The new-to-the-tournament pizzerias in this Round 1 pool competition of sausage pizzas:
LaBella - Halfmoon
Pizza Works - Saratoga
Publik House - Ballston Spa
Pizza Nook - Malta
The judges gathered at the Case Center on the campus of Skidmore College...
A quick note about how all this works:
The judges taste the pizzas blind. That is, they don't know which pizza they're tasting during judging. They taste the competitors side by side. Each judge assesses the pizzas by crust (5 points possible per judge), sauce (5 points), toppings (5 points), and overall taste (10 points). Each judge represents either 1/4 or 1/5 of the possible points, depending on the number of judges present. However many judges, all scores will be according to a 100-point scale.
How this year's brackets were selected.
If you'd like to get a closer look at the pizzas, there are large-format closeups above -- scroll all the way up.
Round 1 pool
A close finish
This was a close one, with Pizza Works just squeezing past LaBella by 2 points to advance. One point here or there and it could have gone the other way.
The Saratoga location of the local chain posted a solid first round score, and more importantly, a score good enough to advance. Pizza Works got the edge with its sliced sausage, which the judges praised as being "tasty" with a "little spicy kick." Something PW could maybe do a bit better, in the judges' mind: cook the crust a bit more.
This Halfmoon shop came so very close to advancing. In fact, it scored ahead of Pizza Works on two of the judges' cards. It really was just a matter a point here or there. A few of the judges praised LaBella's crust for being "nice and crispy and thin," though one noted it was maybe a touch hard on the end. Its sausage went over well enough, though the judges might have wanted to taste a little more spice. What could have been the (so very small) margin: LaBella's cheese got tagged as just a bit "rubbery." Still, it was a strong first showing in the TOP for LaBella. Definitely a shop to keep an eye on.
The judges described Publik House's thick crust as "spongy" and "poofy," with a generous application of sauce and cheese. Its sausage didn't really register with the judges, though, with one remarking that it tasted fatty, but otherwise lacked strong flavor.
Publik House's neighbor just down Route 9, Pizza Nook's offering just didn't strike the right notes with the judges. Areas where it could improve, in the judges' minds: a more-done crust with more color, and brighter sauce. A few of the judges did like its cheese and sausage ("fatty but spiced well").
So, Pizza Works narrowly advances. It will face Mama Mia's -- occupying the returning bracket champ slot -- in Round 2.
Tomorrow: the Tournament of Pizza heads to Schenectady.
Thank you, thank you
The 2013 Tournament of Pizza is sponsored by The College of Saint Rose.
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