Fast Food & Fine Wine #4: Little Caesars Bacon Wrapped Pizza with Ken Wright Cellars Pinot Noir

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As lovers of food, we’ve heard of lots of things being wrapped in bacon: filet, dates, chicken, but never pizza. That is until the evil geniuses at Little Caesars decided to create a pie so decadent, salty and full of bacon flavor, that it was begging to be paired with wine.

Unlike other parts of the country for whom Little Caesars “hot and ready” pizzas are extremely convenient for pickup with the car on the way home, living in New York without a car can make retrieving one of the gluttonous pies a bit more difficult. The Little Caesars location we chose was deep in Brooklyn, and while I was able to get there on the subway, the plan was to take a cab back to our filming location in Williamsburg – but plans change.

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When I arrived at the Little Caesars location, every single person there was waiting for one of these bacon wrapped beauties. It was obvious to see that the pizzeria has a massive hit on their hands – due to the crowd, none of the pies were “hot and ready” – so I placed my order, and had a seat in one of the plastic chairs in the crowded room.

As I had walked from the subway to Little Caesars, I had noticed there were no cabs to be seen, so I was already resolved that I would need to order an Uber, but when I launched the app, there wasn’t a car for miles – my wait said 30 minutes. While I am completely aware that this is a first world problem, I had no idea what to do; I had a pizza that was going to be out of the oven at any moment, and no wheels to get me where I needed to go. I resolved I was going to have to walk.

Most fast food locations in New York City aren’t located in wealthy areas; they’re located in poor ones – which begs the question, if this is the only type of affordable restaurant we’re going to place in poor communities, is there any wonder we have populations that have such massive health problems? Walking through the neighborhood and into gentrified Williamsburg was a pretty stark contrast and the looks I received from people as I proudly carried my two boxes of Little Caesars was illuminating. While I was still in the original neighborhood where the restaurant was located, no one seemed that shocked to see my arms full with Little Caesars’ pies, besides the fact that I am white, seeing someone carrying these home is probably a daily occurrence. But as the neighborhoods began to transition and I entered what has become one of the hippest hoods in the U.S. most people looked at me with horror. I guess the act of eating Little Caesars has not yet become ironic.

When I finally arrived at our shooting location – 45 minutes later – the pizzas had gotten cold, but luckily the box had great reheating instructions. Maybe they’ve had many customers who’ve had to schlep their pizzas across different neighborhoods, thus resulting in cold pizza, and realized they should provide instructions for reheating, or they just know people have leftovers – either way, the crisis was averted.

Little Caesars claims to be Detroit style pizza, basically a style of pizza that nods to tradition, but is heavily influenced by the place in which it is made. In choosing a wine to pair with the bacon monstrosity, we decided to look for a wine that claimed to be the same, one that honored tradition, but that also fully represented its new home. Originally we thought of going with a Syrah, whose own flavors of bacon might go well with the pie, but we immediately thought better of that idea when we realized that it might provide the opposite effect, providing too much bacon flavor. In the end, we realized Pinot Noir, and its high acidity and bright fruit flavors was the way to go, and we knew exactly which wine to buy: Ken Wright Cellars single vineyard. Ken was the first winemaker in Oregon to create the idea of single vineyard wines, as is done in Burgundy, yet he does so in a completely Oregonian way. It was the perfect choice.

As we dug into the pizza, the grease overwhelmed us, as did the doughiness of the bread that the bacon and cheese were perched upon – Detroit style most definitely also means bread explosion. The saltiness and bacon flavors were overwhelming, but we had to admit they were also pretty delicious. The wine cut right through. It cleansed the palate and woke our taste buds up, preparing us for another bite. It was fantastic.

But as we kept eating, we also began to sweat. The food was definitely impacting our body’s chemistry. This much bacon and grease was not meant to be consumed by humans, and we knew we needed to stop – well, all of us except for one, who continued to chow down unfazed. We had had too much of a good thing, but a good thing it was indeed.