Archive for the 'Pizza' Category

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Trattoria Neapolis – Pasadena

Trattoria Neapolis - Pasadena

The opening of Trattoria Neapolis early last week was easily the most exciting thing to happen on South Lake Avenue since I moved into town four years ago. Sandwiched between an Aaron Brothers and an Anthropologie, the restaurant brings a California-inflected Italian menu, as well as a solid beverage program, to a part of Pasadena best known for Pie ‘n Burger. God knows I adore Pie ‘n Burger, but a new dining option is always appreciated.

Trattoria Neapolis - Pasadena

Chef Bryant Wigger, most recently at the Four Seasons Los Angeles, makes almost everything from scratch including the pasta, bread, and salumi. The restaurant’s centerpiece and point of inspiration is a 7,000 pound Neapolitan wood-burning oven that can blister a pie in 90 seconds flat.

Trattoria Neapolis - Pasadena

While perusing the menu, I sipped a spicy Moscow mule. The Astronomer indulged in a tall glass of Golden Chaos.

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Superba Snack Bar – Los Angeles (Venice)

Superba Snack Bar - Los Angeles (Venice)

Restaurateur Paul Hibler and Chef Jason Neroni hosted a sneak peek of their forthcoming collaboration Superba Snack Bar at Pitfire Pizza in West Hollywood last week. The restaurant, which is expected to debut this summer in Venice, offers their “post modern” take on an Italian pastaria serving handmade pastas, charcuterie, and plenty of local produce.

Previously, Hibler was the owner and creator of the popular chainlet Pitfire Pizza, while Chef Neroni was the executive chef at Osteria La Buca. This is their first joint venture together.

Superba Snack Bar - Los Angeles (Venice)

The Astronomer and I attended the pop up event as guests of Superba. As soon as we grabbed a table, chilled glasses of “beer/sangria” were brought to the table. Made from a mixture of Belgian white beer, prosecco, chardonnay, and apricot juice, the beverage was wonderfully refreshing and went down dangerously easily. I had to limit myself to two glasses to keep from getting too rowdy this evening.

Superba Snack Bar - Los Angeles (Venice)

Our first bite of the night was the chicken liver mousse and lardo served with toasted Langers rye, pickled celery, and balsamic cherries. The bread had too much personality for the simple lardo, but paired just right with the velvety liver spread. The cherries made our lips pucker, cutting the spreads’ richness with its tanginess.

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Milo & Olive – Los Angeles (Santa Monica)

Milo & Olive - Santa Monica

Zoe Nathan and Josh Loeb didn’t intend to open a pizzeria when they scooped up the space at 2723 Wilshire Boulevard. The initial plan was to use the kitchen to relieve the overworked ovens at Huckleberry, their bustling bakery and cafe a mile away.

But one thing led to another, a pizza dough was developed and a wood-burning Mugnaini oven was installed, and thus, Milo & Olive came to be. Milo, by the way, is the name of the couple’s son. Olive, on the other hand, is just a name that they really liked.

Milo & Olive - Santa Monica

Milo & Olive’s stupendously good pastries, seasonal small plates, and delightful pizzas are reason enough to visit, but it took Chef Walter Manzke taking over the stoves to get me and my friends to finally come in. The former Church & State chef and soon-to-be chef-owner of République is temporarily overseeing the kitchen since executive chef Evan Funke departed.

The menu hasn’t changed much since his arrival and probably won’t for the most part. According to Chef, he’s mostly here to keep the kitchen organized and to make sure that the food is up to snuff.

Milo & Olive - Santa Monica

With only 24 seats in the restaurant and no reservations taken, our party of three faced a 45 minute wait when we arrived sometime past 7 on a weekday evening. After strolling up the street and grabbing drinks at The Charleston, we were seated at one of the communal tables.

To start, we shared a petite serving of marinated artichokes ($11) minimally adorned with baby spinach, toasted pine nuts, capers, golden raisins, and goat cheese.

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Stella Barra Pizzeria – Los Angeles (Santa Monica)

Stella Rossa - Santa Monica

Pizza dates are the best. Whether with a friend or lover, a feast of pies all but guarantees a hearty spread, fair prices, and best of all, leftovers for breakfast.

The Astronomer and I headed to Stella Rossa Pizza Bar in Santa Monica for our latest pizza date. Though barely six months old, the restaurant has made quite an impact on the city’s pizza scene. In fact, one old school restaurant critic even declared Stella’s pizzas some of the best in the world.

Stella Rossa - Santa Monica

The restaurant’s open kitchen is headed by Chef Jeff Mahin, a Cal grad who’s worked in some mighty fine kitchens including L2O, The Fat Duck, Nobu, and Arzak.

The key to Stella’s stellar pizzas is the dough. Made from milled flour from the San Joaquin Valley, filtered water, sea salt, and fresh yeast, the dough rests and ferments for thirty hours in special jars.

Stella Rossa - Santa Monica

To start, The Astronomer and I shared the prosciutto plate ($12.95) from the “For the Table” section of the menu. Pork products from La Quercia never fail to make me weak in the knees, and these silky slices of prosciutto rossa were no exception. The Astronomer and I were also taken by the amazing house-made bead dipped in Olave olive oil from Chile. All in all, this was a killer starter.

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