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la tache burger Sep 3, 2008 10:10 AM

This, with pics at: http://www.eatdrinkordie.com/blog/pos... And please advise as to other faves!

Cheese and bread. Bread and cheese. Pretty much the platonically ideal food combination. There's bagel with cream cheese. There's brie and baguette. There's munster cheese stuffed into pita bread and microwaved (one of the best things you'll EVER eat, I promise, something about what the microwave does to the munster is sexually good). And of course there's the ultimate... pizza. Yesterday I had pizza for lunch (Petrillo's, yum!) and pizza for dinner (left over Trader Joe's Meat Combo Pizza from the fridge, yum!). And I felt so good and slept so soundly. Bit of carbs, bit of protein, a complete food. Pizza nourishes and comforts body and soul in a way even a hamburger cannot. I really, really love pizza. I'm 42 and I love pizza more than ever. And ... here are some places in L.A. where I love to eat it most.

1. MOZZA — When you don’t say "greasy" you say "oily" and you mean "olive-oily" and part of you is thinking you SHOULD have said greasy -- because it is -- but the “grease” is so good you want to lick it up -- it’s like 10 bucks an ounce grease -- and you’re psyched to see big pools of it on the next pie that arrives at your table -- you're at Mozza. The fennel sausage pie is quintessential. I also the love egg and guanciale pie. Plus, it's a restaurant, you can hang here and eat the great food (from Mario Batali and Nancy Silverton) and drink excellent wine at fair prices (thank David Rosoff, GM and wine guy), and do it till midnight. Order any wine and you will be happy -- it will be thoughtfully chosen and a perfect example of its type (and it will be Italian). Get the beet and horseradish salad to start and get the budino for dessert -- genius and already an LA classic.

2. VITO'S — The best slice pizza in the universe -- or in L.A. Floppy crust that vanishes into the thin air of the mouth. Great plain slice, great meat combo slice, and a mind-blowing Mediterranean Veggie slice with fresh spinach, broccoli, ricotta cheese. In a way, this pizza is so quintessential it's hard to put into words why it's so great. But wait, Vito has no such problems: "I've got the best product in the whole city, by far. Nobody does what I do. I’m here 5 in the morning making dough. I make my own yeast. Most guys out there don’t even make their own dough, I make my own YEAST. Nobody does that. Where else have you tried?" he wants to know. I tell him Mozza is pretty delicious. He raises an eyebrow, “Well, I wouldn’t use that word. I’d say it's ‘okay’, that’s a word I’d use, 'okay'. You think Nancy Silverton makes her own yeast, I don’t think so.” (??) “By the way, put me back in the kitchen with Nancy for 20 minutes, I'll make her pizza ten times better. She doesn’t have her crust just right, and the way she puts her toppings on…” he shakes his head, pitying her use of toppings. "I use the best ingredients. I care. Nobody out there cares, I’m embarrassed by the other Italians out there, they just don’t care. I care. I consider my customers my friends, I’m cooking for them, I use the best, I’m not trying to get rich off of them.” Well, he definitely talks the talk, but his pizza definitely walks the walk.

3. RED BALLS PIZZA: So first you're super-stoked to find the best pizzerias in all of LA. Then, after three or four disappointments, you get cynical and don’t want to drive all the way to Woodland Hills to check out yet another version of “the best NY pizza in LA” -- because it probably isn’t. You learn the place was opened by the guitarist from the Clash and his buddy, who both live in Woodland Hills, and who were one day bemoaning the lack of great NY pizza in their area. (Same old story.) On the walls are guitars, and hundreds of rock and roll posters, including a huge, awesome poster of a young Bob Dylan (which does make you very happy). Snare drum lamps hang over each table from the ceiling. You order a plain slice. It's got a couple of those random crunchy crust bubbles. The cheese is good and fresh-tasting, the sauce is a little bit sweet in that NY way you romaniticize, the crust is thin, and best of all, the whole slice has a great chewiness. It’s almost odd (and excellent) that the crust is so thin and yet so chewy. You drive home in the rain and excitedly bring a slice to your wife. She has to admit, it’s exquisite.

4. ZELO: Oh, Zelo! Oh, corn! I'm loving corn right now and this is one the ultimate corn treats around: cornmeal pizza with fresh corn and caramelized onions. The crust is made of cornmeal and has that great corn bread flavor, not as sweet as a corn muffin, but plenty of the same flavors. And made into something somewhat resembling the texture of pizza dough (though not quite) Get it with corn and caramelized onions, and the sweetness is so wonderful, yet it's still quite savory. I reported to my wife and she said "But that's not pizza". And I said, "I hear you, but somehow, it is." This is top notch, worth the trip to Arcadia any day. Special and exquisite.

5. PETRILLO'S : This was yesterday, remember? This place has been around forever. It's a San Gabriel institution. A school principal in line in front of me was picking up 4 large pies for her teachers, "My teachers will do anything I ask if I feed them Petrillo's". Crust on the thicker side, great texture, good chewiness. (Good, positive chewiness in the crust is becoming my top criterion for excellence in pizza, thick or thin.) The plain pizza is just a tad bland, the cheese could be saltier, but the "special" -- sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, etc -- is perfect, good ingredients giving that needed extra saltiness, making for a damn near perfect 'za.

6. ANTICA PIZZERIA In 1984, some dude in Naples started the “Verace Pizza Napoletana Association” (VPNA) to promote the pizza of Naples. He worked tirelessly (and unsuccessfully!) to have Naples pizza recognized as a DOC (like wine) by the Italian government – as if Naples had some kind of special "pizza terroir". This failed quest aside, now the VPNA goes around the world and grants certificates to pizzerias who make a “true” Naples pizza – with the right oven, and all (or most) of the ingredients flown in from Naples. Antica has this certification. And ... whatever. Let's try the pizza. It's my first time here, even though I lived in Venice (California) for 5 years. (I only went to Abbot's.) Cool space, open, airy, bright, big mural I assume of Naples -- I could drink wine here, a nice bottle with a friend. And the pizza ... is gorgeous. The ingredients are beautiful; the sauce tastes of tomatoes rather than “tomato sauce”. The cheese is soft and delicious and unevenly spread because it’s not the sprinkled-on version of mozzarella. The crust is bubbly and chewy and crunchy all at once. I was amazed by how quickly the pizza got cooked, too. I imagine it’s because the oven is outrageously hot – and you get these great bubbling crusts. I second the certification by the VPNA.

7. ABBOT'S PIZZA : And here it is. Abbot's on Abbot Kinney in Venice. A great neighborhood joint that’s become justifiably famous outside the neighborhood. A pizza unlike any other pizza. Bagel crust. Some of the crusts are poppy seed, others sesame seed, others onion, etc. And great toppings. I was addicted to the 5 onion for a couple of years, the wild mushroom is great, the one with fresh tomatoes and ricotta cheese is awesome ... I made the mistake the other day of telling my sister-in-law that Abbot’s is all about the great toppings. She looked really offended and said, “I get a slice of the Margarita every week after the acupuncturist and I love it." Great. Perfect. Didn’t even know they had Margarita. Last time I was in the owner was waxing poetic about neighborhood joints and how easy it is to compromise on quality, especially in a down economy, but he won't do it.

8. TERRONI -- really fun, I really really like this place. I’ve tried several of their pizzas and they’re all good, but there's one that kind of gave me the "ah ha" moment for pizza at Terroni. It’s got tomato sauce, some strips of zucchini and squash, some garlic, and some parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. No mozzarella. No melted cheese. Just the crust, the sauce and a few veggies. The pizza is uncut, which may annoy people who don’t want to grab it and rip it, but I love grabbing and ripping. The crust is extremely extremely thin, which is probably why they don’t cut it -- it really wouldn’t be “presentable” if cut. It’s just so simple. I like to add a healthy portion of hot red peppers (not dried, wet) to each bite of pizza. They serve the red peppers in oil in a little bowl on the side -- and they're genius. Great wine selection. And the bartenders happily let you taste every single wine they're pouring by the glass, if you so desire. I desire.

9. D’AMORE'S : Absolutely love this place, it wins over Mulberry Street and Lamonica’s hands down -- at least on this round of pizza trolling. Love that soggy floppy still slightly crispy crust with that sand-like substance on the bottom side of the pie -- it’s cornmeal -- which gives it texture and flavor and takes it from good to great. It's a small chain and I can vouch most strongly for the one in Westwood where I've been frequently and had really good pies and slices. Started by yet another dude who wanted to make an east coast style pizza and who supposedly ships in water from Boston. Really???

10. DAMIANO'S: Greasy but good. Really good. Consistently good. Always good. Never been disappointed -- not when stoned, not when drunk, not when completely sober -- and that's saying something. Slightly on the thicker side for thin crust pizza. Did I mention greasy? But good. An institution on Fairfax. The people sitting at the counter tonight all look kinda East village circa 1981, piercings, tattoos, not quite homeless but with some relationship to heroin, you know, that vibe. The level of darkness in the back is almost a joke. You could do all kinds of things back there with nobody seeing, and that might be the idea. Open really really late. Which is a good thing. Oh, and the house salad with eggplant capanota is genius, yummy yummy yummy.

11. GRECO'S (Honorable Mention) Well, it's my neighborhood joint. Cardboardy in a good way. And HUGE slices.

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  1. ipsedixit RE: la tache burger Sep 3, 2008 10:43 AM

    Interesting list.

    I'm curious, but don't you think it would be more apt if you separated the pizzas into gourmet (e.g. Mozza) and the basic pies (e.g. Abbot's or Vito's)?

    For me it's really hard to compare a slice from, say, Vito's to something I would get at Mozza. The former is something I would consider "beer food" -- eaten best in front of large plasma TV; while the latter is more properly enjoyed with a glass of wine. But that's just me ...

    5 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit
      la tache burger RE: ipsedixit Sep 3, 2008 10:49 AM

      Well, to me, right now at least, pizza is always best with wine. In fact, right now it's my favorite food to drink wine with because it's affordable, someone else cooks it, and it pretty much can't be too wrong with wine. (Have had some awesome bottles recently with pizza.) To me it's less gourmet versus basic, and more do I eat it there with wine or home with wine. But that's just me and that's just now.

      1. re: la tache burger
        Foodandwine RE: la tache burger Sep 4, 2008 06:26 AM

        la tache,

        now thats hard work ( some one had to do it! ) nice photos too. BTW, what awesome wine have you had with your pizza?

        1. re: Foodandwine
          la tache burger RE: Foodandwine Sep 4, 2008 07:53 AM

          Thanks, Foodandwine. Two recent gems: had a La Fenetre chard with a Damiano's cheese pizza, best chard I've had in ages, truly exquisite. And had my first Two Hands shiraz (wow!!!) with a sausage pizza from Joe Peeps. Food and wine!

      2. re: ipsedixit
        ayalHagay RE: ipsedixit Oct 15, 2008 12:20 AM

        i worked at damores in malibu, which might be better than the one in westwood, and they do ship in that lovely bostonian water

        1. re: ayalHagay
          la tache burger RE: ayalHagay Oct 15, 2008 09:35 AM

          Wow. Great to know, ayalHagay. How is shipped? In what form? How much and how often? I've always been curious what 'shipping water in for pizza' looks like.

      3. b
        Burger Boy RE: la tache burger Sep 3, 2008 10:47 AM

        I will give you Mozza, Vito, Petrillo's, Zelo's, Abbott's & Antica but I think you need to add Casa Bianca, Two Guys (Hollywood & Las Palmas), Village Pizza (Larchmont). I have never been to Red Balls, Terroni or D'Amore's. My pics are in no particular order.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Burger Boy
          la tache burger RE: Burger Boy Sep 3, 2008 10:54 AM

          Never been to Two Guys. I will give you Village but unfortunately it's been slightly inconsistent for me. Still remember my first amazing pie eaten there with friend and daughter, but never been as good since. And I am absolutely in the other camp on Casa Bianca. 3 times, all incredibly disappointing. I know it's been argued about here extensively, and I just do not get it at all.

          1. re: la tache burger
            Burger Boy RE: la tache burger Sep 3, 2008 11:04 AM

            Get the sausage & mushroom or the sausage, bell peppers & onions or the pepperoni & mushroom at Casa Bianca, that is it! I had not been in years and went a week ago for a party and I ordered a sausage, peppers & onions to go for the next day. I made a pig of myself on the pizzas. Just my 2 cents.

            1. re: Burger Boy
              la tache burger RE: Burger Boy Sep 3, 2008 11:29 AM

              Ok. I hear the passion. I want to be there. I will try it one more time. I will let you know.

              1. re: la tache burger
                Burger Boy RE: la tache burger Sep 3, 2008 11:51 AM

                If you had the pizzas already, then maybe not your style. Pizza is the only thing i get there and the sausage and peppers dinner.

            2. re: la tache burger
              Burger Boy RE: la tache burger Sep 3, 2008 11:06 AM

              Two Guys is very old school LA, it reminds me of Village or Vito's in a very NY City grab a slice on the street way. I just did Village over the weekend and i thought of Two Guys.

              1. re: la tache burger
                mangetoutoc RE: la tache burger Nov 29, 2008 04:09 PM

                We moved right around the corner from Two Guys this summer and, with one caveat, can say it is fabulous pizza. It has thin, drooping, leathery-bottomed crust with a little crisp, doughy-inside round at the edges, zingy sauce and just enough cheese. For the best pie, if you can, order a fresh whole pizza rather than a re-heated slice and you will be blown away by how close it is to old-school NY/NJ.

                The caveat is that, if you want good, NY style pizza, you want to get your pizza on before night falls. As the night wears on and the alcohol content of the patrons increases the crust gets thicker, as does the cheese. I suspect that whoever has the dough-tossing skills leaves by dinner hour because the pizza we've gotten late bears little resemblance to even slices we've gotten in afternoon or just after knocking off work for the day. Otherwise, they may just be giving the folks with a buzz on what they think they want, bigger more absorbant food. Either way, once the bar crowd is around, it's not bad but definitely not as good.

            3. OCAnn RE: la tache burger Sep 3, 2008 10:48 AM

              Nice list...I wish someone would come up w/one for OC....

              1. ReelMike84 RE: la tache burger Sep 3, 2008 11:23 AM

                Do yourself a favor and go back to MOZZA to try the "Bianca with fontina, mozzarella, sottocenere & sage." Now that's transcendent.

                7 Replies
                1. re: ReelMike84
                  la tache burger RE: ReelMike84 Sep 3, 2008 12:32 PM

                  Haven't tried that yet, sounds divine. BTW the white pizza at Vito's fairly rocks too.

                  1. re: la tache burger
                    Burger Boy RE: la tache burger Sep 3, 2008 12:34 PM

                    Vito's rocks hard!

                    1. re: Burger Boy
                      ReelMike84 RE: Burger Boy Sep 3, 2008 01:49 PM

                      I'm shamed to admit I haven't been to Vito's yet. I'll need to finally hit it up this weekend.

                  2. re: ReelMike84
                    a213b RE: ReelMike84 Sep 3, 2008 01:22 PM

                    I absolutely, unequivocably, agree about the Mozza Bianca with Fontina, Sottocenere, Mozzarella, and Sage.

                    That IS one amazing pizza, and the sage absolutely makes it. I think I prefer it over the fennel sausage, and that is saying something.

                    1. re: a213b
                      ReelMike84 RE: a213b Sep 3, 2008 01:52 PM

                      I did a side-by-side comparison last time I was there, so I KNOW I prefer it. I enjoyed the fennel sausage, but I loved the Bianca. It elicited in me that very rare "wow" moment.

                      1. re: ReelMike84
                        debra RE: ReelMike84 Sep 3, 2008 02:10 PM

                        Last time we were there, we added fennel sausage to the Bianca, fantastic!

                        1. re: debra
                          ReelMike84 RE: debra Sep 3, 2008 02:41 PM

                          Debra, I think you have officially become my favorite person.

                  3. Servorg RE: la tache burger Sep 3, 2008 12:39 PM

                    What about: http://www.joespizza.com/index.html ?

                    13 Replies
                    1. re: Servorg
                      la tache burger RE: Servorg Sep 3, 2008 01:14 PM

                      Not such a fan of Joe's. It's Vito's-esque but less flavorful. Interestingly, just today on Serious Eats they post something discussing Vito's versus Joe's with a ittle Mozza thrown in. http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives...

                      1. re: la tache burger
                        SecretHeadquarters RE: la tache burger Sep 3, 2008 02:06 PM

                        I am going to second Joe's... it's both light and flavorful. You can have two slices and feel pretty good about yourself and go about your day :) . Plus it reminds me of some good Boston slices.

                        1. re: SecretHeadquarters
                          la tache burger RE: SecretHeadquarters Sep 3, 2008 02:17 PM

                          Okay, but have you had Vito's?

                          1. re: la tache burger
                            SecretHeadquarters RE: la tache burger Sep 3, 2008 02:26 PM

                            Yup, and I love both. But something about Joe's.. I live right down the street from Vito's so I get there from time to time and dont get me wrong, it is delicious, i just like the simplicity of Joe's for some reason and their sauce. And i love Joe's white pizza too, it's light and crispy and garlicky. But don't get me wrong, Vito's = some of the best LA has to offer.

                            1. re: SecretHeadquarters
                              ns1 RE: SecretHeadquarters Sep 3, 2008 02:48 PM

                              I thought joe's was pretty good but ridiculously expensive

                              prefer vito's myself

                              1. re: ns1
                                Servorg RE: ns1 Sep 4, 2008 06:59 AM

                                Vito's Cheese Pie is $16.50 - Joe's is $18

                                Vito's White Pie is $24.50 - Joe's is $22

                                Vito's cheese slice is $2.50 - Joe's cheese slice is $2.75

                                Joe's opened up in a more expensive location and consequently some of their prices are slightly more than Vito's. But it's close enough that it doesn't seem to rise to the level of "ridiculously expensive" by comparison.

                                1. re: Servorg
                                  ns1 RE: Servorg Sep 4, 2008 08:11 AM

                                  I guess it's been awhile. I just remembered getting not so great value for my money when I was there (4 slices + 2 drinks. I didn't buy cheese though either)

                        2. re: la tache burger
                          Servorg RE: la tache burger Sep 4, 2008 06:30 AM

                          I love Vito's too, but Joe's certainly can give them a run for their money. I was just surprised that it didn't even MAKE your list, considering that you have D'Amore's in the number 9 position.

                          1. re: Servorg
                            la tache burger RE: Servorg Sep 4, 2008 07:45 AM

                            Only have had Joe's 2 times. My impression both times was the same. A little bland. It has a good crispness to the crust but then the flavor of it was nothing much. Didn't make me a regular even though I'm in the area a lot. So... subjectivity.

                            1. re: la tache burger
                              Servorg RE: la tache burger Sep 4, 2008 07:49 AM

                              Bland? Toppings (if any) or sauce - or both? I guess that description, applied to the taste of Joe's pizza, would never cross my mind.

                              1. re: Servorg
                                la tache burger RE: Servorg Sep 4, 2008 07:56 AM

                                Crust, sauce, cheese overall effect.

                              2. re: la tache burger
                                Servorg RE: la tache burger Sep 4, 2008 07:55 AM

                                Thanks to Mattapoisett in LA:


                                1. re: la tache burger
                                  a_and_w RE: la tache burger Oct 15, 2008 10:20 AM

                                  I hear you la tache. I find I need a salty and greasy topping like pepperoni or sausage to really bring out the flavor of a Joe's slice.

                          2. a
                            andytseng RE: la tache burger Sep 3, 2008 01:11 PM

                            Try Bollini's if you haven't been. It's a good thin crust.

                            And I'm so glad you didn't stick Casa Bianca on your list.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: andytseng
                              slacker RE: andytseng Sep 3, 2008 01:27 PM

                              Yes, I was surprised there's no Bollini's on the list. Now there's some good pizza.

                              1. re: slacker
                                ReelMike84 RE: slacker Sep 3, 2008 03:07 PM

                                Can you guys rec some good topping combos for Bollini's?

                                1. re: ReelMike84
                                  slacker RE: ReelMike84 Sep 3, 2008 03:21 PM

                                  I really like their Porco (Sauce, mozzarella, sweet fennel sausage, 3 pepper sausage, bacon, tomatoes, onions, basil and parmesan) and the Fungi E Tartufi (Garlic, herb oil, wild mushroom, fontina, mozzarella, herbs and truffle oil).

                                  Also love the Wild mushroom fettuccini, and the Arugula salad is really good.

                                  I didn't care for the spinach salad too much. And the spaghetti with the seafood wasn't so good, even though it sounds great. Also, I didn't care too much for one of the white pizzas (can't remember which!).

                            2. a
                              aventinus RE: la tache burger Sep 3, 2008 01:56 PM

                              Way far out (but so is Zelo's), Tony's Little Italy in Placentia is excellent.

                              1. s
                                SoCal Foodie RE: la tache burger Sep 3, 2008 02:05 PM

                                You should try Nonna in So. Pasadena for NY style pizza. It's my new favorite in SoCal and love the tender crust. I agree with you on Petrillo's for thick crusted pizza and Damiano's for solid NY style, but not Vito's. Haven't been to the new Vito's location but went several times when they were located across from LACC and disliked the sauce for being very garlicky.

                                1. l
                                  la tache burger RE: la tache burger Sep 3, 2008 02:20 PM

                                  Thanks for the Nonna's and Bollini recs, must admit haven't tried either. Is Bollini in the Antica vein?

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: la tache burger
                                    slacker RE: la tache burger Sep 3, 2008 02:58 PM

                                    I haven't been to Antica, but from your description, Bollini's is along those lines, pizza Napolitana. He also does some awesome pastas and salads.

                                    To me, Nonna's is really good--in comparison to Mama's (up the street from Nonna's). But it is nothing in comparison to Bollini's.

                                    1. re: slacker
                                      slacker RE: slacker Sep 3, 2008 08:43 PM

                                      I felt compelled to to clarify/restate my thoughts on Nonna. It's very good. And really good, excellent, in comparison to Mama's. But it's no Bollini's.

                                      There, that's all.

                                      1. re: slacker
                                        kjs RE: slacker Sep 5, 2008 09:26 PM

                                        I love BOLLINI'S !!! But damn it - haven't been there in 6 months or so - did they ever finish the expansion into the adjoining space ? Thank god we gotta couple decent pizza places in vegas to keep me happy - patsy's and settebelo's

                                        1. re: kjs
                                          TonyC RE: kjs Oct 15, 2008 09:32 AM

                                          Huge downhill alert for Bollini's. Their crust is just becoming more and more cardboard-esque as time moves on. Perhaps lower gluten flour content? It has become nearly inedible in the last few months.

                                          And no, the expansion is still not done. Don't bother coming Friday/Saturdays.

                                          Finally, any "fave"/"best"/ad nausea pizza list containing Petrillo's / Casa Biana automatically becomes moot and null. If I want to taste baked dough, I'll go to La Brea bakery / Breadbar.

                                  2. m
                                    Mel Gee RE: la tache burger Sep 3, 2008 02:59 PM

                                    "Cardboardy in a good way"? Now there's a recommendation I don't hear every day.

                                    You've named some of the best pizzas in Los Angalus, la tache burger, but reading this list of pathetic-to-semi-pathetic food-style items makes this native Southern Californian long for Chicago, for New York, and, especially, for New Haven, Conn. (pop. 124,000), which has only one street, three-blocks long (Wooster). Connecticut law requires visitors to be completely flushed of LA pizzoid -- Bollini excepted -- at least a month before entering the state, but Yale-trained doctors throughout the nation can assist.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: Mel Gee
                                      la tache burger RE: Mel Gee Sep 3, 2008 04:26 PM

                                      First of all, I'm not sure I agree, although I have lived in LA for 15 years now, so maybe my perspective has diminished. So I won't go down that road. But ... doesn't Mozza kind of transcend these comparisons? I don't think it's really "like" a lot of other pizzas I've ever seen or eaten, and if you agree it's really amazing, does it put LA on the map for you at all? (And obviously I gotta get to Bollini ASAP)

                                      1. re: Mel Gee
                                        omakase RE: Mel Gee Sep 4, 2008 01:15 AM

                                        Mel Gee, my Dad grew up on Wooster Street. I have relatives scattered all over New Haven, and my first stop when visiting is always Pepe's for a Fresh Clam Pizza. Is Bollini's that good?

                                        1. re: omakase
                                          Mel Gee RE: omakase Sep 12, 2008 04:40 PM

                                          Bollini's is good -- excellent, for Los Angeles -- but far from the best elsewhere in the country (including my home kitchen, where I've been making pizzas since working at a succession of pizza houses in my college days).

                                          As to Wooster Street, I envy your Dad, omakase. Any "angeleno," as they call us nowadays, who has one of Frank Pepe's superior regular pizzas will begin driving five miles out of the way just to avoid passing by the junior-high kitchen at Petrillo's, where they can't even learn to distribute the toppings uniformly, much less use high-quality mushrooms and pepperoni. Have a Frank Pepe white clam, America's greatest example of the pizza art IMHO, and you'll forever spend idle moments sitting quietly, chin on hand, dreaming of those ethereal, garlicky, clammy pies.

                                          1. re: Mel Gee
                                            la tache burger RE: Mel Gee Sep 12, 2008 05:07 PM

                                            gorgeous recommendation

                                      2. rednyellow RE: la tache burger Sep 3, 2008 03:53 PM

                                        Nice list. I'll agree about Vitos, but Mozza left me cold. I should try the bianca because the ones I had just weren't that great. Also, I found the wines I tried insipid and over priced.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: rednyellow
                                          slacker RE: rednyellow Sep 3, 2008 04:42 PM

                                          Me too about Mozza. The thing I remember most was all that oil on the fennel sausage pizza. That's just not something that wows me. My question is, if ya didn't know that it came from Nancy and Mario, would you still like it?
                                          I also didn't care for the fennel sausage. Just like I didn't care for the chorizo at Lou, which also comes from Batali's dad's place.

                                          1. re: slacker
                                            la tache burger RE: slacker Sep 3, 2008 04:46 PM

                                            I love the fennel sausage. On the other hand, the stuff that looks like pepperoni is not my favorite. But I think those pizzas are pretty amazing, not to mention unique. And I do love the oil, in fact I'm disappointed when they're not oily enough. But that's me.

                                        2. suicidemartini RE: la tache burger Sep 3, 2008 04:58 PM

                                          My absolute favorite pie in LA is from Pace in Laurel Canyon, its the Aphrodite Pie with fingerling potatoes and green beans. Doesn't really sound like the most obvious choice, but as everyone who has gone there with me can attest, its fucking awesome!

                                          Can't really rank the rest, but I love the eggplant at Mulberry Street, the honey-wheat crust of CPK (i know), the ingredients and burnt air-pockets on the crust at Mozza, and I love binging on the deep-dish/extra cheese of Dominos. Finally, my go-to, near-favorite overall, for a ny-style slice that won't leave me feeling too greasy... Vito's

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: suicidemartini
                                            ReelMike84 RE: suicidemartini Sep 3, 2008 05:47 PM

                                            You lost me at CPK.

                                            1. re: suicidemartini
                                              la tache burger RE: suicidemartini Sep 3, 2008 07:26 PM

                                              Only been to Pace once, liked the pizza (didn't try the one you mentioned), loved the energy of the space.

                                              1. re: suicidemartini
                                                westsidegal RE: suicidemartini Sep 5, 2008 09:52 PM

                                                must disagree with you about the honey wheat crust at cpk.
                                                imho that cpk crust is truly awful--flavor, consistency, everything just horrid.

                                                if you want to try a good whole wheat pizza crust, request it at antica pizzaria.

                                                1. re: westsidegal
                                                  ReelMike84 RE: westsidegal Sep 6, 2008 10:32 AM

                                                  Agreed. The CPK sweet crust is a complete turnoff for me. I've honestly never had good whole wheat pizza crust. Maybe your antica recommendation would be worth a try.

                                                  1. re: ReelMike84
                                                    suicidemartini RE: ReelMike84 Sep 12, 2008 02:56 PM

                                                    Totally why I put the "I Know" in there. I just like the honey wheat crust as a lunch option, but I def do have cravings for it sometimes. Happy to try any suggestions for an alternative.

                                                  2. re: westsidegal
                                                    Emme RE: westsidegal Sep 13, 2008 12:30 AM

                                                    the only pizza crust that i found decent (when i could still eat it) was the bubbly tricolore crust (that you can add to any salad for a couple of bucks) that has caramelized parmesan baked on it. just an FYI, an pizza at CPK can be served on an extra thin crispy crust on request (like on the neopolitan portion of their pizza menu).

                                                2. c
                                                  cls RE: la tache burger Sep 3, 2008 05:55 PM

                                                  Excellent list. Wouldn't match mine, but you have good taste.

                                                  6 Replies
                                                  1. re: cls
                                                    la tache burger RE: cls Sep 3, 2008 07:27 PM


                                                    1. re: la tache burger
                                                      cls RE: la tache burger Sep 3, 2008 07:39 PM

                                                      Love the fact that it's all over the map and yet each has something to offer.
                                                      Also try Angelini Osteria at the Pizza bar and Il Capriccio Pizzeria, I think they would fit in your list nicely.

                                                      1. re: cls
                                                        la tache burger RE: cls Sep 4, 2008 09:02 AM

                                                        Actually, yeah, I've never had the pizza at Angelini and I've heard really good things, and I totally meant to try it for this. Il Capriccio not even on my radar, what is it?

                                                        1. re: la tache burger
                                                          cls RE: la tache burger Sep 4, 2008 03:42 PM

                                                          Terrible service but good food.

                                                          Il Capriccio di Carlo (was Il Capriccio Pizzeria)
                                                          4518 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                                                          1. re: cls
                                                            la tache burger RE: cls Sep 5, 2008 10:26 AM

                                                            psyched to try this weekend, doing a film shoot right near there, will order for cast and crew and report! (Good for delivery?)

                                                            1. re: la tache burger
                                                              cls RE: la tache burger Sep 12, 2008 05:46 PM

                                                              delivery is at your own risk.
                                                              I have never had a good delivery experience.

                                                  2. J.L. RE: la tache burger Sep 4, 2008 12:07 AM

                                                    I kinda sorta agreed with you until D'Amore's.

                                                    D'Amore's cornmeal crust is just awful.

                                                    Viva Lamonica's & Viva Cafe Angelino's pizze funghe!!

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: J.L.
                                                      nosh RE: J.L. Sep 4, 2008 10:20 AM

                                                      I like Lamonica's more than any of the other westside pizza I've tried -- much better than D'Amore's or Enzo's in Westwood Village, and tastier than the NYC-style place in the Santa Monica Blvd. stripmall east of Sepulveda or The Slice on Wilshire around 9th in Santa Monica. But OMG -- Lamonica's coupon offer of a large pizza, two toppings, and a large drink including tax jumped from $13.50 a couple months ago to $18 last time I got a Daily Bruin. Note: They do have 2 for 1 Mondays, and they still don't add a delivery charge, so when I indulge I tip the driver great.

                                                      Lamonica's is far from gourmet pizza. My favorite, pepperoni and sausage, ends up pretty greasy from the meat and the cheese. But the sauce is tasty and piquant, they are generous with the toppings, and the crust crisps up nicely when rewarmed on a castiron skillet in the oven. I always ask for the hot crushed chili peppers to spice things up, and the pizzas are really big, sliced into eight wedges, and while I can usually devour three slices when I'm famished and it is first delivered, two usually satisfy and one makes a heavy snack.

                                                    2. d
                                                      Diana RE: la tache burger Sep 4, 2008 10:52 AM

                                                      Addresses or a google map would be awesome.

                                                      Have you tried MR. Pizza Factory? I have yet to, but the idea of non traditional Korean Pizza interests me.

                                                      1. a
                                                        arisp RE: la tache burger Sep 4, 2008 01:06 PM

                                                        Does Mulberry Pizza not fall in this category? Is it even near the top 10?

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: arisp
                                                          la tache burger RE: arisp Sep 4, 2008 01:51 PM

                                                          Another year, another mood, Mulberry Street and Lamonica's. Neither has impressed me lately, but yeah both are in my top 15 or 20. I loved Lamonica's especially for a long time. The sweet sauce.

                                                        2. b
                                                          broncosaurus RE: la tache burger Sep 5, 2008 12:40 AM

                                                          Tsk tsk, no mention of Domenico's on Huntington Drive in Monrovia. Ask for the crust to be rolled extra thin...

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: broncosaurus
                                                            la tache burger RE: broncosaurus Sep 5, 2008 10:23 AM

                                                            Any second on this before I even consider going to Monrovia (which just sounds really far)

                                                            1. re: la tache burger
                                                              broncosaurus RE: la tache burger Sep 5, 2008 10:26 AM

                                                              It's just a g and an l away from central asia, I'll grant but if you stay on Colorado Bl. heading east you'll hit it eventually. After that proceed to Donut man for more gustatory bliss.

                                                          2. ElJeffe RE: la tache burger Sep 5, 2008 02:36 PM

                                                            Great list. Of the ones I've had, I'd have to take Abbot's (poor crust) and Antica (weak attempt at cracker crust), and add Joe's.

                                                            It saddened me that by far the best cracker crust pizza I've had in the last 3+ years of living in LA was at Enoteca in Cartagena, Colombia last week. I think they tells you something about the state of affairs here:)

                                                            Thank god for new entrants like Joe's & Mozza.

                                                            5 Replies
                                                            1. re: ElJeffe
                                                              la tache burger RE: ElJeffe Sep 5, 2008 08:30 PM

                                                              Huh, cracker crust ... is that a technical term? I don't think I've ever heard it. What does it mean and what are examples?

                                                              1. re: la tache burger
                                                                Servorg RE: la tache burger Sep 6, 2008 04:47 AM

                                                                It's too bad that Houston's stopped doing pizza as their crust was the perfect illustration of the "cracker crust." Antica crust is the same type. So thin it is virtually toppings / sauce on a big cracker. I like it.

                                                                1. re: la tache burger
                                                                  cls RE: la tache burger Sep 12, 2008 05:48 PM

                                                                  Here's a cracker crust:

                                                                2. re: ElJeffe
                                                                  westsidegal RE: ElJeffe Sep 5, 2008 09:55 PM

                                                                  must disagree about antica.
                                                                  they are not trying to make a 'cracker crust.'
                                                                  their crust is, very specifically, a neopolitan crust.

                                                                  1. re: ElJeffe
                                                                    bulavinaka RE: ElJeffe Sep 6, 2008 08:10 AM

                                                                    Big disagreement on your "takes." Obviously it's a "to each his own" situtation, but Abbot's and Antica's crusts are great in my opinion, and to bolster this, these two are the only ones that my kids devour. They leave other pizzas with the ghost crusts...

                                                                  2. t
                                                                    tofuburrito RE: la tache burger Sep 5, 2008 04:27 PM

                                                                    If you feel like branching out slightly beyond L.A. County try Dominicks in Oxnard and Mike's in Frazier Park.
                                                                    I don't think one "makes" yeast, I think one cultivates a yeast strain. Lots of home brewers do it and it's not that difficult. Cultivating a yeast strain only makes it different, not necessarily better than another strain, or the same commercial strain.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: tofuburrito
                                                                      la tache burger RE: tofuburrito Sep 5, 2008 08:30 PM

                                                                      Interesting comment about yeast. I was actually quoting Vito almost verbatim.

                                                                    2. p
                                                                      Pinkayaker RE: la tache burger Oct 15, 2008 10:04 AM

                                                                      Have you tried NYPD pizza on San Fernando Road in Burbank? I think their sausage pizza is the best I've had.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Pinkayaker
                                                                        la tache burger RE: Pinkayaker Oct 15, 2008 11:24 AM

                                                                        Never heard of it. Must try. Love sausage pizza. Thanks.

                                                                        1. re: la tache burger
                                                                          Pinkayaker RE: la tache burger Oct 15, 2008 12:40 PM

                                                                          Forgot to include the address:

                                                                          150 S San Fernando Blvd
                                                                          Burbank, CA 91502
                                                                          (818) 567-4992

                                                                      2. g
                                                                        GK in SO RE: la tache burger Oct 15, 2008 04:13 PM

                                                                        I'm partial to Lido Pizza on Victory in Van Nuys. Crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside and TASTY crust, delicious sauce, fresh fixins.

                                                                        They've been there since the 50s, I believe.

                                                                        Great, old fashioned pizza. They also serve nice pastas and salads.

                                                                        They get pretty crowded at nights, but you can usually nab yourself a nice booth just about anytime.

                                                                        1. e
                                                                          Echo27 RE: la tache burger Oct 24, 2008 04:37 PM

                                                                          There's a great place that opened recently in South pasadena called Nonna's Pizzeria. Nice thin crust, sauce isn't overly sweetened, and none of that sausage you get on top at pizza hut. They have the real deal sausage, sliced up from links. A little on the pricier side, but if you want a little taste of NYC bite into their slice, it's worth it.

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