Monday, March 12, 2007

Il Capriccio Pizzeria

Wood fire pizza is as hot in Los Angeles right now as...Jennifer Hudson (It's a gift, I know. I really ought to be writing for one of those Access Hollywood-type shows). First, Pizzeria Mozza, the joint venture of Mario Batali and Nancy Silverton, opened. The hottest restaurant opening in town, with reservations booked for months in advance. The stars, it appears, are off their no-carb diets, as Jennifer Aniston, Topher Grace, and more have tried Mozza's eclectic pizza offerings. While some people have derided the wood-fired crust, claiming it's more like a bagel than pizza, most people have been impressed. Of course, I haven't had the opportunity to go yet. Edan went for lunch on her birthday, and sampled the egg and guanciale pie (egg, ribbons of ruby radicchio, thinly sliced guanciale (which is cured pig jowl), and a bagna cauda (a warm bath of garlic, anchovies and olive oil). She reported back that the egg on the pizza was surprisingly good, and the guanciale was delicious, eventually inspiring us to put it in a pasta dish. Oh, and she saw Randy Jackson from "American Idol" having lunch with a would-be starlet. You don't get that at Pizza Hut. I got to try leftovers of the pizza her mother got, a goat cheese and sausage concoction that was still good a day later. Certainly, Mozza offers something other than your average pizza experience. The crust is thin in the center and bubbly on the edges, almost like a lightly crisped pita bread. The cheese is relatively sparse, and there's not really a sauce to speak of on most of the pies. (Keep in mind that I'm getting all of this from one slice of leftovers and some word of mouth. If anyone has actually been there, please write in and let us know what you thought).

A few weeks ago, I noticed a storefront opening on Sunset Blvd not far from our apartment. It was called Il Capriccio Pizzeria. I wondered, is this the same Il Capriccio that I've eaten at on Vermont Avenue, the one that's about 75 feet from my front door? Then a post popped up on Erin's Kitchen confirming that it was one and the same, and I was officially interested. Edan and I decided to walk over and get a pie on Saturday night.

In retrospect, it was a mistake to walk, since Il Capriccio Pizzeria delivers. While it was a beautiful California night, we took Omar Little with us. That meant dragging him at times, waiting for him to smell every single vertical object in our path (including pedestrians), and stopping him from eating cigarette butts, which apparently taste like pumpkin pie to him. After looking over the menu, we decided on something called the "Salsiccia" pie -- Italian sausage, garlic, rosemary, olive oil, tomato sauce and mozzarella. We also got a mixed salad.

The restaurant is cute and looked surprisingly like a pizzeria, albeit a very new, very clean, very modern pizzeria. There's a counter where the diner places his order, and a big wood-burning oven behind it. One wall features an orange-tinted collage of photographs of Italy, while another wall had specialty goods for sale (olive oil, exotic pastas, and some gourmet chocolate bars). The orange wall is a bit intense, and the chairs seem out of place (They're the kind of white molded plastic chairs one might find in a Korean boba cafe; I'd bet my life they're from Ikea), but it's still a pretty cute place. But we had the dog with us, so we got our pie to go.

Once we got back to the apartment, we sat down to watch some TV and eat some pizza. For all its pretension, the "Salsiccia" is nothing more than a sausage pizza. It's OK with me -- I could eat sausage at every meal -- but we were hoping for a little something special. The crust was very chewy, but I wonder if it would've been better either in the restaurant or delivered by a driver with an insulated bag. The sausage was the ground kind, not little discs. While I'm fine with either, I prefer the discs. Being wood fire pizza, there wasn't much cheese. Since they weren't knocking us out with fancy toppings, more cheese would've been nice. And neither of us tasted even a hint of rosemary. Fairly disappointing. The mixed salad was bagged baby spring mix (I know it well) and some chopped tomatoes. Blah. I'm willing to give Il Capriccio Pizzeria another shot, probably via the delivery man, but I was less than enthused about their pizza this time around.

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