Although they're a shell of what they once were, Mazzio’s seems to be just about everyone’s favorite homegrown pizza buffet—I’m guessing it’s the ranch dressing—but I’ve never really cared for them, no matter how many free breadsticks they were giving away to protesting teachers.
Still, when they recently announced their swing towards newfound “healthier” options besides just the iceberg lettuce on the salad bar, many people, including myself, pricked up their ears to listen; it seems, by healthy, they mean those people who are on the latest weight-loss fad, the Keto Diet.
Every little bit helps, right?
Mazzio’s is now offering a pizza with an exclusive cauliflower crust, which, for the most part, really is a marinara-covered coup for dieting pizza-fans all over their pie-serving area…or is it? Naturally inquisitive about this crusty to-do, I walked to my nearest Mazzio’s at N.W. 23rd and Penn to give this new healthy pizza option a try.
Walking over and around the scads of destitute people who were sawing some logs out of the afternoon sun near the Mazzio’s entrance, inside I noticed it was buffet-time, with plenty of Oklahoma’s larger inhabitants filling their plates sky-high with slices of sausage and supreme, overflowing their cups with fountain Coke and then, with God shaking his head in holy shame high above, dipping it all in Mazzio’s famous ranch dressing.
I’ve been there. Oh, how I have been there.
I ordered a personal cauliflower-crusted pepperoni pizza, but was informed that they only come in one size, roughly around “ten-inches,” the cashier said. Good enough, I thought, as I paid the man the ten bucks and some change for the specialty ‘za. I sat down by the lonely salad bar, woefully ignored over all the greasy pies that were coming out of the kitchen with alarming regularity.
Fifteen or so minutes later, the cauliflower-crusted pepperoni pizza I ordered was finally ready, seeming smaller than ten-inches when I opened the box—but maybe that was because the slices that it was cut into were absolutely adorable, like a child’s free pizza for reading thirty books.
Not only was the size gratefully small, but the pizza itself was paper-thin. Having never truly had a cauliflower crust before—but seeing them advertised many times by Oprah, natch—I eagerly bit into it, taking a moment to allow my tongue to explore the few tempestuous intricacies.
The crust, while oddly chewy is still undeniably crunchy, is a true culinary paradox. With a nice near-bland taste to it, it sort of reminded me of the cracker-thin crust that many pizza joints used to offer sometime back. The more I nibbled on the miniscule slice, the more I really began to dig what they were going for; honestly, this might just be the best pizza I’ve ever had from Mazzio’s.
Only a few dollars more than the frozen cauliflower-crusters in the freezer section, this cauliflower-crust is a pizza-eaters dream, and even better for those that really are not supposed to be eating pizza at all. Low as the calories and carbs are though, what’ll get you here and get you good is the marinara sauce, the handfuls of cheese and, of course, the pepperoni sausage which, while high in protein, is still high in fat.
You got to take some salt with the sugar, I suppose.
So while I know that it’s an Oklahoman’s ingrained response to recoil in abject horror when offered something like a cauliflower crust, it’s made quite the delicious impact on me. Should you or I eat it every day, for lunch and dinner? No, probably not; but every so often as a moderately healthy treat, this might be your best bet. And, honestly, with their tiny slices, it’s damn near impossible to overeat.
Unless, you know, you order three or four at a time, in which case, just say fuck it and partake in the buffet, chomps.