want to barf.
Mary: ALSO. They do have Coke Zero? Not in fountain yet, but in bottle, and it's good.
David: I'VE HAD THE PIZZA BREAD BOWL!
David: That's a separate chat though.
Mary: Yes it is, you big fucking fatso grossmonster.
David: I AM SVELTE AND ASIAN!
Mary: It's true. With a great head of hair.
David: Oh stop.
Mary: Made of pizza. Can you imagine if they did a hair test on you? "You are 89% preservative."
Mary: Hence: YOUTH.
David: FINAL THOUGHT: ORDER THIS PIZZA PEOPLE, YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE!
Mary: Other than so much.
Mary HK Choi is The Awl's first-string dining critic. David Cho is the publisher of The Awl.