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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Piece O' Pizza


Driving down Venice Blvd. coming back from the west coast you pass a place called Piece O' Pizza.  It is pretty noticeable with a large, old town Vegas type sign.  I expect at night for it to be lit up with flash bulbs.  The inside is pretty small with just a few tables.  It looks kind of run down and cheap but most places that mainly deliver are like this.  
I ordered a large 16 inch pizza it was 15 dollars because I got sausage on half.  Normally a large is 12 dollars.  Now that Im writing this I don't know why I was charge 15.   

As you can see it was very, extremely cheesy.  As a result it was very oily.  The sauce I feel could have been pretty awesome but it was hard to get a good taste of it with all the cheese.  I sensed it had some interesting flavors going on that are not usual.  This pizza was pretty unusual all the way around.  It had a serious amount of flour taste from the bottom of the crust and the crust itself was very sweet.  The crust had a different consistency to it than usual.  It was more like a pastry.  It wasn't flakey on the top like some pastry-like crusts.  Internally it was separating into different layers.  It is hard for me to describe, all I can say is with the sweet dough and the texture and all the flour and cheese, I really though I was eating some weird Italian cheese danish.  
Again I can see some people swearing by this pizza.  For me, this was not what I wanted.  Below is a video of my experience.  If for nothing else, watch it to see the amazing chicken head man who roams the streets of Hollywood.   


Piece O' Pizza
11700 Venice Blvd. LA, CA 90066
310-391-9770
Price: $
Overall:
Piece O'Pizza on Urbanspoon

Monday, May 25, 2009

Louigi's Italian Kitchen

Louigi's looks like a trendy little Italian kitchen with its nice out door patio.  Though on the inside its just a counter and another few tables.  They have some interesting sandwiches and pastas, though judging by their pizza I'm not sure how great they are.  Their menu logo has some Italian chef with a pizza and a dog under his arm.  It is supposed to be homey and cute but it just make me worry the dog might get hair in the pizza.
     
I ordered a large cheese pizza that was 14 inches for $10.
As you can see the cheese was very prominent.  It didn't just look that way, there was a lot of it.  The cheese tasted a little wrong to me.  It was all white which seemed good, but the flavor was a little off.  I actually called them back to see if it was actually Mozzarella, they said it was.  Maybe it was low fat or just a low grade cheese.  In my opinion, if they are gonna use a low grade cheese I almost prefer them to just go with a mixture of different cheeses instead.  Anyway the cheese was pretty much the only flavor here so felt I had to investigate.  Everything else tasted pretty bland.  The sauce didn't have much of a chance to survive with all the cheese so there was no fresh tomato taste.  The only flavor that would have come through was oregano but their didn't seem to be any of that.  The crust was decent.  It was very thin and crispy on the outer edge, a little charred.  Though after it cooled it just became kind of chewy and tasteless.  I was disappointed the moment I left the patio.  Maybe next time Louigi.

Louigi's Italian Kitchen
1644 Sawtelle Blvd. West Los Angeles
310-477-4500
Price: 
Overall:

Louigi's Italian Kitchen on Urbanspoon

New York Pizza & Pasta

This is yet another typical pizza joint in a strip mall, in one of the busiest intersections - Sepulveda and Santa Monica.  During rush hour you have to go with the traffic or not all.  This place had a familiar name to it.  NY Pizza and Pasta isn't all that original but there is a place with that exact name here in Hollywood on Sunset Blvd. - NY Pizza & Pasta.  I tried to get the scoop, they both said they are not affiliated in any way with the other.  So I don't know if I buy that, but their pizza is different.  

This place is trying to be a local hang out it seems, they serve alcohol, they have a few flat screens and there are wood shavings all over the floor.  This last one was surprising, I guess it makes it look like a party, it also makes it look like they haven't ever swept the floor, which they haven't. 
I ordered a medium cheese which is 14 inches for $11.  I have to say it looked really good.

It looked better than it was.  Again fairly typical pizza but the dough was just a little too thick for me.  It was in fact very crispy on the bottom and outer edge which was great, but just a little too dense, doughy, and dry.  This all would be fine if the sauce and/or cheese made up for the crust's faults.  This of course wasn't the case.  There was much more cheese than sauce which made it filling and oily.  The sauce flavor that did surface was heavily flavored with oregano.  
I feel like I gave this place a pretty terrible review, but it isn't as bad as it sounds and its not as good as it looks.  Like most places its average, a pizza that will satisfy.  Although this one didn't satisfy completely for me.  

11078 Santa Monica Blvd./Sepulveda  West Los Angeles
310-444-0050
Price: $
Overall:
New York Pizza & Pasta on Urbanspoon

Pazzo Pizzeria

Pazzo Pizzeria another small delivery joint tucked away in a strip mall.  This one is in West L.A.  it has an impressive list of pastas, salads, and sandwiches.  I ordered a 14 inch, medium cheese pizza.  It was $10.  They also have thick crust.  They advertise on the front of the menu that they use 100% extra virgin olive oil in everything.  I have never seen this boasted before and I'm not really sure if it is worth mentioning - but I thought it was funny.  Pazzo means crazy in Italian but the pizza is the opposite.  They have some interesting topping combinations but nothing out of the ordinary.  


The pizza is fairly typical.  When you think pizza, you think of this.  When you order pizza, you most likely are going to get this.  This by no means is a bad thing.  The fact that it has the idea of pizza pretty well covered, means it will taste good and satisfy.  It is not nearly the best pie and its not nearly the worst.  
The qualities that make it typical are the heavy amounts of cheese and sauce, on a slightly thicker crust than a NY style pizza.  Not to be confused with too much sauce and cheese and a thick crust.  Just a generous amount of everything, including oil.  It was a good bit greasy.  The sauce was pretty heavily spiced and had a rich flavor. 
Like I said it was typical in a comforting way, pizza snobs may turn up their noses and casual pizza eaters may swear by it with out knowing any better, but in the end it is just pizza.  I know that sounds jaded, but thats the truth. 
There are a few other locations but they were sold by the original owner to random people so all locations are different.  This one is slightly religious, with some subtle scripture in the menu.  Either way I give it a generous 3.  

Pazzo Pizzeria
11104 W. Olympic Blvd./Sepulveda West Los Angeles
310-473-3832
Price: 
Overall:

Pazzo Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Shalom Pizza

Shalom and good evening to you worthy friends.  Next stop on Pico Blvd. was a kosher pizza place.  There are quite a few of these places along this strip. I had low expectation for this based on my last experience with kosher pizza, Pizza Mayven.  Since I was making multiple stops on Pico, I tried to get slices where I could.  This place had slices, though they were closing at 3 ?  It was 2:50 so their selection was slim.  Mushroom pizza was all they had, and I don't like mushrooms.  For some reason I bought a slice anyway.
I got 1 slice of the mushroom, then proceeded to pick them off, so there was little pizza left to be salvaged and reviewed.  What I had was to my surprise, much better than I imagined.  So I had to go back and get a whole cheese pie another day.  

UPDATE: 
I went back and got a medium 16 inch cheese for 14 dollars.  It was pretty impressive just like I remembered.  The crust was not as thin as the slices were for some reason.  Still pretty thin but not as thin as it should be.  It was still very crispy, well cooked on the bottom and the edges.  The crust also had a tough and chewy consistency with a slight doughiness on the inside.  Pretty perfect crust, the only downfall was it was a bit dry.  The most notable taste was the oil on top.  It had a pretty good amount, but I enjoyed the flavor.  So not too oily in my opinion.  The cheese was pretty good, and the sauce was a thicker spicier tomato sauce.  However it was put on pretty thing so it was not overpowering.     
The crust wasn't perfect but it did remind me of some N.Y. joints if it was just a hair thinnner.  I was pretty impressed and I'd go back for sure.  I have now had 2 really good kosher places out of 4 so maybe kosher's the way to be.  The other ones I have reviewed are Pizza Mayven, Pizza World and LA Pizza (Kosher).

Here is a video of my journey down Pico, if you dare.

Click here to watch Part 1 or Part 3

Shalom Pizza - 8715 W Pico Blvd. 90035
Price: $
Overall:


Shalom Pizza on Urbanspoon

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Las Vegas Pizza

Sorry for the delay in posts, but I have been in Las Vegas, a crazy circus of a place.  It just so happened that I stayed in the New York, New York Casino.  So I thought I'd explore the N.Y. pizza options.  I am sure there are hundreds of places serving pizza on the strip, and probably another hundred off the strip and I'm sure, similar to L.A., they are mostly bad.  Of course I don't know this for sure, I only ate at 2 places.  So I can barely speak for New York New York casino, let alone all of Las Vegas.


The first night we dabbled in gambling, just betting a 5 chip here and there, trying the feel out our luck.  After casino hopping all night, we realized it was 10pm and we hadn't eaten dinner, so we went back to our hotel to see what we could find.  Pizza was the natural option; it is quick, easy, and satisfying.  We walked the fake streets of NY to find a slice.  At the fake corner of Hudson and Greenwich was a walk-in, grab-a-slice place, called Sirrico's Pizza.
Most food in Vegas, unless you can swing a free breakfast or a hot dog, is expensive.  The price for a slice of cheese was outrageous, pushing $4.  Over $4 for any kind of topping.  The large cheese was a much better deal, $15 for maybe an 18 inch.  I guess they figure most people are coming in for a slice, like us who were desperate and hungry and when we heard it was going to be 25 minutes for a large, we accepted the rip off.  I got a cheese slice, a sausage slice, and a water for 12 dollars.  Good thing I just won 20 bucks on the slots...  I didn't, that was sarcasm.  
Here is a picture of the pepperoni, sausage and Sicilian.
This pizza was what you might expect:  thick, doughy, and greasy.  Lots of sauce and lots of cheese, with a nice soggy bottom.  It was filling and in a gross way, satisfying.   There was a slight crunch to the outer edge but the rest was just soft bread.  The slices were a good size and and pretty thick so I guess $4.50 a slice could have been worse.  My friend got the sicilian slice, which wasn't really much thicker than the regular, and it was cold.  So while I imagine most people will be satisfied with this meal and may even really like it if they are from say Ohio, it wasn't very good.  It certainly wasn't a good representation of New York pizza.  I hope nobody goes there thinking it is.  

So the next day came along before I was ready to sleep.  We finally got to bed around 8 in the morning and woke up in the same day.  I had been eyeing an Italian restaurant that looked a little fancy and boasted  their great wood fired pizza, called Il Fornaio.  So we went.  They served personal sized 12 inch pizzas for 13 dollars.  We got 2 cheese pizzas.          
 
It came out looking alright but not as fancy as I expected.  Pretty typical pizza actually.  They couldn't even get a hold of fresh basil leaves.  In fact, the whole pizza looked generic and processed.  Like it was too perfect.  Places like this that make personal sized pizzas usually get creative and put some character into their pizzas.  This looked like something from a chain.  Though it was much better than a chain, it wasn't amazing.  The cheese was pretty basic and surprisingly had a lot of oil on top.  The menu said they import their cheese from Italy.  This is the wrong ingredient to import, the cheese should be made fresh.  The sauce was really good.  It was light and sweet and tasted like fresh tomatoes and it really gave great flavor to the pizza overall.  The crust was a little disappointing.  It was thin but didn't really have a good doughy center and it got too cracker-like and brittle at the edge.  The bottom didn't get too crispy either.      
It wasn't a terrible pizza, better in my opinion than Sirrico's.  Though they kind of represented slightly different styles.  Il Fornaio though boasts genuine Italian food and it's all dressed up fancy with high prices, so you'd expect more.  Sirrico's of course sits in a whole fake town trying to be like New York.  So I guess thats just the Vegas way.  There was another place called America that was kind of a diner, they had food from all over America including pizza.  Based on their breakfast I can't see their pizza being that great, so I skipped it.  Of course there is genuinely good food here and probably good pizza somewhere too.  But the New York of Vegas unfortunately is not known for their pizza.

New York, New York Casino - Las Vegas, NV
Sirrico's Pizza  Il Fornaio
  Price: $$$                          Price: $$
   Overall:                             Overall:
                           

                                                Sirrico's on Urbanspoon                   Il Fornaio (New York - New York) on Urbanspoon

Manny and “The Pizza Butler™”

I'd like to welcome my new, I guess you could say sponsor, The Pizza Butler.  An interesting alternative to the way you serve pizza.  Below you can read about the pizza butler, not in my words since have not yet used this.  So check it out.   


Six years ago my family and I moved to Tampa, Florida where for the first time in my  

life, I got involved in the restaurant business. As the owner of an extremely well  

known and popular 80‐seat restaurant called Formaggios Pizzeria Restaurant, I  

quickly realized that owning a restaurant was a 24‐hour, 7‐day‐a‐week business that  

demanded tremendous attention.  

  

One Sunday evening at Formaggios I saw one of my waiters struggling to balance an  

18” pie with one hand while trying to reposition items on the dinner table with his  

other so that the additional pie would fit.  I have 42” square tables yet my wait staff  

still had difficulty finding room for two pies on the table. This was a regular  

occurrence.  

  

That particular day while watching my waiters jockey for table space, I was struck  

with an idea for a space‐saving tray. It was a vision I knew I could produce back in  

New York at my business, Hi‐Tech Metals, which manufactures high‐end metals.  So I  

flew back first thing Monday morning, quickly designed and fabricated a prototype,  

and shipped it back to Florida the next day.  As soon as we tried it in our restaurant,  

we all knew the headaches of our space issues were over.  I immediately pulled it  

from use and went to a patent attorney.    

  

This little “Z” pan was perfection. I decided to call it “THE PIZZA BUTLER.”   

  

I have already changed the tables in my restaurant.  I switched all my two top, six top  

and four top tables, which were 42” in depth to 30” which has allowed me to  

successfully add 5 more tables to my restaurant. I am now turning over 22 tables  

instead of 17.  

  

We have been using The Pizza Butler for over four months now and the pan never  

ceases to evoke endless comments.  There has yet to be a single customer who has  

not remarked on this unique and innovative pan. Some of the comments are:  

          

 • I was trying to figure out where you were going to put the  

      pizza…that’s awesome, what an idea!  

 • I can’t believe this doesn’t already exist!  

 • I’d like to meet the person that invented this.  

 • Great idea ‐‐ stupidly simple.  

 • Very creative.  

 • I hope this is patented.  

 • What a look it gives your tables!  

 • Wow! Look at that tray. 


To read more visit: Pizza Butler

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Pinball Pizza

A little collection of pizza joints congregate around this area. Victory and Magnolia.  Some of the other places are Pizza Factory, Monte Carlo & Pinocchio , Central Park Pizza, Dino's and a few others.  
Welcome to Pinball Pizza.  A pretty great name although I don't really understand why.  There was no pinball machines.  In fact it was Central Park Pizza that was in an arcade.  There was nothing pinball to Pinball Pizza.  Their place was stripped down bare of any kind of decoration.  Not one table or chair, all their business is delivery.  The only thing worth noting were their 3 phone lines.  Why this place has 3 phone lines I don't know, but even crazier is each phone line has its own phone.  The people working there were very nice though, and the answering machine is hilarious if you call after hours.  Which by the way is before 4pm.        
I ordered a medium cheese, it was 14 inches and the cheapest pizza yet, at 5 dollars.  Regularly it is 9 dollars still really cheap, but with a coupon its 5 and I didn't even have the coupon so I don't know how regular 9 dollars is.   
The pizza looked pretty heavy with sauce.  It looked like it had been cooked for a long time.  Which at 4:15 they told be it would be 25 minutes, so Im thinking it was cooked pretty long.  Despite the long time, the crust was not crispy, not even the least bit.  It was doughy from outside to inside.  It was also thicker than most, and very buttery tasting.  The rest of the flavor was very sweet, I wasn't sure if this was coming from the dough or the sauce, most likely the sauce.  Sweet was pretty much the only flavor.  It was a thick tomato paste type of sauce that was heavily sweetened and heavily cooked along with the cheese, which had lots of brown spots.  


I have to say that the pizza wasn't good really in any way, however it all somehow worked together.  The overly sweet flavor and the very bread-y texture brought some enjoyment.  Of course this was fresh out the oven.  Twenty minutes later the pizza was a different animal, and practically inedible.  It was extremely cheap though and for a strangely comforting taste I'll take it.     

Pinball Pizza 
2109 W. Magnolia Burbank 91506
818-846-2055
Price: ¢
Overall: 


Pinball Pizza on Urbanspoon

Central Park Pizza

A little collection of pizza joints congregate around this area. Victory and Magnolia.  Some of the other places are Pizza Factory, Monte Carlo & Pinocchio , Pinball Pizza, Dino's and a few others.  
You can find this place inside an arcade which is inside a batting cage area.  Quite the opposite of Pinball pizza which doesn't even have one video game.  The name makes you think its a legit stand alone place.  I suppose it could still be, but when I saw the sign I was a bit skeptical.  I ordered a 12 inch pizza for about $10.  A little steep for the kind of place it was, but not terrible.    

The pizza looked alright when I picked it up, pretty cheesy but thin.  As soon as I took a bite I realized something was off about the cheese.  It didn't taste right.  Tasted like it wasn't mozzarella.  So for a place claiming New York style pizza, it already faltered.  The crust was thin, and relatively crispy at least for a few minutes until it started to cool then it was just chewy.  I wasn't crazy about the sauce, it was a heavier tasting sauce with a lot of oregano going on.  Not the worst pizza and if  I had to be at this party zone I guess I'd be happy they had pizza.  But not the right cheese, major error that can be fixed easily.  

Central Park Pizza
220 N. Victory Blvd. Burbank 91502
818-953-7492
Price: $$
Overall:


Central Park Pizza on Urbanspoon

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