Missing Chicago pizza - and I don't mean deep dish
I couldn't help notice your plea for help regarding some good "Chicago-style" pizza in SoCal. Being a Chicago native myself, I enjoy different styles of pizza, as long as it is just a sausage pizza, the official pizza topping of any Chicagoan!
In the SFV, a place in North Hollywood is pretty good -- Little TOny's. A bit greasy, but good.
NE of LA is one of LA's premier pizzerias, Casa Bianca. This is a neighborhood pizza parlor if there ever was one, and I found it to be very good.
But if you really want Chicago-style pizza, there are only 2 places in SoCal to go...
Chicago Pasta House - Moreno Valley
Yes, this is a long haul, but Dino is original co-founder of one of the Chicago institutions, and he can cook up a deep dish pizza that rivals any at Giodano's, Gino's East, Uno, Due, Edwardo's and others. IT IS WORTH THE TRIP! I go there twice a year, and I have feeling that his thin crust pizzza is just as good.
and for the quintessential Chicago experience, a gem in Orange County...
Giorgio's of Chicago in Laguna Niguel (I-5 to Alicia, right 3 miles at the corner of Alicia and Pacific Park)
Family owned and run by Creig Mullikan, a native Chicagoan, this place is right out of the city of big shoulders. GREAT thin crust pizzas (other styles also available), REAL italian beef sandwiches, very good ribs, Chicago-style hot dogs and more (even Old Style beer and Jay's potato chips and Eli's cheesecake on occasion!). My wife, who is a native Californian, and I make this a weekly dining spot.
This from the L.A. Times Restaurant News column today may be of interest:
"Not Exactly Sugarplums: Mamie & Marie's Dream Pizza opened about six months ago as a Chicago-style pizza place. Named after two of the owners' mothers, this spot turns out Windy City pizzas with a thin crust, as deep dish pies or as stuffed creations. Cornmeal has been added to the crust for a little extra crunch. Pizzas range from $4.99 to $17.50. Mamie & Marie's is open for lunch and dinner daily, but since the dining space is so small, most folks opt for delivery or takeout.
* Mamie & Marie's Dream Pizza, 10855 Venice Blvd., L.A.; (310) 842-7742"
In my never ending search for the worlds quintessential pizza, I have come across a real jewel:
Patsy's - In Farmer's Market at the easternmost end, 3rd and Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles.
The crust, 1/4 inch thick, has that floury, crusty, crispy taste. Puffed on the edges just right. You can pick up a wedge, fold it and eat it while the hot olive oil runs down your fingers. No forks or knives needed - just a couple of napkins. The sauce has that fresh tomatoey taste, seasoned just right, and the mozarella cheese does not congeal, even on the last slice. Im not certain, but every once in a while I detect a slight trace of anise or fennel in the crust.
You just grab yourself a table close by in the common patio area and either bring your drinks in or buy some at the soda shop next door. Wow! We've been returning every 2-3 weeks, and they've never disappointed. Too bad Patsy's isn't open at night - it closes along with the rest of Farmer's Market early in the evening. Everything considered, Patsy's rates a 9.5 on a scale of 0 - 10. They sell it by the slice, but two of use usually order a whole pie and wolf it all down in a flash.
Mamie & Maries Dream Pizza, 10855 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles. Neither of these two ladies were anywhere in sight. As a matter of fact, nor were any customers, a definite bad first omen. We took a chance anyway. There were other bad signs: only four oilcloth covered tables; white stackable plastic patio chairs; no discernible scent of cooking (garlic, tomato sauce, etc); one raunchy looking cook; Pine-Sol flavored drinking water. We ordered the 16-inch Chicago style thin crust pie. Out came a thin piece of charred cardboard, cut into hokey little checkerboard squares instead of pie wedges. The sauce was canned nondescript, the cheese prefab glazing putty. Sorry, Chowhounds, this joint rates a 3 on a scale of 0 to 10.