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Pizzeria Mozza

I'm loathe to ever admit that anything is better outside of New York. It's a very difficult thing fo me to do. I love to travel and I think about living elsewhere all the time, but ultimately the deficiencies I may see at home are owing to some larger national or regional issue than anything specific about New York.

So when Eric told me that he thought the pizza at Pizzeria Mozza was better that Otto, owned by the same folks here in New York, I was skeptical and very confused. I've learned to respect Eric's opinion about such things over the 20 years we've known each other. yet here it was, he was claiming that LA, the anti-New York had a better pizza pizza! than a place in the city of our birth.


Yet, I headed out there Sunday night after the games were all done and had a meal that I only wish were available back home. And this isn't like going to France where everything is butter and fat (which is to say fat and fat) and finding that everything is better, of course that's better. No, this is head to head, chef to chef, even sharing the same owners and backing and LA topping New York.

The key is the crust. It comes from La Brea Bakery, a neighborhood place that provides all the pizza dough for them. It's chewy and fluffy in just the right ways. The topping of a spicy salami and chile peppers were also perfect. Without setting my mouth ablaze, it managed to spark a pleasurable tingling that spread after a few bites.

We started with fried risotto balls, filled with cheese and peas and meat and surrounded with a light, sweet tomato sauce for dipping. My only complaint with this antipasti was that there wasn't enough of it. The balls were a bit on the small side, so I never got enough of that savory filling in a bite. But then, I suppose for a starter, not having enough is sort of the point.

I rarely eat dessert. I usually prefer a nice glass of port or a muscato. When I saw that they had a caramel gelato, I was intrigued. When I saw it was available in a copetta, a sundae, I caved. The gelato was creamy and the gooey caramel was mixed throughout, on top were pockets of marshmallow fluff, whose texture contrasted just enough with the caramel to feel the two bend and warp in my mouth without ever actually mixing.

My dining companion, who had declined dessert, ended up having nearly half of it. After a taste, he realized the folly of skipping dessert and dug in. I take a special pleasure in sharing the experience of good food with folks who don't usually chase after it the way I do. So I was gratified when he told me that this was one of the best meals he'd had in ages.

In the end, I may have to swallow my pride to accept that there is at least one thing that LA has over New York

Pizzeria Mozza
641 N. Highland Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90036

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