The salty, creamy, cheesy, and smoky equalizer knobs are all tuned to the same level
"No, we don't have that," the clerk at the 7-Eleven in Park Slope, Brooklyn, tells me. She steps out from behind the register to confirm that I am indeed pointing to a sticker depicting the 7-Eleven breakfast pizza, a new specialite de la maison that follows an egg-less sausage and cheese sandwich and Slurpees by drone as the chain’s latest disruption. This is the second 7-Eleven I’ve been to this morning that has both front window and food warmer advertisements hyping the breakfast pizza, and the second location with no actual slices under the heat lamp. "We've never had it,” the clerk tells me, smiling politely like I’m crazy for asking. I begin to think the 7-Eleven breakfast pizza is a weird corporate joke, a cryptid on the order of the beady-eyed Mothman or slippery ol’ Nessie, but with more complex carbohydrates.
It’s suspicious, I think, because never is a weird word for week-old novelty pizza, which features Crayola Sunglow yellow scrambled eggs, a quilt of melted cheddar and mozzarella cheese, and a pileup of breakfast meats, including bacon, breakfast sausage, and ham. Does someone come around and put up ads in individual stores? No, I’m told. They put the sticker up, the clerk says. She asks if I want two chicken biscuits for $2. I decline, go back to the car, and scour Twitter for any available video of the pizza, which at this moment would be just as vindicating as the 1967 Patterson–Gimlin 16mm film depicting Bigfoot frolicking through a Humboldt County forest.
Two stops later, I win the convenience-store scavenger hunt and nab three slices at a 7-Eleven 12 blocks south of Prospect Park. Each slice glistens in its wedge-shape paper box with something of a wet rubbery look, like a Star Wars bad guy, or a parody, Pizza the Hut. The slices are colorful and busy, like a Hieronymus Bosch painting rendered down with animal fats into the Most Important Meal of the Day. It bears little resemblance to its official headshot, but I’ve never been one to discount a hamburger just because its droopy iceberg lettuce, wan onions, mealy tomatoes, and sad beef patties look nothing like the promotional photo. “[A]dding a breakfast pizza will prove to be as popular with the a.m. crowd as our other pizzas are for lunch and dinner,” says Dennis Phelps, 7‑Eleven vice president of fresh food and proprietary beverages, in a press release. To paraphrase Phelps, this breakfast pizza may change the world, so I should give it the benefit of the doubt. After all, as Che Guevara said, “The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall.” That means I have to eat it right now.
The first and most obvious problem with this thing is that the bacon and ham seem to have foundered into the benthic depths of the pizza’s cream layer. The scrambled egg dollops are perfectly neutral, and the sausage nubs have a polite amount of salt and wispy traces of smokehouse flavor, but there’s something off about it. I sensed an industrial, petrol-like aftertaste that leaches from the meat, as if the smokehouse in question was made out of Saran wrap.
The pies come with a base coat of sawmill gravy, because this is America. They are built on a chassis of soft dough meant to telegraph the homey goodness of a biscuit. Any flakiness, it turns out, is aspirational, and the bleached flour sponginess is reminiscent of freezer-aisle pizza. All together, no single flavor stands out. It’s as if the salty, creamy, cheesy, and smoky equalizer knobs have all been tuned to the same level. That, unfortunately, doesn’t make it taste balanced; it just means that it’s boring.