Why is westcoast pizza so bad?

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VibrationGuy
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RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/04/07 19:09:51 (permalink)
I think the problem is that there aren't local pockets of decent pizza on the west coast - there are random single-location or tiny-local-chain entities that make exceedingly good pizza that isn't like the pizza in NY or Chicago.

Three excellent examples:

Northlake Tavern, Seattle, WA

Northlake is a fratboy paradise a few blocks from the UW campus. The pizza here isn't distinguished by the crust (crunchy without being crispy, not malt-y enough for my taste) or the cheese (a very good whole milk mozz. it is, but it's kinda sparingly applied), but rather the meat toppings. The "meat lovers" is a pig on bread. The pepperoni is thick cut (each slice is the thickness of two Susan B Anthony coins), the italian sausage is coarse-ground and spiced to perfection, the canadian bacon is sizzling porky goodness. If you like toppings-driven pizza, this is a don't miss. It's 21 and over, and I think they allow smoking since it's all tavern.

Pagliacci Pizza - Seattle and Environs, WA

Purists will cluck disapprovingly, but this is great pizza, and it's amazing that it's primarily delivery. The crust is crackly-chewy goodness, the cheese is real, and the sauce is forgivable. What makes Pagliacci great is that the toppings are imaginative, fresh and generously applied. Ricotta, pears, asparagus, crimini, lamb and more all make seasonal appearances on the various pies. They've got a website at www.pagliacci.com , and I cannot recommend them enough.

Dugan's Pizza - Ocean Shores, WA

This was an inspired discovery - either I was exceptionally hungry, or this was some of the best pizza I've had in the west - it even had well-rendered bacon on it. The crust was made with a flour milled in Central Oregon (Pendleton Flour Mills Power Flour, for those who might wonder) that is high-protein and tends to be very "wheat-y". I can't recall the cheese. The sauce was thick and tangy, and not oversweetened, which, in some sort of crime against humanity, seems to be the child-pleasing trend of pizza parlors these days.

Not to get off on a rant here, but I'm sorely tempted to believe that the vast majority of ingredients in pizza parlors has gotten markedly blander over the last 30 years in a shameless attempt to pander to the youngest elements of the family. I recall not being fond of the spiciness of Pietro's (a local chain that went to rat dung in the 80s) as a small child, and getting the supreme treat of a McDonald's cheeseburger to bring back to the pizza parlor after the parentals ordered something suited to their tastes. Am I sufferring from flavor amnesia here, or is it really true that pizza, more than anything else in the fast food milieu, has become pap to shove in the screaming faces of bratty six year olds?
#31
danspeca
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RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/04/10 16:50:32 (permalink)
west coast pizza sucks for the same reason that you can't get a good loaf of italian bread on the west coast - the water...

the water is too hard, and when they soften it up, it just doesn't do the job that east coast water does...

so you see, the dirty schuylkill & east rivers both turn out to be good for something!
#32
kdiammond
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RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/04/10 20:28:25 (permalink)
Folks-- part of what makes roadfood so good is that it is regional! Out here, VA, we have a pizza that I love that only my brother (as far as I know) makes in CA. Thin crust, wood baked, with moz, feta, gyro meat, onion, fresh tomato! I have had a kung pao pizza in CA and frankly -- wasn't what I would call pizza, but, I liked it! Have also had a good wood fired white pie with artichoke hearts, Monterrey jack, and fresh tomatos-- I am glad that the pizza changes as well as the barbeque changes as well as the biscuit etc. changes across our country! Otherwise how boring our travels would be!
Keller
#33
wanderingjew
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RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/04/11 08:30:12 (permalink)
I grew up on Long Island, I also lived in Seattle, Albuquerque, Pittsburgh and now Rhode Island, I know that certain regional items are better in certain parts of the country (Chinese food in Albuquerque! ) I am sure that there are those who think that Pizza from Wal Mart is Fantastic (double) just like folks here in Rhode Island think that the Smoky Bones BBQ chain makes the best BBQ in the world (triple ). So what it comes down to is what you're used to.
#34
mayor al
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RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/04/14 07:31:22 (permalink)
If it is the water that makes the difference, it would seem that Lynchburg,TN would be the Pizza Capital of the world...Just ask the maker's of Jack Daniels about the water!!
#35
Sundancer7
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RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/04/14 07:53:57 (permalink)
I have had my share of the Lynchburg water. It comes out of a cave, into the vats and out of my pocketbook. I have done that tour several times. Always enjoy sniffing the vats to get my sinus's cleared. Old Jack and Lem Motlow had a pretty decent idea.
#36
elltea
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RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/04/29 01:30:36 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by yumbo

The one exception to the bad westcoast pizza rule is Zachary's Chicago Pizza in Berkeley, CA. I wouldn't call it a real Chicago pizza, but the pies are deep, and the sauce is something else. I haven't eaten there in 4 years, though. Anyone been there recently?



Oh, it's still good! I just moved to Berkeley from the (relatively) undisputed pizza capital of the world, New Haven, and had a Zachary's experience within days of my arrival. It's delicious. It's not "Apizza", but something more like a very flat calzone cut into square pieces.

#37
elltea
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RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/04/29 01:32:28 (permalink)
By the way, if you're in New Haven and can't handle the lines at Sal's, Pepe's, or Modern, go to BAR (downtown on Crown Street between Park and High -- across the street from Louis Lunch). Very good thin-crust pizza, and I can't recommend enough the topping combination of red sauce, mozzarella, bacon, and mashed potatoes. Weird-sounding but exquisite. They do their own microbrews as well.
#38
BernieG
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RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/04/29 15:02:34 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by AndyNYC1

I think the point missed here is this: Pizza, like a lot of other foods, is regional. Chicago pizza is only good in Chicago, California pizza is only good (well, passable) in California, and the granddaddy of them all, the Neopolitan slice, is only good in New York. My personal favorites in no order:

1. New Pizza Town- 78th and Broadway
2. Ray's- 6th Ave and 11th Street
3. Luigi's- 1st Ave. and 88th Street
4. Sal's- Court Street, Brooklyn
5. Pizza Cove- Seaford, Long Island (where I had my first thousand slices)

ummm, Ray's Pizza....
#39
elltea
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RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/05/01 01:13:05 (permalink)
Interesting to note: the best pizza place in Ann Arbor, Michigan is called N.Y.P.D. -- New York Pizza Depot. And the best pizza place in Portland, Oregon is called Escape From New York. EFNY's is the closest thing on the west coast to Ray's Famous Original #1 whatever. They even have a photo of the Ray's on Sixth Avenue and 11th Street up on the wall.
#40
vinelady
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RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/05/06 13:17:14 (permalink)
Another good Portland OR pizza is Golden Crust Pizza.
#41
Willly
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RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/05/06 13:51:56 (permalink)
I basically keep my pizza stone in my oven. In the time it takes to heat to 500, I can make an easy crust with quick rise yeast. Stretch and top with torn-up canned tomatoes, a LITTLE fresh mozzerella, extra-virgin olive oil and some fresh basil. All it takes is about four or five minutes in the oven, and it is 100 times better than frozen. You can keep your dough in the fridge or freezer once it is made.

Never Settle!
#42
jeffskal
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RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/05/26 21:46:42 (permalink)
Good LA Pizza: D'Amore's Pizza Connection in the San Fernando Valley. Patsy D'Amore's (no apparent relation?) in the Farmer's Market is pretty good too.

Also, Guido's, a small chain, is not bad at all... http://www.guidospizzaandpasta.com
#43
EliseT
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RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/05/31 02:55:12 (permalink)
For the same reason you can't get a decent burrito in Alberta.
#44
seafarer john
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RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/05/31 10:43:07 (permalink)
When we visited our son in Santa Monica last fall, he ordered a take out pizza via the phone, turned his oven up to 500, and drove around to the pizza place. When he got home he popped the uncooked pizza into the oven and we enjoyed a really good pizza. This sort of service is unknown in my neighborhood here in the Hudson Valley. We can , of course, buy frozen pizza, but they're awful.

BTW: when I was a youngster, pizza became first known to us sometime in the early '40s. I assume it was available in Italian neighborhoods, but the rest of the population was unaware of its existence. Sometime in '41 or '42 I became aware that an Italian restaurant we sometimes visited for spaghetti and meatballs, was doing a brisk takeout business in some kind of very large tomato pie. It was called APIZZA, and not long thereafter I began to see signs advertising APIZZA along the highways. Question: what ever happened to the prefixing "A"?
#45
EdSails
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RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/06/04 15:27:48 (permalink)
I've only had the New Haven Pizza a few times, but it was awesome. Pepe's was good although I had a really good one in West Haven (name of the place escapes me) but I think it may be Ischia. In LA, best pizza I've found is at Brooklyn Pizza in Manhattan Beach. He greaw up in the pizza places in New york and even has the containers of oregano and powdered garlic at the tables. Great thin crust.
#46
EliseT
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RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/06/04 16:30:41 (permalink)
Other good thin NY-style pizza in LA: Damiano's on Fairfax and Del Cor on Venice Beach.
#47
geomotz
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RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/06/04 18:59:47 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by danspeca

west coast pizza sucks for the same reason that you can't get a good loaf of italian bread on the west coast - the water...

the water is too hard, and when they soften it up, it just doesn't do the job that east coast water does...

so you see, the dirty schuylkill & east rivers both turn out to be good for something!


danspeca is right. I've heard it's the water too. makes a huge difference in the way the dough rises...
#48
Gordon
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RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/06/04 22:42:36 (permalink)
Because it's not tomato pie.
#49
jreeves
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RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/06/22 19:47:10 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by yumbo

I know I'm making a broad generalization, but why is pizza on the west coast (California, Oregon, and Washington) such a pale imitation of what you can get back east?

Am I the only one that thinks this?

-Yumbo
#50
jreeves
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RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/06/22 19:52:02 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by yumbo

I know I'm making a broad generalization, but why is pizza on the west coast (California, Oregon, and Washington) such a pale imitation of what you can get back east?

Am I the only one that thinks this?

-Yumbo
YES!
#51
mayor al
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RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/06/22 21:02:21 (permalink)
The U-bake-it store is a 'unique to California' business I believe. You pick up a freshly made, oven ready pizza at the store and bake it yourself, as Seafarer John describes above. I haven't seen this type of retailer anywhere else.
#52
goldsborscht
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RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/06/23 05:23:54 (permalink)
The West Coast is not humid enough (besides the Northwest, which has bad pizza for cultural reasons). The humidity gives NY great pizza and Nawlins great French bread. Someone explained what the humidity does, but I'm too ignorant to recall.
#53
Sandy Eggo
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RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2005/09/12 22:33:05 (permalink)
It must be a state of mind, or the water. I lived in Seattle and there are some good pizza places like Pagliacci. Now that I'm (back) in San Diego there are two great places. Bronx Pizza and Lido't Italian Food... a real roadtrip gem.

Here are the web sites.. gotta check out Lido's... http://www.lidositalianfoods.com/ Many people go their for their ribs. They are good, but then again we don't have enough BBQ out here in CA. So anyone thinkin' of opening a BBQ joint, git out here!

And the walk up pizza rave of locals and NY transplants... http://www.bronxpizza.com/

The other San Diego favorites... in Little Italy... http://www.littleitalysd.com/businesses/filippis/index.asp

#54
Scorereader
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RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2005/09/13 11:10:20 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by wanderingjew

I can't even begin to describe my thoughts about West Coast Pizza. Truthfully,I think its because there aren't enough Italians on the West Coast, if you go to San Franscisco (which has it's own Little Italy of course) you will find that the pizza there really isn't too bad. Actually I'm still trying to figure out why the coffee, scones, tartar sauce, salmon, and microbrews taste so bad here in the east.



Because you've been drinking the wrong microbrews.
I'll give you a list of brews to try on the right coast if you're even wandering in the northeast.
#55
Scorereader
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RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2005/09/13 11:18:30 (permalink)
OH yeah, I forgot to mention, NYC gets its water from upstate, NY.

I don't think it's the water being hard or soft, I think it's the long trip the water takes in the old copper pipes from upstate, NY to NYC. So, it's not the water, but the minerals (and metals) IN the water. (just my own little philosophy, which doesn't explain at all why pizza in CT is so damn good)

#56
SWOhioGuy
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RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2005/09/13 13:03:24 (permalink)
Alright, guys, I'm sure I'll be flamed, but having been a midwestern guy living in LA for years, there *is* good 'za to be had on the West Coast. Granted, the shops may not look too midwest or east coast, but that doesn't mean it's all bad. And, yeah, you'll never find the density of great pizza you do in, say, NYC.

Like other areas of this great nation, a lot of the best pizza is in Italian restaurants. Check out Brogino's in Redondo Beach - http://www.foodnow.tv/brogrevs.html.

When in Venice, CA, check out Abbot Pizza: http://losangeles.citysearch.com/profile/11301341/venice_ca/abbot_s_pizza.html?cslink=roundup_name_noncust&ulink=roundup__roundupentity1-6_1__0_profile_2_1.

Again, you'll always be able to say, "It isn't *exactly* what I grew up on," but isn't that true of many things?

-SWOG
#57
mr chips
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RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2005/09/13 19:52:59 (permalink)
A couple of updates. Pappa Murphy's(it used to be Pappa Aldo"s) has been making Take and bake Pizza in the Oergon area for the last 4 or 5 years. Apizza Scholls has become locally famous for good pizza and stringent behavior rules for children.
I agree with WJ on his opinons about liking what you grew up with. I ate small-town pizza, until I was 22(Canadian Bacon and Tomato was my favorite) , ate deep dish in the midwest, then returned west for the oddball gourmet topping revolution. I hope someday to eat a lot more of the New England pizza that gets bragged about so much.
#58
Michael Hoffman
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RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2005/09/13 21:40:01 (permalink)
They have Papa Murphy's stores here in Central Ohio. There are several other take-and-bake places, as well.
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Sandy Eggo
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RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2005/09/13 21:44:47 (permalink)
I'm going to start a thread in retaliation for this one... Why are East Coast Taco's so bad?
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