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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Leila's Pizza & Subs

What used to be a Combos pizza on Hollywood Blvd. in May is now a new place called Leila's. Combo's still has other locations so don't worry, if there are any die hard Combo fans out there. Leila's is tryingto accomplish a bit more. In addition to pizza they have subs, cheese steaks, cheese burgers, gyros and breakfast. They have only been open a few months and have already made lots of renovations to the inside and to the menu, everything seems fresh and new. Not the pizza though. They seem to sell big slices just like Combo's for $4. Their pies go up to 18 inches for 18 dollars. I only got a 14 inch for $13. Half cheese half green peppers.

This pizza is not quite the same as Combo's was. This is more reminiscent of your average pizza delivery place all over the LA area. It is mediocre pizza. It has a slightly thicker than usual, NY style crust that is not too crispy and very dense and chewy. It also has a sweet buttery taste to it. The low quality cheese, like usual is put on heavy and the sauce was thick heavily spiced marinara sauce. The flavor of the sauce actually was pretty decent, but again not the kind of sauce I am looking for on my pizza.
I can say this pizza had much more flavor than Combo's and more flavor than most of your average pizza in the area, so that was good. But Combo's as average as it was had a more NYC style to it with it's thin crispy crust. Unfortunately Leila's is small step down as far as there pizza goes. Maybe their cheese steaks are good.

Leila's Pizza & Subs
6760 Hollywood Blvd/Highland Ave
Price: $$

Leila's Pizza & Subs on Urbanspoon

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Mama's Original Pizza & Pasta

I just heard about this place on a LA's best pizza list on the website pizza therapy. The list is questionable to say the least. So I wasn't sold on this place. I was in the area though so I tried it out. It is a nice little dinning area located in a little community around Culver City. It has been open for about 30 years.

I ordered a large cheese which is 14 inches for 10 dollars. They also have a 16 inch X-large. A good deal.
The first thing you notice is the cheese. Though there isn't quite as much cheese as it appears. The issue I had was the the sauce and cheese didn't really mesh together. The cheese just rested on top and as it cooled and solidified, it slid off the the pizza pretty easily and got messy.
It is a good cheese though, a little salty and oily but not overly. The sauce was pretty good too, a little bitter but mainly just sweet and fresh tomato taste with a light flavor of spices. The crust was slightly crispy on the edges but could have been cooked longer. It was also too thick and doughy for my liking.
If you ask me this isn't even in the discussion of best pizza in LA. Pizza therapy has a different kind of list and I appreciate that they recognize different styles of pizza on that list. Everyone has different ideas of what pizza should taste like. For me this pizza had to thick a crust and too much cheese. This is a common complaint of mine however, and a lot of people prefer it this way. So if you like a lot of cheese and a thicker doughy-er crust this is a pretty decent pizza with a tasty sauce and good quality cheese. I gotta stick with what I know.
On a side note, down the street is another under the radar place called The Coop, similar pizzas strangely enough. You might want to read that review before you make any decisions.

3311 Motor Ave. L.A. 90034
Price: $

Mama's Original Pizza & Pasta on Urbanspoon

Monday, August 17, 2009

Romans Pizza

Well I didn't take a picture of the front of Roman's but I have to say it is pretty typical. It is a small place in a strip mall that cooks everything from Mexican food to cheese steaks and pizza too. What is their specialty, I have no idea. The guy who runs the place said the cheese steaks were really good but of course thats after I mentioned I had an interest in them. He was really trying to sell me on his place, I don't blame him. He was running it all by himself and he really believed in everything he cooked. Which I appreciate.

I have to add, I was looking at other reviews of this place on Urban Spoon which you can click on below and Yelp. They are really good reviews for this place saying that the pizza is the best in town, the cheese steaks are to die for, and frankly everything on their menu is good, from their tacos to their burgers that taste like In N Out's. I can't believe any of this, I read these reviews and it makes me feel like I am missing something. I can only judge the pizza, but how can one man cook so many different types of foods and make them all taste great. I guess it just goes to show there are fans of everything out there. It baffles me is all, I would think there would be one person who says its bad, but its pretty unanimous. Anyway, to the pizza.

I ordered a large cheese pizza, it was 14 inches for about 12 dollars. Though they have a special where you can get a 16 inch for $12.
I wanted to like it because the guy really liked it. It wasn't the worst I've had but it wasn't good either. The cheese was fine, kind of burnt and not too fresh tasting. The sauce was a thicker marinara sauce. The main problem was the crust. It was the wrong consistency and taste. it was kind of sweet and doughy but kind of a dense, chewy dough. I can't really explain it, I'm not a baker but whatever it was, it was not the crust I was looking for, it was not thin, not crispy and not good really at all. Sorry roman, but pizza just isn't your thing.

240 N Virgil Ave LA 90004
Price: $

Roman's Pizza on Urbanspoon

Pizza Paul

Pizza Paul place that seems to be forgotten. Bushes and vines covering up this place so only the locals know about it. It is actually quite nice. It is right across the street from Scoops ice cream, probably the best ice cream place in L.A. Pizza Paul claims to be the best pizza in town. So I guess this block is filled with the best. Not so fast Paul.
I ordered a large 16 inch cheese pizza for 13 dollars. Their sizes go up to 20 inches for $20. I picked it up from who I could only assume was Paul himself with little Paulette in the background, an older couple that seem to be truly still living the mom and pop shop dream. Their pizza looked like a one of a kind pizza when I opened the box, exactly what I expected from Paul. There were a pair of cops eating calzones inside, and I'll tell you I almost skipped the pizza and just ordered a calzone because they looked better than I'd ever seen.
There were a lot of layers to this pizza. It seemed like it had sauce then cheese, than more sauce, more cheese and then oil then more cheese. Like a deep dish, but it wasn't deep. Heavy it was. Heavy on the sauce, heavy on the cheese and heavy with flavor. The crust was incredibly chewy, all the way to the outer edge. It was lightly charred at the end so it gave a little crunch at first but mainly it was just chewy. The crust was on the thick side, so it could hold all the sauce and cheese.
The cheese was fine, but the sauce and all the spices were really the main taste to this pizza. It was rich with oregano, basil, pepper and whatever else makes up an Italian seasoning. The sauce was a thick pasta sauce with lots of flavor and then the fresh spices were thrown on top in addition to all the flavor in the sauce. So the first slice was an explosion like I had never before tasted, but really after the second slice it was too much to handle. With the tough crust and the hard flavor I really stopped enjoying the pizza. But for a slice or 2, it is really like no other.
After 40 years in the business, I doubt Paul is going to change the pizza for anyone. Nor should he.

Pizza Paul's
4330 Melrose Ave. LA 90029
Price: $

Pizza Pauls on Urbanspoon

Rush Street

Rush Street sounds like a lame frat movie. Kind of a trendy place that tries to hard. I tried to go there awhile back and they had a private party, so no pizza. This time it was party free, but it was before 3:00, 2:45 to be exact. They don't make pizzas till after 3:00, yeah it's one of those places. So I almost struck out twice. Since it was close to 3 I decided to wait, and they ended up making in a little early anyway. It worked out too, because also at 3 begins their happy hour, so I got some 3 dollar beers to go along with it. I still don't understand why they have this no pizza before 3 rule, Pit Fire Pizza is the same way for personal pizzas. I don't get it. If anyone knows why this is, I'd love to know.
I ordered their only size, a personal, roughly 10 inch, Margherita pizza. They have about 4 other pies, not a large selection but a o.k. price, it was 11 for the cheese pizza. Rush street is modeled after the Rush St in Chicago, though the food, or at least the pizza is not Chicago style.
I really would have never gone there if I hadn't gotten a good recommendation for their pizza. It is mainly a bar, and fancy bar food is what they serve, and their pizza doesn't even seem to be their specialty, so I could have skipped it, but I was told it was good so alas I can not stay away.
Good it was, It had a relatively crispy bottom that was caked with cornmeal. The outer edge was pretty chewy and the crust on a whole was on the thick and doughy side.
It had to be thick to hold all the toppings. The cheese was put on pretty heavy. It was a good stringy cheese, but tasted a little light on the fat, I think it probably was not whole milk mozz. The sauce didn't really stand out, kind of got lost in all the cheese. Though their were fresh diced tomatoes on top so that help the sauce come through. Had I known they were going to put those tomatoes on I would not have ordered them. It is not the right flavor. Speaking of flavor the pizza kind of lacked any flavor what so ever. It is hard to believe but with the part skim cheese, the lack of sauce and the plain dough, I just didn't get a pizza flavor explosion. Even all the cut up basil didn't bring much to the table, it wasn't fresh basil so the taste wasn't strong.
Lack of flavor is better than bad flavor though in my opinion. At its most bland, it was still pizza. Aside for the chewy crust I wasn't all bad. I ate it all and I wasn't even that hungry. The bottom line is, if you want pizza go down the street to LaRocco's, and if you want to drink or possibly get a burger, than come here.

9546 Washington Blvd. Culver City 90232
Price: $$

Rush Street on Urbanspoon

Monday, August 10, 2009

Corleone's Pizza

The other day I went Downtown to look for a suit. I had a trusted lady with me to make sure I didn't make any ridiculous decisions. We had an hour to kill while we waited for the tailoring so I decided to revisit Hill St Pizza for a snack. It was closed as it seems a lot of places are, on a slow Sunday. On the way back, I spotted a place I had seen a few times driving by, called Corleone's Pizza. The name intrigued me so I stopped in for a slice.

Right away I knew I had made a mistake. There was nothing Corleone about it. A small place with 2 pies on display for slices. One was pepperoni the other had a variety of toppings on each slice. Neither looked good. If i didn't have a blog I would have left but I felt responsible to try it.
I got a tomato, sweet peppers and onions slice. They were just going to give it to me but I asked them to warm it up. Thankfully I did that, I fear it would have been inedible otherwise.
I didn't take any pictures, because I didn't have my camera but also because it is not really necessary.
The pizza was not the worst I've had to put it nicely. It was a dense slice, that had a thick, bread-y crust that was relatively crispy on the bottom, only because it was reheated. The crust had a buttery and cake-y texture. The sauce was put on thin and it mostly dried up and disappeared under the cheese and toppings, so I couldn't get much of a read on it. The cheese actually was decent, not put on too heavy and the combination of toppings were not too bad either.
The crust just wasn't right in my mind at all and the sauce was not a factor. However, if I have learned nothing else from a year of pizza eating, I have learned that pizza is up to interpretation, and quite possibly someone loves this pizza. Though I can't imagine who. I know a certain Corleone would not be too happy with this place though. The name gives you false advertising. If you truly believe in your recipe and your own style of pizza then name it after yourself, not someone Italian guy. This is not Italian pizza.

Corleone's Pizza
310 W. 7th Street Downtown
Price: $

Friday, August 7, 2009

JC's Famous Pizza

So deep in the Valley of Reseda is a cheap delivery pizza place called JC's. It happens to be across the street from a more traditional pizza place called Brooklyn Pizzeria. Apparently they have been across the street for 15 years, so there doesn't appear to be much competition. It is clear when you walk in to both places how drastically different they are. Brooklyn Pizza tries to create an atmosphere where you can sit down and eat your pie with out throwing up from the bright neon lights that are in JC's. JC's looks like it caters 98% to the lazy couch potato crowd. I say 98 because there actually are 2 tables in the place. So basically I expected the pizzas to follow suit, as they did.
I ordered a large pizza, which is 16 inches for $5. Super, super cheap.
Again I tried showing you the under side of the pizza and failed. Doesn't matter, not really much to see.
The pizza not surprisingly was doughy, thick and heavy, with lots of cheese and a little sauce. It resembled Papa Johns in a lot of ways. The main difference being the sauce which they had very little of so I couldn't get a read on the flavor. The cheese was a pretty low grade cheese that actually didn't taste good at all.
Maybe it was because at this point I had already eaten 2 pizzas or maybe it was because it was that bad. I have had pizza like this before but for some reason this really was not enjoyable to me at all. It may be only 5 dollars, but seriously there were 4 Mexican style food places on the same block, you could get a lot of good tacos for 5 dollars. Plus if you want pizza, there is a much better place across the street. They don't compare I know, but I really don't see how this place has been open as long as it has. Famous pizza, ha... famous for what and by who.

JC's Famous Pizza
6756 Tampa Ave. Reseda
Price: ¢

JC's Famous Pizza on Urbanspoon


Tucked away in the hills of Hollywood on Laurel Canyon Blvd. is a little trendy Italian restaurant. It is attached to a market that has just about everything since this is the only business on this road till you get over the hill. The restaurant has a pretty cool vibe, though the wait staff looked uncomfortable from my t-shirt and ripped jeans presence when I went to pick up the pizza.
To my surprise they actually offered 16 inch pies. Though I was on my way to another place so I only got the 12 inch. It was $16, pricey. The 16 inch was about $20. I ordered their peace pizza which comes with sliced tomatoes on top, which I opted to go without, I don't see the point. Their other topping combinations sounded good and probably would have made the pizza more exciting than it was.

As you can see it was razor thin. The outer edge had a good texture to it. It had good rise with a doughy center and the outside was charred and crispy. The bottom despite it being so thin did not get crispy. The problem I had with the crust was the oily and butter flavor it to. Not only did it seem the dough itself had a lot of butter in it, but it appeared to be glazed with some kind of oil on top. I like my crust tasting pure and natural.
The sauce was a major player in the over all flavor. It was a thick and heavily spiced sauce that would have been great on a pasta dish, but wasn't what I was looking for in my pizza. The cheese was put on light but with the oily crust and the heavy sauce it wasn't really a factor.
Overall I'd say the pizza was kind of boring and overpriced. Afterwards it left my mouth feeling dry and salty. Definitely nothing to write home about and I probably wouldn't order it if I was eating there. The way the crust was cooked was almost perfect, so I'll give them credit for that, but the quality of the dough with all the oil and the wrong sauce just didn't impress.

2100 Laurel Canyon Blvd. Hollywood 90046
Price: $$$

Pace on Urbanspoon

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Brooklyn Pizzeria

Deep in the Valley, in a happening suburb called Reseda is a little know pizza place called Brooklyn Pizzeria. They have been there for 35 years and for 15 of those years they have had another competitor across the street, JC's Famous Pizza. Though the pizzas couldn't be any more different, I don't think they have any problems.
I ordered a large cheese pizza it was 16 inches for about $11. I had heard good things about this place so I drove all the way from Hollywood to check it out. So needless to say my hopes were quite high.
I don't think my expectations were met, but it wasn't a bad pie. The crust was very thin from center to the edge, it had no rise. It was crispy and charred all the way through, the bottom and edge were well cooked. It also was pretty chewy and tough, which isn't something you get too often out here. As the pizza cooled the crust got a lot tougher and dryer however, definitely something you want to eat right away.
The sauce was not necessarily a light, sweet sauce. It was more of a thicker, spicier sauce. Pretty decent flavor though, it must of had some crushed basil in it. The sauce and cheese were put on in good amounts and kind of mixed well together in harmony, with a light oily covering on top. The cheese was pretty standard but like I said the right amount of it.
Trying to show you the thin charred crust, sorry it didn't really come out.
Overall the pizza wasn't mind blowing. Though the 2 guys who were running the place were eccentric fellows who seemed to really stand behind their pizza. So I will credit them for that. I certainly wouldn't drive to Reseda for this pizza, but if I was in the area it wouldn't be so bad.

Brooklyn Pizzeria
6745 Tampa Ave. Reseda 91335
Price: $

Brooklyn Pizzeria & Italian Fd on Urbanspoon

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