Archive for 'Pizza'

Chicken and Rice Goes Brick and Mortar Near Dodger Stadium

At the beginning of the year, Los Angeles finally got its very own NYC style chicken and lamb over rice cart. They’re still spending nights in Hollywood, but those of us looking for a lunchtime street meat fix have been SOL… until now, that is.  Yesterday Chicken & Rice LA opened a brick and mortar shop on N. Figueroa just up the street from Dodger Stadium.  They took over an old pizza place, so in addition to their plates of chicken and lamb over rice with hot sauce and white sauce, there is also pizza.

Which means, there’s also… drumroll please… chicken and rice pizza.

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Hollywood Pies Now Open For Lunch 2 Days a Week

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When Hollywood Pies first started “delivering” pizzas from a parking lot near Robertson and Pico 2 years ago I was intrigued. How could I not be?  All the heavy deliciousness of a Chicago style deep dish, combined with the heavy thrill of a nighttime drug deal.What could be bad about that?  I’ll tell you what.  Like any good pusher, they only sold pizzas at night!  So I waited.  And waited, hoping that one day I’d be able to satisfy my daytime fix with a Noon order of one of their much praised pies.

Well, that day has finally come.  They finally opened a sit down, brick and mortar location (a pizza dispensary, if you will) and they’re open for lunch on Fridays and Saturdays from Noon to 3pm.

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Is Apollonia’s L.A. Best Kept Pizza Secret?

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I think we are finally at the point where we can stop saying that L.A. isn’t a great pizza town.  Mozza, Sotto and Olio can go head to head with any of the best Neapolitan pizzas in NYC, a city which doesn’t even have an 800 Degrees equivalent yet!  Great deep dish pizza can be found at Masa or Hollywood Pies, and slice fans can take their pick between Vito’s, Joe’s, and Mulberry Street.  Even Slice Truck and Pizzanista are good enough.  But I understand where the stereotype comes from.  In New York, serviceable slices of pizza are found on every block of every neighborhood, ready to be eaten on the go for lunch or as a late night booze sponge. New Yorkers have pizza the way we have tacos.

But just like New York has plenty of Mexican restaurants, L.A. has plenty of pizza places.  In every strip mall of every neighborhood you can get a slice. The problem is, more often than not the pizza is pretty terrible.  Gross sauce, flavorless cheese,   and don’t even get me started on the dough.  If you don’t live or work near one of the places above, it’s a sad state of affairs to be a slice fan in L.A.  So when I stumbled into Apollonia’s, an 8 month old pizza shop in the same mid-wilshire strip mall as Jinya I had pretty low expectations.  Not just because I had never heard of the place but… well actually that’s it.  Because I had never heard of the place.  And if none of the L.A. pizza cognescenti are talking about a pizza place in such a high traffic area of town, how good could it be?

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Clusi Batusi is Surprisingly Decent, But Can It Handle 800 Degree-Like Lines?

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The strip of West L.A. on Sawtelle between Olympic and Santa Monica has long been known as a hub for good Japanese food; the Osaka to Downtown’s Tokyo.  The great Asian hope, in a Westside sea of duds.  And its resurrection as a popular lunchtime destination over the past year or two has been well documented.  But most recently it’s been interesting to see how many non Japanese success stories have popped up on this half mile stretch.  Food options that might not be Japanese, but still appeal to the ever growing Sawtelle crowd.  Whether it’s Korean soondubu from the 7 month old Seoul House of Tofu, the Umami-like burgers at Plan Check, or Vietnamese food at the super packed NongLA, Sawtelle is no longer just ramen, curry and sushi.

But the biggest gamble has got to be the pizza.  Earlier this year Slice Truck brought their New York style pies to a brick and mortar up by Sawtelle Kitchen, and even more recently Clusi Batusi opened their doors, another in a new school batch of pizzerias looking to turn quick cooking Neapolitan’ish pizza into fast food.

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Pitfire’s Hula Hoop Pizza Gives Me Spicy Pie Flashbacks

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In honor of Eater’s pizza week I thought I’d post a photo of the best pizza I’ve had in the past week… Pitfire’s new spring special, The Hula Hoop. Featuring pineapple, jalapenos, straciatella, and speck, I couldn’t help but be reminded of a slice I crave come April of every year: the pineapple and jalapeno pizza from Spicy Pie.  Pitfire’s wood fired Neapolitanish pizzas bear no resemblance to the ridiculously priced $7 slices that Coachella goers stuff their faces with every year, but considering I didn’t make it to Coachella this year it was close enough.  Now if only the Tupac hologram had joined me for lunch, it would have been perfect.

Related:
An Open Letter to Spicy Pie: Please Open a Storefront in Los Angeles
Am I Crazy or Is Pitfire Pizza Not Terrible? (Even By New York Standards!?)

Tuesday is $2 Slice Day at Pizzanista

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If you haven’t tried out Pizzanista, the newish pizza joint on the outskirts of Downtown L.A., today might be a good day for a first visit. Normally their slices range in price from $2.75 to $4, but on Tuesdays you can get a slice of cheese, pepperoni, or vegan cheese for just $2. Their New York style pizza isn’t the best I’ve ever had, but it’s totally solid. And if I was in Downtown and in the mood for a slice (instead of the neapolitan’ish pies you get at places like Bottega Louie, Pitfire or Urbano) this would be my go-to spot. Plus they deliver.

Check out the cheese slice after the jump…

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Prediction: 800 Degrees Will Be Bigger Than Umami Burger

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I wasn’t here in L.A. for the opening of Umami Burger in 2009, but I was here for most of the aftermath.  The popularity.  The expansion.  Being named “Burger of the Year” by GQ.  The backlash.  The backlash to the backlash.  But through it all there is one thing that has always been undeniable (even though many burger snobs don’t want to admit it): Umami is a great concept. It’s a great burger.  But there are other great burgers to be had in L.A. and around the country- many of them cheaper than the $10-12 creations at Umami. In other words, it’s not going to be anything that anybody hasn’t seen before in some form.

But you know what you can’t get anywhere else in the country?  A real neapolitan pizza for $6.  And that, my friends, is why 800 Degrees- the latest concept from the Umami braintrust- will be a true game changer.  The first location of what they hope will be many opened Monday in Westwood Village, and considering how smoothly it was running on day 3 I feel confident saying that the place is completely genius. The concept.  The food. And most importantly, the price.  And what makes it even more amazing is that I completely expected it to be a shitshow.

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