This week I reached out for a new Garlic Bread Pizza from the No. 1 pizza pusher, Pizza Hut, with 10,000 restaurants across the U.S. and around the world.
Garlic Bread Pizza? New? Even Pizza Hut wonders, on its Facebook page, "Why didn't we think of this before?"
I'm thinking the same thing. I've been making garlic bread pizza in my house since I was a kid, when Mom had to work late and I couldn't find the can opener to make Chef Boyardee Ravioli -- the preferred supper of latchkey kids. I'd scrounge around the food cabinet and dig through the fridge for bread, butter, garlic powder, Ragu spaghetti sauce and American cheese. Put 'em all together, and what do you have? Garlic Bread Pizza! If you found an open box of English muffins instead of white bread, that was a home run. OK, Pizza Hut, where's my finder's fee?
Here's Pizza Hut's blueprint: nine slices of bread topped with garlic-butter spread, cheese, tomato sauce and herbs, served with a side packet of marinara dipping sauce.
Total calories: 160 (per slice). Fat grams: 10. Sodium: 150 mg. Dietary fiber: 1 g. Carbs: 14 g. Manufacturer's suggested retail price: $8.99, including one topping. Pepperoni is overwhelmingly the most popular pick.
Each piece is about a 3-inch-by-4-inch slice of bread slathered with a garlic-butter spread that tastes pretty much like the stuff they paint on the crust at Domino's. Monkey see, monkey do. You won't find any bits of real garlic in the spread. The spread is layered on thin, so it's not like the garlic knots at Vito's Spaghetti House, where you can squish them or wring them out and leave a puddle on your plate -- or your pants. This tastes more like the Texas toast you find in the freezer case at Sam's or Costco.
Pizza Hut doesn't lay the cheese and sauce on thick, either. The bread is about an inch high, and it emerges crisp from the conveyor-belt oven and sturdy enough to pick up and eat with one hand. There's no pizza flopover. I like the slightly charred, crunchy bottom.
While Garlic Bread Pizza is light on sauce and cheese, the Hut goes generous on the pepperoni. Each slice of Garlic Bread Pizza had four pieces of pepperoni, so there's meat in every bite. The pepperoni curls up nice in the oven, so it's crispy around the edges.
Why nine slices? It's so Pizza Hut can line them up three in a row and fit them in a pizza box.
Pizza Hut has been a busy pizza beaver this year, coming out with P'Zolo sandwiches, Cheesy Bites Pizza and the Big Dinner Box -- LOVE the Big Dinner Box, which is a legit $10 bargain for pizza, breadsticks and cinnamon dessert sticks.
Garlic Bread Pizza ... not so much a bargain. It's basically a buck for a piece of garlic bread with a little cheese, sauce and pepperoni.
But it tastes pretty darn good. Garlic bread is one of the pleasures of eating. You could put anything on top of garlic bread and it'd be a hit. Everybody loves pizza. You could put anything on the bottom of pizza and it'd be a hit.
Pizza Hut ... why DIDN'T you think of this before?