Why is westcoast pizza so bad?

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yumbo
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2003/03/19 16:02:34 (permalink)

Why is westcoast pizza so bad?

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
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    Michael Stern
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    RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/03/19 16:18:29 (permalink)
    Because it's farther from Italy? Or maybe because it's farther from New Haven
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    mayor al
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    RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/03/19 16:53:54 (permalink)

    1.Because few Eye-talians Speak Spanish !!!
    2.Tortillas are easier to make than Pizza Dough
    3. Sausa=Pizza Sauce ???
    4. Delivery distance is shorter in the East. (see my post on Spatial Relationships as an element of the Food Culture)
    5.Try eating a Pizza like a Burrito, at 6 am.
    And on and on...
    #3
    RebeccaS
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    RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/03/19 18:23:01 (permalink)
    Call me crazy or simple -- but I kinda like "California Pizza" at the LA airport If I remember right (it was last fall) it was a 5 cheese pizza. Really thin and the flavor was great. I'm set to do a review on Pete's Calzone's here in Spokane sometime soon after the next time we go there. Yum!
    #4
    Jennifer_4
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    RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/03/19 18:59:33 (permalink)
    the only great pizza I've had in my 36 years living here was from a little joint run by several generations of an Italian family. There just isn't a big Italian immigrant population here on the West coast. The one caveat to that is Monterey, where there are alot of Italian fishermen. We do have great Italian restaurants here..just not much great pizza. Even my fave Italian place here in Fresno, Mike's, makes crappy pizza.. it doesn't make sense because their calzone is so awesome..and I don't even like calzone as a rule.
    #5
    wanderingjew
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    RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/03/19 19:40:05 (permalink)
    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.
    #6
    mayor al
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    RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/03/19 20:21:00 (permalink)
    Dear Wandering,
    Several things contribute to the lack of appreciation by the East Coast folks. First, You are totally disoriented by the change in position of the great Ocean. Having it on your left instead of right causes the brain hemisphere's to try to compensate with their 'orientation chemicals'.
    The second major contributing factor is the Climate. You need never-ending rain , gloom and zero sunsets for at least 350 days a year. While you New Yorkers can rave about the harsh winters etc etc, Nothing sets a tone for the appetite like unending drizzle.
    In the poor lighting of the Northwest it is easy to see why folks spread Tartar Sauce on their sandwhiches...They think it is "Howard Johnson's 3D sauce" (remember that stuff???.
    #7
    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/03/19 20:29:59 (permalink)
    Definitely because it's farther from New Haven.
    #8
    jessicazee
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    RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/03/21 00:55:43 (permalink)
    When my uncle visits southeastern Wisconsin annually, he always picks up 4 or 5 baked pizzas from a place called Wells Brothers and carries them on the plane home with him to L.A. He says he can't get anything like them there. Maybe because our pizzas are loaded with so much good grease and cheese that those skinny model-types freak out if they are anywhere in their vicinity!
    #9
    WhirlGirl2
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    RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/03/21 21:04:52 (permalink)
    I was just a youngin when I moved from WI to Southern California.
    The first week I was here, I went to a pizza place near my new house.
    As far as I could tell, there were only Asian people working at the
    pizza place, so I thought.."this is going to be interesting..
    what kind of pizza is this going to be?"
    I was used to my Sicilian auntie's (by marriage) pizza or
    those delivered from local pizzerias by guys who looked as
    if they were extras from "The Godfather". (This was the
    60's..no Dominos yet)
    The pie I received that night was OK, not too bad. They must have
    kept the original owner's recipes.
    Over the years, I've just acclimated myself to the SoCal vernacular
    of pizza. Cialucci's in Redondo Beach claims a genuine NYC pizza
    (I've never been to NYC, but this pie is wonderful)
    and Casa Bianca in Eagle Rock is pretty good too.
    #10
    Fancifree
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    RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/03/22 05:07:23 (permalink)
    Casa Bianca IS pretty good! They also have some
    "unique" takes on the classic pie, but it's always crowded there, so I figure even the ones I haven't tried yet will be worth my attention.

    As to West Coast pizza in general, is it possible that the East Coast places just feel that having all this sunshine would spoil their authenticity? Although it is fairly sunny in Italy, I hear.
    #11
    harriet1954
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    RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/03/29 18:42:25 (permalink)
    I wonder what that West Coaster was ranting about...

    Um but anyway, I think it's the water and/or the bread. Their idea of bread is sourdough and sourdough only. They live for this sourdough. I lived in California for a number of years and I know this for a fact. I'm originally from Philadelphia and when they started opening these "Philly Steak Sandwich" places out there, former DH and I bought one and I took one bite and almost barfed!!! They have NO CLUE!!

    I then read that they had to have Amoroso's Italian rolls shipped out there from Philly and had to keep them frozen.

    I don't even remember much about the pizza. It was probably nondescript, though.

    But yeah...the water.
    #12
    yumbo
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    RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/04/03 12:28:54 (permalink)
    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?
    #13
    1bbqboy
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    RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/04/03 13:23:35 (permalink)
    there is no hand-me-down culture. there aren't old greasy places with the culture built in; it's all filtered through west coast organic sprouts and soy mentality. If there's one thing I miss living in Southern Oregon , it's the seeming lack of any overlay
    of any native cusine. Lot's of trendy adaptations of all sorts of various ethnic fares; very little native culture. I'm afraid most of the west was just settled by boring wasps. ( If any greek cooks want to settle in the rogue valley, we'll set up a cultural exchange program.)
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    wanderingjew
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    RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/04/03 14:13:25 (permalink)
    Let's not get too general. I lived out west for 3 years and appreciated the very diverse Asian Community. Also let us not forget the significiant Mexican contribution to culinary arts and of course the Basque Population and their garlic infused family style meals. Other than that, I agree that the west was settled by boring wasps



    there is no hand-me-down culture. there aren't old greasy places with the culture built in; it's all filtered through west coast organic sprouts and soy mentality. If there's one thing I miss living in Southern Oregon , it's the seeming lack of any overlay
    of any native cusine. Lot's of trendy adaptations of all sorts of various ethnic fares; very little native culture. I'm afraid most of the west was just settled by boring wasps. ( If any greek cooks want to settle in the rogue valley, we'll set up a cultural exchange program.)
    #15
    Richard Brooks Alba
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    RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/04/03 22:37:44 (permalink)
    There are a number of major obstacles here in the world of pizza kvetching:
    1.) Complaining about pizza is an East Coast pastime - it's primarily a way to assert a regional identity (so that they don't feel so overwhelmed by people or surroundings they aren't yet used to), but it's really not a whole lot more sophisticated that complaining about cafeteria food[our common rite of passage, mostly, to say 'this sucks!' in schools all across the country].
    2.) Italy is largely irrelevant to the discussion - American pizza is a distant cousin to the pies of Italia, and Italian pizza would hardly be recognized by most Yankee pizza snobs. (The West Coast parallel might be Mexico - whose name is invoked to describe foods largely unknown south of the border [yes, especially burritos.])
    3.) Nearly everyone projects their ignorance on the task at hand - namely, finding good pizzas - by insisting that what they are familiar with is the best. SO, the problem is that West Coast pizzas don't taste like East Coast pizzas? - talk about rocket science. And how many codgers are saying that as good as those places might be now, they're not what they once were?
    I would suggest that East Coasters who missed their hometown pies just start up their own places to make a killing - except that that's what their predecessors did. If the market bore them out, they stayed in business - if not, they either shut up [fat chance], moved back, or found something else to keep them occupied while they annoyed the tasteless/clueless-but-gracious locals....
    Sincerely,
    Richard

    P.S. Pies I eat: though I live here, I think the pizza in San Francisco is mostly just sad, but I still occasionally indulge in the Brazilian or Indian pies that are locally distinctive; I don't remember being all that impressed with Ray's OR John's in NYC; Caserta [in Providence] was tasty; I didn't meet a pie I DIDN'T like in Chicago - and this may be because of the "Sicilian-style" pies I grew up with in southern Cal (the late, great Mazzulli's French-Italian Bakery in Fontana - now THERE was a pizza...).
    #16
    Rick F.
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    RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/04/04 00:11:13 (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

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    Rick F.
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    RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/04/04 00:16:48 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Michael Stern

    Because it's farther from Italy? Or maybe because it's farther from New Haven



    Sorry about the missing response: haven't quite gotten the hang of this board. Anyway, my proposed answer: for the same reason that Texas barbecue is such a pale imitation of Tennessee's: they have neither the ingredients, the patience, nor the sophistication to understand that faster and bigger aren't necessarily better! (I shall avoid sexual innuendos.)
    #18
    dbear
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    RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/04/04 01:42:46 (permalink)

    Ummm, Rick F, you're taking on something you may not be able to handle with your comment about BBQ. I've always viewed BBQ as a regional thing, but whatever you've got to smoke, flame or whatever, is better than any other form of cooking, as I see it. Tennessee BBQ as I've experienced it at Stamey's (Bub Sweatman's, although out of state, is masterful also) and too many home fires to count is Pork BBQ (picked, pulled, ribs, etc). Texas BBQ is Beef (sausage, brisket and ribs, mostly), as I've experienced at Smitty's, Black's, Kreuz', Salt Lick, City and many other places. Both pork and beef make killer BBQ, done right. If you like pork, go with the TN. style, but if you like beef, TX. owns it. Lets let this smoked meat thing be a collaboration; its all better than any other food, TN. and TX. both.
    #19
    mayor al
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    RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/04/04 05:12:55 (permalink)
    OK You guys
    I Understand the use of TX and TN but don't forget KY !!! "If it ain't Mutton, It ain't Nuttin'"
    If you ask me how Mutton works as a BBQ meat, I would have to respond " NOT BAAAAAADD" ( Check the hour of the post and forgive me, Please !
    #20
    stanpnepa
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    RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/04/04 07:45:16 (permalink)
    We did have a good pizza in the West once, in the Far West, at BJ's Pizza in Lahania, Maui (Hawaii). That would be BJ'S CHICAGO STYLE PIZZA!

    Bagels are better back East. Also I recall scallops being a lot "fishier" from the Pacific. The West Coast has better "new American" cooking and better coffee. You've got us beat on the beer too---Sierra Nevada Pale Ale rules!

    Let's not turn this into an East Coast/West Coast battle, because we may cause a rift between the rappers on this board (or on this board we could call ourselves "wrappers") and butcher knives may be flying across tables at our favorite restaurants. Stop the violence!" />
    #21
    1bbqboy
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    RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/04/04 11:10:30 (permalink)
    well, now you've hit on something we're better at. but sierra nevada while great,is not the BEST. I like mendocino Red tail Ale and lagunitas pale ale and this fat tire
    biere de mars,( a seasonal brew), but oregon , california, and all the western states
    seem to make great microbrews. you just have to drink it while you eat pizza with shrimp, artichokes, and feta as the toppings.
    But you BBQ posers KNOW that KC Q is the best, no runny mustard sauces, no texas Hyperbole, just the smoothest blend of smoke, spices, hickory and they'll smoke ANY kind of critter that tastes worth eating, plus some vegetables too. Heck, they even barbecue pizza in KC.
    maybe.
    #22
    Michael Stern
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    RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/04/04 19:38:06 (permalink)
    KC may have BBQ pizza, but I've yet to see BBQ salad or BBQ spaghetti there, as are common in Memphis...
    #23
    stanpnepa
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    RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/04/05 14:40:41 (permalink)
    Andy,

    Is that the Original Ray's? I went to a Ray's once in NYC, where they topped my plain slice with fresh mozzarella before tossing it in the oven, and it was heavenly. That was when I was in college, a dozen years or so ago, and I can't remember which Ray's I was at.

    I was never very impressed by any of the other Ray's/Famous Ray's/"Original Ray's" I've acquainted. Thanks for the tips though. I often shop in the city, and like a nice light lunch. Pizza is perfect for that.
    #24
    marberthenad
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    RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/04/05 21:31:55 (permalink)
    Funny thing is that I never found a pizza in Manhattan that I liked. In that regard, I'd have to agree with stanpnepa. the gourmet pizzas in california are ok, but those pizzas are too close to health food to count for me.
    #25
    Michael Stern
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    RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/04/06 05:51:41 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by stanpnepa

    ...I can't remember which Ray's I was at.



    Well, it could have been Ray’s World Famous Pizza, Famous Ray’s Original Pizza, World Famous Ray’s Pizza, Ray’s Original Famous Pizza, or One and Only Ray’s of Greenwich Village Pizza " />
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    Sundancer7
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    RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/04/06 06:28:22 (permalink)
    In my opinion, a lot of things make a pizza good. What i view important is fresh ingredients. But even more important is the crust. I like it tasty, slightly greasy and crisp. Pizza Hut gets that part right about 50% of the time and when they do it is great and when they don't, I would rather have anything else. I wish I knew how to duplicate their crust when they get it right.

    I tend to buy cheap pizzas and kick it up several notches with my own stuff. I buy the cheap jobs at Walmart and then add onions, mozzarella, jalopena's, bell peppers, spices that seem right at the time and sometimes, I slice sausages on top.
    #27
    Stephen Rushmore Jr.
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    RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/04/07 14:24:48 (permalink)
    I am sure I will get some flack for this next comment - I really like those pizza sticks from Pizza Hut. The ones sprinkled with a parmesan cheese type substance and then dipped in the tomato sauce. Five of those on the road can hold me for hours.
    #28
    Sundancer7
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    RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/04/07 15:05:00 (permalink)
    You probably will get some flack cause I just did from some NYC character. I agree with you and I buy them often. I was criticized because I buy a cheap pizza from Walmart, take it home and kick it up several notches by adding personal ingredients that are very fresh. I buy the Walmart pizza's at $0.69 primarily for their crust which is Jeno's. Really tasty crust and then I soup it up on jalapeno's, bell peppers, mushrooms, mozzarella, onions, garlic and whatever spices that turns me on at the minute.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #29
    yumbo
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    RE: Why is westcoast pizza so bad? 2003/04/07 17:47:11 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Stephen Rushmore Jr.

    I am sure I will get some flack for this next comment - I really like those pizza sticks from Pizza Hut. The ones sprinkled with a parmesan cheese type substance and then dipped in the tomato sauce. Five of those on the road can hold me for hours.


    Well, OK. I still respect you. As long as you don't go for their disgusting "pizza" with cheese INSIDE the crust. barf barg gag gag
    #30
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