I have a weakness for pizza. I know that this information will probably make me the laughing stock of epicureans everywhere, but there it is. My love affair with pizza is almost as bad as my love affair with cheese (and in fact is probably heightened by it).
That being said, my love of pizza is indiscriminate, and I will sample pizza in the seediest bars, the dankest airports, and the most blase buffets.
And so it was that last week I ended up at CiCi's Pizza Buffet in Madison Heights. I had driven by on multiple occasions and was always curious--in fact, was even excited after seeing the commercials on cable television and finding one so very close to home. A buffet?!? Of pizza?!?! Surely this must be the greatest thing since kneeded bread...
To be fair, the price is right: $5.29 (tax included) gets you in the all-you-can-eat pizza, pasta, salad, and dessert buffet (with non-water beverage it is more). You most certainly get your money's worth when you go in on an empty stomach...which isn't to say that you'll leave terribly satisfied, but at least you'll be full.
The pizza: cardboard. Carboard slathered in a special-recipe heartburn sauce. Several different flavors of it, too--no meat, one meat, and many meats. Mmm-mmmmmm!!!!!
The cheese bread: soggy. From what? From grease.
The pasta: one kind of generic noodle, two kinds of generic sauces.
The salad: iceberg with vats of your choice of liquified fat to drench it in.
The dessert: the brownies were chewy and chocolately, but the rest was blah and even kind of bleck.
The people at the counter were friendly, and the manager remembered my name and asked me periodically how I was doing. He complimented my coat: bonus points. It's not his fault the food his corporation serves is on par with high school cafeteria food.
And it is, oh but it is. In fact, I actually seem to remember my greasy, cheesy, cardboardy gut bombs from the lunchroom to have been more flavorful that CiCi's...but I was 15 and my palate was not yet fully developed.
Heh, I've come up with their new ad campaign. It's not fully developed yet, but it will play off the idea that "CiCi's Pizza takes you back..." Maybe there will be images of high school kids horsing around in a 1980s cafeteria, then flash forward to someone sitting inside a CiCi's and smiling as they eat the pizza and remember the good ol' days...the irony would be lost on most, but I would find it high-larious.