For some time now, The A.V. Club has been hearing rumors about the Pizzabon, food-court staple Cinnabon’s entre into the savory-food game. Unfortunately, the Pizzabon is currently only being test-marketed in Atlanta, far away from our home office in Chicago. Luckily, we were able to dispatch a special guest correspondent, Henry Owings of Chunklet, to hunt down this rare mall-dwelling beast with a friend and put their taste buds and stomach on the line for a special Malls Week edition of Taste Test. We hope you enjoy the experience more than he did.
Living in Georgia has its perks, and the food is at the top of the list. Comfort food merchants Waffle House and the now-vilified Chick-Fil-A are based here. Soda (nee pop) is called Coke here. Boiled peanuts are the Southern equivalent to edamame. Barbecue is a noun. Not a verb.
But when I get a call from Josh Modell to eat something for The A.V. Club, it can’t be good. No, not good at all. And boy, was I right. From where I live in downtown Atlanta, there’s rarely, if ever, a need to go to the ’burbs, let alone a shopping mall. Food courts are only a last-ditch option when your flight is stranded in Memphis, not a Thursday-afternoon destination.
Which brings me to my favorite tour-time activity: I Buy It, You Eat It, invented by the cunning aliens in Man Or Astro-Man? Basically, it’s just like it sounds: You order a meal of your choice for a friend (or not-so-good friend) and he has to eat it. If he doesn’t eat it all, he pays for it. If he does, you pay. But what if you get a goat-cheese omelet with 20 servings of onions in it, with a side of orange juice, burnt rye toast, and coffee? Yes, it must all be eaten (and kept down) or you get the check, skeezix.
You’re probably wondering, “What’s with all the backstory?” Easy. Pizzabon. Yes. That’s a word. Concocted by the sociopaths at Cinnabon, it’s exactly as appetizing as I had imagined. Process a cinnamon roll with less sugar, more yeast, and yes, added cheese (or a cheese-like substitute) and some sort of meat (?), and you get a Pizzabon. If Pizzabon existed during my salad days of I Buy It, You Eat It, those assholes would’ve lost in the blink of an eye. I ate the only Pizzabon of my entire life five hours ago, and I’m still suffering. Dense, greasy, unpleasantly flavorless. Oh, A.V. Club, why do you thrust this on me? Is it because I’m the only person you know in Georgia who would do this? Do you hate me? Do you secretly want me dead?
The motto at Cinnabon is “Life Needs Frosting,” a saying as morbidly obese as its patrons. Jesus, I feel like I’m getting fat just thinking about that Pizzabon. “Life Needs Frosting”? Why not just say “Life Needs More Coronary Embolisms”?
Henry Owings is a writer and graphic designer best known as the man behind Chunklet. His latest book, The Indie Cred Test, is being released in paperback by Penguin on September 4.