You can’t tell a New Yorker about pizza. Because New Yorkers know pizza better than anyone (spoken like a born and bred New Yorker, I know). If asked what the one thing I miss about living in New York is, the answer would have to be the pizza. You can throw a dart and hit a pizza place (that you can walk to) selling slices, and the pizza will always be great. Thin crust (not supermodel-pizza thin, just regular thin), perfect combo of sauce with mozz, perfectly foldable for walking purposes (cue Stayin’ Alive from opening scene of Saturday Night Fever).
In LA, pizza is a different story. It’s not easy to find the real stuff we grew up on. Pizza here, like almost everything in LA, is a big production. There are tons of gourmet-wired, wood-fired, designer-inspired choices, none of which, in my mind, is real pizza.
For example, even though I am a pizza purist, I’ll agree that legitimate toppings include (in no particular order) green peppers, mushrooms, pepperoni (or sausage or meatball). What you can’t sell me on is believing that any of the following choices counts as a topping that any self-respecting pizza would wear: smoked salmon (seriously? you can’t even call it lox?), barbecued chicken, pesto, goat cheese, artichokes, fennel, niçoise olives, eggplant, broccoli rabe, potatoes — and that LA classic, sprouts. I’m not saying that putting these ingredients on dough with sauce may not be tasty — I’m saying it’s not pizza. Not to a New Yorker, anyway. (And you know that pineapple and ham combo? Sorry. That’s not pizza, no matter where you are.)
Do I have an attitude about pizza? Absolutely; it’s my birthright. Even here, on a sunny 75° day in February.
© 2013 Claudia Grossman