Saturday, March 14, 2015

Happy Pi Day!

Pizza pie

Today is Pi Day—that is, the day that's represented by the numbers 3/14, just like pi or π, the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter (trust me, I had to look-up that definition!). Today's Pi Day is even more special because it carries pi out to five digits (3.14.15) and even ten, if you include the time: 9:26 and 53 seconds. Freaky, huh?

To celebrate, many math geeks around the world eat dessert pie on Pi Day. But we decided to be a little different: instead, we ate pizza pie. Which reminds me that I've been wanting to review pizza joints in Culver City for a while now—this is as good an excuse as any.

When we moved here 17 years ago, there was no good pizza in Culver City. If we wanted a slice, we had to go into Beverly Hills (oh, Jacopo's, how we miss you!) or Hollywood. Today, you can't hardly go half-a-mile without running into a pizza restaurant or two. We haven't eaten at all of them; still, here's our ranking of the ones we have eaten. Of course, none of them compare to Mozza, but what does?

1. In our humble opinion, the best pizza in Culver City is LaRocco's, located on Main Street. Claiming to be the only authentic New-York-style pie in town, this is the kind of pizza we loved when we were kids: light crust, mild but tasty sauce, and real cheese. We order slices and always end-up eating the equivalent of a whole pie. Lots of other pizza places have come to town since LaRocco's opened several years ago, but none are as good. Their motto: "Open 11:00 AM and when we run out of dough we close…that’s it!" 

2. Relatively new to Culver City is EnojEAT, part of the Eatalian Group of L.A. The food is fresh and fabulous and the pizzas hand-thrown, with a cracker-crust so light we can each eat an entire pie ourselves. I'm a purist—nothing but cheese, sauce and seasonings—but Tim loves mushrooms. EnjoEAT is a bit off the beaten path, tucked away behind the Pacific movie theater in downtown Culver City, but well worth the extra footsteps. It's our new favorite restaurant to take out-of-town guests.

3. Located in west Culver City, Pitfire offers artisanal pizzas that are made to order. Part of a chain that extends throughout L.A. and Orange counties, our Pitfire is always crowded with young westside (i.e., hip) couples and their kids. The pizza crusts are thin and crispy and the sauce is way tasty. Good salads, too. But, unfortunately, there's always a wait, so we've stopped going there on weekends.

4. Ugo has been part of downtown Culver City for a while now. They started small and then expanded nextdoor a few years ago, adding a wood-burning oven that makes a yummy Neapolitan pizza. We used to go there when we wanted a full meal; but then discovered EnjoEAT, which is always less crowded, especially on date nights.

5. Pieology is the latest addition to downtown Culver City's hot restaurant scene. It's a build-your-own pizza place with a stone oven and airy seating area. The crust was nice and thin with good toppings, but I had to add a lot of oregano and pepper to jazz-up my margherita pizza. We liked it, but will continue to go to LaRocco's when we're on Main Street.

6. If you want to build your own pizza, we recommend Pieology over Blaze, which we tried only once. The atmosphere was fun, but the pizzas not so much, though they are fast: cooked in three minutes. I was not impressed.

7. For many years, one of the most highly lauded pizzas on the westside was Abbot's, located on Abbot Kinney in Venice. We were, therefore, thrilled when an Abbot's opened within walking distance of our house. My excitement quickly waned, though, after taking a bite of their "famous bagel crust"—far too doughy for my taste, plus they put "things," like sesame seeds, on their crust. Not necessary! Our Abbot's soon turned into a Grey Block Pizza, similar to its predecessor (seedy crusts!) without the bagel dough. We occasionally go there when we just want to grab a slice without having to drive.

No comments: