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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

San Gennaro Cafe

This is another Italian restaurant down the street form a slightly more casual Maria's Italian Kitchen in Brentwood Village. This place represents the Italian heritage pretty hard, it goes further than just New York, it is San Gennaro. It is one of the few places where it seemed most people working were actually Italian. Not that this makes it genuine. In fact it hypes it up more to be possibly let down. It seems like a great place to eat though, it is known for a great selection of cheap wine and apparently some good deals on pizza and happy hour. Though I don't think I got that 25% off when I went. It was after 4 on a weekday.
I got a large cheese, 18 inches for $13. Which is a pretty good price already. Their other dishes are on the pricey side but if it is pizza and wine you order, you are all set.

Notice the vibrant red color of the sauce. This is not only the first thing you notice when you look at it but also the first thing you taste.
The sauce is extremely sweet with just a pure tamato taste. It is a little to thick for me, but I was really loving the sauce. Though after one slice or two it gets to be a little too sweet. If there was less of it on the pizza it might be ok, but it got to be too much sugar. The cheese tasted pretty good nothing special. The crust was thin, but a little too bready. It would have been better had they cooked it a little longer. Perhaps it was just sitting in the box too long. When I warmed up an old slice a few hours later in the oven the crust was crispy and perfect. The dough was just pure good tasting dough. Not too much butter or oil or salt or sugar. Just good bread. A really good pie. Just not quite crispy enough and too sweet.
They have some other great toppings and specialty pizzas as well as a gluten free version. Also they offer a thicker crust for you people craving Dominos.
140 Barrington Place Brentwood Village
Price: $

San Gennaro Cafe on Urbanspoon

Maria's Italian Kitchen

Here is a common Italian restaurant, Maria's Italian Kitchen. It has been open since 1945 and since then has opened about 7 other places all over the LA area. This is the one in Brentwood. They are all run and owned by women, supposedly. It is a nice little place, thats not too fancy but not too casual.
I ordered a large cheese pizza, and I asked for basil. Basil does not come on the pizza by default I don't think, so they may have charged extra I'm not sure. Either way it came to about 18 dollars, for about a 16 inch which is a little pricy.

This pizza tasted great at first, mainly because I was hungry. It had a pretty decent thin and crispy crust, though as a result it was kind of dried out. The cheese and sauce were put on in good amounts. The sauce had a rich flavor of spices though it didn't really stand out. One slice was pretty good, but after that it was too salty and oily and dry. Perhaps I am being a bit too hard on it. The basil was good, but a little too much of it.
It was a decent pizza worthy of calling it NY style. Just not perfect, but alas I seem to have become a pizza snob.

11723 Barrington Place. Brentwood Village
Price: $$

Maria's Italian Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Essex Public House

There is a new place in Hollywood called the Essex House. It sits on Hollywood Blvd. down around Vine. The place is pretty great. It is a low key bar with a lot of TV's for football watching. It has a pretty good menu with everything sounding good. It also has some great beers that aren't found everywhere. The happy hour is pretty great too. Outside of happy hour things are a little pricey but thats what you get when you want to hang out in a trendy place.
They have a few different pizzas. I got the Buffalo Mozz and Basil Pizza. It had roasted dried tomatoes on it, under the cheese. It was a generous 11 inches for $13. Though for happy hour, it's half off.

The big thing here was the pizza was grilled. They apparently grill the dough then put it in the oven for the second half of the cooking. It was pretty crunchy on the bottom and definitely lightly charred and crunchy on the edge. Did it make the crust any better? Yes, I think it would not have been as crunchy otherwise. Though the crust didn't have any light doughiness to it. The cheese was good but put on pretty heavy. The sauce was just average. Though the dried tomatoes really helped with the bland sauce. So did the basil.
It's not a bad pizza. I wouldn't go there specifically for it, but then again its not a pizza place it's a bar. If you happen to order the pizza you wouldn't be unsatisfied.

Price: $$
Essex Public House on Urbanspoon

Kosher Pizza

So I am not Jewish and I don't really know anything about Kosher and what it means to be Kosher or what Kosher should taste like. My understanding is Kosher just means at the most blessed food that follows any sort of rules that the religion might have. At the very least it means a place where Jews can go to be amongst other Jews.

Either way, there a quite a few of these places that specialize in pizza. I don't know if I covered them all but I feel it probably is the majority of them. For the most part they don't really hold up to my standards, but perhaps they do to yours. Though there are a couple that I feel are really good. Here are the places I have been to in order from best to worst.


So a pretty well known place amongst Kosher eateries is this one on Pico, Nagila. It is 2 places combined with a little courtyard, if you want to call it that, in the middle. One side is called the Meating Place, which is burgers and chicken and things like that, the other is pizza, no meat just dairy and veggies. It is similar in setup to some place in a food court, no specific decor. You pick up your food from the counter in multi-colored lunch trays. They have pizza by the slice which is nice. While I waited for my medium cheese pizza I was told about one of their more popular pizzas.

It was the mushroom and cheese stuffed crust pizza. On top were roasted red peppers, garlic and basil. Some younger kids were there and described it to me in a different series of praising moans, rather than complimenting words. I guess it was just too good for words. So I got it, despite the fact I don't like mushrooms. It was a pretty awesome slice of pizza. The combination of 3 of my favorite toppings. It really was divine. Then when you get to the end of what I learned to be a pretty bread-y finish you are struck with a mouthful of cheesy mushroom goodness, if you like mushrooms. I took one bite and remembered that yeah, I still don't like mushrooms. Half way through my slice my medium cheese pie was ready and so I looked like a freak that liked pizza way too much.
The downfall to the slice: it was 4.66. It was on the big side and yes it was stuffed, but come on. Too expensive.
They have some other interesting toppings as well, one with a sea of black olives, one with slices of eggplant, and many others. Of course I stuck with the cheese. A roughly 15 inch pizza for under $14. Getting a whole pie is much more cost efficient.
So it looked good as most pizzas do fresh out of the oven. I had to wait quite a while for it to cool. It had a ton of cheese on it. The sauce was put on generously as well and the crust was also a bit excessive in thickness. Overall it was a pretty heavy and filling pizza. The crust tasted pretty good, it had a somewhat crunchy bottom and was leaving a mess of cornmeal all over the place. It was just too thick and doughy for me. The sauce was pretty decent, it tasted fresh and had a strong flavor of oregano and pepper. The cheese was decent too and low on the oil and grease. It wasn't too salty either. It just had too much of everything on it for me. Other than that I would say it is pretty good pizza if thats what you are looking for.
Hav'a Nagila Day !

Nagila Pizza
9411 West Pico Blvd. LA
Price: Slice $$$ Pie: $

Nagila Kosher Pizza & Salads on Urbanspoon

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