2. Signature Select Rising Crust
I am frankly aghast -- AGHAST -- that this store-brand DiGiorno knockoff placed this high, and even beat out Freschetta, which was my predicted winner here. But here we are. Why?
First, the crust, which tastes almost exactly like a HOT-N-READY from Little Caesars. That isn't exactly the epitome of takeout, but hits a certain nostalgia spot. It's flecked with Parmesan (nice touch) that gives it an almost Crazy Breadish vibe, and the crust almost completely avoids that cardboard texture. It’s, hands down, the best crust of the bunch. Bouncy, crunchy, pillowy. Bravo, off-brand pizza (available at stores like Safeway, Vons, and Albertsons!).
So why isn't it No. 1? It's because it's topped with what appears to be pizza soup, a combination of mozz and a runny, relatively tame sauce that feels more like an afterthought until you consider that there's so much of it. And the pepperoni -- here piled on in discs and thick strips -- is clearly brand X. Five paper towels later, it was still a slippery mess of grease, and combined with the sauce and cheese, it completely changed the middle into a mess of doughy goop. Still, the last few bites are enough to give it a solid, surprise finish that could have been the best. But, you know… pizza soup.