Posts Tagged With: New York style pizza

Mediocrity, The New Gateway Drug

When life gives you lemons, don’t make lemonade, toss ‘em in the fridge and grab yourself some wine instead! In light of the recent fires (no pun intended) we all endured here in the Connayo last week, I think that’s sound advice!

Since my weekend hiking plans were pretty much ruined, and even though it was still a bit smoky outside, my friend and I decided to meet for a glass of wine at a place that had a nice patio overlooking the ash sprinkling down over Westlake Blvd. Well we sat down and waited, and waited, and no one came to our table, which was nestled in amongst the other mostly empty tables, so I could see how we could be overlooked. I did notice that the manager went to the table next to us though. There were four of them and they had purchased a whole bottle of wine, where as there were only two of us and we just wanted two glasses. Anyway, the manager was behaving in such an obsequious manner with the table, her head was practically jammed right up their… um, how shall I put this? Her head  was… uhh… well, I guess I just have to come out and say it: her head was practically jammed right up their ass… es!  Not only that, she didn’t even glance in our direction as she stepped away from the table! We had no water, no menus, no nothing, but she didn’t even notice. I guess if you purchase a whole bottle of wine, as opposed to just a glass of wine, you’re going to get the manager’s head up your ass. So maybe don’t go there.

We said screw this, we can go get our own bottle of wine for the price of two glasses and sit by the lake where it’s really pretty and we don’t have to worry about being ignored, (only arrested) so that’s what we did! My friend left the choosing of the wine to me, since I happen to know a lot about the stuff. I already had it in my mind that I was going to pick something mediocre, yet drinkable, since we didn’t want to spend a lot of money. Oh, and it had to have a screw top for convenience. I thought a nice, crisp Sauvignon Blanc would play well against the smokyness in the air, and I knew exactly which one to get: Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc, which comes from the Marlborough region of New Zealand. That region of NZ makes spectacular SBs! But they also make mediocre SBs and that brand is one of them. Don’t get me wrong, it’s very drinkable, but when you’ve had spectacular wine, and then you drink mediocre wine, well, it’s like driving a Maserati, the having to switch over to a Camry!

Personally, I like spectacular wines but my wallet doesn’t, and the wallet is gonna win out every time. I say stick to the mediocre stuff, and you know why? Because drinking good wine is just a gateway drug. You start with the crappy stuff like the shit they sell at Trader Joe’s, but then one day, you get a taste of some of the better stuff, and you say “Hey, that’s pretty good! It’s way better than the crap I’ve been drinking!” then you start to drink good wine on a regular basis. But one day your wine snob friend says “Try this!” and she (me) turns you on to the really good stuff and you come to realize just how much you’ve sold yourself out in the past. Before you know it, you’re spending $40, $50, even $100 a bottle! Pretty soon, people who never used to want to hang out with you before, start becoming your best friends! They lavish you with attention and compliments while holding out their wine glass for you to fill, and you’re all buzzed and laughing and having a great time! You feel good about yourself because you know “the really good shit” and everybody knows it and looks up to you. You’re a wine superstar! Until one day, you can’t buy the good stuff anymore because you’re spent, broken, and all your money is gone. Your “friends” no longer want to have anything to do with you and you’ve resorted to panhandling outside of Trader Joe’s for the cheap stuff! Believe me, I see it happen all the time, it ain’t worth it!

NY Style?

NY Style?

My advice: stick with the mediocre stuff.

But if you want my opinion on the good stuff…

By the way, we got it from Vons, and they have the most wonderful selection of mediocre wines, so I’m sure you’ll find something!

So after sitting on our little park bench drinking our mediocre wine, overlooking the lake and watching all the rich drunks cruising around on their shitty boats, we got hungry, so we decided to stick with the “cheap” theme of the evening and get a slice of pizza. We headed over to Mulberry Street Pizza on Thousand Oaks Blvd. They recently opened up this location after being in BH for many years and claim to have authentic NY style pizza. I have to say that the staff are really friendly and the place is buzzing with NYers. But you know what? I found their pizza to be just… mediocre. The good thing is that you can get a slice anytime, where as my favorite place doesn’t offer slices at all. I’ve had some of the best NY pizza, so for me, MS just doesn’t slice it (pun intended).

Hmm, you know maybe you should go to Mulberry St. Pizza after all and just stick with the mediocre stuff, since we all know what happens when you don’t.

Mulberry Street Pizza

1655 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd.

Thousand Oaks, CA


Categories: Alcohol, Beverages, Food, Humor, Pizza, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Possibly The Best Pizza Possible

Okay, I’ve come to the conclusion that you have to be either really confident, or really stupid to claim that you make the best pizza in town. Or maybe both. You certainly can’t rely on what others say is the best pizza in town because let’s face it: we’re Southern Californians people!! This isn’t New York City or Italy where everyone knows their pizza and you only have to walk a few blocks to get the-best-pizza-I’ve-ever-had-in-my-life! And notice that I said walk, not drive, since pretty much everywhere else on the planet, people actually walk on their own two legs to get to other places, not get in their cars to drive five blocks. Everyone knows that we’re not known for the best pizza. We can claim all kinds of other besties, like, this is the best, safest place to live, or, this is the best place to spot a movie star, or, we have the best, rude asshole drivers on the road!!

But not pizza.

And some would say that I must be either really confident or really stupid to try to find the best pizza in town, and you know what I say to them? “Well, you could be right… but you’re probably not. And don’t call me stupid.” Now I know that’s a contradiction but believe me, I’m used to working within the boundaries of contradictions. So I set off to find myself the best possible pizza in town, and I’m working within the boundaries of the Conejo Valley specifically. Why, you ask? Because I’m used to contradicting myself within certain boundaries.

Now I have researched quite a few places (and have even tried a few of them), only to get either completely disappointed, or, found it was excellent, but paid way too much! For instance, I happen to think that a wood-fired oven is the best way to cook a pizza. But it turns out, if you want to get a wood-fired pizza in this town, you’re going to pay out the ying yang for it (not to be confused with yin & yang, which is kinda like a contradiction). Sure, I’ll talk about where to get those pizzas… another time. Right now, I’m going to talk about where to get a really great pizza that doesn’t rip the money right out of your ying yang. But before I get started, I just want to say please don’t send me a bunch of emails telling me I’m wrong about the place I chose, due to the fact that it’s simply impossible to get the best pizza in this town, because if you’ll notice, I said the best possible pizza, not THE best pizza.

There are things to consider when making a great pizza besides what apparatus it’s cooked in. There’s the water, for instance. Some would say that the water used to make the dough is the key, and Lord knows the water here is crap! We used to have fantastic water, us Connayo Valleyans. Now, we have terrible water for some reason (“Excuse me, why does my water taste like bleach?”) Some would say sure, yeah, it’s the water, but it’s also the other ingredients, like using the best tomatoes for the sauce, and a wonderful, creamy mozzarella cheese (not to be pronounced moo-zarella, because that is a bastardization of the word. It’s pronounced just like it’s spelled: mozza-rella. Don’t need to fudge the letters, ‘kay?) Personally, I think it’s a little bit of everything, but the number one ingredient in making damned good pizza, is putting your heart into making it! If you really love it, and really want to make your customers happy when they eat it, you have to put your heart into making the pizza for them! Simple.

Stupid Good!

Stupid Good!

That’s why I like going to Pizzeria La Piccola in Thousand Oaks. No, they don’t have a wood-fired oven, they have a regular gas pizza oven. But the way they make the pizza is great because the owner really cares about making great pizza for his guests. It’s nice and thin, and the crust is crispy and chewy at the same time. The tomato sauce is really clean and fresh tasting too, with a good balance of sweet and tart and just a subtle amount of herbs and seasonings, just like it should. Thank goodness because some places try to doll up their overly sweet tomato sauce by adding tons of herbs and spices to it, which only makes it taste worse! You can’t make already-crappy sauce taste better folks, it has to be good from the get-go!

Now the owner didn’t claim he made the best pizza in town… wait a minute… yes, he did actually make that claim, now that I think about it! I remember the first time I called to inquire whether he had a wood-burning pizza oven or not, he said, and I quote: “No, but we make the best pizza in town and I think you should come in and try ours.” Wow, that takes some balls people, and I’m not talking about rice balls either!!

So my conclusion is that it takes heart AND confidence to make great pizza, AND it takes stupidity to make the claim that you have the best pizza in town, AND to know exactly where to find great pizza… wait a second, that would imply that I’m stupid and that’s just ridiculous because only other people can be stupid, not me! It takes a really intelligent person to differentiate between being stupid and not being stupid!

What I’m trying to say is, that if you want the best pizza you’ve ever had in your life, then just take a trip to Italy with a stop-over in New York City. Otherwise, just take my suggestion… that way, you won’t look stupid.

Pizzeria La Piccola

1321 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., #116

Thousand Oaks, CA


Categories: Food, Humor, Pizza | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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