April 29, 2012

Crust Never Sleeps

Good morning and greetings, NBA playoff fans. That’s right, after a regular season schedule that was more compacted than my daughter’s makeup case, we have now entered the postseason. I don’t want to say that I’m excited, but I already have my clothes picked out for the “40 games in 40 nights.” And if you know me, you know that I dress for success. For NBA fans, the next six weeks are a stairway to hoops heaven. Or as Mark Twain once told me, “Go to heaven for the climate, hell for the company.”

So when watching basketball, snacks invariably enter the playoff picture. And that leads me to today’s subject and predicate. In a story by today.com’s Jillian Eugenios, Pizza Hut’s Middle Eastern arm has taken crust-stuffing soaring to a new junk food height by adding cheeseburgers and chicken nuggets to their pizza crusts. I know what you’re thinking, “What, no fries or chocolate shakes?”

They’re called the “Crown Crust Cheese Burger” pizza and the “Crown Crust Chicken Filet” pizzas because of their shape, royalty and just pure audacity. Fortunately for Americans and their cardiologists, these cholesterol busters are only available in the Middle East and selected desert oasis.

This gorging, ground breaking event is similar to another pizza the company recently launched in England, which features a giant hot dog threaded through the crust along with tiny bits of the Beatle’s “Abbey Road” album. My thought is, who’s thinking up these concepts, what did his or her parents do to them as a child that sent them down this long and winding caloric road?

The Crown Crust, which is not to be confused with the Ford Crown Victoria, comes with either cheesburgers or chicken “gems” set outside the outside of the pie, which is in line with the separation of church and steak.

Pizza Hut Middle East announced the promotion last week on their Facebook page and in Mad magazine. Now here comes the best part. Their slogans were “Can’t decide on burger or pizza? Believe it or not you can have both!” A slice and a coronary. They referred to their pizza creations as the “gem of all pizzas,” and suggested that their customers can now “taste royalty.” Maybe you can’t be a king but you can have the cholesterol and clogged arteries of one.

This isn’t the first time that Pizza Hut Middle East has dabbled in unique culinary territory. The Crown Crust joins a pizza called the Cheesy Bites Remix on Pizza Hut Middle East menus, which is a regular pizza with cheesy pockets around the outside. What, just cheese? Forget about it. Now, if you fill those pockets with beef stroganoff, chicken pot pie or sweet and sour shrimp, now you’ve got me interested.

The Cheesy Bites Remix pockets were once only filled with mozzarella, cream cheese and miracles, but the remix variety offers “three times the fun,” which includes spicy Mexican seasoning, cream cheese and sesame, and mozzarella and parmesan. Who knew pizza could be this entertaining?

Well, Americans do, as business is booming, with 41% of Americans saying they eat pizza once a week compared to just 26% two years ago. I guess it’s all about eating, laughing and sharing a slice of life.

Fortunately for bedouins and their camels, the Crown Crust Pizza is just a limited time offering, and will come off the market as soon as there’s peace in the middle east. But the super chefs at Pizza Hut have been busy, offering cheese-stuffed crusts with cornflakes in Malaysia and a Fish Prawn King pizza, which comes topped with Alaskan Pollock fish fingers, King Prawns, Queen Latifah, mozzarella cheese, pineapple with a lime mayo sauce and a free goldfish.

But America is also doing its part in the world of bizarre fast food concoctions, with with Doritos Locos Tacos, Burger King’s bacon sundae and the infamous KFC Double Down, where the Colonel uses two pieces of juicy, boneless white meat chicken filets as bread. Throw in two slices of bacon, two slices of cheese and the Colonel’s Sauce and you’ve got something that’s finger lickin’ unbelievable. This baby is so meaty, there’s no room for a bun, paramedic or vegan healer.

Burger King has also rolled out a bacon ice cream sundae that is not quite what Michelle Obama had up her sleeves. That’s right, we’re talking an actual slice of kosher bacon on top of vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup and caramel. That sound you hear is my arteries crying.

And not to be left out of the party, last year Denny’s rolled out a bacon maple sundae, while more recently, Jack in the Box added a bacon-flavored milkshake. The last sound you heard was my rabbi screaming.

Now let’s finish up by thinking outside the bun. Taco Bell’s newest item, Doritos Locos Tacos, which the company launched nationwide last Wednesday, has taco shells made out of Nacho Cheese Doritos. Yes, you read correctly. This could be the cure for the common meal and insanity.

This is Taco Bell’s biggest product launch in its 50-year history, as they plan to spend up to $75 million to advertise the new tacos, about three times more than it usually spends to promote new health food items. But hold on to your pacemakers, as there’s even more good news, as they will be introducing a Doritos Cool Ranch taco shell this fall. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to make a mad dash to the border right now.

For today’s photo escalade, we are featuring my favorite sunrise from the month of April. The year was 2009, the place was Steamer’s Lane, and as you can see from photo #1, this sunrise started strong. What made this morning even more interesting was that it was my brother Brad’s 50th birthday and the 15th for my Regents Scholar winning, UC Santa Barbara Honors Program bound son Jason. The early clouds were just fantabulous, and this sunrise, much like candidate Obama in 2008, came out of nowhere, as there hadn’t been any color or diamonds in the sky for months.

Let’s move on to some late night humor. “Today is 4/20. This is like national pot day. And people celebrate all over the world. Although, I must say, the Senate did not celebrate this by smoking joints, for two reasons. One, it would be against protocol. And two, it would mean passing something. “Newt Gingrich was campaigning at a zoo this week and he was bitten by a penguin. Newt Gingrich is always campaigning at zoos. Mitt Romney once did a photo op at a zoo. That was a big mistake, because he stood next to the chameleon, and he changed colors.” –Bill Maher

“One of the agents involved in the scandal was on Sarah Palin’s detail in 2008 when he was running for vice president. And he posted a picture on his Facebook — apparently he had a little crush on her — of him standing behind her kind of smirking and saying, ‘I’m checking her out.’ Which is more than you can say for the McCain campaign. “Of course Sarah Palin has to answer this. Today she said, you know what, people are always checking me out. She said, ‘I can’t count the number of times when I’m walking away, and I hear someone say, ‘What an ass.’” –Bill Maher

“One of the Secret Service agents had this woman, and the deal was $300 and he gave her $30. I’m thinking, now wait a minute. I’ve got no problem with a guy trying to save taxpayer dollars. These are jobs that should’ve gone to American hookers.” –David Letterman “Congress is expanding its probe into the Secret Service scandal. Congressmen want to know how this could happen, who was responsible, and do those ladies take Discover cards.” –Conan O’Brien

“Newt Gingrich’s campaign is something like $5 million in debt. He is now so broke he’s no longer attacking the poor because he is one.” –Jay Leno “Newt Gingrich still receiving Secret Service protection. What are they protecting him from? Reality?” –Bill Maher

“Yesterday Mitt Romney won all five of the primaries. Apparently when you buy four primaries, you get the fifth for free. Yesterday the Dalai Lama said he likes George W. Bush as a person, but not as a president. When asked for comment, Bush said, ‘I love him as a Dalai, but not as a Lama.’” –Conan O’Brien

So that’s our last gasp for April. Despite the devastating loss of Chicago’s Derrick Rose, enjoy the first round of the NBA playoffs and we’ll catch you being the top sixth man in the league. Aloha, mahalo and later, James Harden fans.

5 Comments »

  1. Ahhhh, the first one to comment, today. I feel like a proud American.
    Love the line about 420 and god forbid, they should pass something.
    Learned enough about the world of taco bell and pizza hut to make my stomach turn.
    You certainly do find unique things to talk about.
    Have a great day, Mr. Gilbert. The shots above are inspiring.

    Comment by wendi — April 30, 2012 @ 7:36 am

  2. Was dazzled by today’s pictures but nauseated by the text – nice to see America is exporting our finest creations to the rest of the world. Oh, for a simple slice from Pizza King…

    Comment by Nick Young — April 30, 2012 @ 7:44 am

  3. Great column and great news about your kid! I, of course, used to be a Regis Scholar.

    Comment by Kathie Lee — April 30, 2012 @ 7:03 pm

  4. Wonderful news about Jason. Congrats to him on all his hard work!

    Comment by Babs — April 30, 2012 @ 7:22 pm

  5. Just stuff some shrimp egg foo yong in the crust and skip the cheese, but heavy on the lo mein. Assume Jason will be a walk-on to the Gauchos’ basketball and volleyball teams. Doesn’t that come with the Regents package? Photo #2 is a killer, more orange than the Tropicana factory in Bradenton.

    Comment by Amar'e Stoudemire — May 1, 2012 @ 9:10 pm

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