Pizza for delivery is practically a commodity item, competing primarily on price and availability.

When we decide to stay home and have pizza, we frequently despair of the options, which usually seem so dismal.

Recently, with our gas line on the fritz and Nicor digging up our front yard looking for leaks, we couldn’t use our gas stove.

To eat, we had to either go out or order in. It was freezing. We stayed home.

Looking at our pizza delivery options, we decided to order from La Bella.

Our order, for two, was simple: 14-inch cheese, sausage and mushroom.

Price: about $21 plus tip.

Judgment:

* There are some (like Mario Batali) who say that a pasta dish is all about the noodles, less about the sauce. I see his point, and with pizza, the crust – the carb platform for other flavors – is critical. La Bella’s crust was one of the best we’ve had either as delivery or dine-in.  Delivery pizza, having suffered through 20 minutes or so of transit time, will almost always have a crust that’s a little less crisp than dine-in pizza. La Bella’s pizza, however, had a real crust, not some pre-formed, previously frozen piece of crap that’s so common even at some local dine-in places – and for that, I commend them. La Bella’s pie was crispy around the edges and not so thick as to be chewy. Crust at La Bella is a serious effort and we appreciate that. A lot.  Still, I’m wary of what their menu announces: “Make any pizza with double the dough…14”, $1.50. Why?

* Another problem I have with a lot of American-style pizza is that pizza makers put too much damn stuff on top. I don’t want a half-cup of cheese on every slice; when I get that much cheese, all my mouth is feeling is fat and I’m building up a cannonball in the belly that I can ponder all the night long. La Bella was judicious in their application of sauce and other ingredients. The flavor was there without an excess of toppings. We like that.

* The only real negative criticism I have of the pie is that it could have used a little more spice…and La Bella didn’t include the usual little packets oregano, basil or pepper flakes for pumping up the flavor.  This is not a huge deal, because we have our own such spices, but it seems like if you’re going to tone down the flavor you might include a few seasonings.

Overall, I thought the Bella pie was about as good a delivery pie as we’ve had in the past few years – and it was even good for breakfast the following morning. 

If you have a favorite delivery pizza pie, please post about it here.

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David Hammond

David Hammond, a corporate communications consultant and food journalist living in Oak Park, Illinois, is a founder and moderator of LTHForum.com, the 8,500 member Chicago-based culinary chat site. David...

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