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Neapolitan Pizza Guidelines [split from LA]

Okay, I am going to take the time to fully respond to your post with reference to your previous posts in this bit of the thread. Please take the time to read and consider my posts before responding, because this is what I am doing. Thank you. For others, there are Los Angeles tidbits below, besides just what a Neapolitan pizza consists of.

I will not provide evidence that "the AVPN says an authentic Neapolitan style pizza does not have a wet center and states that real mozzarella should not be used." I would quote my whole post to prove this, but anyone can read or re-read the post and see that I never wrote that Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana "states that real mozzarella should not be used". I do not know what your motivations for creating this red herring/straw man are, but also logically fallacious is that I should prove "the AVPN says an authentic Neapolitan style pizza does not have a wet center ".

If as you say, "The wet center is [. . .] reflective of the style of pizza. That's the way it's supposed to be when correctly made.", then Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana would proclaim that. Surely, a quality so reflective and vital would be mentioned on the international website http://www.pizzanapoletana.org/ or the American website http://www.verapizzanapoletana.org/. Nor does the other major Neapolitan pizza organization, L'Associazione Pizzaiuoli Napoletani http://www.pizzaiuolinapoletani.it mention a wet center. They would proclaim that “Our storied ‘pizze vera napoletana’ have the traditional wet soggy centers.” The fact is in this bit of the thread no one has decried or complimented the wet soggy centers of Neapolitan pizza except you—another red herring/straw man. In fact, sushigirlie decries “the crispy crust”—but she is not even describing Neapolitan pizza. She described Mozza and Gjelina pizza with this characteristic crust.

On a Los Angeles board, you proclaim, “It's just that LA is a bit slower in appreciating the Neapolitan pie” and also that “LA being slow on the uptake”. I, as a Los Angelino and Southern Californian, take umbrage to that. Pizza vera napoletana or true (authentic) Neapolitan pizza does not have a wet soggy center. If you do not appreciate LA, then maybe Naples will convince you. Pizza Napoletana actually has legal status in the European Union. Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana made legal application and were successful in having Pizza Napoletana gain TSG (traditional specialities guaranteed) trademark status. You can read their application at http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/L... and the actual regulation at http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/L...

For such a reflective characteristic, the wet center is not mentioned even once. The only objections to the regulation were from Germany and Poland over concerns of their wheat production being at disadvantage—not because a wet center wasn’t mentioned. The regulation does mention, “‘Pizza Napoletana’ TSG is a round product baked in the oven with a variable diameter not exceeding 35 cm and a raised rim and the central part is garnished. The central part is 0,4 cm thick, with a tolerance of ± 10 %, and the rim is 1-2 cm thick. The overall pizza must be tender, elastic and easily foldable into four.” I would just end up quoting much of the regulation to settle this—but to summarize a moist dough is not expected, the water from the tomatoes must cook off (albeit leaving the tomatoes remaining compact and solid), and a quote that settles this definitively: “All these specific characteristics create the phenomena of the air chamber and the appearance of the final product, the ‘Pizza Napoletana’, which is indeed soft and compact; has a raised rim, is raised in the centre, is particularly soft and easily foldable into four. It is important to stress that all other similar products obtained using preparation processes different to that described cannot obtain the same visual and organoleleptic characteristics as those of the ‘Pizza Napoletana’.”

If the center was wet, how could it be “raised in the centre”? The sogginess would cause it to sag. If you folded such a pizza, and ate it from the rim—a hole would occur and the pizza contents would fall out. It is an insult to claim that Neapolitan pizza has a wet soggy center. Maybe you are still unconvinced; check out Why Italians Love to Talk About Food By Umberto Eco, his Russian born (20 years in Italy) translator Elena Kostioukovitch, Anne Milano Appel, and Carol Field. They distinctly describe the difference between “[w]hat an authentic Neapolitan… connoisseur calls pizza [as] a fine work of art” versus pizza “outside of the confines of Naples . . . bring[ing] to mind a soggy, wobbly dough, soaked in oil.”

Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana was founded by Antonio Pace in 1984 to affirm the tradition. His family ran the pizzerias (one at the city center and one at the waterfront) Ciro’s. The Neapolitan pizza from Ciro is described in Savory Baking from the Mediterranean: Focaccias, Flatbreads, Rusks, Tarts, and Other Breads by Anissa Helou. She describes her experience of, “one of the best pizzas [she] has had ever had”. Anissa reports, “Another amazing thing about the pizza at Ciro’s was that not one bit of it went soggy before I finished it. . . . This is how any self-respecting Neapolitan eats his or her pizza.”

Sushigirlie did criticize the mozzarella of Neapolitan pizza—she said it was not bad but not great either declaring her preference for the kind of “comforting cheese” on pies at Zelo’s, her choice for the best pizza in LA, and Tomato Pie’s, which she describes as delicious. This is clearly her opinion and preference. I am and was confused by what both of you refer to as real mozzarella. Cow milk low moisture mozzarella produced in California is also real mozzarella to me. The fact is real Neapolitan pizza could be missing any cheese at all—marinara pizza from Napoli has no cheese on it. The trademarked TSG of pizze vera napoletana by the EU as proposed by Napoli’s pizza organizations like VPN includes both cow milk mozzarella and buffalo milk mozzarella. Like jsaras described—mozzarella cooked properly tastes incredible; I agree it’s better than highly processed cheese. I love the Abbot Pizza mozzarella also—it isn’t the mozzarella balls you both seem to be describing.

You began this by taking an isolated quote of sushigirlie. The fact is that I vehemently disagree with her opinion of pizza. I just think she is entitled to an opinion of what she things great pizza is. The first part of the quote is clearly her preference and opinion. You said you were “trying to inject a little fact into this horribly incorrect statement”. The second part of the quote was a statement of fact—and in actual fact she is correct. You don’t see many Neapolitan pizzerias outside of Naples. I don’t think she said many people don’t like fresh mozzarella on their pizza or Neapolitan style pizza. She said that most people prefer pizza that isn’t Neapolitan. Dollar for dollar, she is correct. People vote with their money. American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza by Peter Reinhart describes it best: “While the true Napoletana pizza is held to be the purest and highest expression, it is not the most popular style in the United States. The cognoscenti may support a great Napoletana-style pizzeria, as they do in Phoenix with Pizzeria Bianco, but mass-produced pizzas laden with cheese and other toppings remain ubiquitous because people buy them.”

You tried to claim that what sushigirlie wrote was not her opinion because she didn’t use the 1st person narrative. You said she was factually incorrect because you mentioned 10 Neapolitan pizzerias, and I pointed out that most pizzas sold and pizzerias are not Neapolitan—proving her correct consider the facts. You tried to obfuscate this by claiming that I was somehow arguing for the logic that McDonald’s is the best. I clearly posted, “I think also sushiegirl [sic] is kinda right about taste preferences--from what I understood she said. Then again most pizzerias in this country are like Domino's and disgusting chains.”

I am going to stop trying to explain what she said, but I clearly can differentiate between statements of facts and opinion. Clearly, by the size of this whole thread, not just this little bit—what is considered the best pizza is not a statement of fact, but one of opinion and preference. They aren’t really “my” 70k pizzerias. As a statement of fact, you are saying we should discount the x amount of pizzerias from deciding whether there are many Neapolitan pizzerias outside of Naples. (By the way, there are about 5000 pizzerias in Naples—using only this figure as a basis, there are very few Neapolitan pizzerias outside of Naples; putting aside just the x number of pizzerias in the US--let alone the world.) It is your own logic that the numbers of people who enjoy a pizza make it a quality pizza. “I would venture to say that many people like neapolitan style pizza and fresh mozzarella on their pies.”, was followed after you described the best and top contenders of pizzerias.

Just to clarify, the 2010 Pizza Power Report by PMQ Pizza Magazine reports that “Independents own 58% of pizzerias and control 51.66% of the sales. . . . The top 50 pizza chains own 42% of pizzerias and control 48.34% of the sales. . . . The Big Four is still comprised of Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Papa John’s and Little Caesars.” They make up just a little more than 27% of the pizzerias out there. I have a larger count of pizzerias (compared to 64,951 in the report “Combining the 64,042 from InfoUSA and the 65,859 from NPD Group, we get an average of 64,951 units.”) because I used 2008 forecasts (which had “a count of 68,992 at the end of 2008” and a prediction of growth not loss) and added chains like Il Fornaio, Cheesecake Factory, Olive Garden, and other such restaurants that serve pizzas also. We are, supposedly, after all discussing facts. Clearly, these pizzerias are not mostly Pizza Hut and Papa John’s like you claim, though I would agree that the majority of them aren’t great. I never claimed that it had bearing on what is considered quality pizza. I clearly in fact disagreed with that rationale. If anyone made that sort of argument, I‘d say it was you and sushigirlie.

Also, your narrative of Neapolitan pizza in the US, decrying LA, is riddled with factual errors that create a completely fictional history. Peppe Miele opened his Trattoria on 3rd Street in Los Angeles in 1986. You may note that is 2 years after VPN was founded. He served Neapolitan cuisine. Early on, he decided to add authentic Neapolitan pizza, a sign proclaimed “Vera Pizza Napoletana”, to his menu. The pizza was so successful that he opened Antica Pizzeria next door in 1992. In 1997, he opened a second (the current) Antica Pizzeria in Marina Del Rey. A16, which you say, “kicked off the west coast Neapolitan pizza movement”, began in February of 2004. You claim that Una Pizza Napoletana “started the craze” of “a neapolitan pizza renaissance” “[i]n NYC”. Una Pizza Napoletana began in NYC in October of 2004. Though in New Jersey, Tony Mangieri started his pizzeria in 1996--3 years after he opened his Neapolitan bakery, Sant Arsenio. I don’t know if he served pizza in his bakery, but I assume not from speaking with him.

Regardless, Peppe Miele’s Antica Pizzeria with “Vera Pizza Napoletana” was opened a full four years before Una Pizza Napoletana opened its doors. Antica Pizzeria is the American center of VPN. While according to your precious NY Mag: “Mangieri, for his part, isn’t bothered by the charges that his is an inaccurate representation of the motherland. He’s over Naples, he says. “The best pizza I had there is as good as my pizza on a mediocre day. On a really good day, the pizza I make here blows away anything made in Naples.” He takes a pause. “And it breaks my heart.” ” Make of that, what you will.

The fact is that Los Angeles is not some insultingly slow-on-the-uptake food scene where Neapolitan pizza is some late addition brought to us by some food elite from NY or San Francisco. Besides the authentic pizza at Antica Pizza and what we have now, places have come and gone here. You could have got Roman pizza from Alto Palato by the late Mauro V. Vincenti. In early Hollywood, an authentic Neapolitan restaurant where they served Neapolitan pizza was around—this was the heyday of Hollywood’s favoring of fried chicken, and the restaurant had to change to accommodate the tastes of its clientele. Guys like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin convinced a popular New York restaurateur to open a LA restaurant for his bi-coastal Hollywood clients. I cannot recall his name or find my book with his name. Anyway, they were fans of authentic Neapolitan pizza, and that restaurant served it. Most of this was before my time and only gleaned from reading; I like most LA Chowhounds pick up the scents of good food and am not slow on the uptake.

I said that NY Mag is not a bible on food matters let alone pizza matters. In jest, I was saying that I don’t rely on NY Mag to “[highlight] the common misconceptions and misperceptions surrounding Neapolitan style pizza”. On what authority could it do that? On the article, you cite, they rely on Tony May for their information. Tony May may well be perfectly good NY restaurateur. I would prefer to rely on Peppe Miele, godfather of America’s VPN, in Los Angeles over him.

I was going to suggest you take some classes at Antica Pizzeria about vere pizze Napoletana if you wanted evidence that Neapolitan pizza doesn’t have a soggy wet center. However, I read you were in Paris and given your disdain for us slow on the uptake Los Angelinos, take it from the horse’s mouth for less than 80 Euros roundtrip you can fly to Naples on Easyjet and go to Ciro yourself or take a course on making true Neapolitan pies.

I am not even going to respond to what you describe as LA’s sushi tastes, because I personally am not a sushi connoisseur. I think it’s just another diss on LA, and irrelevant to what makes good pizza or what is the best pizza in LA.

If you want to disagree with sushigirlie about her opinion of pizza, go ahead and do so—but don’t claim you are all about facts, especially when your facts are wrong. Most importantly, don’t claim that LA is slow on the uptake especially regarding the food scene or Neapolitan pizza—that “just couldn't be further from reality and is just [embarrassingly] wrong.”

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Vincenti Restaurant
11930 San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049

Napoli
1815 Hawthorne Blvd, Redondo Beach, CA 90278

American Pie
19216 Normandie Ave, Torrance, CA 90502

Gjelina
1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

May 05, 2011
apple7blue in General Topics

Need help with a good vegan Restaurant on the westside

I never had the Buddha Bowl at Native Foods. The Native Foods menu has really changed since I last visited. I googled Buddha Bowl to see what a Buddha Bowl at Native Foods looked like. You are actually the 3rd link with your post above. The food I ordered and I took some home--they had these takeout items for meals at home--did not compare to non-vegan places. Although I mostly care about food quality, I also remember service being awkward and really long at Native Foods. I only notice things like that if its especially egregious or the food does not make up for it. I much preferred Village Bakery, or Italian Tomato nearby in Costa Mesa (when they existed--for vegetarian albeit not vegan food--but reiterating my vegan restaurants resting on their vegan laurels). I will try Native Foods again and check out the Buddha bowl.

I did think it was a disappointment that M Cafe in Culver City was replaced with this popular vegan chain restaurant.

What didn't you like about Real Food Daily? Or at least knocked it down from greatness? Wendorte wrote below its over priced Americanized and bland. While I did think it was Americanized and over priced--I don't think being Americanized is bad. I did find some items blandish also--like the desserts. Obviously, they are sweet not just bland.

I will definitely check out Stuff I Eat.

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Real Food Daily
414 N La Cienega Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90048

Stuff I Eat
114 N Market St, Inglewood, CA 90301

Italian Tomato
21515 Western Ave, Torrance, CA 90501

May 04, 2011
apple7blue in Los Angeles Area

Best Pizza in Los Angeles (& surrounding)????!!

This is certainly not the best pizza in Southern California, but it is the best pizza in Santa Ana: Bari Pizza & Pasta. If anyone knows a better place in Santa Ana, do tell . . .

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Bari Pasta & Pizza
1640 E 1st St Ste A, Santa Ana, CA 92701

May 02, 2011
apple7blue in Los Angeles Area

Need help with a good vegan Restaurant on the westside

I think a lot of vegan places rest on the fact they are vegan so some vegans will dine with them. I'd say Native Foods isn't that good either. M Cafe is great as is Real Food Daily.

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Real Food Daily
414 N La Cienega Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90048

May 02, 2011
apple7blue in Los Angeles Area

Need help with a good vegan Restaurant on the westside

Veggie Grill isn't very good food.

May 02, 2011
apple7blue in Los Angeles Area

fun and cheap lunch in Costa Mesa

I don't think I am one of the favored few, but I enjoyed myself there.

May 02, 2011
apple7blue in Los Angeles Area

BEST Kid-Friendly, Picky Eaters, Large Party/Group (~10 People) Dining Options in LA

I had a very different experience from you. Always consistently excellent food . . .

May 02, 2011
apple7blue in Los Angeles Area

Grilled Cheese Month at Clementine

Do you think they will do the sandwiches on request? I forgot to go.

May 02, 2011
apple7blue in Los Angeles Area

Neapolitan Pizza Guidelines [split from LA]

So you are saying that what she writes is not her opinion? I don't think you quite got the idea of posting. Considering the facts that in a country of 300 million with like over 70,000 pizzerias at official count, 10 or even 70 is not a whole lot--so you just proved her correct.

I guess Naples is also slow on the uptake, because the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana would expect you not to make a soggy centered pizza. epop mentions Antica--and we now have two Antica named pizzerias in Los Angeles. I have never had a soggy centered pizza from both, and would not relish it. One of those pizzerias actually teaches American courses of Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana.

NY Mag is not my bible on food matters also.

May 02, 2011
apple7blue in General Topics

Best Pizza in Los Angeles (& surrounding)????!!

It's quite affordable too and open till 2 am or somethin'

May 02, 2011
apple7blue in Los Angeles Area

Fools at Diddy Riese Cookies in Westwood

What do you teach at UCLA extension? They accepted card last time I went.

May 02, 2011
apple7blue in Los Angeles Area

ISO - Your favorite chili powder?

Buy it with friends and split it.

May 02, 2011
apple7blue in Los Angeles Area

Lunch/Brunch for Vegan

That's news to me, I drive by there often enough--what's in its place?

May 02, 2011
apple7blue in Los Angeles Area

Lunch/Brunch for Vegan

This is pointless, but it annoys me to no end that I can't edit my typo and change their to there.

May 02, 2011
apple7blue in Los Angeles Area

ABBOTS PIZZA IN CULVER CITY

According to the owners--a couple days ago, it's NY style pizza dough. The bagel crust is in the toppings on the crust--…ONION …GARLIC …SESAME …POPPY …HOT-CRUST …THE BLEND.

May 02, 2011
apple7blue in Los Angeles Area

ISO - Your favorite chili powder?

I like the kind from Indian markets. They are actually hot and flavorful.

Apr 24, 2011
apple7blue in Los Angeles Area

Lunch/Brunch for Vegan

The one in Culver City closed

Apr 24, 2011
apple7blue in Los Angeles Area

Lunch/Brunch for Vegan

Get the Big Macro.

Apr 24, 2011
apple7blue in Los Angeles Area

Lunch/Brunch for Vegan

I'd rather go to Mani's than Santa La Brea.

Apr 24, 2011
apple7blue in Los Angeles Area

Lunch/Brunch for Vegan

That place is disgusting--check out Gordon Ramsay's show. The food doesn't taste good also.

Apr 24, 2011
apple7blue in Los Angeles Area

Lunch/Brunch for Vegan

Well the food is good for meat eaters also--but check out M Cafe in Beverly Hills close to their. They have fish.

Apr 24, 2011
apple7blue in Los Angeles Area

Best Pizza in Los Angeles (& surrounding)????!!

I agree with bulavinaka (I also love the salad pizza--as disgusting as it sounds)--and I think also sushiegirl is kinda right about taste preferences--from what I understood she said. Then again most pizzerias in this country are like Domino's and disgusting chains.

Apr 24, 2011
apple7blue in Los Angeles Area

Neapolitan Pizza Guidelines [split from LA]

The wet center is from the uneven distribution of the dough. They toss and spin it--so the dough density is on the edges. Stop talking smack on LA ("slow on the uptake" lol)--we hava had Neapolitan pizzerias for awhile--some opening and closing long ago. A truly talented pizzer maker can avoid the wet center. Because the thinness of the crust of this style of pizza--you should be judicious with ingredients. Also, Bollini's on Garfield--they roll their dough to even out the distribution. Their chef trained in Naples himself.

Sushiegirl is entitled to her opinions--and I'd say most Americans agree with her idea of a great pizza. I disagree with her and agree with you--and I like buffalo milk Mozzarella balls as a topping, though I am not averse to traditional American shredded mozzarella also. I also like Neapolitan pizzas. Though I also like classic NY, Chicago fat style, etceteras.

Apr 24, 2011
apple7blue in General Topics

ABBOTS PIZZA IN CULVER CITY

Just to clarify--I generally just add my posts as a reflection of all that I read so this includes the posts below here also not just as a direct response to the exact post. I meant I wasn't as interested as you are.

I haven't been to the Santa Monica branch myself--but the Santa Monica one is different from the Abbot Kinney branch. Originally I thought Baron said it was the same one--as in they were moving. I figured if that were the case--then it'd be the same great quality pizza and perhaps less ridiculous prices. Two case studies of what I mean--Berri's pizza, there is one by the beach and one on Third Street. The one on Third street used better ingredients, the beach one uses tasteless black olive slice versus on Third using whole gourmet olives (they now cut them up). The other case study--Domenico's Old Town pizzeria had excellent food. After they closed, I made the trek to the other locations run by members of the same family--and was very disappointed. I am just saying there is no reason to expect this location to be as good given that the Santa Monica branch is not.

By the way, they don't use bagel dough for the pizza. They have bagel crust pizza. This is just to clarify for people who haven't been there and are dreading or expecting bagel dough pizza.

Apr 24, 2011
apple7blue in Los Angeles Area

Private Chef

I'd say no to the second question. It depends on the ingredients you want used and who you use. Other factors include what sort of service you want also. There are plenty of "famous" chefs that will work with your budget. However, one thing about building a reputation is using it to earn money. I know there are many non-"famous" chefs who will privately cook for you for much less. This is Southern California--one of the greatest metropolitan areas in the world--I am sure you can find someone who doesn't charge you Iron Chef prices. You should check hotel restaurant chefs--they are often very talented and yet do not have Iron Chef reputations. I don't mean hotel catering but contacting individuals to do some moonlighting.

Apr 24, 2011
apple7blue in Los Angeles Area

ABBOTS PIZZA IN CULVER CITY

Why would it if its totally unrelated? (See PaulF's post in this thread) The Santa Monica one is part of the same chain.

Apr 23, 2011
apple7blue in Los Angeles Area

ABBOTS PIZZA IN CULVER CITY

Its not as interesting since they aren't the same as on abbot kinney

Apr 23, 2011
apple7blue in Los Angeles Area

ABBOTS PIZZA IN CULVER CITY

+1 LaRocco's also

Apr 23, 2011
apple7blue in Los Angeles Area

ABBOTS PIZZA IN CULVER CITY

Yeah that's great, haven't tried this location or know if its open, but thanks for the info

Apr 21, 2011
apple7blue in Los Angeles Area

Disney Fans: Goofy's Kitchen or Storyteller's Cafe for Dinner

I vaguely remember scenes where they goofy and donald duck were thought of as food items. Magic mushroom ragout? I wish I had a disembodied smile or even a frown, lol . . .

Apr 21, 2011
apple7blue in Los Angeles Area