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Cornmeal Crust Pizza

I just saw a topic about cracker crust pizza, which reminded me that there is an amazing place in Arcadia called Zelos and they have the best pizza I have ever had .....the corn and carmelized onion pizza is to die for! They have riduculously good salds too, and my husband loves the calzones. It's kind of a little hole in the wall, so if you are after ambiance......save this place for a different occasion.

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  1. try Masa in Echo Park as well if you don't want to drive all that way...

    2 Replies
    1. re: Emme

      After having Masa's... Zelos is indeed worth the drive...


      1. re: Dommy

        Could not agree more. Zelo's is in it's own league -- Masa does not deserve mention in this category -- way overrated!

    2. Here's a good thread. I too love the Cornmeal Crust but all the places on the thread seem very far away. El Jefe is scared to cross the 405.


      4 Replies
      1. re: ElJeffe

        I am cracking up from reading the thread El Jefe posted...someone said the service at Zelo's was rude.....let me preface my opinion by stating that the owner is "The Pizza Nazi"....not using that term to offend....just as a salute to Seinfeld. When I was new in town, I went to Zelo's to pick up some take out, and had ordered my beet saad( to die for) with the dressing on the side, as we were not planning on eating for a few hours and didn't want soggy. When I got there, my salad was dressed, and the owner stated...."she will take the salad the way we make the salad".....I was horrified, but you know what....I took the salad. The bottom line is, that we ended up being such regulars,that he knows my husband by name and he's right....I'll pretty much take anything from that place however he gives it to me!

        Zelo's is the best.....if you won't cross the 405, I guess that leaves more for me!

        1. re: jmulheim

          ....And those like us that dare... ;)


        2. re: ElJeffe

          Crossing the 405 is dangerous. ElJeffe should try an underpass for a change.

          How is a cornmeal crust made, BTW? Corn has no gluten, so I'd think the crust would be crumbly, like corn bread. Obviously pizza wouldn't work like that, so there must be another answer. Big tortilla de maiz? Enlightenment, please.

          1. re: Akitist

            The recipe I used once for cornmeal pizza crust was just a good basic wheat-flour sponge with cornmeal worked in. Don't have the recipe (and this ain't the Home Cooking Board!), but it shouldn't be hard to find. Anyway, it was dead easy even for a non-dough person like me to make and work with, so I'd think someone with better chops could make a stunning one. Now I just have to remember them next time my diet has an opening for pizza...

        3. The most underrated part of Zelo is the calzone.

          1. This place is very good--worth a bump a month later and a drive from L.A. I won't claim it's the best pizza I have ever had, but I won't deny it either. I too think the salads--at least the beet salad--are very yummy. I keep reminiscing about the deliciousness.

            2 Replies
              1. re: Selter Head

                Take and bake prepared pizzas, or just the crust?

            1. There was talk last year of Two Boots Pizza from NYC opening up a branch in Echo Park, although I haven't heard any news of its progress. They use cornmeal on their crust. Anyone have an update?

              Here's the thread: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/426628

              1. You can also get "blank" cornmeal crusts in the freezer section at larger Whole Foods. From there, making your own Zelo corn crust pizza is a snap: carmelized onion marinated in balsamic vinegar, minced fresh chive, kernels of fresh corn, and smoked gouda!

                Let the weight gain begin!

                1. I just moved around the corner from Zelo's on Saturday. Walking distance. I think I will be spending a lot of time there! I will have to try their calzones and salads. Up until now, I only have had their slices. Deelish!! ;-)

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: WildSwede

                    Their Calzones are OUTRAGEOUS! I had my first last weekend it was a total meat-fest! :) I also really loved their beet salad. :)


                    1. re: Dommy

                      Yay, Dommy!! I loves me some meat, Meat Calzone, here I come!

                    2. re: WildSwede

                      Dang, WS - you moved to Arcadia just for the pizza? You are a LEGEND, kid!

                      1. re: Will Owen

                        I love Zelo's, too. I've always had great experience with the service! They've always been really friendly and helpful. Their corn pizza is AMAZING and even my veggie-phobic TDHH (tall dark and handsome husband) loves it.
                        The only "bad" (and it wasn't really that bad) experience I've ever had is when I took a pizza to go and with every passing minute the crust got chewier and rubberier (is that a word? If not, it should be. More rubbery.). I know, because I was driving with it to deliver it to someone in Duarte and I ate a piece about every 5 minutes until I got there. I estimate the half-life on that crust to be about 15 minutes, so I recommend you eat there rather than taking it to go. There's a great skater/Ramones/ pizza-love atmosphere they've got going.

                        1. re: Will Owen

                          ;-) That and to be closer to the fires!

                          1. re: WildSwede

                            FYI, the crust is a mix of wheat flour and cornmeal, and definitely not for those on a fat free diet much less gluten free diet :-) it's pretty rich. I think the crusts from Whole Foods might be gluten free. I don't think the TJ ones are but my memory is slipping.

                            Sometimes I'm wishing they would wash the greens better however, this is an ongoing flaw I've been tempted to mention to the owner but have not. They vary the cheese on the beet salad too, and sometimes it's too heavy on the greens for my preference.

                            I'm surprised about the beet salad/dressing response, though, good and obliging service has been my experience but this particular thing I've not tried to do. It is one of the few places I don't order the dressing on the side.

                            We take leftover pizza, which I find heats up best in the microwave, whereas I usually reheat in the toaster oven.

                            But despite my minor complaints they remain a favorite place on my list too.

                      2. The pizza I had there was their cheeseless / vegan vegetable pizza, and I believe it was also reheated from an already baked one sitting in their case, not made fresh, so maybe I didn't get the best experience, but I wasn't impressed at all. The crust was heavy and unappealing, and the toppings weren't that good. I thought it was something far enough from the type of pizza I really like to be something I could appreciate for its own merits, but I really just didn't find it good in any way, and I've never had the urge to go back.

                        I wasn't expecting a crust with so much cornmeal to be light and fluffy, but this was really, really heavy and dense (and this is coming from someone who likes pretty heavy, dense bread / crusts typically). Not at all comforting and enjoyable the way I'd expect a deep dish pizza to be.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: will47

                          Never been there, but cheeseless / vegan vegetable pizza is not a pizza. Its a form of tomato bread. At least give it a fighting chance for a fair comparison.

                          For any of the Hounders out there who have had Gino's East pizza in Chicago (I love their crust), would I like any of the pizzas recommended above (Masa's, Zelo's, etc)?

                          If so, I'm warming up the car and packing the emergency supplies for a trek East of the 405!

                          1. re: ElJeffe

                            Actually, pizza marinara (sauce and crust) is one of the three types of officially recognized "traditional" Neopolitan pizza, so I think it's hard to say it's not pizza.


                            Obviously pizza is tastier when it's covered with gooey, umami cheese, but I don't eat cheese, and I find that having the crust and the sauce "just right" are even more important when there's no cheese. IF the crust and sauce are both perfect, a pizza with no cheese (and no other toppings, for that matter), can be an incredible experience.

                            In any event, it would be one thing to say that I wasn't experiencing the pizza as intended if I had special ordered it minus cheese, but this is one of their official pizzas.

                            I am not from Chicago, and am more of an East coast style pizza person, but from what I've heard from people who are from Chicago, neither place is a good substitute. People seem very split on Masa - I've heard either that it's absolutely horrible, or amazing. However, I don't think any of the people who have told me that Masa has good Chicago style pizza are actually from Chicago.

                            1. re: will47

                              I see what you're saying. But I think the crust and the toppings have to match each other. Few would want to eat the dense, thick, grainy crust of Zelo's without cheese. I'd pass on it. I think the rich chewiness of the cheese balances the taste and texture of the cornmeal crust. I find myself focusing on the cheese, which I have to chew thoroughly, and the toppings that accompany it--the cornmeal becomes the backdrop. Some places put items on their menu in a vain attempt to please a vegan or vegetarian in a party. But if my supposition is correct, what can Zelo's do to make them good, but come up with a whole new crust for people who don't like cheese?

                              There are many distinct but delicious types of pizzas in the world: Sicilian, Neapolitan, New York, Boston, New Haven, Chicago, etc. I don't think it's right to say that all pizza must be good with just sauce. A Silician slice may be called rich and dense and it can work without Cheese. But not Zelo's I think--too mealy for that.

                              1. re: aventinus

                                Hmm, now that you mention it, I actually think the cornmeal crust by itself (without cheese or sauce or toppings) would be pretty tasty.

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  I tried the Zelo's veggie calzone you recommended above.. I thought it was pretty good, but I felt it didn't have a high enough cheese-to-crust ratio for me to really love it. I'll always just go with the pizza now--I crave the fat and the chewiness.

                                  In the end, I guess it's all personal preference. I think Gino's in Chicago is horrific; someone else is looking for a replica here.