The Chronicle/Cités Nouvelles production co-ordinator Patrice Charbonneau and digital sales representative Justine Cotton as they prepare to judge this year's Best of the West Best Pizza competition.
The Chronicle and sister newspaper Cités-Nouvelles' office cafeteria once more transformed into an epic battleground Friday afternoon, the likes of which you're unlikely to see in even the biggest of this summer's blockbusters.
But at stake was not something so small or unimportant as the fate of the world or a galaxy where nobody has gone before, but, rather, the all-important crown for the West Island's best pizza.
An intrepid team of five judges tasted three freshly delivered pies from different venues as determined by reader nominations.
This category is the only one to return from last summer's inaugural Best of the West competition, and, in some subcategories, very few points separated the three contestants, reflecting exactly how different the perfect pie is to each and every individual.
In third place, with 297 points out of a possible 500, was Pierrefonds restaurant Casa Mare. Judges praised its ample supply of toppings, cheese and meat. "The pepperoni was really good," noted sales support supervisor Lindsay Robb. Justine Cotton, digital sales representative, agreed. "Meat eaters will be very happy," she said, adding the cheese was very good as well.
It reminded production manager Patrice Charbonneau of pizzas that come out of the oven rather than a cardboard box. "It tastes like a pizza baked at home," he said.
In second place, with 373 points out of 500, came the well-known Dollard des Ormeaux pizzeria, Nikko's. "A good eat with lots to enjoy!" Enthusiastically noted Chronicle editor Albert Kramberger.
Marc Lalonde, news director for The Chronicle and Cités Nouvelles, concurred. "The sauce is great and the toppings are perfect," he said, adding there was a nice relationship between the latter and the pizza's crust. "Loved the overall texture," Robb said.
With a very narrow lead, the winner this year was the reigning pizza king from 2008 as well. Calzone's in Kirkland claimed the top spot with 388 points out of 500. "The sauce was excellent, very tasty," said Charbonneau. "Excellent sauce," Justine agreed. "Very good pizza."
Nikko's was also a returning contestant from 2008 's finals, moving up the ranks to second place this year from third the last time around.
Judges each tasted at least one slice of an all-dressed pizza from all three places. A grade of 100 was assigned per pizza, with 20 points each awarded for crust, toppings, sauce, texture, and good times (that certain "je ne sais quoi" in French).
Next week, our judges pack their bags for England (well, their taste buds do, anyway) for a crack at the area's best fish 'n chips. It's not too late to send in your nominations for that category, and all others listed below, to news director Marc Lalonde by e-mailing him at email@example.com, or giving him a ring at (514) 685-4690, ex. 243.
Check out The Chronicle's print edition on the following publication dates to find out how your favourite food fared.
2) Fish n’ chips ( May 20)
3) Poutine (May 27)
4) Sushi ( June 3)
5) Sweet treat (June 10)
6) Salad (June 17)
7) Backyard garden (June 24)
8) Late night eats (July 1)
9) Community pool (July 8)
10) Steak (July 15)
11) Pasta dish (July 25)
12) Bagels (Aug. 5)
13) Breakfast ( Aug. 12)
14) Sandwich (Aug. 19)
15) Readers' choice (Aug. 26)