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Monday, March 31, 2008

The Grove: A Tale of 2 Pizzas

This weekend I visited the farmers market at The Grove.  I have heard good things about their pizza and I know there is a large collection of other great foods.  The first place I went was Patsy's D'Amore's Pizza.  I got one slice which was 3.50, a little pricey but the large cheese pizza was 15 I believe, so not too ridiculous.  The taste was great.  The sauce was just perfectly on the sweet side.  Had a good amount of spices and flavor.  Good cheese to sauce ratio.  The crust was thin and a touch crispy.  The end was a little doughy on the inside but not too much.  It wasn't anything crazy just a simple slice of pizza.   It is something I would order again - just a whole pizza next time.  


On the other end of the Farmers Market is Deano's Gourmet Pizza.  This place advertises a different kind of pizza, gourmet pizza.  I don't think anyone knows what gourmet pizza is.  I would say gourmet pizza is pizza trying to be something other than what it is.  This is a place that sells regular pizza and try to pass it off as pizza it is not.  Of course they do have other "gourmet" kinds of pizza you could say, like the Pesto, Spinach, Garlic, Shrimp pizza.  But I got a slice of cheese, not "gourmet".  The crust was interesting, it had a twisted style to it like a pretzel stick at the end.  This made the crust a little airy and a good mix between doughy and crispy.  The sauce was good, like Patsy's a sweet sauce.  The cheese however was everywhere.  Way too much of it.  I love cheese don't get me wrong but enough is enough.  When the pizza cooled down the cheese solidified a little and became a stretchy mat of greasy cheese.  As bad as that may sound the pizza overall wasn't bad.  However if I get pizza at the Grove again I'm going to Patsy's.  The price was very similar to Patsy's although the medium pizza I got was a little on the small side.  

Patsy D'Amore's Pizza - The Grove - 3rd St. / Farifax Ave.
Price: $$ 1/2
Overall:


Deano's gourmet Pizza - The Grove - 3rd St. / Farifax Ave. 
Price: $$1/2
Overall:


Patsy D'Amore's Pizza in Los Angeles

Friday, March 28, 2008

Miceli's Restaurant

After a long walk I finally came to Miceli's.  This is an old Italian restaurant just off of Hollywood Blvd.  That has pretty decent old Italian food.  Now I know I said I wouldn't do restaurants that served pizza.  But it is Italian and pizza is their specialty, so they say.  So I tried it.  Well it wasn't what I had hoped it would be.  The ingredients tasted for real.  The sauce was a good thick sauce and the cheese was well done.  The crust is where it faltered.  It was kind of chewy and a bit stale.  Its a great restaurant with good Italian food.  They have a live piano playing and singing waitresses too.  I recommend the place just don't get the pizza.  


Miceli's - 1646 N. Las Palmas Ave 90028
Price:  $$$
Overall:



Miceli's in Hollywood

Combo's Pizza & Numero Uno

Today I decided to walk down to Miceli's to get some pizza.  Walking down hollywood Blvd. I was trying to remember what street it was off of and I totally missed it.  Walked all the way to Vine.  As I walked however I hit up a couple places that I missed on my "Hollywood Strip" outing.  The first was Combo's.  This was the best "big slice" I had.  The crust was crispy and the cheese was good.  The sauce was a little tangy and it didn't taste great to me.  I was expecting it to be more like Greco's and it was a lot better, which isn't saying too much.  Plus the price was reasonable.  3.50 for a "big slice".  I'll take it.  Actually I wouldn't, Stefanos is still better.  


When I hit Vine and turned back the other way I passed Numero Uno which is sort of a chain, but I thought I'd try it.  It wasn't great.  The slice was on the small side and the price was closer to Combo's price.  It didn't taste too bad, it was just kind of dry and not enough sauce.  Plus there were bread crumbs on top, Im not sure if this was an accident or an intentional special touch.  If it was intentional it didn't work.

I finally got to Miceli's and of course I was pretty full at that point and of course they don't sell slices.  But I got a small pizza anyway.  I can't say no to pizza. 

Combo's Pizza - 6338 Hollywood Blvd 90028
Price: $
Overall:

Numero Uno - 6504 Hollywood Blvd 90028
Price: $$
Overall:

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The "Hollywood Strip" Pizza Part 2

Well for all the pizza that exists on Hollywood Blvd. I couldn't do it all on one lunch.  I had to go back and the first place I went was Venice Pizza & Deli.  This was an interesting place, very nondescript place with Dairy Queen type booths and a big screen TV from 1990 in the back.  A lovely lady took my order who seemed like she might be from a country that knows pizza.  I had to order 2 cheese slices to cover the charge minimum.  They don't deliver, and they don't have big slices thankfully.  The pizza tasted similar to how the place looked a bit bland and unoriginal, but it was pizza its hard to not enjoy.  The crust was thin and the sauce wasn't too bad.  The cheese was a little thin and dried up a bit lacking that cheesy orange-white look.  It wasn't the worst on this Boulevard.  

Just a block away was another small place that looked like a pleasant little village hut, called Pizza Al Forno  Inside it looked just like a regular pizza joint.  This pizza was definitely different from most other pizza. It was of course a big slice but if you had ordered a whole pizza I suppose it wouldn't have been half bad.  I looked ridiculous walking down the street trying to eat this gigantic slice.  It was heavy with everything, lots of cheese, sauce and a thicker doughier crust.  I couldn't finish the crust just too much  of it.  The sauce was probably the best part, it had a decent taste.  This pizza was alright it just had too much of everything for me.  

There are a couple other place on Hollywood Blvd. that I skipped over but it will have to wait till later.  
      
Venice Pizza & Deli  -  6601 Hollywood Blvd 90028
    Price: $$
    Overall:
Pizza Al Forno - 6541 Hollywood Blvd 90028
    Price: $$
    Overall:
Venice Pizza & Deli in Los Angeles
Pizza Al Forno on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The "Hollywood Strip" Pizza

My first stop on the LA pizza journey was the touristy strip on Hollywood Blvd between say La brea and Vine.  This strip is probably the most like NYC in the hustle an bustle kind of way.  Semi-tall buildings, flashing lights and large crowds of people.  Also a lot of pizza places.  There are almost as many pizza places here than in all of Hollywood it seems.  Unfortunately all the pizza is sub par.  


The first stop was Andre's Pizza between La Brea and Highland.  I was in the gym across the street trying to work off some pizza fat standing right in front of the window staring straight into Andre's pizza.  So that was the end of my work out, I finished my last crunch and walked straight out the door to Andre's.  
It was my first slice so I enjoyed it seeing as I was hungry.  But looking back it wasn't great.  A single slice of pizza here was way over priced (as most of them are on this strip).  If you get a large pizza here it is more reasonable.  They do deliver.  Although I wouldn't call, the taste was kind of bland and the crust was generic tasting and kind of doughy.  

I kept walking and hit the second spot before I was done with my first slice.  Greco's, this is one of those "big slice" places that are just stupid to me.  It was almost 5 dollars for a large slice of pizza that I honestly couldn't finish which is rare.  The pizza place put on extra spices to over compensate for its bland taste.  The crust was just so generic and stale, even more than Andre's.  If it was a normal sized slice I would have finished it, but 2 servings of bad pizza no thanks.
Of course this is the one place that has 2 locations on Hollywood Blvd. 

Before I threw my pizza in the trash I came upon another place that sells big slices.  After that first bad experience I couldn't stomach another "big slice" so I skipped it.  

I came to a place  on hollywood and Las Palmas called Stefanos (two guys from italy).  I was relieved, finally a decent pizza on hollywood.  I have been to this one before and I remember now how good it was.  A normal sized slice a normal price and a great slice of cheese pizza.  Great taste, crispy stone oven baked crust. Good sauce and cheese to sauce ratio.   The place has a great feel to it and they have pac-man and other video games in the back.  So I stayed there awhile and ate another slice.  I was full after that and had to go home.  
I will continue down the hollywood strip next in part 2.  

Andre's Pizza - 7038 Hollywood Blvd.
Price: $$
Overall:

Greco's Pizza - 6814 Hollywood Blvd. / and other locations
Price: $$
Overall:
Stefano's Pizza - 6705 Hollywood Blvd.  / and other locations
Price:  $
Overall:
Grecos New York Pizza on Urbanspoon
Andre's Pizza in Los Angeles

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Big Slice

I will complain about the big slice often.  A lot of the pizza places around here have decided to invent a oversized slice of pizza.  I don't care for it.  I believe it is just a way to get more money from you by giving you less pizza.  They charge you the price of 2 slices and give you a giant slice that in my opinion is not the same amount as 2 slices.  We don't need a Goliath pizza, if I wanted to eat that much I would just order 2 slices.  Plus they are usually not as good as a regular sized slice.  They are made differently, individually rather than part of a large pizza and there is more crust and it's sometimes over cooked.  I'll try to rate pizza places that do this fairly, based on the taste and not by the way that they serve it.  But its hard to see past it for me.   

Rating System

My overall rating is based on the overall taste including the 3 basic elements: Cheese, Tomato Sauce, and most importantly the Crust and whether or not this taste was worth the price.  The hardest part is ranking the pizzas, which essentially is a 10 star system.  I can describe them all day, but boiling it all down to 1 number is almost unfair to everyone involved.  So take my rankings lightly, please.  Read the description, and if it matches your taste in pizza go with it.   

0 - uh... is this pizza ?
1 - Just plain bad (Tastes like left over frozen pizza) 
2 - Fine. Edible.  Would be ok if it were cheap and across the street, and maybe you were drunk.
3 - Good/Average.  It is pizza after all, it is hard to screw up 
4 - Great pizza.  It is fresh, cooked right, and maybe has a little something extra
5 - Unbelievable, this is hard to come by and I don't know if it exists in LA.
Remember there are also half slices  (2 1/2 may seem low, but thats average.  Average isn't so bad.)

Also I don't factor in service.  I can deal with bad service.  If the pizza was good and worth the price I'll go back.  Bad service doesn't effect the taste. It just effects my stress level.  

Prices

In this town I would say that average price for a slice of cheese is about 2.25.  

A large 16'' cheese pizza probably about 12-13 dollars.  
So here is my rating system:
¢  - Cheap 
$  -  Average
$$  -  Slightly above average
$$$  -  Expensive
$$$$  - Ridiculous 

Gourmet Pizza

The reviews as of now do not include restaurants that sell pizza, while there are places like this that have good pizza like Bosa Nova or CPK sort of, they aren't the pizza I am looking for.  These places consider themselves  Gourmet Pizza, whatever that is ?  Some of these pizza joints will call themselves gourmet perhaps to sell more slices than the other, but it is usually just the same as the rest.  I suppose you could say that pizza done in a different perhaps original style might classify it as gourmet but I think it's pizza that just isn't as good.     

No Im just looking for a thin crust,  fold it up eat as you go, well cooked pizza.
  

Main Goal

The main reason for this is to inform people and myself about the great pizza options around the area.  LA is known for its great food options.  There is great food everywhere you turn from taco stands to sushi restaurants.  But there isn't as much pizza, or Italian in general.  No cheese steaks, or buffalo wings for that matter, but thats a whole other blog.  No, unlike NYC you can not find a pizza place on every corner.  And when you do find a pizza place on the corner it is not necessarily good.  The pizza around LA is hard to find but there are places out there that have good pizza, that is similar in style to that of a typical New York slice.      

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