Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hollywood: Pizzeria Mozza

Why the lack of posts during the past few days, you ask?  Well, I was dealt another cold, but things are getting back on track, including posting.

From a foodie point of view, last week was pretty awesome.  Here's why: Pizzeria Mozza, a Thanksgiving potluck dinner, my mom's cooking, Pizzeria Delfina, and Tartine Bakery.  Yes.  First in the lineup was Pizzeria Mozza, which has been called the best pizza in LA (forgive the lack of citations of primary literature, here; fortunately this blog is not a review paper).  Hua, Karthik and I drove out to Hollywood on Tuesday after the last pre-Thanksgiving lecture, arriving almost on time for our 1:30pm reservation.  The restaurant was still mostly full, but we were immediately seated, and then menu examination ensued.

We had done some pre-reading of the menu, and this was also Hua's second visit (within two weeks), but we still faced quite a quandary of equally appealing options.  Eventually, decisions made, the food started arriving.

Mussels with "salsa Calabrese."  I love mussels, and these did not disappoint.  The garlic toast was a nice - though unnecessary - touch.

Fried potatoes, with some fried sage (I think) and chickpeas.  Not super exciting, but satisfactory; I believe Karthik, who seems to be a particular connoisseur of fried potatoes, approved.

Pizza with fennel sausage, panna, red onions, and scallions:

Pizza with egg, guanciale, escarole, radicchio, and bagna cauda:

Pizza with proscuitto, arugula, buffalo mozzarella, and some [presumably very fancy, considering the surcharge] DiNapoli tomatoes:

All the pizzas had gorgeous crusts that balanced tenderness and elasticity (especially toward the center of the pizzas) with satisfying chew and crispness toward the outside.  In some places the crust was so thin as to be translucent.  Clearly Nancy Silverton & Co. understand gluten!  Toppings were flavorful, as was the pizza sauce.  My only quibbles were that I wished for more fennel sausage on the sausage pizza, and more mozzarella on the proscuitto pizza; in both cases there were fewer dollops than I'd have liked.

We didn't finish the pizzas; the three of us are a pretty good eating team, but not that good, and we had made mental preparation for dessert: Pizzeria Mozza's famous butterscotch budino with sea salt, rosemary pine nut cookies.  The combination of butterscotch pudding, salted caramel, sea salt and whipped cream is indeed memorable, but rich enough that I simply couldn't finish the portion.

Hua decided that the budino needed a foil in the form of another dessert: the espresso granita with espresso gelato and chocolate-dipped honeycomb.  Refreshing, indeed.

Sated, we left just after 3:00pm.  Pizzeria Mozza definitely isn't an everyday restaurant, at least for us grad students, but is a fantastic option when an occasion (or the most serious of pizza cravings) presents.