Smile Politely

Date Lab: Netflix and Pizza

That’s right. I went there. While getting feedback from various readers, I found that many of them were looking for a night in. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good night out, and it’s been fun testing these last few dates. But sometimes you just need that night in, you know? However, a night in doesn’t need to be boring! Jon and I put together a date-night-in extravaganza: a Netflix and Chill themed date, except we’ve made Netflix and Pizza (chill is optional).

We decided to test drive Manolo’s Pizza in Urbana. Who doesn’t love pizza? There are endless varieties, available at all price ranges. It’s remarkably easy to grab this pizza by the slice, either for delivery or pick up. Simply put, pizzas are the superior choice for a date night in. Jon joined me in sampling three popular slices of Manolo’s pizza, providing our evaluations below for your consideration.

First up, The Spotted Goat. One of the staples at Manolo’s, this pizza does not shy away from packing on the flavors, layering spinach, mushroom, mozzarella, gorgonzola, and goat cheese, with both roasted garlic alfredo and red sauce. This was Jon’s favorite, specifically because of the mushrooms. This pizza balances flavor and texture, making each bite truly unique. I would recommend this slice for fans of Wes Anderson or Quentin Tarantino.

Now, onto the Spinach Tomato Parmesan. This was the slice that was mutually selected and mutually pleasing with a simple combination of spinach, tomato slices, parmesan, mozzarella, and red sauce. We both agreed that this slice has all the flavors of a traditional pizza but were amped up with twists (mixed sauce, multiple cheeses). This is an absolute crowd pleaser, great for fans of Gary Marshall.

Our final pizza choice was the specialty Four-Cheese Pizza. Topped with parmesan, gorgonzola, mozzarella, and goat cheese, over a smooth bed of roasted garlic alfredo sauce, this pizza is not for those watching their cholesterol. I chose this piece as a cheese lover and was not disappointed, though I will mention that the gorgonzola takes center stage here. It’s pretty powerful, so don’t expect the creamy taste of a pizza made with only mozzarella/parmesan. I loved the contrast between the smooth cheese and the crispy crust, a perfect bite of pizza every time. Great for fans of Nancy Meyers.

Each of these pizza slices cost between $4 and $5. We chose to pair our pizzas with Sprecher’s Root Beer, though any type of dark soda or beer of your choosing makes for a lovely compliment to these pizzas. All of the pizzas we chose are available in full sizes, ranging from 12” to 18”. Enjoy your pizza and (root) beer with a movie. This is the Netflix part, the date activity. If you don’t have Netflix, you can check out Amazon, iTunes, or your local library to rent these movies for an affordable rate. I’ve consulted my top movie expert friends and together, we’ve generated a list of solid movie choices for your viewing pleasure.

Netflix pick: Moonrise Kingdom
Other pick: National Treasure, because duh.

Netflix pick: Adventureland
Other pick: The Breakfast Club

Netflix pick: Tucker and Dale vs Evil
Other pick: Let the Right One In

Netflix pick: Shakespeare in Love
Other pick: Funny Face

Netflix pick: Amadeus
Other pick: About Time

Grab Bag:
Netflix pick: American Beauty, Phoenix, Chocolat
Other pick: The Holiday, The Social Network, Donnie Darko

Manolos Pizza and Empanadas is located at 1115 W Oregon Street, Urbana. You can order online here

Photos by Stephanie Svarz.

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