Yeah, I Ate That

The Mac n' Cheese Slice at Ian's Pizza Goes Pre-Columbian

Pizza in some form -- a disk of baked dough with a few toppings -- has been around since probably the dawn of agriculture, while pasta in Italy dates back to as early as the 13th century. Tomatoes, on the other hand, didn't make it to the land of San Marzano and Chef Boyardee until after Columbus accidentally stumbled upon the entire Western Hemisphere. Thus it's possible that the mac n' cheese pie at Ian's Pizza in the Ballpark neighborhood may be what all pizza would be like had the Niña, Pinta and Santa Maria sunk before making it to the New World's tomato-strewn shores.

See also: The top ten doughnuts in Denver

Of course, how the cheddar cheese got thrown into the mix is still up for debate, but revisionist historians will have to take that up among themselves -- I'm dealing with facts here.

The facts that present themselves at Ian's include an almost cracker-like thin crust, a slathering of creme fraiche and a cobblestone layer of small elbow noodles. Topped with tangy cheddar, a slice is not so much a chunky carbohydrate spearhead as it is a well-balanced blend of crunchy, creamy and chewy (which coincidentally happens to be the literal translation of Niña, Pinta and Santa Maria).

Ian's isn't a Colorado original; the company got its start in Madison, Wisconsin -- which brings the cheddar mystery to closure. With more Italian, or at least Italian-American, toppings like pepperoni and garlicky tomato sauce, cheddar is the exact wrong ingredient (almost as bad as ketchup on a hot dog), but since Madison is more mullet than marinara, we're fortunate that Ian's left off the red sauce.

If you're not into carb-on-carb action, Ian's offers a few other culturally uncertain combos; that slice next to our hero in the photo is a black bean and chorizo burrito pizza, which while a touch timid on its own, was not too bad squirted with a a little of Ian's hot sauce. It just proves that pizza purists are really out of touch with the times; tomatoes on pizza represents the dawn of fusion cuisine -- that most despised of culinary creations.


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Mark Antonation is the former Westword Food & Drink Editor. In 2018, he was named Outstanding Media Professional by the Colorado Restaurant Association; he's now with the Colorado Restaurant Foundation.
Contact: Mark Antonation