Calgary Event: 2014 YYC Pizza Week

Calgary might not be as culturally diverse as other major cities in the world to offer a wide variety of cuisines, but it sure is an exciting city where many food festivals take place. From The Big Taste, Taste of Calgary to YYC Burger Weerk, locals are invited to celebrate Calgary’s vibrant food scene throughout the year

In the fall, over 40 restaurants around the city will gear up for YYC Pizza Week. During this 10-day event, they will put forward their specialty pizzas and compete in one of the 3 categories: thin, thick, or unique crust. Diners will vote for their favorite pizza online and the winners will be announced at the wrap-up party. Each pizza will be sold at $20 (slightly more expensive than ordinary pizza), but part of the proceeds will go to a local charity.

This year, the event was held from September 26~October 5th with 43 restaurants participating in the battle. Kev and I only got to visit 3 of them and was really impressed with the pizzas presented by the participating restaurants. Bored of ordinary pizzas? Then, you must read on to find out what unique pizzas we discovered!

1st stop @Bensonhurst Pizza Co.

Bensonhurst Calgary 2

It was our first time dining at this newly opened pizza restaurant on 17th ave. On a busy Friday evening, the restaurant was quickly filled and packed with crowds. Since it was just the two of us, we volunteered to sit at the pizza bar. That way, we could see the pizza being made in front of us 🙂

bensonhurst calgary 3

Bensonhurst had pizza carbonara ($20) as the specialty pizza for YYC Pizza Week. I was impressed how amazing it tasted. The combination of baby portobello mushrooms, fior di latte, honey glazed pancetta and shaved honey truffle created soothing sweetness that was unforgettably delectable! The runny egg yolk contributed extra moisture and a gooey texture to the pizza.

pizza carbonara

pizza carbonara

We also ordered a thin-crust new york pizza just to try how their ordinary pizza tasted. The 14″ bensonhurst classic ($23) was covered with tomato sauce, mozzarella, ricotta cheese, pepperoni, sausage, garlic and oregano. With both pepperoni and sausage, you would expect a rather salty taste. Surprisingly, by adding ricotta cheese to the equation, the taste was toned down quite a bit. The herby sausage and the unique taste of the fior di latte made the tasting experience memorable!

bensonhurst classic

bensonhurst classic

Aside from pizzas, I would recommend trying their appetizers as well as desserts. On Fridays, all appetizers cost $5 from 4pm – 7pm! The spicy clams ‘n red sauce was a fantastic starter to boost your appetite. Seasoned with garlic, shallots, serrano chilies and thyme, the fresh, spicy tomato sauce was flavorful and addicting!

spicy clam 'n red sauce

spicy clam ‘n red sauce

Ooooh, the bensonhurst cheesecake ($10) was a perfect way to end a meal. It had a perfect balance of moisture and thickness. Compared to classic new york style cheesecake, it wasn’t as overwhelming and buttery. The thin layer of brownie crust at the bottom and the strawberry sauce on the top brought this dessert to a whole new level!
bensonhurst cheesecake

bensonhurst cheesecake

Bensonhurst Pizza Co. on Urbanspoon

2nd stop @Pizza Master Fusion

pizza master fusion calgary

This little pizza takeout place in the northeast is deliciously full of surprises. For people who love Indian cuisine and Italian pizzas, you will be amazed how Pizza Master Fusion brings out the best of both worlds.

For YYC Pizza Week, they presented the samoza master ($20), topped with potatoes, peas and mozzarella and tamarind sauce and cilantro chutney on the side. I was surprised how soft the potatoes were. A plus for not dumping too much cheese on top of it. The flavors of a classic Indian samosa really made it unforgettable! Their crust was thick, but had a good amount of moisture to it so it was not too dry and hard.

samoza master

samoza master

In contrast, their butter chicken master ($13.95, medium) was topped with tons of cheese, along with butter chicken pieces, red onion, spinach and butter chicken sauce. For Kev’s sake, we ordered it with the lowest level of spiciness. I wasn’t sure if it was because of that, it appeared too creamy and sweet to me.

butter chicken master

butter chicken master

They also had a few vegetarian pizzas to choose from. Their punjabi veggie master ($13.95, medium) was a healthy option with a bunch of veggies including tomatoes, red onions, red and green peppers, mushrooms and spinach. A small amount of jalapenos, cilantro and ginger gave it extra heat and a tint of exotic flavours.

punjabi veggie master

punjabi veggie master

Out of all that we had tried, we loved the samoza master the most! It had a unique flair to die for 🙂

Pizza Master Fusion on Urbanspoon

Final stop @Gusto’s Restaurant & Lounge

On our way to Calgary Corn Maze, we stopped by Gusto’s in southeast which was surrounded by rural land and farms. I couldn’t help but wonder if the food was any good.

Stepping inside, I immediately found myself in a midwestern movie. The rustic country style decor, slot machine, dart board and pool table were everything you expected to see in a classic cowboy bar.

gusto's calgary

gusto's calgary 3

gusto's calgary 2

Gusto’s pizzas were very special in a way that they all had a thin layer of baked cheese on top, resembling a pie.

four cheese pizza

four cheese pizza

The four cheese pizza ($17.49, medium) were filled with ooey gooey melted cheese. The generous amount of mozzarella, cheedar, parmesan and feta cheese were extremely satisfying.

hawaiian calgary pizza week

hawaiian pizza

The hawaiian ($15.99, medium) were made with the classic ingredients- salty ham and citrusy-sweet pineapple. It was a great treat, except I wished there was more tomato sauce and less cheese.

greek style pizza

chicken tzatziki pizza

Lastly was their specialty pizza for YYC Pizza Week – chicken tzatziki pizza ($20, medium), which was so packed with wholesome and delicious ingredients such as feta cheese, satay chicken, spinach and red onion.. The creamy tzatziki dip on the side added an exotic flavor and tied everything together. Delicious!!

greek style pizza calgary

chicken tzatziki pizza

Gusto's Restaurant & Lounge on Urbanspoon

 

It’s time to face the critical question – Did any of the above restaurants win the competition?

Yes! Bensonhurst’s pizza carbonara was voted the most unique pizza!

After seeing so many unique pizzas, do you have a craving for it? 😉

Before heading out, here’s a question for y’all – What’s the most unique pizza you’ve ever had? 


Link-up //WeekendWanderlust // Big thanks to Justin Plus Lauren and other co-hosts. For more travel posts, please click on the image below.

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