Aside from the deadly temperatures, one major thing I was worried about in moving to Phoenix was how I was going to get my Asian food fix. No, not sushi and orange chicken, but the real stuff. I heard about a place in Mesa called Mekong Plaza, which was supposed to have a bunch of good, real Asian restaurants and as luck would have it, it turned out to be between work and home. So, I paid a visit to Taiwan Food Express to see what they had to offer.
When you need breakfast or brunch in Encino, where do you go? Well, when the opportunity presented itself to me I found myself at Claudine, which is like a bakery and restaurant in one. You order at a counter, and seats are hard to come by on the weekend, but I managed to snag a table right out from under an old lady. To be fair, all she needed was 2 seats and we needed 6 so I found another table for her. Sheesh.
LA isn’t an easy place to have sustained success. And I’m not just talking about the entertainment industry, I’m talking about food. You see, one day you can’t get a reservation at a place and the next it’s being replaced by a hot new thing. Yet, there are exceptions, like In-n-Out. But also Bestia, an Italian spot downtown that still requires reservations months out.
I will be the first to admit that I had a West Side bias when I made the move to Pasadena. I figured I would spend a whole lot of time on that side of town for meals out, but over and over again Pasadena has impressed me. Perhaps most impressive of all is the pizza scene, with The Luggage Room and Pizza of Venice already tackled by yours truly, I finally set my sights on Pie Life Pizza.
While the Twin Cities are certainly renowned for the Jucy (or Juicy) Lucy, they are not without other culinary creations. I stumbled upon one of these accidentally when ordering from Broadway Pizza. You see, this is a pizza and sandwich place, but one item on the menu was a combination of the two, calling itself the Pizza Sandwich. My curiosity got the best of me and I ordered it.
The LA area isn’t exactly known for its pizza. Yet, while the nation has concentrated its pizza efforts on New York and Chicago, LA has quietly built up some great pizza places. I’ve done my best to review them as they’ve come, and the latest to hop on my radar is The Luggage Room in Pasadena. Based on the name, you might not expect pizza, but you’d be wrong because that’s pretty much all The Luggage Room does.
Once upon a time, a little place called 800 Degrees decided it could redefine fast-food pizza. Needless to say, it was a success. And that success inevitably led to copycats like Blaze Pizza. Surely this is not a bad thing in general because it will ultimately lead to better or more affordable food, but in the short-run I set out to see if Blaze could deliver (figuratively, of course).
LA has never been and will never be known as prime destination in the world of pizza. Sure, there are some great spots for a variety of pies, but there is no such thing as LA-style pizza. Nonetheless, LA does its best to make transplants from other pizza cities happy. Take, for example, Masa of Echo Park, which dishes out some of the deepest dishes this side of Chicago.
Peppi’s Subs, which has a few locations around Pittsburgh, has a little (big) sandwich called The Roethlisburger (or #7 depending on who you ask). I’m not sure how the sub shop attracted clientele between 1983 and 2004 when Big Ben arrived in Pittsburgh, but I was in no mood to find out when I paid Peppi’s in the Strip District a visit.
Dear New York: Your pizza is overrated. Sincerely, The Unvegan. Yes, that’s right. It’s probably not the most original thing to say, but if New York leads the world in pizza I can only agree in terms of quantity. Yes, there is good stuff there, but the water is a damn myth and I have found plenty of amazing pizza elsewhere, especially in Pittsburgh. Take for example, Proper Brick Oven & Tap Room in Downtown Pittsburgh, my most recent pizza experience to continue setting the tone for great pies.