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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Trattoria Amici

So I went to a rather nice Italian restaurant the other night. They have a few, what they call Neopolitan style pizzas, so I thought I'd try one. I don't usually review Italian restaurants, or rather places that don't specialize in pizza. Though this place seemed to take pizza seriously and who am I kidding I can't not order the pizza.
I ordered their only size, personal 12 inch and it was about $10. Not bad for a fancy place.

Sorry for the quality of pictures. They were taken on a blackberry and after we already ate half of it. The pizza was better than I expected. The sauce and cheese were put on in a good ratio and worked well together. They also tasted fresh. The sauce was a bit untraditional. It had a creamy sweet tomato taste. They were doing something different here and I appreciate that. It tasted good and went well with the salty, surprisingly oily cheese. The crust looked good, it was nice and charred with a good crispy texture. It didn't taste half bad either, though it wasn't the right kind of bread. It looked and felt more like pita bread, or some kind of flat bread than your typical pizza dough. I'm sure this was an intentional choice as they were really trying to make a signature pizza. Despite it being the wrong crust, I thought it was cooked well and tasted good anyway.
The rest of the food was pretty good too, modern Italian, with a nice L.A. ambiance. I can say though, definitely consider the pizza if you are going for dinner. It is on par with the rest of their food. It is slightly different than your usual pie but yet very traditional at the same time. I can't say its even close to the best, but it's certainly satisfying.

Price: $$
469 N. Doheny Dr. Beverly Hills
310-858-0271
Overall:
Trattoria Amici on Urbanspoon

Friday, July 24, 2009

LaRocco's Pizzeria

This is a small place hiding on Main Street in Culver City. It is even smaller when the farmers market comes to town. There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of publicity about this place, at least not like Mozza, Vitos, Village or Casa Bianca. So it slipped through the cracks at least on my radar. Can you believe radar can have cracks. Anyway I found it through a recommendation of a friend, and boy am I glad I found it.
Up to this point I felt like I had eaten all the pizza that was worth eating in L.A. The last month or 2 I have been eating nothing but crap. I was disappointed and missed the east coast more than ever. It was a let down that 150 pizza joints ago I tried Vito's and Village Pizzeria and haven't found a better place since. I could have stopped this blog after 2 places. However to my surprise, there is a place that is actually as good as the above mentioned.

I ordered the only size they have a large 18 inch cheese pizza. It was around $18 so a little pricey but worth it.
The pizza was fantastic. Just what a pizza should be. It was thin and crispy, a little chewy and a little doughy but mainly just crispy. It had a good amount of cheese and sauce that mixed well together and produced a slightly salty oil. The sauce was light and sweet, with some other herb flavors mixing in.
It is most similar to Vitos. In fact the pizzas are almost identical. I would say Vito's has a thinner crust that doesn't have as much rise to it. Though I'd like to eat these at the same time to really decide which is better. Both are excellent pizzas that are far better than the majority of pizza in LA. These places are good examples of what pizza is to the East Coast. They represent N.Y. right. They have slices, large pies, fresh ingredients and the basic understanding of how to cook pizza. Thank God all the pizza tasting was not a waste. I finally found another place that I can call a good N.Y. slice.

VIDEO COMING SOON

3819 Main St. Culver City 90232
310-837-8345
Price: $
Overall:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pantry's Pizza

This is a small pizza delivery/ mexican eatery place. It might be called Pantry's Pizza but it makes Mexican food. There are several place like this. Mexican families who cook what they know but are also trying to capitalize on the pizza market. The only problem with that is you need to know how to cook pizza.
I ordered a X-Large 16 inch pizza, half bell peppers for $9.25.
There is only one thing I can say about this pizza and that is cheese. Of course I'll say more but cheese is what it's about. There is more cheese on this pizza than any other I have found. It oozes of milky, oily, salty, low-grade mozzarella. It starts high on the crust and gets thicker and thicker till it is just a chuck of warm cheese, creating the long point of the Isosceles triangle that is pizza. It stretches larger and larger and drips endlessly as you try and eat it. The doughy crust has no chance to support the weight and instantly bends down to a vertical position in your hand. Sauce what sauce ? It's just cheese and this time, green peppers drowning in the white sea.
I honestly think it crossed the line, even for the most hardcore cheese heads. There is such a thing as too much and this is it.
What more is there to say.




Again this is a Mexican food place with pizza. So if you want to get Mexican food thats probably the right way to go. I can only speak of the pizza.

Pantry's Pizza
1976 S. La Cienega Blvd 90034
310-204-1414
Price: $
Overall:

Pantry's Pizza on Urbanspoon

Lucia's Pizza

I don't have much to say about this one so I'll try and keep it short. It is a typical pizza joint in this city.
I ordered a medium cheese pizza it was I believe 14 inches. The deal is you get 2 of them when you order, similar to 2 for 1 Pizza. Though this time I saw that deal before I ordered and I got just one for half the price. I maybe be crazy but I don't need 2 pizzas from the same place. So I got mine for something around $6. Two mediums are 12.25.
It is a thicker doughier crust with a slight oily flavor to it. Not necessarily crispy, though not all doughy either. The sauce was light and fresh tasting as was the cheese, but they were put on heavy. The sauce had a sweet flavor but also a slight black pepper taste. I can't say too much beyond that. This is what I get 8 out of every 10 places I go. Typical pizza. It wasn't too bad, it tasted fresh and was slightly crispy. They at least had a deck oven and not a conveyor belt, so that helps. The menu says it is gourmet pizza, but I wont get into that. You will get your moneys worth at Lucia's and you will be satisfied.

Grandma Lucia's Pizza
9030 Venice Blvd. Culver City, 90232
310-838-0331
Price: $
Overall:
Lucia's Pizza on Urbanspoon

BOHO

As they say, this is Hollywoods first Gastropub. Which isn't saying a lot. It is a pub with supposedly better food in it than your average british pub. Though we aren't in Britain so most of the pubs around here have decent food, so this isn't the first of anything. It is just another bar with over priced food, trying to be trendy.

I shouldn't really be wasting my time with this review, but a large part of their menu is pizza. So I thought I'd enlighten you with some information about it.
Some friends and I ordered 2 pizzas, typical Marinara pizza and a Margherita pizza. These were the same pizzas, except the Margherita had a tiny bit of shredded basil in the middle and a few sliced tomatoes on it. All the pizzas are personal sizes which is about 12 inches and they are 10 to 15 dollars depending on the fancy toppings you could get. The price for the pizzas actually wasn't that bad. Which makes it more frustrating. The cheapest things on the menu are the pizzas, so they are asking people to order them. So you'd think the pizza is where it's at. Wrong. They pizza is really not good. It is completely over cooked the crust is thin but dried out and tastes like a bad crunchy breadstick. The cheese and sauce were dried out and over cooked too. The sauce tasted alright, but was a marinara sauce not a light sweet tomato sauce. The cheese didn't seem all the fresh, nor did the sauce or dough for that matter.
It wasn't the worst pizza I have had. However the ambience of the place and their gastropub comment, leads you to believe they are going to have great food. It isn't a pizza place so you can be too hard on them, though a quarter of their menu IS pizza. Their beer is good, but that is because they don't make that. I can't speak for the rest of the food, but I'd stick with the drinking.

BOHO
6372 W. Sunset Blvd Hollywood, 90028
Price: $$
Overall:

BoHo on Urbanspoon
Boho in Los Angeles

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Beech Street Pizzeria/Cafe

On my way to a job interview I had to travel an hour and half to the Pacific Palisades. So I thought I'd take advantage of my location and see what the Palisades had to offer in the way of pizza. There were 2 spots I found about a block away from each other. One place called Beech St. Pizzeria and the other aptly named Palisades Pizza.
Beech St. Pizza much different vibe than Palisades Pizza. This place actually has an ambiance, which is upscale and laid back with lots of inside and patio seating.

There is ME in the window, watch OUT !

They were running a little behind when I came to pick it up so I had to wait a little while for it. Though they were very nice about it. Unfortunately I had other plan and didn't get a chance to really savor this pizza nor did I get to look at the menu. If I had looked at the menu I would have seen not only what I ordered the neopolitan pizza, but also a margherita pizza and a bufala mozz pizza. These are 2 pizzas I wish I had gotten, instead I went with the boring cheese. It was 16 inch which is their only size other than individual 12 inch. It was $17.


The pizza looked good, it had all the element in line. Thin crust, slightly crispy. Light sauce and cheese. It wasn't a bad pizza, close to something you might find in N.Y.C. The main two problems here where: 1) the crust wasn't crispy enough. It was still too light and doughy. 2) The flavor was bland. From the sauce to the cheese to the crust, the flavor somehow escaped the pizza. This is why I wished I'd ordered some other toppings. So with the lack of flavor and the only semi-crispy crust, it really fell short of anything great. Plus it had quite a bit of oil on top. It had the right idea though. I'd say it was better than Palisades Pizza but thats just a matter of different styles of pizza.


863 Swarthmore Ave. Pacific Palisades 90272
310-573-1940
Price: $$
Overall:

Beech Street Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Palisades Pizza

On my way to a job interview I had to travel an hour and half to the Pacific Palisades. So I thought I'd take advantage of my location and see what the Palisades had to offer in the way of pizza. There were 2 spots I found about a block away from each other. One place called Beech St. Pizza and the other aptly named Palisades Pizza.

Palisades Pizza is a small delivery joint in what is essentially the parking garage of a mini mall.
The minute I walked in I was pretty sure of what I was gonna get. A small place with no tables or chairs, basically just a kitchen with neon signs of pizza and breadsticks. In the back I could see the conveyor belt oven. I was disappointed, but not surprised. Though when I heard the price I was surprised. I ordered their extra large cheese which was only 16 inches for a hefty 21 dollars. Though that came with bread sticks, which were pretty good but not needed and not worth the extra dollars.
There is a coupon which is $4 off if you buy an appetizer, which are at least $4. So the pizza doesn't get any cheaper. In fact I saw you could actually pay $1 more to get a thin crust pizza. Which even though it's a rip off, I would have ordered had I known about it, so I guess I'll have to go back.
So the pizza... It was pretty typical, middle American style pizza. It had a doughy thick crust, though not too dense, but very buttery. It was heavy on the cheese, though pretty decent, creamy cheese. The sauce was sweet but wasn't a major factor in the flavor since it was over-powered by the cheese and crust. Overall, for what it was it wasn't bad. The crust was slightly crispy and light and moist, the cheese was decent. The main problem is the price. Usually the price doesn't effect the rating. However, the reality is that this is pretty typical pizza, better than Domino's but not by much, so why would I pay over 4 times as much for basically the same pizza. If the pizza was 7 dollars I'd be satisfied in stead of feeling ripped off.


860 Via De La Paz Pacific Palisades 90272
310-459-4400
Open till 12 pm
Price: $$$
Overall:

Palisades Pizza on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Philadelphia Pizza


Sorry for the slow month in pizza postings, Im doing my best to continue the search for great pizza. However I am finding less and less good pizza in the LA area. I feel like I might be coming near the end of what is out there. I have eaten so much below average pizza in the last month I start to forget what good pizza actually tastes like. I have become jaded and have started to fall into a delirious state of mind, where I think bad pizza is good. I give bad pizza 3 out of 5 stars for nothing more than filling my stomach. The reality is, if I ate that same pizza on the east coast I would give it no more than 1 or 2 stars.

I recently visited Philadelphia, a city very close to N.Y.C. and very similar in pizza style. I only ate at one pizza place there, I had to save room for the cheese steaks, but it was so good it woke me up from my jaded L.A. ways. I quickly remembered what good pizza tastes like and that I have actually been eating a lot of crap pizza in L.A. for awhile.
As I ate it I just couldn't get over how simple it was. There was nothing extraordinary about what I was eating. It was just pizza, as simple as it can get. Some how though, it was miles better than most anything out here. Why can't any one get it right? Why is something so simple, so hard to replicate?
I ate at a place called GianFranco Pizza Rustica. It is on 3rd and Market in the Old City. There are 2 others in Center City and South Philly, but I think this was the first. It was a small place that sold slices. It seemed pretty busy, though it wouldn't take much to make it seem that way since there was little room to stand inside.

It was great pizza. Everything about it was done well. The crust was thin and crispy but had a doughy center. It was actually blackened on the outer edge, just short of being burnt, but that slight char gave it great flavor. The sauce was pretty awesome. Sweet fresh tomatoey flavor. The cheese was fresh and had a generous amount, that wasn't too much. It worked well with the sauce. Salty and sweet and a little oily to top it all off. Like I said there wasn't anything amazing that made this pizza stand out by itself. It was simple and all the ingredients were cooked right and worked well together. Really makes you wonder why so many places screw it up. Same goes with cheese steaks, a pretty simple food, but yet nobody outside of a small area in the East, can do it.
There might be better places in the city, though I don't think there could be too much better. There also might be a lot of bad places too. So this one place by no means represents all pizza in Philly. Though Philly in general I think has pretty good pizza that is on par with this place. There may be a greater number of bad places than in NY, but in general Philly knows its pizza. If you are in the area and have had your fill of cheese steaks, hit up GianFranco, you wont be disappointed.

Gianfranco Pizza Rustica on UrbanspoonGianfranco Pizza Rustica on UrbanspoonGianfranco Pizza Rustica on Urbanspoon

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