Monday, November 10, 2014

Picky Pizza Posters - Talayna's Pizza of St. Louis

The ultimate quest for the worst pizza experience in Utah Valley the Northern Hemisphere
A diversity exercise in regional pizza types

For this special edition of picky pizza posters, we write to you from the great mid-west city of St. Louis, Missouri - Gateway to the West. We traveled to St. Louis for Jamie’s cousin, Teddy's, Halloween wedding and figured that if we were carting 6 people out to a new city we should make it a proper vacation and experience all that St. Louis has to offer!

Mmm... processed cheese food product
While exploring this lovely city, we’ve discovered that there is a local variety of pizza that can only be found here in St. Louis. Creatively named St. Louis-style pizza, its trademark qualities are tavern cut slices (squares), cracker thin crust made without yeast, sweeter than usual tomato sauce, and a special type of cheese called Provel which is described as a mixture of provolone and Velveeta. I know what you're thinking - with a description so appetizing, it's strange that St. Louis pizza hasn't become the US-dominant style! You'll also be shocked to know that Provel cheese is not distributed outside of the greater-St. Louis area. Weird.

But such is our commitment to Picky Pizza Posters, possibly the best-read bad pizza blog in Utah Valley, that we pushed through the terrifying Wikipedia descriptions of and our cousins' warnings against St. Louis-style pizza and actually consumed said pizza. And we lived to tell the tale because, really, once you've eaten a "fresh baked pizza" under the gas pumps of your local 7-Eleven, you can survive pretty much any pizza.

As not-good as St. Louis-style pizza is, we have to admit that its St. Louis-style appetizer cousin, toasted ravioli, is awesome


The large party of middle school soccer players at the center makes it noisy. The walls are decorated with random posters highlighting Italian regions that I’ve never heard of. Probably time to visit Italy again.

We sit at formica tables, in pleather booths. Both hallmarks of a good pizza restaurant.

Football playing on the TV. Apparently some team named "the Rams" is popular here. Never heard of them.


Mostly domestic beers by the bottle. I have 2 beers in front of me - how does this happen? Missouri is a wonderland! Yesterday I got wine with lunch at the botanical garden and was allowed to walk around the gardens with it. I have no words to express how shocking and liberating it was to walk around in public with alcohol I didn't have to pour into an empty root beer bottle.  Ha ha just kidding. Gatorade bottles work better, they have wider mouths.

The Sierra Mist is really good (St. Louis seems to be a Pepsi town. Fortunately during a winter trip to Snowbird this year (a Pepsi resort), we convinced the girls that Sierra Mist is "fancy Sprite" so they're enthusiastic Pepsi fans now. Ben has developed quite the love for Fitz's root beer, so we're all doing fine in the soft drink department)


The waiter runs with overeager enthusiasm - there is a large sports team party here and he is clearly flustered.

Soda glasses remain full, yet our group could always use one more basket of bread (this is normal, our bread bellies never fill). Real butter pats are a big plus - God bless the heartland

Price of one large cheese 


Pizza impressions

Such adorable little pieces!
(St. Louis-style) Paper-thin crust. Crackers are thicker. It's so St. Louisy you can almost taste the arch in it. The cheese mixture different, but not off-putting; it has a slight butter taste and smooth texture. Very crunchy crust with many crustless pieces, much like toddler PBJ sandwiches.

WanYing : This cheese is weird!

A comparison of St. Louis, NY, and Chicago slices
Sasha: Yum! Cheesy!

To add to our experience chart, we also ordered a Chicago-style pizza. Since this is as close we’ve ever been to Illinois, we figured this is the best place to get a feel for what good Chicago pie is like.

(Chicago-style) Crust is not doughy crust but cakey - almost biscuit like. The cheese under the sauce. I repeat, the cheese is under the sauce.

Sam: Tomatoes everywhere? This thing is backwards. [Sam wouldn't touch this abomination of pizza with a 10-foot pole]

Dad: This puts the pie in pizza pie.


Given that our St. Louis pizza experience was an exercise in pizza style diversity and horizon-broadening, we have decided not to rate our meal at Talayana's Pizza of St. Louis. Suffice it to say our meal was full of laughs and happy bellies and we would not voluntarily consume St. Louis-style pizza again.

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