TOP2014: RD1: Mama Mia's v 5th and 50

TOP2014 RD1 MamaMias 5th50 shops

And so it begins: The 2014 Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Keeler Mini -- the Tournament of Pizza to end all Tournament of Pizza -- opens with a matchup between 2011 tournament champ 5th and 50 of Scotia against two-time semifinalist Mama Mia's of Saratoga Springs.

This year's clash-of-champions format includes first round matches consisting of two pizzas. Highest aggregate score advances. And the types of the pizza for this first round: sausage (classic, a test of fundamentals) and a broccoli ricotta white pizza (a little tricky, if only because of the lack of red sauce).

The judges assembled at the shops for the tasting...

TOP2014 Keeler Mini in-post-ad

A quick note about how all this works:
Unlike in years past, the judging for the first round of this year's TOP occurred at the shops and, as a result, was not blind. Pizzas are scored in four categories: crust, sauce, toppings, overall taste. The scores from the judges -- each matchup is scored by a panel of 4 or 5 judges -- are combined and pizzas are given a score on a 0-100 scale.

And one more note for this particular matchup: J+R of Chopsticks Optional made a special guest appearance on the judges' panel to fill a spot left open by a scheduling conflict. Many thanks to them.

The pizzas

Mama Mia's

TOP2014_RD1_MamaMias_sausage.jpg

TOP2014_RD1_MamaMias_broccoli.jpg

5th and 50

TOP2014_RD1_5th50_sausage.jpg

TOP2014_RD1_5th50_broccoli.jpg

Scoreboard

TOP2014_RD1_Mama_Mia_v_5th_and_50_scoreboard.png

Post game

This was a tight contest that was ultimately decided by an inconsistent step.

Sausage
Mama Mia's took the lead in this matchup during the first leg thanks to a good sausage pizza. Judges praised its thin, "burnished" crust with "good flavor." Judges said the sauce was applied lightly, and that may have resulted in some noting that the sauce didn't register much -- though one called it "fresh and bright." A few judges also commented that they thought the sausage had inconsistent seasoning. But overall, this pie was praised for being a "good, cohesive pizza."

5th and 50's sausage pizza didn't necessarily light up the judges, but it hit its marks. Judges noted heavy application of sauce and a bit of sogginess in the middle of the pizza. But some praised the crust for a nice crispness on the its edge, and the sausage for its fennel flavor.

Broccoli ricotta white pizza
Here's where things didn't go the right direction for Mama Mia's. A hiccup somewhere along the way apparently led to the pizza not being made the first time with the broccoli on it -- and the pizza was delayed. When it finally appeared, the judges described the broccoli as "steamed," "soggy" and "crying for salt." The judges also noted that the crust lacked the burnishing on the bottom that was received so well on the sausage pizza. Whether those two elements were affected by the delay is unclear, but they prompted the judges to give this pie a much lower score than Mama Mia's strong sausage pizza.

Again, 5th and 50 didn't hit the ball out of park on the broccoli ricotta pizza -- but it made contact. Judges said the crust on this pizza was much crisper all the way through compared to the sausage pizza. Some likeed the distribution of the chopped broccoli. And one noted that the crust/cheese/broccoli combination resulted in a "hearty bite."

Up next

Even though Mama Mia's produced the highest-scoring pie of the matchup, its second pizza couldn't match the first effort. 5th and 50 advances to the semifinal with a consistent result across two pizzas.

Tomorrow: 2010 tournament champ Marino's of Schenectady takes on two-time semifinalist Mario's of Niskayuna.

The 2014 Tournament of Pizza is sponsored by Keeler Mini

Comments

No more delivery delay?! Man, the judges should get some incredible pizza this year (I shudder to think of what defazio's will do to the competition if their pizza doesn't have to be transported). Best of luck!! Taste on, friends! :)

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

What's All Over Albany?

All Over Albany is for interested and interesting people in New York's Capital Region. In other words, it's for you. It's kind of like having a smart, savvy friend who can help you find out what's up. Oh, and our friends call us AOA.

Search

Recently on All Over Albany

Stuff to do this weekend

Cold gray autumn weeks can honestly suck sometimes. But weekends are fun. OK, so we're not much for haiku, but you know what we are... (more)

Line crossing

Slightly farther afield in Hudson: A group of people -- including two people in their 70s -- pleaded not guilty this week to painting unauthorized... (more)

The Albany County DA's office is going to stop prosecuting people for having small amounts of marijuana

Albany County DA David Soares announced Thursday that his office will no longer be prosecuting people for "simple possession" of marijuana -- cases in which... (more)

Aly Raisman at UAlbany

Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman will be at UAlbany's SEFCU Arena December 3. And ticketing for the event is now open; the tickets are free, but... (more)

A bunch of comedy shows coming up

A series of people will be coming to the Capital Region over the next few months and they're hoping will you give them money. In... (more)

Recent Comments

Very nice redesigns. I hope that area becomes more of a neighborhood rather than what it currently is - still an expressway that happens to have hotels and apartments along it. I'd love to see wide sidewalks and protected bike lanes from Crossgates all the way to Manning.

Line crossing

...has 1 comment, most recently from ravioliollie

A few pics from AOA10

...has 5 comments, most recently from kristi

Thank you

...has 5 comments, most recently from TK

Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch (updated)

...has 3 comments, most recently from Lu

Today's moment of late autumn

...has 1 comment, most recently from JT