Delisi’s Vegan Pizza Smackdown

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And the Winner is…well, you’ll have to read a little bit more. This past weekend, Sunday, December 13, 2009…a date that shall live on in our minds and taste buds for eternity. Julia, aka the Snarky Vegan, had the most brilliant idea that culminated in the Vegan Pizza Smackdown at Delisi’s Pizzeria and Bar. The premise of the smackdown was to compare how two vegan cheese’s would compare side by side. The competitors were Chicago Soy Dairy’s Teese and Canada’s own Daiya. These two vegan cheeses have been regarded as the best “melty” vegan cheeses in the country. Well, Chicago has put them to the test.

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Delisi’s is basically a dive bar on the north side of Chicago. It’s a no frills, no top shelf kind of joint with super friendly service and enthusiastic local regulars that don’t mind drinking and buying you drinks. The perfect spot to find Vegan Pizza, and deep dish pizza at that. In my experience, joints like this are the jewels of the culinary world. Forget the chandeliers, cloth napkins, Grey Goose, 100 year old scotch and dudes uncomfortably dressed in tuxes. Give me a place that forsakes posh, serves well drinks and puts all of its energy into creating delicious food…in this case, Vegan Deep-dish Pizza! It’s my understanding that Delisi’s just recently started serving vegan pizza and it has caught Chicago by storm. As you know, once a vegan finds a great product, word spreads like wildfire. The most effective form of communication known to man…not the the telegram or the telephone…it’s Tell-a-Vegan. Within days, the whole world will be up to speed.

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See, a place packed full of Vegans! Anything to do with pizza, you know I couldn’t leave the children at home. If I did it might have been the last time any of y’all had seen me.

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Look how serious Lil’ Z is. Now imagine if I had left him home! He would be posted up at the house ready to use that knife and fork on me.

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Baby boy ridding his slice of any vegetable content. Just cheese and crust please. Well, he did add ketchup…does that count as a vegetable?

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Our lion cub, pretending to eat with sophistication and patience.

Father, this deep-dish pizza is extraordinary. I am thankful for you allowing me to accompany you on this outing.

Yeah right! Believe me, once the camera went down, so did the fork and the pizza at a record setting pace.

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Don’t forget about me. Pizza, in my mouth? Pizza, in my mouth?

Sorry, not this time, baby girl.

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Awww :-(. Don’t worry, she got some of Chicago Soy Dairy’s Temptation pineapple ice cream and was very happy.

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Alright, stop the yapping, can we eat? Yes, let’s all dig in.

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Here’s the scoop from my perspective:

Both Teese and Daiya were similar in how they melted. Both claim to veganly emulate the stretchy, gooey, meltiness of dairy cheese. They both melted, but I didn’t see any close similarity to dairy cheese. Maybe right, right, right out of the oven. Hey, that’s not my hang up though. I’m all about taste.

So the winner, according to my taste buds, is….?

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That’s right, Chicago’s finest…Teese from Chicago Soy Dairy! Why Teese? I felt it had a milder flavor that combined much better with the other ingredients on the pizza. Teese did not over power only enhanced every bite. Now Daiya, on the other hand, had an after taste. Maybe its from the tapioca or arrowroot flours, maybe the cultures. I don’t know. All I know, that after taste was more dominant than the flavors of the pizza as a whole. Daiya did seem a little creamier than Teese, but that wasn’t enough to take the crown.

So Teese it is for me. Also, the unsung hero of the day has to be Upton’s Naturals faux meats. Along with the vegan cheese, Delisi’s offers a variety of faux meat products produced by Upton’s. My hands down favorite was the vegan pepperoni. So next time I get back to Delisi’s (next time being every week), I’ll be getting my deep-dish with Teese and Upton’s pepperoni.

Who ever said being a vegan lacked taste, has evidently never been to Chicago. Chicago is producing some of the best new vegan products on the market. I looked forward to when the rest of the world catches up with what we know.

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