After 8 years in Brooklyn (Bed Stuy! Do or Die!), I kissed my favorite pizza good-bye and flew home to Los Angeles. A few months later I was hired at Slice. I didn’t know much more about pizza then the average NYC foodie. But that’s considerably more than the average LA foodie… and probably how I got the job. This past year I’ve devoured the Los Angeles pizza scene, learning a simple truth: There is awesome pizza in LA!
That’s not to say I haven’t had horrid pies along the way. But I’d gladly eat 10 bad slices (it’s not like pizza is ever really that bad) for every marvelously cheesy discovery. Pizzanista is a perfect example. In the modern dereliction of the downtown Arts District there is little competition when it comes to feeding the masses, so a popular pizza spot may not necessarily be good. But after just ones taste of Pizzanista’s insanely generous slices of vegan cheese and Sicilian pizza, this is a joint I will be going out of my way for.
I’ve eaten far more NYC style pizza then I would ever tell my doctor. And though this looks like a NYC slice, it is a completely different beast. Stretched big and thin like an east coast pie, the thoroughly crisp crust has an unexpected element: Sourdough! NYC style crusts have little more flavor then flour and tap water, but Pizzanista’s pies are complexly layered with fermented sourness. Matched with the unsweetened tomato sauce, it might be too sour for some palates. But, hot damn, I’m a girl who appreciates this kind of attention to crust.
The thick base of the Sicilian truly shines in my eye (mouth). The crust crunches like a fresh from the oven boule, the kind of finish you knock on and hear the hollow tone of a finely baked bread. Supple and moist with a bubbly underside that can only be described as gorgeous, the top is muddled with deep pools of Alta Cucina “Naturale” Style Plum Tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. As I neared the end of this monstrous slice, I had to make a choice: Eat the outer crust and leave the middle behind, or eat the glistening tomatoey center and leave the bones behind. In all other situations, tomatoes and cheese wins. But the just-shy-of-burnt mozzarella cheese on the crackling edge demanded my attention. The tomatoey center was left on the plate.
Maybe I’m just overly excited. This was only my first visit. But Pizzanista’s recipes were developed by pizza idol Steve Samson of Sotto, so I have faith that consistent quality is coming out of their deck oven. I intend to find out… probably next Mac and Cheese Sunday!
2019 E 7th St
Los Angeles, CA 90021