This tastes like the cow got into the onion patch.
To be honest, I kind of expected this taste testing event to resemble that infamous scene from Napoleon Dynamite. Luckily our Michigan Spoon Senses Blind Taste Test was much more fun, not to mention edible.
The premise of the event was to put Ann Arbor brands to the test. Which pizza/fries/sushi/chips and guacamole/milkshake actually tastes the best without any brand bias?
Secondly, which brands can we recognize by taste?
The event started by blindfolding the testers of each category and then bringing the samples to them, one by one. After tasting the sample, testers wrote down which restaurant they thought the food was from and ranked how good it was compared to the rest.
Wanting to get in on the action, I competed in the pizza, fries, and milkshake categories. Thoughts from behind the blindfold:
- Food tastes a lot better when you can see it.
- Food is a lot easier to eat when you can see it.
- Food tastes a lot better when it’s hot/right after it has been made.
- Being blindfolded is annoying.
Now that we’ve got that covered, let’s get down to the results (but more importantly, the food).
The pizza places that were tested included NYPD, Pizza House, South U Pizza, Pieology, and dining hall pizza. To put the pizza on an even playing field, plain cheese pizza was offered. Overall, South U Pizza and Pieology tied for the top spot.
An interesting finding in the pizza category is that even though South U and Pieology won in taste, Pizza House and dining hall pizza were much easier for everyone to identify. FYI, dining hall pizza does NOT taste good cold.
BurgerFi, Wendy’s, Ahmo’s, and dining hall fries made up the array of fries to be tested. Unfortunately, the cool temperature made most of the fries nearly inedible—Ahmo’s were the only fries whose seasoning overcame that and thus Ahmo’s was the clear favorite and most easily identified. If only HopCat’s crack fries were an option…
The sushi brands that were tasted were Sushi Town, Totoro, Slurping Turtle, and Sadako. For each of them, testers sampled California rolls. Slurping Turtle and Totoro tied for first—sorry Sadako-lovers.
In terms of identification, testers faced the most difficulty in this category. However, Sushi Town was the most easily identified sushi.
Chips and Guacamole:
Isalita, Chipotle, Panchero’s, and Cantina had their guacamole and chips put to the test. The clear winner was Isalita, with many commenting on its fresh lemon-lime flavor.
Identification was easiest in this category, mostly because of the distinct chips as a give-away (Panchero’s blue corn versus Chipotle’s signature thin hint of lime chips). Perhaps if testers were given a uniform chip with which to taste all of their guacamole samples, they would be less biased in their ranking decisions. However, one trend was certain: everyone knows what Chipotle chips and guacamole look like and taste like—all testers identified them correctly.
Last, but not least, milkshakes (or at least frozen ice creamy beverages) were tasted strictly in the chocolate version. Brands included Pizza Bob’s, BurgerFi’s custard, Wendy’s frosty, and Pizza House. Pizza House won. No surprise there. I mean, how can you go wrong with straight up ice cream that is called a milkshake? If you order Pizza House, they always give you a spoon and straw, but let’s be honest Pizza House: the straw is useless, and you aren’t fooling anybody.
Identification-wise, most were able to identify the nostalgic Wendy’s frosty as well as BurgerFi’s sugary-sweet custard.
Be sure to check out our next Spoon event–coming up on December 3rd!