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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Big Mama's and Papa's

It's called Big Mama's because they make a pizza so big that you could hide underneath it. They also have big slices, which I avoid. This is a chain and you can probably find at least one in every town within LA. It is my go-to pizza spot, because there is one across the street and it is cheap. You can pick up a large cheese for 10 dollars. Is it the best pizza? No. Is it something I would drive half way across town for? No. Pizza is a food of convenience, and I realize that most of the time, you will settle for a mediocre pizza place that is down the street rather than an unbelievable place downtown.

Anyway, that being said, I will describe the pizza for those of you who have not had it. The crust is a little thicker than your typical NY slice. The outer rim is dense bread that if overcooked like this one was, becomes a little dry and tough to eat. The sauce is a tangy sweet sauce with good tasting cheese. The overall flavor of the pizza is a lot different that most; it has a very salty and oily taste, which is probably what makes it so desirable. I think the crust is generally crispy and the pizza has a good taste. If this is the only pizza place near you, well then you don't have it so bad.

7353 W. Sunset Blvd and many other locations
Price: $

Big Mama's & Papa's Pizzeria on Urbanspoon
Big Mama's & Papa's Pizzeria in Los Angeles

Monday, April 28, 2008

Coachella Pizza 2008

Yes, I went to Coachella this weekend and yes, I had the pizza.  I don't mean to make anyone jealous by writing this, I just want to share my pizza experience.

 It was a long weekend, long days and intense heat in the desert.  There was a ton of food everywhere - BBQ, burritos, hot dogs, cheese steaks and even some Thai food.  Most all of it was overpriced and not that good.  The cheese steaks did look good, and I regret not getting one.  A group of us hit the food early on Friday, to check out our options.  A friend got a chimichanga, which he claimed was straight from Costco.  He used to get them there, a 50 pack for 5 bucks; they were selling them for 8 dollars each.  Even the chips and salsa seemed to be from Costco, man are they making money.  
I, of course, went straight for the pizza, got a slice of cheese for 6 dollars.  A little absurd to say the least.  They did warm it up for me and smiled so I didn't feel so bad.  The pizza looked pretty good when it came out steaming hot.  At first it tasted alright, the cheese and sauce were generic but satisfying.  The crust wasn't crispy it was just kind of cooked bread and by the end,  it was just too chewy and tasteless to finish the crust.  While it was not the worst pizza I have had, there are better ways of spending 6 dollars, probably on the fried burrito next door, it may be from Costco but that doesn't mean it isn't good. 
However...   on Sunday I needed some food.  I thought about the cheese steak, but the reality is, and this is why I love pizza, pizza is easy and at the time close by.  So I went back.  Now, this is where I give the pizza some credit.  The place is called I (Heart) Spicy Pizza.  It is called this because they have a pizza with jalapeno's and pepperoni's.  Now, I am not a huge fan of spicy things, but occasionally I venture into that world.  It was night time, the air was cool, Prince was about to go on and maybe I had a couple too many drinks, but that was the best combination of pizza I have ever had.  Of course I usually just stick to cheese so I don't try that many, but seriously I need to start looking for that, because that was delicious.  If the sauce, cheese, and most importantly the crust had been well made, I would highly recommend that combo.
I apologize for not getting pictures of the pizza, once again I forgot.  But here are some pictures of crazy people in Ray-Bans.  
I (Heart) Spicy Pizza - Coachella and possible other festivals
Price: $$$$
Jalapeno and Pepperoni:

Friday, April 25, 2008

Berri's Pizza Cafe

Finally when I thought I was getting a handle on the pizza places in Hollywood, I get a coupon in the mail for a new place that is opening up. "Just when I thought I was out..." Though there was always a Berri's on 3rd and La Cienega area, it slipped past my radar. So thats where I went.

I was pleasantly surprised about this pizza, because the menu I got in the mail only had a few kinds of pizza and it was expensive, but it ended up being cheaper and delicious. The cheese and sauce were well put together. The sauce was very sweet maybe too much, but tasted good. The cheese was a perfect amount with a little oily covering. The crust was thin and crispy. I was able to give it a nice fold down the middle to eat it with. It was thin enough that it was a little flimsy and messy the first bite or 2, which is good in my book. What the crust did at the edge of the pizza was where it was a bit flawed. It didn’t rise like it should and there wasn’t enough of a doughy center. It ended up a little stale tasting, and dry. But up until the end I thought the crust worked out pretty well. Overall I would definitely get it again. There only have 2 sizes 20’’ and 10’’ neither of which is ideal for a single person who eats a lot and wants to give a review. But the 20’’ was only 14 dollars so I went big. I was pretty happy.

Berri's Pizza - 8412 W. 3rd St. 90048
Price: $$

Just so all my fans, all 3 of them don't think I quit the pizza blog industry, I am going to take a few days break. I am off to Coachella, a music festival in CA. Yes, I will try festival pizza for you, not for me, I know it will be bad, but it is the bad pizza that makes the good pizza good.

Berri's Pizza Cafe on Urbanspoon
Berri's Pizza Cafe in Los Angeles

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Pizza Man

Pizza Man is your typical delivery place, with subs, wings, and even apple pie (which is not typical).  There are a 100 of them in the LA area, and it tastes like it.  The genuine element of the place does not exist, i should really categorize this place with other chain pizza stores like Domino's or Pizza Hut, but based on taste I should categorize it with frozen pizza because thats what it tasted like.  You know that frozen pizza called Tony's with that jolly round italian guy on the box, yeah, thats probably where they are getting their pizza.  I'd rather eat Papa John's any day.  The cheese I could deal with, the sauce was just cheap Marinera, and the crust, eh...  It was thick and chewy, and the bottom resembled cardboard.  There was absolutely no flavor.  It didn't taste bad, it just didn't taste good.  

However, knowing what you are getting into with this place, as  I did, you could be satisfied.  If you are hungry enough, and maybe hungover, and the pizza place is across the street, and you find out that you can pick up a large cheese for 4.99, yes 4.99 for a whole pizza then you might be satisfied.  Sometimes bad pizza can still be good, but if bad pizza is still bad, for 5 dollars a pie you can throw the rest out and not feel so bad.   

Pizza Man - (Corner of Sunset and Normandie) or eveywhere
Price - ¢

Pizza Man in Los Angeles

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Pizza Bella

I remember going into this place a couple years ago when I first moved to town, it was basically a kitchen inside of a liquor store.  It was in one of these strip malls on the corner with big block letters on the side of the building but with no door underneath.  Eventually I probably just got fed up with trying to find it and went in the liquor store to get drunk maybe.  But in the back there is a small space with a pizza oven.  Anyway that was a while ago, now they seem to be expanding, they might even have their own door now.  The pizza however has seemed to suffer.  I was in Pizza Bella recently to get a pizza to review and it and it wasn't as great as I had remembered it to be.  I got a 12’’ cheese pizza that looked really good, had the slight brown cooked spots on the cheese. The first piece tasted alright, but by the 3rd I got a little bored of it. The sauce was kind of generic and there was too much cheese and sauce on it. The crust was a simple flat crust that was just ok.  What can I say, I wouldn't be against ordering it, but there are better places around.
Pizza Bella - 1900 N Highland Ave 90068
Price: $

Pizza Bella in Los Angeles

Friday, April 18, 2008

Mamma Mia’s Pizzeria

I haven't had a pizza for 3 days.  I needed to eat it today, had to eat it today.  It appears now to me that pizza is mildly addictive, and today I had to feed that addiction.  I ordered from Mamma Mia's, a place down on Sunset past "The Strip".  I was really looking forward to it.  It was going to be delivered to me for a cheap price.  So already I was liking the place, until they told me it was going to be an hour before it would be delivered.  The pizza finally arrived, and look pretty good. 

It had a nice and thin browned crust, and slightly browned cheese.  There was not a lot of puff at the end, which concerned me a little.  I dug right in, and thought initially the taste was pretty good.  The cheese was the dominant flavor, the oily taste that oozed out from the cheese was very strong.  It was really all you could taste, mainly because there was very little sauce.  As you can see.  

The lack of sauce caused it to become a little dry after the first couple slices.  Then there was the crust, very thin but had no crunch to it.  It was too chewy and had no crispiness.  The end of the crust was no different.  I wolfed down the first 3 slices, but slowed down pretty quickly on the fourth and left pretty much half a pizza uneaten, it just wasn't good enough to stuff my face with, and feed my addiction.  But it will do till tomorrow.  

Mamma Mia Pizzeria9161 Sunset Blvd. West Hollywood 90069
Price: $

Monday, April 14, 2008

Guest Bloggers: Help me!

I recently posted a blog by someone other than myself.  Although I would like to keep it mainly my own opinions, it is my blog, I do like the idea of random people's reviews to add some color and variety in writing to this blog.  Plus there are a hell of a lot of pizza places here.  

I am only one man, and can not eat everywhere, or at least not before a new place pops up around the corner.  I have been eating pizza regularly for about 2 months and have just started to see the end of my journey in Hollywood.  Thats it, just Hollywood, I still have Santa Monica, The Valley, East LA and everywhere in between to go.  So I urge the few people who read this to take it upon yourself to discover a new pizza place, and if you have an opinion write a review.  If I haven't discovered it yet and you aren't crazy I'll post it until I can take time to visit it myself.  If you are a person who doesn't love pizza please preface that before you review it. 

Just a note on reviews, make sure you remember the kind of pizza you ordered and how much it was, and the name of the place helps too.  Give it a rating out of 5  and if you want to take some pictures you can do that too.  You can find my email on my profile. 
Good luck, the sooner we get a handle on all the pizzerias in LA the sooner we will all be happy.       

Guest Blog: A day at the beach

Today I have decided to introduce a new blogger.  Her name is Kelly.  This is the first time I have had a guest pizza taster, post a review for me, but I would like it to happen more often.  If anyone has tried some pizza from a place that I have yet to discover, please let me know about it.  If you have an opinion, write a blog and I will post it.  The faster we get a handle on the pizza in LA the faster we will all be happy.  
Without further ado, I bring to you, Kelly:  

On Saturday, I found myself in Hermosa Beach, enjoying the warm weather, hanging out on the beach.  
Pier Ave was packed with some surfing store's street festival and because of this, and all of the day drinkers, there was a bit of a wait at all the restaurants.  This is why I found myself at Zeppy's.  I ordered a slice of pepperoni.  To my disappointment, when I received my slice, it was Sicilian - I'm not a big Sicilian fan.  It was an average slice of pizza, though.  The bottom of the crust had just the right crunch to it and there was plenty of cheese on top.  The sauce was just so-so; it didn't have a ton of flavor.  The best part was probably my $3 beer and eating outside in the warm sunshine.  

Zeppy's Pizza - 36 Pier Ave Hermosa Beach 90254
Price: $
Zeppy's in Hermosa Beach

Raffallo's Pizza

Today I went local, walking down the street to one of many pizza places called Raffallo's.  They have so many locations all over.  It is a local chain I guess you could say.  For the record, I am not sure if it is spelled with one L or 2, I should just look next time I walk by.  Anyway, the pizza is ok.  It has good flavor, nice thick sauce, and tasty bread.  The problem here is there is just too much of it: a lot of cheese on top of a lot of sauce on top of a thicker crust that leaves a lot of open bread on the edges.  I don't have too much to say about it, it is just one of those places I guess you go to if it is around, which is what I suppose they are banking on since they are always around.  They do have good meatball subs though, for the record.  

Raffallo's Pizza - 7311 W Sunset Blvd 90046 - and many others
Price: $$
Raffallo's Pizza in Los Angeles

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Brick Dome Pizza

Brick Dome Pizza is a small place in West Hollywood that seems like it mostly does deliveries.  I like its slogan, "The way pizza should really taste."

If this is the way pizza should taste, then I guess I don't like pizza anymore.  That's a bit harsh, the real problem with this wasn't so much the taste as the crust.  It was paper thin and brittle, much like a place called Stone Fire Pizza, which has a similar name as well.  There was no doughy element to it.  The sauce and cheese were good however.  Once you get past the boring crust it isn't bad.  Although the price is more than it's worth.  I got away with using an expired coupon from when they had different prices I guess, and it was still 14 dollars.  A regular price would be 17 dollars for a large 1 topping pizza.  That is a little more than it should be.  Another day another pizza. 

Brick Dome Pizza - 7901 Santa Monica Blvd 90046
Price: $$

Brick Dome Pizza in West Hollywood

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Enzo's Pizzeria

My understanding of this place is, it used to be a lot better. It also used to be a different place, called Albano's. Albano's was a place that I sadly never got to try. I heard great things about their pizza, but for whatever reason it is now gone. Their reviews and phone number are still all over the internet. I tried to call for a pick-up order, but I got a disconnected message. As I looked at the address, I realized I had been to a pizza place at that exact point already. It was called Enzo's.

Enzo's used to have 2 locations, one on Melrose which recently closed and is now LOVE Pizza and a more notable one in Westwood near UCLA, a college kid favorite. I had driven by a few weeks ago and decided to give it a try. I didn't have time for a whole pizza so I just picked up a couple cheese slices. The smell of cooking pizza filled the room and with the red and white checkered tablecloths and the classic Frank Sinatra picture I felt pretty good about the place. However, it is a lot easier to decorate a pizza place than to make good pizza. The slices came out piping hot and I had to wait most of my car ride home to eat them. But I of course jumped the gun and burned my tongue. It tasted great at first, but I realized the taste was so addicting because of the amount of oil on top. There was so much grease, it was dripping out the back, down the sides, and seeping through the box. That was pretty much the only flavor to the pizza. I like a little grease, but too much makes the crust soggy and drowns the flavor with oil. The flavor was bland and the crust was average. I feel it would have been a lot better, if it had just a little less oil.
It is open till 3am on the weekends so I guess thats a good thing. Well... if eating greasy food while drunk before you pass out is a good thing.
10940 Weyburn Ave, Los Angeles
(310) 208-3696
Price: $

Enzo's Pizzeria in Los Angeles

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Damiano Mr. Pizza

Domiano's ( or as the cool kids call it, Mr. Pizza) is a raved about pizza joint on Fairfax Ave.  It is slammed after 2am since the location is around a lot of bars.  It has a very NY feel too it, being very small, dark and dingy inside.       

I stole some pictures for this, sorry you aren't getting my artistic eye for this one.
The pizza is certainly one of a kind.  The crust is light and crispy.  It has a very tangy, sweet sauce, that has just the right amount based on the amount of cheese, which is light as well.  It really satisfies the stomach and I would highly recommend it, however its not really quite up to the NY fold it as you go standards.  It is kind of NY style pizza with an LA twist.  If you are eating pizza everyday like me, it is a nice change up in taste from everything else.  The price is right too.               

Damiano Mr Pizza - 412 N. Fairfax Ave 90036
Price: $

Damiano's / Mr. Pizza in Los Angeles

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Vito's Pizza

I sure do have a special one for you guys and girls today, Vito's Pizza, it is one of the best.  I got it delivered the other day by a guy who sounded like he came straight from Italy to deliver this pizza.  He was talking up the pizza a lot, he really believed in it, he thought it was the best in LA.  I just smiled and nodded and said I never had it before.  Then he called me a Vito's Virgin, and I got a little shy.  Anyway, I quickly dug right in and it was outstanding. 

 Great sauce, great cheese and a very delicious crust.  It was a little chewy and not as crisp as it had looked, if I had to complain.  The real problem with this pizza was the price.  It was a pretty generous 18 inch pizza for about 17 and with tip it turns into 20.  That's just for cheese, they have some good specialty pizzas but they could cost you as much as 32 for the prosciutto and arugula.  I guess thats not too bad considering it is one of the best pizzas I've had so far, but beyond the taste, 2 essential points that pizza should have are convenience and an affordable price.  This is part of what makes it so appealing.  The pizza was great, but I couldn't get it all the time, it's too much for my wallet and besides I got a lot of other places to go. 
heres the classic pizza fold.

UPDATE:  I have not had Vito's Since I wrote this original post.  I went this time to the place so that I could get a fresh pie.  The Margarita Pizza looked pretty good, but I stuck with the cheese.  The man in charge told me it was really good today.  Indeed it was.  I ate 3 of the freshest slices you can get.  The dough was made fresh and hand tossed to order and you could taste the difference.  It had everything- a crispy outside and bottom, a slightly doughy and chewy texture to it.  The cheese and sauce melted together perfectly.  The sauce was very simple, a light tomato taste with a sweet flavor to it.  The cheese was melt in your mouth.  so I have to say again, this has got to be the best pizza in LA.  I could have used a little more spices in the sauce and maybe a crispier crust, its not quite as good as N.Y., but its up there. 
It has been there 2 years and thankfully successful.  So this place still stands as the best in my book.

Also I want to add, that it is know that every pizza slice tastes good right out of the oven, it is as the pizza cools when you can really judge it.  Most pizza declines in taste as it cools off.  This pizza however stays delicious, and even when cold has the same textures and flavor.  This is the difference between really well made pizza and all the other crap that is out there.  

Vito's Pizza - 846 N. La Cienega Blvd. 90069
Price: $$$
how can you go wrong with this guy

Vito's Pizza in Los Angeles

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Oak Fire Pizzeria & Pub

Since I have written this review, what was once Stone Fire Pizza Company has now changed its name to Oak Fire Pizzeria & Pub. Same place, unfortunately same pizza.

Today I decided to go to a place I have heard a lot about, Stone Fire Pizza Company. It was Sunday so all my friends were actually around to join me for once. One of the reasons I went was the happy hour specials, every day the place has half price off drinks and pizza. The pizza on any other day is a little over priced, $13-$16 for a 12-inch pizza. But for 7 dollars its a steal! There were four of us and we got 3 different pizzas and although we were still hungry for more we called it quits. They have about 25 different kinds of pizza so it was tough to come to a decision.
We settled on of course the classic Margherita Pizza, the Sweet Pepper Sausage,
and the wild card, Prosciutto and Arugula. As you can see, thats a whole lotta arugula. There is prosciutto on it too, somewhere.
Since I have gone back I found the perfect toppings, the Meatball and sausage Pizza with yellow peppers to die for.
We also got a ridiculous dessert-fudge-ice-cream-pizza thing but thats a whole other blog.
The sausage one was really tasty. A very sweet sausage with caramelized onions and sun dried tomatoes.
Comparing it to other pizza places, I have to look at the cheese slice. As you can see, the crust is paper thin, so thin it becomes brittle and crumbles with a bite. It has no doughiness to it at all. This is not the right way to do it, in my opinion. The crust is very similar to Brick Dome Pizza, another place in the area. Other than the crust, it was all pretty good; the sauce was light and tangy and the cheese fit right in. There could have been a little more of the cheese and sauce, but with thin crust like that you can't pile on ingredients too well. The other crazier toppings were very good but the crust remains the same. This is a hard place to rate because it tasted good but at the same time it wasn't what I was looking for . It is a little expensive, but at the same time happy hour makes it reasonable. They do have a few chicago style, deep dish pizzas that I will have to try some other day, maybe that's the way to go. But I am on the hunt for a New York style pizza, and this was not it.

829 N. La Cienega Blvd West Hollywood 90069
12258 Ventura Blvd Sherman Oaks 91423
Price: (without happy hour) $$$

Stone Fire Pizza Co. in Los Angeles

Friday, April 4, 2008

Food Court Pizza? Why Not.

On Hollywood and Highland there is a mall and in that mall there is a food court area.  I figured there was pizza up there, so I had to try it.  Every pizza place is worth trying.  This place was called Hollywood Pizzeria Express.  Well this is the worst pizza I have experienced yet.  I was with a friend and he was absolutely swearing it to the devil while I was trying to give it the benefit of the doubt taking bites and saying, "ehh.. it's not that bad."  Well it was.  To my defense I got the supreme slice with lots of stuff on it, so that masked the awfulness a little.  My friend just got plain, nothing but cheese sauce and crust, what a tragedy.  The cheese was generic mozzarella and the sauce was generic... tomatoes ?  It was luke warm and probably had been sitting out a while, they put it in the oven but that didn't help.  What can I say good about it, well the crust was crispy, but midway through I grew tired with the taste of it so I can't say that the crust was that great either. I was going over the review in my head as we were muscling through the pizza and realized how much we just spent on these slices.  4.60 ladies and gentleman, thats what we spent, 4.60 each.  4.60 on a small slice of the worst pizza you can get.  Please if you are a tourist don't go there, they thrive on your species, who don't know any better. 

I could have and should have skipped this one but like I said I had to try it.  What would good pizza be without the bad.  Probably just as good.

Hollywood Pizzeria Express - Hollywood/Highland Complex
Price: $$$$

(I don't have a empty pan icon so this is what it gets, 
I mean it was better than Chuck E Cheese)

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