Thursday, May 10, 2018

A Large Pizza Festival Is Coming to LA in July.

As LA digs itself out of the pizza doldrums and emerges into one of the more exciting crust-sauce-cheese locales in the US of A, it's only fitting this summer we play host to a massive, weekend-long pizza festival. The California Pizza Festival goes down July 28th and 29th in the parking lots of DTLA's LA Center Studios (former home of the Grilled Cheese Invitational, R.I.P.) and will feature over 30 pizzerias, near and far. 

Billing itself as an "unlimited sampling" festival, CPF's Neopolitan highlights include iconoclastic Da Michele and Antica Pizzeria Port Alba, who have been slinging cheesy apizza pies in Naples, Italy since 1870 and 1738, respectively. Which, is, like, a really long time so they might know what they're doing. Local purveyors include popular WeHo spot Prova, Settebello and Sun Valley fave, 786 Degrees, amongst others. CPF promises a plethora of styles, including Sicilian, New York, gluten-free and vegan.

General admission tickets, which include unlimited sampling (but drinks are extra), are available for a pre-sale price of $45 a day. VIP $89 (includes three drink coupons, amongst other perks). Kids 4-10 years of age are $20 and 3-and-under are free. Find tickets HERE.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

I Insta-Stalked A Pie Place For A Year. It Was Even Better Than Imagined.

I spend an inordinate amount of time on Instagram. If I'm not posting culinary pornography myself, I'm liking my peers' culinary pornography or local restaurant's culinary pornography or a cool hotel's culinary pornography or a tourism board's culinary pornography. It's just a heck of a lot of culinary pornography on Instagram. A while back I started seeking out such porno in cities I was visiting in the near future. Before I knew it I had almost a dozen folders "saved" on my Insta account with the food I absolutely needed to eat in my upcoming destinations of Scottsdale, Nashville, Portland, St. Augustine and Savannah, Georgia. I even started folders for cities I was bound to visit in the near future, like New York and Seattle.

Somewhere in the midst of this, I started following Sister Pie. Sister Pie features a popular Insta account, much thanks to their outside the box, sultry sweet pie and bakery offerings. Here's the thing though: Sister Pie isn't in Scottsdale or Nashville or Portland or St. Augustine or Savannah. Nor New York or Seattle. It's in Detroit. When I started following SP, I didn't have a trip planned to Detroit. Nor do I foresee one. But the pie looked so damn good, I just started following them... wondering if I ever would be able to reach into the screen and devour a slice.

Time went by and I thought about Sister Pie a lot. Probably too much. Then in February out of nowhere my wife declared she planned to visit her best college friend for a weekend. This friend lives in... Detroit. I didn't want to put the pressure on or anything, so I acted cool and like whatever about it, but I casually tagged the wife in SP Insta photos from time to time. Nudge, nudge, you know. BUT NO PRESSURE. As her Detroit weekend approached, I grew giddy. Then... it got canceled. Snow. Her flight was stuck in LA. Her midwestern sojourn got pushed to May. I once again backed off. Until the real weekend started approaching again. I started tagging her in Sister Pie posts again. NO BIG DEAL. 

As she departed for the Motor City, no promises were made. She would see if they had time. 

To save you more of my meaningless words, she.. HAD TIME. Returning on Sunday, she unpacked. Out came a bag of cookies, a half-eaten brownie and... the slice of the pie you see above. Here I was, face to face with the pie I had cross-continentially Insta-stalked (or is it, Instalked?). Together. At last. It was sorta like that Keanu Reeves-Sandra Bullock movie that isn't "Speed." Overcome by the momentous occasion and not sure how or if I should make the first move, I was shy at first. So I put it in the fridge, with the plan to re-approach the following morning. Naturally, I could hardly sleep. Tossing and turning, wondering if it would live up to the hype. 

Much to my surprise, it did.

In today's Instagram world, it almost doesn't matter if the product actually tastes good. As long as it looks good, you will get looky-loos like me. Thousands of fans everywhere that WANT to eat your pie. And WANT to post a picture of themselves eating said pie. That's almost all that matters. 

But, Sister Pie so did. This despite the tiny slice flying cross country in a cavernous, destructible box, in my wife's overheated backpack, under her coach seat, enduring a long layover and all. It was one of the best first pie bites I've ever had. And second. And third. Basically a classic buttermilk chess pie with high end maple syrup and sea salt added, it's body is chewy and tasty and grainy yet smooth. The crust buttery AF. The combination is the pie slice I envisioned all these long Instagram nights.

Now all I can think about is when can we go back to Detroit. Shouldn't my wife visit her friend again? They haven't seen each other... in a few days. 

For now, I move on to my shiny new Insta obsession: PV Donuts. It's a donut shop in Providence, Rhode Island. I may never go to Providence, Rhode Island...

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

FREE FREE FREE. New Melrose Deli Doling Out Italian Sandwiches Gratis To First 100 Customers Tuesday.

When I first moved to LA from Boston I oft lamented the lack of "East Coast Italian delis." Every once in a while, no matter how perfect the weather, you just want a huge ass sandwich, on crusty fresh-baked Italian, stuffed to the brim with goddamn grandma's red sauce and mostly hot foodstuffs. Of course Bay Cities has their "hot section," but it still feels very much like a West Coast joint. Also, R.I.P. the highly underrated Soda Pop's, which teetered the east coast/west coast line.

The new'ish Uncle Paulie's on Beverly is probably the closest LA has to the east coast luminaries. Well, until now. Next week famed Miami chef Michael Pirolo of Macchialina will open a namesake sandwich spot, Pirolo's Panino on Melrose. The joint will very much sling East Coast-style "panino," including Italian Roast Beef, Meatball and Chicken Parm. And like any good East Coast deli, they're also doing hot entrees (Chicken Limone, Baked Mac) and sides. 

To celebrate their opening on Tuesday, April 24th, the first 100 customers who demonstrate proof of following @pirolos on Insta will receive a free sandwich. They open at 11 am on Melrose.

Opens Tuesday, 4/24/18.
7461 Melrose Avenue, LA.