• Purgatory Pizza does it again: NEW stretchy Teese pizza available now!

    May 17th, 2010mr meanerLA restaurants, purgatory pizza, vegan cheese

    We’ve probably written more about Purgatory Pizza in Boyle Heights than any other restaurant. Since it became the first pizza joint in California to carry Teese vegan cheese, we’ve been regulars at Purgatory. Add in several other vegan Pizza firsts: First to carry Field Roast sausage, Gardein “Chicken” and one of the first in the country to carry Daiya vegan cheese, and we’ve been visiting Purgatory constantly. It’s no surprise, then, that Purgatory is again ahead of the pack, as one of the first places on the West Coast to offer the brand new Teese vegan mozzarella, which we’ve raved about before.

    A quick grounder and history in vegan cheese is probably worthwhile at this point…

    Back in the dark days of vegan pizza (2008!), there were two main vegan cheese competitors: Follow Your Heart and Veganrella. It’s not surprising that very few pizza joints carried either: fundamentally these products were less cheese substitutes, and more of a fat replacement to give some binding to the sauce and bread. Only when the original Teese burst on to the LA scene in 2009 did vegan pizza become a credible, edible meal.

    Original Teese actually had a slightly “aged” taste like real mozzarella and had a consistency much, much closer to melted cheese than the products available at the time. All was fine and dandy until spring 2009 when Daiya released their groundbreaking vegan cheese alternative. The new Daiya not only melted and tasted uncannily like real cheese (people have been known to send it back in restaurants assuming they were served a dairy-based cheese) but it also stretched with tangy threads giving an incredibly realistic impression of real cheese.

    Also, Daiya was the first vegan cheese substitute to be both soy and gluten-free so it’s also become popular with those who have allergies or intolerances to soy and/or gluten.

    Almost overnight, Teese was replaced pretty much everywhere by Daiya. A combination of a slick, well funded and agressive marketing campaign, excellent social media outreach and, frankly, a superior product led Daiya to confidently and quickly take the vegan cheese crown. Heck, these days you can even buy Daiya in Whole Foods, all nicely shredded and packed for you to sprinkle on your own pizza.

    Now, here we are in spring 2010 and Chicago Soy Dairy (manufacturers of Teese) have come back with guns a-blazing and an entirely new formulation of Teese that will knock your socks off. Although we’ve had the new Teese on our own home backed pizzas before and really enjoyed it, we were wholly unprepared for the treat that is Purgatory’s legendary rustic crust, home made sauce and fresh toppings all smothered in new Teese.

    We went along for a preview tasting with some friends and ordered a couple of pies that turned out to be out of this world. First up we topped the new Teese pizza with field roast sausage, garlic, tomato, mushroom, basil and jalapenos…

    new stretchy teese pizza with field roast sausage, garlic, tomato, mushroom, basil and jalapenos.

    Our other pizza was an equally mouth-watering combination of gardein chicken, basil, mushroom and garlic, and I can tell you that both pizzas were gone in minutes.

    new stretchy teese pizza with gardein chicken, basil, mushrooms and garlic.

    The new Teese has a few defining characteristics that make it a very worthy contender for the crown. First off, it’s just as stretchy as Daiya but is much more chewy, leading to a more realistic cheese texture – especially when you pile it on high. Second, the new Teese removes the single biggest complaint against Daiya: it doesn’t stick to the roof of your mouth, but stays together as you eat it, just like real cheese.

    Purgatory Pizza has some of the best crusts, sauces and toppings in the pizza business, and when you have new Teese in the mix not only does Daiya have a run for its money, but the art of vegan pizza just definitely went up a notch. Now, to the $50K question: “Is new Teese better than Daiya?”… well, it all depends on what you like. At the very minimum it’s a great alternative, as if you eat a lot of anything it gets boring. Switching Daiya for new Teese for a while will reinvigorate your taste buds again for sure. On balance, though, it might actually have a slight edge over the reining King.

    I for one will keep both in my fridge, and switch it up when I order vegan pizza. I imagine that a lot of places will start to stock new Teese as I hear that it’s very aggressively priced and has a much longer shelf life than Daiya. Those things matter a lot, and I’m getting a but fed up of paying an extra $2-$3 per pizza for Daiya. Perhaps Teese can level the field a little.

    There’s only one way to find out which is better, though: Get down to Purgatory and order a new Teese pizza. Let us know what you think in the comments.

    PS: New Teese is in limited supply, so call ahead to make sure they still have some left! Something tells me this stuff is going to go fast.

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30 responses to “Purgatory Pizza does it again: NEW stretchy Teese pizza available now!” RSS icon

  • UGH! I was REALLY HOPING to read in this post which cheese was better. Guess I have no option but to visit Purgatory tonight and find out for myself. I will be back with my findings

  • Quick note is… there was NO funding for marketing with Daiya! Just great fans, saying great things!

  • @Kristen (assume you’re from Daiya) – you have a great website, marketing collateral and a sales and marketing team. I know, I’ve met them! There’s funding there… c’mon!

  • miss anthrope

    i love vegan cheese

  • @Kristen:

    A quick google for “kristen daiya” leads to this:


    The fact there’s a “brand manager” implies a marketing expense.

  • I’m gonna go ahead and say TEESE is way better than daiya. 🙂
    so glad Purgatory is carrying the new teese. i’ll be visiting regularly.
    down with daiya, long live the new teese!

  • Is Purgatory still offering Daiya as well?

  • miss anthrope

    they serve both daiya and the new teese! love purgatory!!

  • Dreaming of vegan pineapple pizza as I type this. Hehe.

  • Be glad that you guy have both Daiya and Teese around. In europe we have neither, no so far. Come on vegan cheese makers! Send a boatload here ASAP!

  • very exciting news. daiya is an enemy of my stomach.

  • Do you guys think that with all these vegan cheeses that will be coming out, that they might eventually make vegan Cheetos and vegan Cool Ranch Doritos?

    That would be so cool. I would be thrilled.

  • I always eat at Shojin when downtown, but I think I’ll have to try this.

    @Gauri: I would love it if someone would make plain, unflavored “Cheetos” that people could flavor however they liked!
    Actually, in some Asian markets you can find a Cheetos-like product apparently called Calbee (also the name of the company) with non-descript flavors like “hot and spicy” or “curry”. There is a blurb on the bag that says they contain fish, but looking at the ingredients, there’s absolutely nothing fish-like. I think it’s one of those instances of “we make other products on the same machines, so they make us give an allergy warning…”
    I’ve also been really satisfied with the Salsa flavored Mission Tortilla chips. They taste pretty close to Doritos!

  • ^ Thanks so much, I will look for the Mission Tortilla and Calbee products and give them a try.

    Someone recommended Tings to me the other day but they weren’t quite what I was looking for. (A good start though, and glad they’re available at Whole Foods for now.)

  • ericm: me too! daiya doesn’t work in my belly AT ALL. in fact, i switched back to follow your heart because though daiya tastes okay, the after effects a awful. glad to hear about teese!!! once i’m done with my epic raw cleanse i’m going to try it out for sure. hopefully pizza guru will consider stocking both options. thanks QG!

  • lmao @ “kristen daiya” getting busted by mr. meaner.

    melissa – i prefer FYH these days as well. but i’m hoping the new version of teese will be a better alternative.

    we’ll see. i’m going to purgatory on tuesday to test it out!!!

    and…YAY for Tings!!!

  • I just came from Purgatory and was told by the workers they didnt have the new Teese cheese and only used Daiya.

  • Wow, that’s ironic. I complained to Daiya back in March at Expowest that they have no traditional marketing presence and they agreed – they hadn’t done any advertising at all and although they didn’t really have a marketing budget, they had just hired a brand manager to try makes some progress. I think they just ran their first ad in VegNews in April, albeit a very small one at the back of the magazine. Quite a different story from the “slick, well funded and aggressive marketing campaign” you have eluded to – that actually made me laugh out loud. In fact, it seems to me that the Teese folks run full page ads for their marshmallows in VegNews and it was the Teese folks whose advertising campaign for their cheese took some not-so-nice shots at Follow Your Heart (still my favorite vegan cheese) in their advertising. So, who has the aggressive, well funded marketing budget here? And, after all, why shouldn’t they promote themselves? Shouldn’t we celebrate that we have more choices and don’t we want these companies to spread the news that they have great alternatives to dairy products that alleviate the suffering of animals? I actually get the feeling in some folks bloggish tone that somehow having funding or marketing your product is evil. Huh? Anyway, I’m glad Teese has released their product as it gives everyone more choices. When you consider how many cheddars and mozzas dairy eaters have to choose from, I say, bring on another 10 Daiyas, Teeses and Follow Your Hearts!

  • @Norman: Being on the receiving end of a lot of very much appreciated outreach from vegan food companies, I can confirm that Daiya was very slick in their marketing approach: what I said was a compliment, and I was careful to qualify that they had a superior product, without which… And I’m 100% with you – the more competition we have with vegan cheese the better.

    In fact, I bet that Teese would never have bothered to reformulate their product if it were not for Daiya. After all, I thought they’d given up and concentrated on vegan marshmallows!

    @Andre: So sorry. We did say to call ahead, and updated the post earlier with confirmation that Purgatory would not have the new Teese until tomorrow. They told us last night that it would be available, and we did let them know that we had posted first thing this morning. Hopefully just teething troubles.

    For the record, I’m eating a Daiya pizza right now. Continuing to mix it up.

    Rock on both Teese and Daiya: we need you both and many more like you.

  • Andre – what they told you about “Daiya only” was true at that moment. I just got my case of Teese yesterday but it delivers to my home and I wasn’t able to get it to PP. It will be there today though and once it is, Purgatory will be offering both Teese and Daiya.

    Sorry to the Follow Your Heart fans. We use their mayo but I have never liked the cheese and can’t bring myself to sell anything I wouldn’t eat myself… I’m very happy with the new Teese. Both our vegan cheeses are very good. It’s really personal preference as to which is better…

  • Ah Purgatory Pizza, if only you were in the Bay area. Oh well, gives me an excuse to go to LA.

  • @Gauri Doritos has a “vegan friendly” bag. I forget the name of the flavor, but its a purple bag. I can never find it at markets etc, but a friend brought me a bag from walmart. Ive seen it for sale online one veganessentials.com and similar sites. 🙂

  • @mr-meaner – I had read the adjustment you made before going and have no regrets the pizza they made for my kids and I was incredible. 15 miles through traffic was worth it.

    @Purgatory Pizza – I forgot the persons name who put together our pizza, I believe he called it a hearty lovers pizza, it was the best pizza Ive had in quite some time. Now if you only had a shop a little closer to BH. Hint, hint.

  • just finished half of my large pie with teese, mushroooms, olives, field roast sausage, and el diablo sauce.

    thoughts on teese:

    1) tasted fine, but didn’t have a ton of flavor.
    2) texture was not as creamy as daiya, but more like real mozzarella
    3) it melted beautifully

    overall, i was very happy!

  • Just finished my *new* Teese pizza. I got two exactly the same (as my b/f likes Daiya, and I didn’t want to disappoint him in case the Teese wasn’t any good).

    End result? We ate the Teese pizza, and left some of the Daiya pizza. I really think that Teese is better, nowhere near as creamy and far stretchier than Daiya.

    I’m sold. I will, though “switch it up” every now and again.

    Thank you chicago teese!!!

  • That’s good to hear. Daiya does tend to melt and KEEP melting until it’s a sauce. A non-vegan friend told me that Cruzer pizza was more like “hummus pizza”.

  • @Gauri Doritos has a “vegan friendly” bag. I forget the name of the flavor, but its a purple bag. I can never find it at markets etc, but a friend brought me a bag from walmart. Ive seen it for sale online one veganessentials.com and similar sites.

    I had no idea they had a vegan-friendly option! I’ll be looking into this for sure. Thanks for telling me!!

  • teese tease please bring chef ricky back for a guest appearance

  • cunt_life – I tried to reach him yesterday to see when we are drinkin’. Last we talked he told me he was coming down soon and this activity was our grand plan once he did… He’s digging Seattle and whatever that rainy town entails though, not sure he’ll ever be back. If he comes in and if you are who I think ya are, I’ll talk him in to making you a pie and letcha know

  • So stoked on purgatory. Been in the neighborhood lately but next time will definitely stop in for something new. Never ever had a bad experience there, always good! just wish long beach wasn’t so far, though PP is one of the closest LA establishments that I love…. 405,710,5,101 here we come!!!!

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