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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Julie's Pizzeria

Today I West.  I feel I have covered what there is to cover in the East, short of Pasadena.  SO I went West into no mans land before Santa Monica but beyond West Hollywood.  I heard of a place called Julie's around where the 405 meets the 10.  It sits snug inside a strip mall and looks like it has a little class.  

I asked for Julie, she wasn't there.  Didn't even know there was a Julie, I guess there was...or was there?  
Anyway I got a large cheese, which is actually a 14 inch.  However only 11 dollars.  This worried me a bit, the last pizza I had for a 11 dollars tasted like cardboard with dirty cheese.  I opened this one and it looked pretty good. 
It was very oily as you can see.  The first bite I took, was pretty good.  An extremely thin crust, good flavors in the sauce.  It was a sweet sauce and it almost tasted fruity, I know, I know tomatoes are a fruit.  This was a different taste though I couldn't put my finger on it.  Anyway the initial slice was pretty good, but as I continued on, the faults started to appear.  Aside from the greasiness, the cheese didn't have the right texture, it was very chewy, it didn't melt in your mouth (and it was still very warm at this point.)  Plus there was a little too much of it.  
The crust was so thin it could not support the weight of the sauce and cheese, which made for a messy experience.  On top of that mess was a lot of crumbs.  Crumbs from 2 things that weren't that great.  One was the cornmeal bottom.  Recently I tried Dagwood's Pizza and they were the first place I encountered that put too much flour on the bottom of the crust.  Now, here is the first place I found that puts too much cornmeal on the bottom.  It was packed with little gritty dried pieces of cornmeal.  They got stuck in my mouth and got all over the place. Too much.  The second reason there was a crumbly mess was the dough itself.  It was cooked very well, it cam out nice and crispy, the way I like it.  However it was too crispy for the thin crust to handle.  So the outer edge was ended up just being crunchy like a breadstick, it had no doughy or chewy qualities at all.  
It was better than most, but in the grand scheme of pizza not great.  

Julie's Pizzeria - 11140 Palms Blvd. LA 90034
Price: $
Overall:

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Pizza Buona

Today I tried to kill a few pizzas with one trip. A pizza crawl if you will, although much more driving than crawling. They were all places I assumed to be subpar, generic, and cheap. So I figured I'd save time and get small pizzas from all these places in one trip.

Here is a video of my pizza review trip. Part 3


Click here to watch part 1  or  part 2

The last on my pizza crawl, was Pizza Buona = Pizza Good.  This is a place that tries to be a level above these other places I've been to, like Hi Pizza and 2 for 1 Pizza.  These place know what they are selling, they are selling below average pizza for a extremely cheap price.  They aren't pretending to hard to not look generic.  Just like other national chains, like Domino's.  Pizza Buona on the other hand is trying hard to dress up there pizza and make it out to be perhaps, something that it is not.  High quality pizza, in a high quality place, with a high... price.  I wouldn't make this comparison if I hadn't just eaten 3 low quality pizzas I suppose.  After all Pizza Buona isn't that bad.  I'm sure the ingredients are fresh, they actually use a deck oven and not a conveyor belt, and the price is not hat expensive, it just isn't dirt cheap like 2 for 1.  

Pizza Buona has apparently been in business for 49 years.  It has the impression of a family owned joint, and it is comfortable to eat inside.  I ordered a 12 inch pizza that was 10$, which isn't too bad.  On first glance the pizza looks great.  However the taste is very average.  The cheese is heavy and leaves a strong, salty and greasy taste in your mouth.  The sauce tastes fine although there isn't as much on the pizza as cheese.  The crust also has a good taste but is not as crispy or as thin as it should be and it is just good tasting, doughy bread.  If you read the other reviews from this outing they all have the same problems, just to a bigger degree.  At the end of the day, is this pizza any better than say, Hi Pizza, or 2 for 1, or even Pizza Man.  The price is almost twice as much.  I suppose it probably is a little better, but when you hold them up  next to each other, there isn't much difference.  

Pizza Buona - 2100 W Sunset Blvd. Sliverlake 90026
Price: $
Overall:


Pizza Buona on Urbanspoon

Angelino's Pizza

Today I tried to kill a few pizzas with one trip. A pizza crawl if you will, although much more driving than crawling. They were all places I assumed to be subpar, generic, and cheap. So I figured I'd save time and get small pizzas from all these places in one trip.

Here is a video of my pizza review trip. Part 2


Click here to watch part 1  or  part 3

After I ate at 2 for 1 on my pizza crawl I noticed across the street in the other strip mall section was another pizza place.  Angelino's Pizza Restaurant.  So since I was on a trip of bad pizza I thought why not, so wile I was waiting for one I walked across the street to order another.  This place had the same price point as 2 for 1, very cheap.  I again ordered a 10 inch for 5$.  This place inside however was much different.  Not the same clean, sterile, corporate chain feeling.  It was a grungy wide open area with some video games and a small fish tank with a little fish in it, which actually was quite nice.  The counter had a sheet of plexiglass between you and the workers, like a liquor store in a bad neighborhood.  If I did drugs, I think I would have come here to find some.  The fish was nice.  
So the pizza, I took it back and was shocked when I opened it up, so much cheese !  Never have I seen so much.  I could have just kept stretching it out all the way to 2 for 1 across the street before it broke.  The cheese had a funny taste too, it was not normal.  The crust was the thinner of the 3, but still on the thick side and of course not crispy.  The menu says they cook it in a brick oven, I some how doubt that.  The sauce being swallowed by the cheese was completely non existent.  I don't care how much you love cheese this was too much.  Not my style of pizza, and for whatever style of pizza or food it was it wasn't that great.  What can you expect from a place that also serves tacos, burgers, and chicken nuggets.
I was going to give this a 1/2 slice because somewhere out there - there might be someone who like this pizza.  But I think I should just go all the way to an empty tray.  


Angelino's Pizza - 2201 W. Washington Blvd. Los Angeles 90018
Price: ¢
Overall:


Angelino's Pizza on Urbanspoon

2 for 1 Pizza Co

Today I tried to kill a few pizzas with one trip. A pizza crawl if you will, although much more driving than crawling. They were all places I assumed to be subpar, generic, and cheap. So I figured I'd save time and get small pizzas from all these places in one trip.

Here is a video of my pizza review trip. Part 2


Click here to watch  part 1  or  part 3

So after my first joint, Hi Pizza I continued on with the second part of my itinerary.  2 for 1 Pizza.  I don't have to explain why I assumed this was a generic spot.  Their name is a coupon.  This deal is indeed true to the name.  Buy any size pizza and a get a second for free.  I ordered a personal 10 inch cheese pizza, and I did not get a second one free, because I didn't need one.  Although I did get a free soda, which was nice.  2 for 1 is a pretty big chain in the area.  This is also a direct competitor of someone like Domino's.  It is cheap and similar in style.  Although I would say this has more in common with Papa John's.  The 10 inch was 5$ but the large pizza with one topping is only 9$ and you get a second free ! 
Anyway, the pizza was very bland tasting, just tomatoes cheese and bread.  Everything was piled on heavy.  The sauce was a little more prominent than the cheese, the crust was a little thinner than Hi Pizza, but still doughy and not crispy at all.  There is no reason to get this pizza other than the fact that it is cheap.


2 for 1 Pizza Co - 1905 S. Western Ave. Mid City  90018
Price: ¢
Overall:


2 For 1 Pizza on Urbanspoon

Hi Pizza

Today I tried to kill a few pizzas with one trip.  A pizza crawl if you will, although much more driving than crawling.  They were all places I assumed to be subpar, generic, and cheap.  So I figured I'd save time and get small pizzas from all these places in one trip. 


Here is a video of my pizza review trip.  Part 1 


Click here to watch part 2 or here for part 3


The first stop was supposed to be Bravo Pizza.  However it was temporarily closed, so I improvised and found one on the way to my planned second stop, 2 for 1 Pizza.  

Hi Pizza is in Korea Town and this is one reason why I assumed it would not be good.  Hi Pizza is a pretty good name however.  I got a personal 10 inch cheese pizza and it took about 10 minutes to make.  The pizza was better than I imagined.  Still fairly generic, Domino style pizza - unlike the crazy last Korea Town place I ate, Mr. Pizza 

It had a very thick and doughy crust, that was semi crispy on the outside but incredibly doughy.  The cheese was slightly more prominent than the sauce, although the sauce you did taste wasn't half bad.  It had good flavor, with a nice basil taste.  This pizza turned out (not to ruin the 3 part video series) as possibly the best one of the four pizzas I had, of course thats not saying a whole lot.  It is cheap pizza (5.50 for a 10 inch - 14$ for a 18inch ) and like Domino's, it has its place.  

Hi Pizza - 119 S. Western Los Angeles 90004
Price: $
Overall:



Hi Pizza Italian Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Dagwood's New York Pizza

I used to go to this place a few times a week because I worked down the street.  Usually I'd get the calzones or a meatball sub.  The pizza was always fine.  Today I revisited Dagwood's for the first time in awhile.  It's a fun place and they have some decent lunch specials.  Also I didn't get  the cheese cake but it looked pretty good.
I ordered their X-large pizza which is only 16 inches it was 14 dollars, not too bad.   I went half green peppers this time to switch it up.  The first thing I noticed about this pie was it had a very light color to it.  With the green peppers it actually looked quite beautiful.  This color is for 3 reasons.  One is the majority of the pizza is white from all the cheese, not a lot of sauce peaks through, you only get a little red on the edges.  The sauce tasted very good, a light, sweet sauce but the cheese was a little too overwhelming.  The next two reasons for the light color are found in the crust.  One, there was a ton of flour on the bottom and outer edge.  So much that it became a big part of the flavor, flour is there more for cooking technique than flavor.  Lastly, aside from the flour, the crust itself was very lightly cooked and as a result not very crispy at all.  It as very doughy all the way through.  

This pizza is very disapointing to me, because it has so much potential.  The ingredients are very fresh and delicious. The sauce is good, the cheese in pure and the crust tastes right.  The peppers are good too.  The cooking style just needs to be altered a bit.  It needs to not be afraid of the heat, and get itself cooked like a real pizza.  Get that crust so crisp it almost cracks when you fold it, no bending.  A little cheese goes a long way, so don't over do it, let the sauce bring the flavor to the pizza, not the cheese, nor the flour.  Some easy fixes could make this pizza great.  However I doubt, even if they read this, it is something that they will change - so for now this is what it is.    

Dagwood's New York Pizza - 820 Wilshire Blvd. Santa Monica
Price: $$
Overall:

Dagwoods New York Pizza on Urbanspoon

Arb Pizza Cafe

Arb Cafe is a relatively new place in Studio City.  It is co owned by 2 guys, one from Ann Arbor Michigan and the other from Brooklyn.  When approaching this place you get a sense that it is a little trendy snobby, the Cafe in the name brings to mind a certain feeling not necessarily associated with pizza.  I guess this is the Michigan side showing through.  When you go in it feels a little more like a NY pizza joint, and the guys working behind the counter fit this stereotype.   

I ordered a 14 inch cheese pizza it was 15$ and change, a trendy price.  Now I did not specify a Brooklyn style pizza.  I have come to understand that there is a difference between their house pie and a brooklyn pie.  If this is the case I should go back, because I was not impressed with the pie that I got.  Everything tasted fresh, the cheese was pretty good, but just too much of it.  This followed suit with the sauce which also was slopped on heavy.  The crust was a little thicker than it should be and did have the right texture to it.  It was cooked pretty well, and the outside was crispy but because of the nature of the crust it did not get crispy on the bottom.  

The flavors are pretty good, heavy but good and fresh.  It was just the texture and the amount of everything that made it fail to me.  Perhaps I am missing their actual brooklyn style pizza, but if this is so good, why not only serve it that way.   


Arb Pizza Cafe - 11946 Ventura Blvd. Studio City 91604
Price: $$
Overall:


Arb Pizza Cafe on Urbanspoon

Pizza House

So this review as of now, is completely worthless.  I ate here about 5 months ago, and apparently forgot to write a review.  So now I have forgot what it tasted like in detail.  That being said, it obviously wasn't a very memorable pizza.  From what I recall it was very low budget generic pizza.  It was, judging by the pictures, very well cooked and the crust was very crispy.  But I really can't honestly review it past that.  Thankfully I have some pictures to go one if that helps.  


In the future I will aim to hit this place again.  However, it is not on the top of my list   So in the meantime sit tight, you are on your own with this one.  

Pizza House - 5203 Fountain Ave.  Hollywood 90029
Price: $
Overall: 
??? - not more than average.   

Pizza House on Urbanspoon

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Two Boots

Two Boots is a very successful business in New York City.  They have many locations all over New York.  So as it seems to be the recent trend, another New York pizza joint comes to L.A.  Of course I welcome it, the standards couldn't hurt to be raised a little.  Of course just because it comes from N.Y. does not mean it will be good.  This place has a ton of different toppings for their pizza.  Each combination is named after a cultural celebrity from some form of entertainment.  You got "the dude"(from Big Lebowski) which is a cajun bacon cheeseburger pie.  "Mr. Pink" (from Reservoir Dogs) which is marinated chicken, tomatoes, garlic and mozzarella.  My favorite is the one called "the Newman" from Seinfeld, not because of the toppings, just because its funny to name a pizza after something so repulsive.  The owner is really into movies, obviously, so it is fitting that there is finally a Two Boots in L.A.  There are also a lot of Cajun flavors and southern Creole type foods that make their way on the pizza here.  Hence the 2 boots (Italy and Louisiana).  

So far this place only opens at 4 pm, of course that means it is open late, which is good for some.  But does not work for my unemployed, eat a pizza at lunch routine.  But I made my way over there in the early evening on a Thursday and it was packed.  I guess a lot of hype payed off.  
Anyway I got a large cheese pizza, which I was told was 16 inches, but was actually 18.  I wouldn't have eaten it all anyway so it didn't matter.  It was 17 dollars.  There were as many people in the kitchen as there were buzzing around the place when I came to pick it up.  I don't know how they moved around in there.  The pizza was heavy.  The crust was thin and crispy, but the sauce and cheese were put on generously.  The sauce was again a heavier sauce.  It had a thicker consistency to it and a very flavorful and spicy/tangy taste.  The cheese was fresh and went well with the rest.  The crust was a cornmeal style crust, that is not too common around here it seems.  Although I prefer a flour bottom, it was a nice change.  The crust didn't have much rise to it, just kind of flat the whole way through.  It wasn't as crispy as I thought it could have been, and it was a bit chewy towards the end.   
(sorry for the bad pictures)
After all was eaten, I felt a little sick.  I shouldn't say that in my review, because it had no relation to the ingredients directly, just the way I ate it.  So fast and so much.  It was a heavier greasier pizza than I have been getting lately.  I have to say I enjoyed it, but not my style of pizza.  I like a lighter sweeter sauce, and a crispy and charred crust.  All in all it is not a bad pizza.  They of course are known for their toppings.  So the next time I go, I'll be getting myself a "Bayou Beast" - BBQ shrimp, crawfish, andouille, jalepenos, and cheese.  Sound good ?  Aww yeah...

Also, a side note: they have Sicilian Crust pizza and whole wheat crust.  

Two Boots - 1818 Sunset Blvd. Echo Park
Price: $$
Overall:

Two Boots on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Pizza Rustica

Today I stopped in a small pizza place called Pizza Rustica.  It is on the sunset strip, and apparently there is one in Beverly Hills as well.  Of course this is a franchise that runs wild in Florida, with more than 10 different places and also there are a couple in France too, I don't know what thats about.  This place I'm guess makes their money on people passing by.  The sunset strip is filled with tourists and other late night party people.  All of who want nothing more than a quick slice to go.  They have many different toppings here, lots of different veggie combos - artichoke pizza, 3 kinds of mushrooms pizza, spinach and blue cheese.  I have to stress again, anyone can put great fresh toppings on a pizza, but that doesn't make it good.

The pizzas on display are in a rectangular pan rather than the classic round and the slice you get is quite a large square.  I ordered a medium 14 inch Margherita.  Which was round not square, strange how the display pizzas would be different.  It was 13 dollars, not terrible but for what I got a little too much.     
This is what the pizza looked like after I ate most of it.  Including part of the slice pictured.  Sorry my appetite got the best of me again. 
Everything was put on heavy.  Lots of sauce and cheese on a doughy crust.  On top was a lot of crushed basil which does not taste the same as fresh basil.  The cheese tasted pretty decent, but the sauce was just plain.  It tasted fresh, but didn't have too much flavor to it.  The crust was the worst part.  It was a generic pre made doughy pad of bread.  The under side was very dark and it would seem that the pizza had been cooked very well, and it should be crispy, but it was not crispy at all.  Very cheap poorly made pizza.  Yeah maybe the ingredients were fresh, but they weren't the right ingredients and they don't have the right recipe.  On their menu they have various quotes of praise from Wall Street Journal, Zagat, and Angeleno Mag.  Angeleno says the are among the top 5 pizzas in LA and Wall Street Journal says they are the top 10 best pizzas in the Country.  I don't know how true these comments are, but they must of been drugged when they had this pizza.  It is in no way the best pizza anywhere.  It isn't even the best on the Sunset strip.  Panini's Pizza, or Frankie and Johnnies would fall in that category.  
I have had much worse, but to say it is some of the best pizza is ridiculous. it isn't even average pizza, even for LA's standards.

Pizza Rustica - 8410 Sunset Blvd. West Hollywood 90069
Price: $$
Overall:

Pizza Rustica on Urbanspoon
Pizza Rustica on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Brownstone Pizzeria

Brownstone pizza is a great family owned and operated little place in Eagle Rock.  It has been remodeled by some reality t.v.  business show so it apparently looks better than it did, but I am guessing the pizza hasn't changed.  There is a lot of competition over there, with Folliero's and Casa Bianca not too far away.  But I think that this one fits right in, or maybe I should say stands out.  The pizza is unique and it's a pizza you taste and know it was from Brownstones.   
I ordered a 14 inch pizza that was a perfect price of 11 dollars.  The next size up was 20 inches, which yes, is even too much for me.  The crust was the first notable thing to me.  It was extremely crispy and thin.  Very flat and thin all the way from middle to edge.  The outside was very crispy and blacked on the bottom and edges.  Some may not like the extreme char on the edge but I think it added to it.  Despite being cooked hard, with a serious crunch, the little inside it had was still doughy and it tasted pretty good.  
The sauce was the next major factor here.  It had a heavy spicy flavor, it was a little thicker than most, and was tangy but not too sweet.  It was almost like a pasta sauce rather than a sweet light pizza sauce.  It tasted good don't get me wrong, just maybe a little too heavy for pizza. 
The cheese was merely an accent on the heavy sauce and charred crispy crust.  However the taste of cheese was prevalent enough to know it existed.    
Overall the pizza had a hardy, rustic taste you could say but while still being light enough to eat a lot of, if hungry enough.  The flavors and style of the pizza all worked well together to set it apart from many others.  It is a pizza that some people might not enjoy, but others might praise.  Still others like me will meet you in the middle by giving credit to what it does well, but not giving it all the praise in the world.     

Brownstone Pizzeria - 2108 Colorado Blvd. Eagle Rock 90041
Price: $
Overall:
Brownstone Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Monday, February 9, 2009

Mr. Pizza


Mr. Pizza - A delightful eatery that specializes in Korean food.  I should rephrase that, a Korean eatery that specializes in american food, specifically pizza.  So not so much Korean, I guess it's  American with a Korean flair.  The flair comes with the side of pickles they give you with your pizza.  Now, I realize that this was not where I was going to find a great NY slice of pizza, but as a fan of pizza in general I could not resist.  I have to say I was expecting the worst.  I saw other reviews were praising their potato gold pizza.  So I went with half Potato Gold pizza and half plain old cheese.  I didn't look at the menu when I called to put the order in, so I was not aware of the many varieties of pizza they have.  They have Premium pizza, like the Potato Gold which has it's crust filled with sweet potatoes.  Then they have screen pizzas, which have a normal crust, no filling.  Then they have a thin crust pizza, which I am not sure is any different than the screen pizzas, except the toppings are more traditional, pepperoni, Margherita, etc.  

Anyway I did not know any of this existed during the phone call.  I asked how big the large was and the lady said it feed 4-5 people.  Then I was more specific and asked how many inches it was, she said 13.  I couldn't imagine a 13 inch pizza could feed that many.  Of course I realized soon that only the Potato Gold pizza, 13 inches small, could indeed feed 4 to 5 people.  This thing was heavy.  The price was heavy too, 25 dollars for that small diameter pizza.  I don't know how much your average Korean eats in one sitting, but I know I could have eaten half the pizza, which is less than usual.  Of course I am no normal person, I would say this pizza could have fed 3 people very well, maybe 4.  So I guess if you break the price down, it looks to be 6 to 8 dollars a person whether it's 3 or 4 people.  So I guess thats not too expensive, but when you are alone it is ridiculous.  (The thin crust is only 13 for a 13'')   Plus you weren't just paying for the sauce, cheese and bread, there was everything they had in the kitchen on this pizza - mushroom, ground beef, corn, onion, bacon, nacho chips, sour cream, and of course a big wedge of a potato, plus the crust was stuffed with sweet potato mousse and covered in cheddar cheese.       
So this WAS a serious pizza.  And I have to say it tasted as good as the picture looks.  You can't  go wrong with potatoes, bacon, and pizza.  If I wanted to binge on fat I would definitely go back with 3 people and order this thing all the way around.  
Now of course is it NY style pizza, is it even regular pizza ?   I suppose yes it is pizza, but is not of the kind from NY or Italy or even Chicago.  It's Korean I guess ?  The crust was doughy and not that thin, the sauce was generic tasting and the cheese was actually half decent.  Now maybe the thin crust pizzas are different, but I can't see them being anything like the pizza I yearn for. So coming from a NY stance this pizza is no good.  However if you are hungry and you don't know what for... Potato Gold. 

Mr. Pizza - 3881 Wilshire Blvd.  Korea Town
Price: $$
Overall:
            Cheese Rating:           Potato Gold Rating:
                             
The Potato Gold is more than a pizza, and is very good.  However the cheese, is what it is, pizza.  And as pizza its not great.
Mr Pizza Factory on Urbanspoon

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