Continuing south for several hundred miles, I found myself in Charleston, S.C. The city is beautiful, and if you haven't been I highly suggest you check it.
At the suggestion of my old roomie, I decided to investigate what all the fuss was about over the Mellow Mushroom pizzeria chain.
I'm sure this place is much more packed when it's not 11:30 P.M. on a Sunday night.
I have to be honest- I had my expectations set pretty low for MM, mainly because it's a franchise and it has some sort of psychodelic aesthetic funk gimmick going on. After looking at the menu and the extensive list of (unconventional) toppings, I was expecting something along the lines of CPK.
As much as I try to stick to the 'classic' cheese for critiquing purposes, I couldn't help myself from ordering spinach and artichoke on half of my pie. Eight minutes later I was presented with a fresh hot serving of don't-judge-a-pizza-by-it's-atmosphere straight from MM's gas oven.
Thick, chewy, soft, not overly oily, and absolutely delicious. The sauce has a real zest to it that reminded me of a DiGiorno, and I mean that as a compliment (I think DiGiorno's sauce is it's redeeming factor).
I instantly recognized the Parmesan-on-the-crust-touch, a trick my friend and former Mellow employee showed me when making our own pies.
The cornicione is not as airy as most Neapolitans, but instead was fluffy, bready, and equally as chewy as something that might come out of a brick oven, and perfectly baked.
I know it looks a lot like a Domino's crust, but I promise it's far better.
Almost too dark, but just right. Dad got the Thai Chicken pizza, the presentation is fantastic-
And Mom got a custom pizza with mozzarella, potatoes, Roma tomatoes, and ranch dressing-
I can't even tell what's going on in this picture.
Mellow Mushroom's pizza is unconventional, unpretentious, and unbelievable. Sadly, the nearest MM to NYC is in Virginia. Bummer. Lesson learned: let the pizza, not the restaurant do the talking.