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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Panini Pizza and Pasta

I have been told this place is pretty good. I never noticed it before, I think because when I saw the name I didn't think pizza. Living here in L.A., if a place is called Panini, I think fancy sandwiches. I realize that might be spelled with 2 N's but whatever. So the other night I took a friend and we went to the place, had a large pizza and a couple beers. The beers are less than 4 dollars so thats a good deal, especially on the sunset strip. We got a medium, that was 14 inches, so it was more than enough. It was about 12 dollars and we got 2 toppings sausage and bell peppers, so it was more money after that, obviously. It took awhile to come out, and it was a little black on the edges, so it was clear they forgot about it or just didn't care. I have to say though, it was pretty good. The crust despite being blackened on the edges, had a decent crunch and doughy inside and tasted alright, it was a little floppy in the middle, which I'm guessing was from all the grease. The grease was a little too much, this could have been caused by the toppings, or it might always be that way from the cheese.
I have since gone back and ordered a large 16 inch pizza, just cheese. The crust is still the same, it has good flavor and is crispy, though the cooking times are a little inconsistent. So sometimes not as crispy. The cheese and sauce are a bit of a disappointment though. With toppings like sausage, the cheese and sauce are a little over shadowed. This time I could taste them in their purest form. The cheese was put on heavy and it was kind of a low grade mozzarella, which means it is extra salty and oily. The sauce seemed a little cheap as well, loaded with sugar and not really many other spices. The crust being good goes a long way for a pizza. Despite the cheese and sauce being subpar it is a pretty decent pie and cheap as well. If the sauce was legit it would be one of the best.

8849 West Sunset Blvd. 90069
Price: $
Panini's Pizza on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Here are your Hollywood Pizza Joints. In order from best to worst, roughly
( This includes everything between La Cienega to Cahuenga and Franklin to Wilshire)

Vito’s Pizza: La Cienega Blvd/Santa Monica blvd Overall ∆∆∆∆1/2
Mother Dough: Hollywood and Vermont ∆∆∆∆1/2
Village Pizzeria: Larchmont Blvd / Yucca St. Overall ∆∆∆∆
Stefanos Pizza(Two Guys from Italy): Hollywood Strip Overall: ∆∆∆∆
Verrazano's Pizza: North La Brea Overall: ∆∆∆∆
Rocco’s: Wilshire Blvd/Crescent Heights Blvd (also on Vermont) Overall: ∆∆∆∆
Patsy D’Amore’s Pizza: the grove Overall: ∆∆∆∆
Cristoni Pizza: Sunset Blvd. West Hollywood Overall: ∆∆∆1/2
Domiano's Mr. Pizza: Farifax/Beverly Overall: ∆∆∆
Z Pizza: Larchmont Blvd. Overall: ∆∆∆
Angeli Caffe: Melrose/La Brea •PENDING• Overall: ∆∆∆1/2
Panini's Pizza: Sunset blvd, west hollywod Overall: ∆∆∆1/2
Frankie and Johnnies: Sunset Blvd. West Hollywood (3 locations) Overall: ∆∆∆1/2
Terroni: Beverly and Curson 7605 Overall: ∆∆∆ 1/2
Berri's Pizza Cafe: 3rd St / Farifax Overall: ∆∆∆1/2
Happy Endings Bar: Sunset Blvd/La Brea
Big Mama’s and Papa’s: Vista/Sunset (multiple locations) Overall: ∆∆∆
Deano’s Gourmet Pizza: the grove Overall: ∆∆∆
Pizzeria Mozza: 641 Highland / Melrose Overall: ∆∆∆
D'Amores Famous Pizza: 3rd St (Coming Soon) Overall: ∆∆∆
Combos: hollwood strip Overall ∆∆∆
Rafallos: Sunset / Fuller (numerous Locations) Overall: ∆∆∆
Johnnies NY Pizza and Pasta: Wilshire / Burnside (Multiple Locations) Overall: ∆∆∆
Crispy Crust: 1253 N Vine St (multiple Locations) Overall: ∆∆∆
NY Pizza and Pasta: La Brea / Sunset Overall: ∆∆∆
Enzo’s: Melrose / Labrea Overall: ∆∆∆
Greenwich Village Pizzeria: Santa Monica/San Vicente Overall: ∆∆∆
Pizza World: Farifax/3rd Overall: ∆∆1/2
North End Pizzeria: 3rd St / La Cienega Overall: ∆∆1/2
Brick Dome: Farifax / SantaMonica Overall : ∆∆∆
Tomato Pie Pizza Joint: 7751 1/2 Melrose Overall: ∆∆1/2
Oak Fire Pizzeria & Pub: 829 N La Cienega Overall: ∆∆∆
Pizza Al Forno: Hollywood Strip Overall: ∆∆∆
Pizza Bella: North of Franklin on Highland Overall: ∆∆∆
Yammy Pizza: Sunset/Highland Overall: ∆∆1/2
Tidal Wave Mexican Food: 6112 Sunset Blvd. Overall: ∆∆1/2
Red Rock: Sunset Strip Overall: ∆∆1/2
Asparagus Pizza: 1809 N. Cahuenga Blvd Overall: ∆∆1/2
Andres Pizza: Hollywood Strip Overall: ∆∆
RainBow Room: Sunset Strip Overall: ∆∆
Pizza Rustica: Sunset Strip Overall: ∆∆
El Greco Cafe: Sunset Blvd / Highland Ave Overall: ∆∆ 1/2
Marco’s Trattoria: 8136 Santa Monica Overall: ∆∆
Cheebo: Sunset Blvd/Gardner Overall: ∆∆1/2
Venice Pizza & Deli: Hollywood Strip Overall: ∆∆
Rainforest Cafe: Sunset Blvd/Gardner Overall: ∆∆
Pizza Mayven: La brea / Beverly Overall: ∆∆
Mamma Mia’s: Sunset Blvd. West Hollywood Overall : ∆∆
Miceli’s Italian Restaurant: Las Palmas / Hollywood Overall: ∆∆
Numero Uno: Hollywood Strip Overall: ∆∆
Grecos: Hollywood Strip Overall: ∆
BOHO: Sunset Blvd in the Arc light complex Overall: ∆∆
Hollywood Pizzeria Express: Hollywood and Highland Overall: 0

W Love Pizza & Cafe

I tried to eat at a place today called Pizza Hop.  I wasn't looking forward to it but I was doing it anyway, for you pizza lovers.  Of course they closed and another pizza joint opened up.  If you thought Pizza Hop was a bad name, figure this one out.

W Love Pizza.  I thought thats what she said to me over the phone, and when I got there to pick up the pizza, I heard right.  After I saw the heart then I thought I figured it out.  We love pizza.  Nope that wasn't it.  With, it was With Love Pizza.  They make everything with love there, she tells me in a sweet voice.  The girl working there was very sweet indeed, and there was another woman in the back doing more of the cooking, maybe the mother.  That was it, 2 woman - lots of pizza.  I tried to take a picture of them, but no go, they don't like freaks taking pictures of pizza.  

Stupid name, but anyway, I got there early so I watched my pizza go through the little oven conveyor belt they have.  I ordered a large half cheese half mushroom/pepperoni - I was splitting it with a friend of mine from work, it was 15 inches and about 16 dollars with the toppings. 
She told me it was healthy, cooked with organic oil and fresh ingredients.  I've heard this speech before.  Surprisingly enough she seemed to be right.  The ingredients tasted pretty good and looked to be fresh, my friend gave a thumbs up on the mushrooms.  The sauce was a thick tomato gravy but tasted pretty good and fresh.  The cheese also tasted fresh and not mixed with other weird cheeses that don't belong.  
I had 2 major problems with the pizza however, one it was very heavy.  It just had a ton of sauce which was on the thick side anyway and a lot of cheese too.  It was just too much.  The second of course was the crust.  The definition of crust is some kind of hard, tough texture covering the outside of say a pizza or Earth.  By that definition it didn't really have a crust.  It had what was supposed to be a crust.  Unfortunately it was of the soft, mushy and bready variety.  I know it's surprising when you look at it, but it just wasn't crispy in any way.   
So unfortunately because of that, I can't pass this pizza.  Luckily for the pizza place we aren't in school  - so that statement doesn't mean anything.   

W Love Pizza - 11300 Magnolia Blvd NOHO
Price: $$
Pizza Hop on Urbanspoon


On my way back from work I picked up from a place called Pagliacci's.  This place is in what you could call the heart of Studio City,  it might not be much of a heart, but it's there.  It is a pretty cool place, with ice cream that looked pretty tempting.  I got a large cheese pizza instead.  It was 13 dollars for a 16''.  I was very impressed by the way it looked.

There were nice big crust bubbles all over.  A good looking cheese and a crispy crust.  I have to say it was a pretty good pizza as well.  It had some flavor too it, lots of spices.  The sauce and cheese were in a good balance.  The crust was not as crispy as I had hoped but it still tasted pretty good.  Overall this pizza wasn't anything extraordinary.  It just used some good ingredients to make a fine pizza.  Which is all I can ask for in these parts.  I enjoyed it and I would get it again.  I actually felt like, this would be a pizza you would get in N.Y.  Not a great pizza however, in N.Y. this would only be an average pizza, but it could fit in.  It was more traditional in this sense.  Here in L.A. it is above average.  
By the way there is clown drummer on their menu kind of funny.  Which, if you may know is referring to the name Pagliacci, which means clowns roughly.  It was the name of a famous Italian opera.  The internet is a wonderful thing.  
Pagliacci's - 3990 Vantage Ave. Studio City, CA 91604
Price: $$
Pagliaccis Cafe on Urbanspoon

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Caioti Pizza Cafe

Today for lunch I tried Caioti Pizza Cafe in Studio City. I'm not sure what that means or how it's pronounced. This Ed LaDou's restaurant, the great pizza innovator, known for creating the "california style" pizza. This place is on Tujunga, on a nice little street with cool shops, restaurants and such. They serve 3 different kinds a pizza. One is New York style, which comes in a bigger size and has sauce, cheese and toppings. This is the style everyone is familiar with and the style I ordered. Then they have what they call Old World pizza, this includes some classics like, Margherita and Pizzetta Bianco. These do not have your traditional sauce on them and come in a small personal size. Finally the New World pizza style they offer, known by others as California style. Basically the toppings are the difference, BBQ chicken pizza and a lamb sausage pizza. The New York style large is 14 inches and is 14 dollars for a cheese.

This brings me to an issue of mine. I have found with a lot of the pizza places in the valley, that they offer all their pizza with an option of thin, medium or thick crust. Caioti too does this, with all their different styles of pizza, you'd think they would not offer this, but they do.
Now, you might think, what's the problem with this. It is great that they give you the option of having it any way you like. Yes this is nice, but this makes the style of pizza irrelevant. When Caioti Pizza says they have a New York style pizza, I am assuming it is thin crust. If you leave the decision of the style of crust up to me, and I can make it what ever I want, what makes that New York style. The thickness and consistency of the crust is pretty much the defining characteristic of New York pizza. How can you order a chicago deep dish pizza but ask for it thin crust, or order a cheese steak with no cheese.
The point is if you are going to claim a style of a certain food, you should do it in that style and not make it however the person wants it, especially if you are going to go and have several different styles in one place.

Anyway, sorry for that. I'm just annoyed because I feel to give them a proper review of their pizza they should give me the pizza they claim as best, but if they make it any way I want, how do I know how it was meant to be served. It's like I have to order 3 pizzas to find the best one, I don't want to do that, I have enough pizza to eat. The default thickness is medium of course, but I got scared that'd be too thick, so I went with the thin crust.

The pizza looked great. ( sorry I forgot my camera again) It was very crispy and cooked well done. The outer crust had an interesting shape to it, it kind of rounded down in slope like fashion, rather than more round on the inside and straight down on the outside, if that makes any sense. I ate one right away, it was pretty tasty at first. The first slice rating was a 4.5. However it quickly dropped on the second slice to about a 3.5. The sauce was a little heavy, and the cheese was a little sparse and not completely fresh and genuine. There was a lot of spices going on, in the sauce and on top, bordering on too much, but it tasted good. The crust was again crispy, but was kind of chewy and stale, the outer edge was more crunchy, than crispy and doughy. Overall not a bad pizza, but I had some issues, maybe I'll go back and try a thicker crust.

Caioti Pizza Cafe - Tujunga Village, Studio City
Price: $$
Caioti Pizza Cafe on Urbanspoon
Caioti Pizza Cafe in Los Angeles

Monday, July 21, 2008

Richie Palmer's Pizzeria

I was in Santa Monica today and I tried to find a place called Joe's Pizza, which is the same as the Joe's in Brooklyn on Bleecker Street.  Anyway I couldn't find it for some reason.  So I went to the other pizza joint on Ocean Ave.  This place is called Richie Palmer's, and it seems like a pretty good place.  I didn't want to wait for a whole pizza so I only got 2 slices.  Besides the pizzas are pretty big here, 20 inches and they are kind of on the expensive side, 18 for a large and 3 dollars for a slice.  The cheese pizza had come right out of the oven so I got 2 fresh slices.  This pizza wasn't bad, definitely better than the average L.A. slice.  The sauce was sweet with some subtle flavors.  The ratio of cheese to sauce was good, the crust was thin, but a little too much so, it was flopping all over the place with grease dripping out.  Plus it didn't puff up at the end like it should, it was a little flat and dense.  But that being said the crust did have a pretty good taste.

It wasn't really all that memorable, I would say it is one of the closer pizzas to the New York style that I've had out here, however that doesn't make it good.
Plus I feel like Joe's might be better, but I can't say that yet, until I find the damn place.  
2 locations: Santa Monica

Richie Palmer's Pizzeria - 1355 OceanAve. Santa Monica 90401
Price: $$

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Venice Deli

At work this is our go to place for lunch, they deliver and they are cheap.  The subs are great and so are the calzones.  The pizza however I never had, until now.  They only serve up 2 sizes, medium and small.  Medium is only 12 inches, the small has got to be pretty tiny.  The funny thing is they have a large size for their salads, the large caesar salad is like a party platter size.  It is big enough for about 10 hundred people.  It is ridiculous, especially when you don't know and you order it.  

I got sausage on my pizza this time to make up for the size.  So the pizza is alright.  Thats what I thought on the first bite.  On the second slice I wasn't really feeling it.  Half way through I didn't like it at all.  After my appetite was fulfilled and the pizza got colder it wasn't all that great.  The ingredients were second rate, the cheese seemed to be a mixed bag of shredded, processed, generic stuff.  The sauce was light on some slices, and when you could taste it, it didn't give any flavor.  The crust was pretty crispy and didn't taste all that bad actually, however it was a little too thick and dense to be legit.  It also was very, very tough and chewy.  I got through 3 little slices (by the way, I love when you call the place and ask how big their pizzas are, and they give you the number of slices, which is always 8.  What does the number of slices have to do with the size.  You can cut it into any number you want.  Yeah there were 8 slices, 8 tiny slices.) Anyway 3 slices were enough to satisfy, after that I got tired of it. 

That is actually a pretty good test of how good the pizza is.  If it is a good pizza, every time you have a slice you should want another until you are completely bloated and can't possibly eat anymore.  If every slice, you enjoy less and less, that is obviously not as good pizza.  The more slices that are satisfying the higher the rating.  The best bite of the pizza is the first, no matter how bad the pizza or not hungry you are, that first bite is always good.  If the first bite of the second slice is just as good or better, well then you got yourself a good pizza.
First slice of Venice Deli Pizza = 3.5
Second slice  = 3.3
Third slice =  2.7
I only had 6 of the 8 and the last one I'd say rolled in around a 1.8 or so.  

So sorry to bore you with all this weird math and round about nonsense, I am clearly writing before I think, but whatever.

Venice Deli - 1403 W burbank Blvd 91506
Price: $
Venice Deli on Urbanspoon

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Frankie & Johnnies

It took me a while to get to this place.  It is on the sunset strip just past the Whiskey a Go Go. The parking is terrible and the traffic is even worse.  They said the wait would be 30 minutes, it took me about that to get there and then I drove around for 15 minutes trying to find a place to leave my car.  I finally settled for a broken meter, which translates into a ticket.  I ran in got my pizza took a picture and left, ticket free.

Luckily the pizza was still warm, and after I finally had a moment to reflect on it, I thought it was pretty good.  The cheese had a great taste to it, lightly browned on the top and a lot of orangey oil dripping from the end, but not too much.  The sauce had good flavor too, but was not over powering.  It could have been a little more noticeable.  The crust was crispy and thin, but the texture was a little tough and dry.  
This is a common occurrence with the crust.  I guess that N.Y. water theory might be right. 
The crust not being perfect was still better than others in the area, and overall I would say I enjoyed the pizza.  They have a lot of different topping options, of course they will run you up to 20 dollars, but it is a generous 18 inches.  The cheese pizza is 15 dollars, while not cheap it is worth it.     
This place delivers
This place has 3 locations

Frankie & Johnnies - 8947 W. Sunset Blvd.  90069
Price: $$

Frankie & Johnnie's on Urbanspoon

NY Pizza and Pasta

This is your typical pizza joint, calzones, Italian subs, cheap pastas and beer on tap.  It does most of it's business with deliveries, but has a few tables and an ambiance that isn't a hot oven and a loud T.V.  It is inside a strip mall on Sunset Blvd.  Today I got a slice of cheese, I should have gotten a whole pizza because it was pretty good.  The crust was crispy and thin and if you notice in the picture, the doughy bubble on the crust is a good sign that the crust is done right. 

However the crust wasn’t the best.  It was a little dry and possibly a little over cooked.  The sauce was a heavy sweet sauce that I enjoyed but it was unevenly distributed, so my bites were sometimes just cheese and bread, which didn’t help the crust being dry.  Overall I would say it was above average, but not much more.  I would order this again, in a larger form. 
They deliver
There are 2 locations  

NY Pizza and Pasta - 7123 W. Sunset Blvd. Hollywood 90046
Price: $
New York Pizza & Pasta on Urbanspoon

Friday, July 4, 2008

Tony's Bella Vista Ristorante

This is an old  style Italian restaurant.  When you walk in its dark with big red leather booths, and the smell of good Italian food.  It is hard for me going into these Italian restaurants to get only pizza.  I always want to try their pasta too.  The only thing I like better than pizza is pasta.  But as much as I want to try these places ravioli's, I can't because I'm on a mission to eat pizza.

So for all I know their dinner is amazing, but I can tell you for sure what the pizza tastes like, dirt.  No just kidding.  Seriously, it wasn't bad.  I got a large cheese, 15'' for about 14 dollars.  The ingredients were fresh, the sauce had good flavor and the cheese was pure mozzarella and was pretty well cooked on top.  They did an interesting thing, by drizzling some sauce on top of the cheese in addition to underneath, which gave it a stronger tomato flavor and made it a bit messier.  The crust was its downfall, as I've said so many times.  The flavor of the bread wasn't bad, it was the texture.  It was chewy and thick.  Also very dense.  I guess the good thing was I couldn't eat too much of it, because it was so filling.  Apparently, like I'm finding with so many other places, offer a thin crust option.  I thought thats what I was getting here, but maybe they have a thinner option that would be better.  Either way the pizza was just ok.  

Tony's Bella Vista Ristorante - 3116 Magnolia, Blvd.  Burbank 91505
Price: $$
Tony's Bella Vista Ristorante on Urbanspoon

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