California pizza. There was a time when putting those two words together was met with a snicker, and that time wasn't so long ago. Even during the heyday of gourmet California pizza, the rest of the country raised an eyebrow at the idea of "brie and duck sausage" pizza - "How can it be good?" we asked. "Why can't they make a decent New York or Neapolitan pizza?"
Well, they can. And if the dough is excellent, interesting toppings are okay too.
We're not saying that there's a plethora of excellent 'slice joints' along the California coastline - The Golden State still has it's share of awful pizza. But San Francisco is turning into a pizza town that rivals New York, Los Angeles has some incredibly good pizza, and even smaller towns have some pizzerias that produce quality pies!
Antica Pizzeria in Marina del Rey was as Neapolitan is it gets (outside of Naples!). Owner Peppe Miele founded the American branch of the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (VPN). Read about our visit here!
Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles was recommended to us by both Peter Reinhart and Chris Bianco, so we had to go. Did we find Mozza's pizza as superb as we'd heard? See for yourself!
Pizzeria Ortica in Costa Mesa is real pizza in Orange County! We sat down for four pies there with the L.A. Pizza Maven (who reviews pizzerias for Slice) and had a great time, eating and talking and eating... The story and the pizzas are here!
Truth be told, we still haven't sat down to dinner at Tony's Pizza Napoletana in San Francisco, but over the course of the two-day class Cary took with World Pizza Champion owner/pizzaiolo Tony Gemignani, he tasted several of Tony's greatest pizzas! Read about the class - and the pizzas here!