The Guilty Pleasure: La Frijolera
Where to Get It: Pizza Patrón
What it Really Costs: The dry cleaning costs of removing pizza grease stains from your shirt.
For a humble value pizza chain, Pizza Patrón sure has generated a lot of controversy over the years.
The Latino-themed pizzeria, which is based in Dallas and currently has 10 locations in the Valley, made national headlines back in 2007 when it announced it would be accepting Mexican pesos at its restaurants. The restaurant reportedly received hate mail and even some death threats.
Then, in 2014, the pizzeria came under fire again for naming its extra spicy jalapeno-and-pepperoni pie La Chingona, a popular Mexican slang word that means “badass” to some - and something much more offensive to others. Some TV and radio networks refused to air promotional spots for the fiery pie.
Although not nearly as controversial, the pizzeria recently grabbed a few more headlines with its latest creation: a specialty bean lovers pie called La Frijolera™. The large pizza comes fully loaded with mozzarella, ham, crispy bacon and smoky chorizo sausage, all baked onto a base of zesty black bean sauce.
The company tried to drum up publicity for the pizza by launching it on September 16th (aka, Mexican Independence Day) and challenging GOP frontrunner Donald Trump to try it. The campaign, which featured the hashtag #PizzaPaTrump (“pizza for Trump”) didn’t gain much traction. But the black bean sauce has apparently become a sleeper hit. The pizza sauce has proved so popular, you can now upgrade all house pizzas with frijoles for a dollar more.
But, publicity stunts aside, is La Frijolera™ any good? Is this just a novelty pie designed to amuse (and possibly gross out) pizza lovers, or is it worth it's weight in dough?
The good news is the pizza is surprisingly edible, and its mildly spicy black bean sauce is better than you might imagine. The bean sauce, more pasty than creamy, is well-seasoned with a subtle hint of peppers. The salty, savory meats, laced in bubbly white cheese and beans, may remind you of digging into a bowl of chorizo-spiked southwestern chili.
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Sure, the first bite may throw your palate off for a second or two, but it doesn't take long to adjust to the pizza's meaty, spicy profile. If you're a chili-lover, you may even come to favor La Frijolera™ over the other specialty pies at Pizza Patrón.
The bad news is that this unique pie is quite the grease pile, most suitable for consumption in the post-twilight hours after a visit to your neighborhood dispensary. It's a worthy candidate for the pantheon of fast food stoner food. Put it right up there with Taco Bell's Dorito's Locos Tacos, or Jack in the Box's Munchie Meal boxes.
And although Pizza Patrón has improved its crust over the years, their pies still lack structure. Most slices are still limp and runny, which means eating a slice of La Frijolera™ is a two-handed affair - unless you don't mind dripping sauce down your shirtsleeve.
Still, you have to hand it to Pizza Patrón for always looking for new angles in an old game. It kind of makes you wonder what they will come up with next. Chicken mole pizza, anyone?