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Knocking Down Dominos

May 26, 2010

First, you all are amazing.  I’m still digesting all of the input from yesterday, and hope to continue this conversation.  All of these perspectives have been very helpful in wrapping my head around the local culinary landscape.  But for today I want to talk about something a bit lighter.

If you live around Albany, you know that it’s been hot.

Last night we didn’t feel like cooking dinner, didn’t feel like loading up the family in the car, and didn’t feel like eating cereal.  And while I could have ordered Capital Q through Mealeo again, I did something for the sake of science.

I finally decided to try the new Domino’s pizza.
Why I continue to ignore my instincts is a mystery.

The reason I went into advertising in the first place is because I am super susceptible to the stuff.  It was a bold move for the country’s biggest pizza chain to abandon their widely panned pizza and create something tastier.  And while I wasn’t hopeful, I figured after all of their effort, at least I could try it once.

Well, my curiosity has been satisfied.  Once was more than enough.

I could go into the details of the lackluster bottom crust, the too-sweet and pasty sauce, and the oddly textured cheese, but I’ll skip that today.  There were things about the pizza I liked.  Parts of it were nicely browned, and the pies even included a modest number of bubbles.  Also they have started to put an herb sprinkle around the edge of the crust, which was tasty.

But it was this new crust treatment that got me thinking.

Part of the new marketing is about their quality ingredients.  In fact if you go to their ingredients tab under nutritional info, you will see the blurb at the top that reads, “Nature’s tasty little building blocks.”

The reason I ended up on this page was that the new crust was described as “buttery.”  And “buttery” is a red flag word that generally indicates the lack of actual butter.  So just like I did earlier in the evening, I decided to confirm what I already suspected in my heart to be true.

And I found more than I wanted to know.

I believe the herb sprinkle is applied over a brushing of the buttery Garlic Oil Blend.  How many of these ingredients qualify as Nature’s tasty little building blocks?

Butter Flavored Oil [Liquid and Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Salt, Soy Lecithin, Natural & Artificial Flavor, Beta Carotene (color), TBHQ and Citric Acid added to Protect Flavor, Dimethylpolysiloxane, an Anti-Foaming Agent added], Palm Oil, Dehydrated Garlic, Imitation Parmesan Cheese [Water, Food Starch, Casein, Caseinate, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Cellulose Powder, Whey, Salt, Stabilizers (Mono- and Diglycerides, Guar Gum, Carrageenan), Modified Food Starch, Natural Flavor, Sodium Phosphates, Lactic Acid, Sorbic Acid (as a preservative)], Salt, Modified Food Starch, Spice, Flavors [Natural Butter Flavor (Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Enzyme-Modified Butter Oil, Annatto & Turmeric, for color), Natural Flavors (contains Canola Oil and Lipolyzed Butter Oil)], Lactic Acid, FD&C Yellow #5 Lake, Citric Acid, Oleoresin Garlic (Tri-glycerides, Soy Oil, Natural Flavor, Mono-diglycerides) and no greater than 2% Silicon Dioxide added to prevent caking.

So I guess that would explain why it was buttery.

After that revelation, I started poking around a little bit more.  Some things are minor.  Oddly Domino’s Oregano is actually a blend of oregano and marjoram.  Fine.

What is not fine is the Hearty Marinara Sauce, especially if you happen to be vegetarian.  I was shocked to find that it contains chicken.  Chicken?  Well Chicken Base, which is made of:

Chicken including Natural Chicken Juices, Salt, Chicken Fat, Sugar, Maltodextrin, Hydrolyzed Corn Gluten, Dried Whey, Natural Flavoring, Yeast Extract, Turmeric for Color.

So maybe the pizza isn’t quite made out of Nature’s tasty little building blocks.  But it’s Domino’s.  What do you expect?  It got here super fast, it was relatively cheap, and Mrs. Fussy didn’t have to talk to anyone when placing the order.

She did it online, and we got to track it every step of the way.  Which was super cool.

But next time, I’m returning to Paesan’s, even though they have abandoned corn meal on their crust and continue to unceremoniously pop as many emerging bubbles as they can.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. StanfordSteph permalink
    May 26, 2010 9:51 am

    Wow. I guess if you’re vegetarian you really have to be vigilant about what you order. That’s kind of like the beef flavoring added to the KFC grilled chicken. What if you don’t eat beef? I wouldn’t assume that a restaurant would add beef to chicken.

  2. Mr. Sunshine permalink
    May 26, 2010 10:39 am

    I can’t think of a pizza chain that is any good. I live in Saratoga, and like Mama Mia, Pizza on Broadway, Marino’s, and Pope’s (not in order of preference). Of course, I also like Forno Tuscano, and Max London’s, but they’re not “pizza places.” The highest quality is a bit out of town, Harvest & Hearth, on Fish Creek.

  3. RealFoodMom permalink
    May 26, 2010 11:05 am


  4. Jenny on the Block permalink
    May 26, 2010 12:07 pm

    I’ve been oddly curious about the “new” Dominos. Thanks for being the guinea pig and saving the rest of us the disappointing experience.

  5. May 26, 2010 1:55 pm

    I too tried their new pizza once it came out. They delivered the wrong pie the first time, so they sent me another one afterwards. I had a lot of free crappy pizza.

  6. gpet permalink
    May 26, 2010 9:46 pm

    The “track every stage of the order” thing is really cool, even down to the name of the person (supposedly) at each stage who is doing it. We also fell for this several months ago. And disgusted we were with all of us.

  7. Ellen Whitby permalink
    May 26, 2010 10:01 pm

    Profussor, We have grown, over time, to trust you. You should trust yourself. Your instincts are GOOD. Don’t subject yourself to Domino’s again.

  8. May 26, 2010 10:34 pm

    Gross. I don’t think anyone expects Domino’s to be unprocessed and wholesome, but the whole “nature’s little building blocks” thing is just deceptive and, frankly, annoying. Even though half that crap comes from the building blocks of corn, it is still quite a stretch to insinuate some level of “natural” quality. That said, I too have found myself tempted by the ads but have managed to resist because Tom Monaghan freaks me out and I just can’t bring myself to buy Dominos…. thanks for helping to squash the intrigue.

  9. May 27, 2010 12:27 pm

    Very timely posting. We’ve been steadfast in our refusal to purchase Domino’s pizza for our family. Our middle son, aged 11, was completely excited last week when he gained access to this forbidden fruit at a neighborhood function. After he ate a single slice of the pizza, he sheepishly whispered to me that he thought the pizza “wasn’t very good.” Another proud parenting moment!

  10. Kerosena permalink
    May 27, 2010 12:35 pm

    Even my fiance, who loooves junk food and crappy pizza, didn’t care for the new Dominos Pizza.

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