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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Pizza Next Door

Next door to... some buildings is a place appropriately named Pizza Next Door. At least appropriate to a few people. This place is a small, walk in pick up a slice kind of place in typical N.Y.C. fashion. They also make 18 inch pizzas which is the correct N.Y.C. size. They boast the NY pizza style quite a bit in fact. It is on their sign on their menus. Their web site has classic Frank Sinatra and other NY songs playing in midi formats. Which is actually kind of funny.
Here are some various pizzas that were on display.
The NYC style similarities end when they start to make the pizza. They use a conveyor belt oven, which isn't really a good way to cook a pizza. Though it did seem that they had the oven cranked up as high as it would go. As you can see the cheese got pretty charred in spots and the outer edge got very crunchy.

I didn't get the 18 inch, I went the next size down which is a 14 inch it was $10. Despite the long time cooking, the bottom was kind of soggy. The outer edge was crispy but not really in a good way. The cheese aside from it being charred was overwhelming. There was way too much of it. I could barely taste the sauce, and the sauce I did taste didn't impress me too much.
They have a lot of different toppings , one the "Tijuana Jane" has pepperoni, pineapple and jalepenos. It is not NY style done right, maybe it s NY style done wrong. Despite my opinion on it not being that good, I can see some people liking it. It is different enough that people might think it has special qualities, though to me these qualities are good.

Here's a video of my excursion downtown. It includes Pizza Go, Rocket Pizza, Pizza Next Door

806 W. 8th St. Downtown 90017
Price: $$

Pizza Next Door on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 29, 2009

Rocket Pizza Lounge

Rocket Lounge seems like it is trying to be what its name suggests, a lounge. A cool place to hang out, watch sports, drink beer and eat pizza, but to do all that in style. I'm not sure if the TV's play sports actually, they seemed to be playing music videos from some special request type system. Which I am all for, we need more music videos in our lives. What I am saying is it is not a sports bar, it is a lounge. It is in a pretty happening corner on 4th and Spring streets, though it closes by midnight so no after drinking pizza binges. This place tries to play up its fancy-cool with out trying attitude. I don't think they really pull it off, but whatever it is just a place lets get to the pizza already.
I got a 16 inch for $12, which isn't a bad price. (I take back what I say in the video about the price) It appears to have a a razor thin crust which would lead you to believe it is crispy. The fact is the outer edge is actually thinner than the center, which is strange. The outer edge where it was the thinnest did get quite crispy but the bottom was just doughy and a little soggy. The sauce was different, it had a subtle creamy flavor to it. It was put on light, as was the cheese, both of which blended well together and seemed to work as a team. It was a little oily but thats o.k. I wished the crust had been a little thinner and crispier in the middle, I think it would be a world of difference.
The pizza had been waiting for me when I came to pick it up so perhaps the boxed in heat had something to do with the consistency of it. I'd be willing to try it again, because it was different enough. Though I wasn't that impressed with my first time, I expected more from a place that gave the impression that they know how to do it right.
Here's a video of my excursion downtown. It includes Pizza Go, Rocket Pizza, Pizza Next Door

122 W. 4th St. Downtown 90013
213-687-PIZZA (4992)
Price: $$

Rocket Pizza Lounge on Urbanspoon

Pizza Go

Pizza Go ! Sounds like a name of a place in Korea Town. Well, it is. It is not so much a place as it is a kitchen. I walked in the door and I was right in the middle of the kitchen. I guess they have a little window outside to do your picking up, like Dairy Queen.

The pizza is what you'd expect, probably a little better than you'd expect. Typical pizza, a thicker doughy-er crust, lightly browned with a healthy amount of cheese and sauce on top. The cheese was stringy and creamy and had a low amount oil. The sauce was very sweet but also had a dash of pepper in it so it kind of gave it a little spice to go with the sweet.
It tasted fine. It was around $8 for a 16 inch cheese pizza so pretty cheap. You should know what kind of pizza you are getting when you go here. For what it is, its pretty good.

A video of my excursion downtown - Pizza Go - Rocket Pizza - Next Door Pizza

Pizza Go
4200 W 3rd St. Korea Town 90020
(213) 381-5131
Price: $

Pizza Go on Urbanspoon

Cruzer Pizza

This is a generic pizza delivery place, who are big fans of the PT Cruiser apparently.
While me and some friends watched the Dodgers lose, we ordered 2 medium pizzas. One we went crazy with artichokes, the other sausage.

It is pretty cheap, they have a lot of good coupons if you are ordering for a crowd. Artichocke is not something I would think to get on a pizza, but I have to say it wasn’t too bad, a little chewy perhaps. The sausage was the standard generic little balls of sausage. The rest was pretty standard as well. The sauce was a thicker sauce with little flavor, the cheese was heavy and oily. The crust was doughy and not that crispy on the bottom. It wasn’t as thin as it should be either. All in all I can’t say I was surprised with a name like Cruzer. It is what youd expect out of a typical commercial pizza joint. It is pizza and it would make the kids happy, but me, not so much.
When you have a pizza like this that is edible but not very exciting, you need to improvise with a extra sauce to mask the flavor, maybe extra tomato sauce if you have it, some people like ranch dressing. The best though is the green New Mexican chile. If you get yourself some of that it will make any bad pizza taste better. Just watch out for the aftermath in the bathroom.
On that note:

Cruzer Pizza
4449 Prospect Ave. Los Feliz 90027
Price: $

Cruzer Pizza on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Leaning Tower Pizza & Pasta

Today I was in the Valley, so I cruised down Ventura Blvd. to find some new places. I found one called Leaning Tower Pizza. Pretty good name, though if they had just added "of" between tower and pizza it would have been brilliant. Thats neither here nor there.

It was a pretty basic place some tables and nice comfy chairs and a TV. They have all the usual pizza place items. The guy running the place was a nice guy. They have some good deals there too. I got a medium 14 inch pizza for $10, actually it was a little more because I got it with half bell peppers. My friend got a personal 8'' pizza with ham or canadian bacon, not really sure the difference. With a soda it was $7.
Good pizza. It is as simple as that. They use great ingredients and they cook it right. It is nothing extraordinary, but it tasted great. The crust was crispy on the bottom and outer edge and doughy on the inside. Though a little bland tasting. I'm not sure what brand of flour they use but they get it from the east coast. The sauce was great, it was a simple taste of sweet tomatoes. With just a dusting of a couple spices on top. The tomatoes they also import. They use the Cento brand which I believe are from San Marazano, though not all of them are. I'm not sure which this place had. Either way the sauce was good. Kind of chunky with pieces of tomatoes. The cheese was decent too, they use Polly-O. My thing with the cheese was there was too much of it. But a lot of people love cheese so that might not be a bad thing. The guy said he cuts it up in chucks rather than shreds it, perhaps this is why it was thicker. It wasn't an overwhelming amount though, you could still taste the sauce just fine.
The guy said he worked long and hard to perfect his pizza and I think it shows. It was a really decent pizza that I was very surprised to find. If the crust was maybe a hair thinner and a touch less cheese it could be one of the best. Perhaps he should keep working on that recipe

14120 Ventura Blvd. Sherman Oaks
818 986 9701
Price: $
Leaning tower pizza & pasta on Urbanspoon

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Pronto Pizza

There is Domino's and there is Papa John's and then theirs Pronto Pizza. I feel like they would be honored to be mentioned in the same sentence as the big chain, pizza deliverers. That's what Pronto Pizza is going for. It is your typical commercial delivery pizza. It is cheap ($5 for a 14''), it is thick and doughy and lots of cheese and sauce. There are about 7 or so around the LA area.

Here is the pizza, sorry I already ate half !
I have to say though, it is better than all the national delivery chains. The crust was actually somewhat crispy, on the bottom and the outer edge. Yes it was just cooked on one of those conveyor belt ovens which is a big no-no, but they have a trick that I have not seen before. In similar Chicago fashion, they make and cook their pizza in a deep, cast iron dish, not the usual flat metal pan. The cast iron keeps the heat in better and covers more of the pizza. An interesting technique for a pizza that is not deep dish, though it was on the thick side.
As you can see there is a lot of dough on the edges, and it is a little thick but, it was crispy, moist and doughy and didn't taste like oily, buttery badness. I imagine it tasted exactly like their breadsticks, minus the buttery liquid slapped on with a paint brush.
The sauce and cheese were nothing special, typical generic ingredients. Despite their cheap quality, they tasted fresh and again lacked strong oil and salt flavor. The sauce was light and sweet, but again not too bad.
Plus they have some great juices imported from Mexico there. I recommend the Tamarind juice, I had never had it. It is an indescribable flavor, but good and refreshing.
For what it is and the price, it's not bad.

Pronto Pizza
4165 Beverly Blvd. LA 90004
Price: ¢

Pronto Pizza on UrbanspoonPronto Pizza on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

El Greco Cafe

Well I went on a little trip to a new place that opened in Hollywood, called Yammy Pizza. Turns out it wasn't fully open yet ( this was last week, it is now open) and there was a greek type restaurant next door that also did pizza. They are probably known for their lamb gyros or their mousaka plate, but I was in the mood for pizza.

They have greek style pizzas which look to be only different in style because of the toppings. I ordered a plain cheese. It was 16 inches for $10.
The pizza was definitely different than most. I wouldn't say it was greek in style, though I am unfamiliar with this style of pizza. The crust was very dough an thick. It tasted really good for bread before a meal, but not for pizza crust. It actually had green leaves of some sort baked right inside, possibly spinach. It was very fresh and tasty, just not crispy or thin. The cheese and sauce were good, both put on pretty heavy. The sauce was a thick tomato paste with lots of spices.
All in all it was pretty tasty. It has a fresh taste, though heavy and filling. It wasn't, as far as your typical pizza that good but I can't be too hard on them since they aren't really a pizza place. If you are in the mood for something different I guess you might enjoy it. Otherwise just stick with the actual greek food.

El Greco Cafe
6767 W. Sunset Blvd 90028 (reviewed)
1824 N. Vermont Ave 90027
Price: $

Greco Cafe & Rotisserie on Urbanspoon

Yammy Pizza

Yammy Pizza. Google will correct you and tell you that you meant yummy pizza. More evidence that google doesn't know everything.
This place opened just this week. Fresh and new. It apparently replaced a frozen yogurt/smoothie type place. It seems they are trying to keep the smoothie crowd. The sign as you can see has printed underneath: coffee/smoothie/espresso - which is not the norm for pizza places. Plus the inside looks somewhat like a pink berry but with pizza displayed behind the counter instead of yogurt.
I ordered a 14 inch cheese pizza which seems the be their biggest size, currently. It was under $11 dollars which is good.
There was a good amount of cheese, more than the sauce. It was stringy and tasted pretty good, but very oily. Oil was dripping all over the place. I don't mind oil too much, but it was pushing the limit. The sauce was not overpowering, in fact you couldn't taste it all that much. It had a good amount of spices mixed in, but mainly it was just cheese, oil and bread that you tasted.
The thin crust was a dense, fairly pure dough that was slightly chewy and slightly crispy and at first.
This pizza I'd say was a 3 going in. While it was hot it was crispy and had good flavors and stringy cheese. It quickly cooled however and became more of a generic, greasy pizza. The cheese solidified and was just an oily topping and the crust became doughy and dense.
For the price it is an average pizza.

Yammy Pizza
6767 W. Sunset Blvd. Hollywood 90028
323 993 9333
Price: $

Yammy Pizza on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Hill Street Pizza

Hill Street Pizza is a pretty simple place, hidden in the high rises downtown. It is a pick up and go, grab a slice kind of place. I went in for a medium 16 inch pizza for 14 dollars. Everyone was nice there, asking me if I wanted my pizza cooked a little longer. This was before I mentioned my blog. Then they offered me a slice of the veggie pizza. This was after I mentioned my blog. By the way the place cooks completely vegetarian pizza, no meat toppings. It also happens to be Kosher.
The veggie slice was excellent. It had sweet peppers, onions, mushrooms, and diced tomatoes. I don't like mushrooms, and veggies in general aren't the most exciting thing to me but this pizza was great. The crust was very crispy and light and everything just tasted fresh and full of flavor.
The cheese pizza was a slightly different story. It still tasted fresh and had great flavor. The crust was just a little on the thick side and wasn't quite as crispy as the veggie slice. I thought it looked crispy when they took it out of the oven, but maybe because it sat in the box for 5 minutes before I ate it, or maybe it was because the veggie slice had been reheated and that gave it an extra crunch on the bottom. There are lots of variables. Despite the crust being thick and doughy, it tasted fresh and pure. So often I taste unnatural additives in the dough, whether its oil or butter or even sugar. This crust just tasted like good pizza dough and the sauce and cheese followed suit. Good generous amounts of both. Creamy, melty cheese that went well with the sauce which was a bit untraditional in flavor. It didn't have a strong sweet flavor, more of a spicy marinara sauce with a little creamy-ness to it.
Overall a pretty solid pizza for a good price and they sell slices. With the tall buildings around me I almost thought I was in New York for a second. When I heard it was vegetarian I got a little scared, but then I realized that basically just means they don't have meat toppings and I always order cheese anyway, so it didn't matter. A decent pizza I recommend.

Hill Street Pizza
456 S. Hill St. Los Angeles 90039
Price: $
Hill Street Pizza on Urbanspoon

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