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Sunday, June 8, 2014

Japanese Pizza

  I went to Tokyo a few months ago.  A truly amazing place.  I didn't have a whole lot of time to really explore the pizza.  Seeing as I was in Japan I tried to stick to food like ramen and sushi.  That being said there was a surprising amount of Italian places.  Most of these place were kind of Japanese style versions of Italian which is a hybrid the likes of nothing I have ever had before.  Though it did seem like there were some legitimate Italian restaurants and pizzerias that did their best to cook Italian food as traditionally as possible.  The one thing about the Japanese is they don't half ass things.  IF they are going to do pizza they go to great lengths to make the best possible pizza. 
But like I said I didn't seek out any pizza.  Everything is so hard to find there, without speaking the language and having limited gps, searching for the best pizza was not in the cards.  

Here is the Dominos of Japan. Pizza-La.  The only one I actually saw, but they are apparently everywhere.  This was in Kyoto.  They had a whole garage full of delivery mopeds. I didn't try this pizza.  

Here is the most amazing thing pizza related I saw.  A Pizza Van.  Here in LA we have lots of food trucks, probably several that are pizza related.  I have never seen a food Van.  Much less one that has a wood fired stone oven inside.  and thats all it had because there isn't room for anything else.  
Again I had just eaten, so I regrettably did not try the van pizza.  Though if it looks anything like the pizza it porbably would have been good.  

Finally I tried some pizza.  Actually it was like 3 days into the trip.  This was a quaint little Cafe on a canal.  With the quietest trains passing by on the other side of the water.  They had a lot of Italian food and Gelato, but I'm not sure it was going for strictly Italian.  I am not sure really what it was going for but they had pizza so I got some. 

It was pretty decent, considering my expectation were low.  The crust was a little chewy and a little doughy, in a good way.  Though not all too crispy.   The sauce was very light and sweet.  Fairly bland in flavor but really not bad.  Very eatable.

This was a crazy pizza.  It had sausage and corn with red peppers and a salsa tomato base.  Not bad at all. 

Of course there is always Shakey's 
I didn't see anything that resembled NY style pizza, only individual Neopolitan pizzas.  Not even any advertisements boasting NY pizza.  Italian was the only terminology that I saw.   
Grabbing a slice to go doesn't gel with the culture of Japan.  Nobody eats while they walk.  Eating is an event that is taken seriously, just like everything they do.  There is a time and place.  Eating is for sitting and enjoying your time.  So food to go isn't something that happens.  Unless it is a American chain like McDonalds.    

It was a great trip.  I saw so many things and ate so many crazy foods.  I failed on the Pizza however.  So next time I go.  Pizza will be my main goal.  

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Michael's Pizzeria

When Mother Dough of Los Feliz showed up I thought that would be the best pizza LA would ever see.  Then NY heavy hitters Joe and Grimaldi came to town and I thought finally real NY pizza.  
I am once again surprised as I have now experienced Michael's Pizzeria.  Quite possibly the best pizza in LA.  The problem is it isn't technically in LA.  It is in Long Beach.  

Despite being far away (from me anyway)  it is worth the drive.  There are 3 locations, 1 in Rancho Mirage.  Two in Long beach, one on what is technically an island appropriately named Naples.  The ambiance isn't exactly what you'd expect from a pizza place.  It feels like more of a sit down juice bar.  Or a diner from the cartoon The Jetsons.  

The pizza is near perfect.   The crust is is amazing.   Flavorful, perfectly cooked, which good char markings all over.  Cooked in a wood fired Brick oven.  I timed the pizza in the oven, cooking about 7 minutes I think.  Just had a great consistency, very thin in the middle and doughy and chewy on the outer edge but crispy on the outside.
The cheese is made fresh in house and you can tell.  Generous chunks of it sporadically about.
The sauce is really tasty.  Packed with flavor, not too sweet but not too spiced.  A perfect balance.
There could have been a little more of it.  Where it was thin on the sauce, it was a tad bit dry.

This place is a D.O.P. - so its supervised by the pizza gods of Italy.

The meat pizza which was the special had several kinds of delicious italian meats as wells as some cilli peppers and huge chunks of garlic.  They had a clam pizza as well.  Really a great selection of unusual pies that makes going there an adventure every time.
The prices are pretty standard for this kind for  Neapolitan style pies of this caliber.

Long Beach, CA 90803 
Price: $$$
Rating: 5‎

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Grimaldi's Pizzeria

A long history is Grimaldi's.  It started in Brooklyn under the bridge and quickly grew into a huge success and one of the best pizzas in all of NY and therefore the country.  It went through an owner change and some lawsuits that followed, all the while the name Grimaldi's became a chain that spread all over the country.  It has been quite a journey.
         -  Though as far as expanding goes Joe's Pizza has them beat in terms of time and area, opening at least 6 locations and a food truck in Los Angeles.  In just a few years.  

Grimaldi's only has one location in LA and it is in El Segundo.  They use coal fired oven to cook the pizza in.  This oven is quite a hassle as it seemed to delay their opening for almost a year.  The hassle is worth it because it makes the pizza taste delicious and unique to any other pizza in LA, that I know of.

I have been to Grimaldi's a lot since it opened.  It is some of the best pizza in this city.  The crust is crispy and charred with great flavor and a toughness to it.  The sauce on the margarita is just perfect.  A light and sweet sauce, the cheese is light and creamy as well and not overpowering or over used.  I could probably eat their margarita pizza continually until I overdosed and died.  I would not be able to stop eating it.
 It is a great pizza at an affordable price. $16 for a large 18 inch margarita pizza.  The place is a big, sit down casual restaurant with a nice outside patio and a good collection of beers.

 It has been a long time since I ate at the one in NY, so I cant give a detailed review of the differences.  But they aren't exactly the same.  The most notable difference is the spices they put on their pizza.  Oregano and other italian spices are sprinkled on top.  I don't remember them doing that at the original location.  I don't need that personally but I don't mind either.   The crust isn't quite as amazing as NY either, maybe it's in my head, maybe its in the water, maybe its in the air, I don't know.  It is no fault of the chefs though, it is just the way it is in LA.  It's not the same.  But that doesn't make it bad. Grimaldi's recipe and oven make for one of the best crusts in LA and one of the best pizza's.

Grimaldi's Pizzeria
2121 Rosecrans Ave.  Suite 1399
El Segundo, CA 90245
phone 310-648-7503


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