Saturday, September 24, 2005
It Feels Like Just Yesterday: Village Pizzeria
Five years ago, I was still in my twenties. Five years ago, I had a lot more energy; I went out a lot more, and went to bed a little later at night. Five years ago, I had pretty much just started going out with the love of my life. And five years ago I feel like I was a lot more naive and a lot less responsible. Tonight, I took a trip down a more recent memory lane and indulged in two of my favorite "five years ago" activities: shopping at Forever 21 and going for pizza in my old Larchmont/ Hancock Park neighborhood.
I won't bore you with the details of my I-need-to-update-my-wardrobe-but-in-a-cheap-way shopping trip, so I'll move on to the pizza. I've got emotional attachments to pizza in lots of different ways. It was, most definitely, my favorite "treat" food as a kid. Forget the burgers or ice cream; pizza was my poison as a little tyke. Some of my favorite family outings were our Sunday afternoon trips in the late 70's to this pizza joint in Pleasant Hill's Sunvalley Mall. My grandma used to use her leftover Chinese pastry dough to make her own version of pizza for her Americanized grandkids: ketchup or spaghetti sauce, cut up hot dogs or Chinese sausage and American cheese baked atop her lovingly made "pizza crust." My adolescent and college years were fueled by Bay Area pizza slices, namely from Blondies or Fat Slice, the cheapest, tastiest and most convenient food I could get while rushing from bus to Bart in whatever mischief I was up to at the time.
And thanks to Larchmont's Village Pizzeria, my saga with pizza continues. My first experience with Village Pizzeria was actually via delivery when I moved into the Hancock Park place I was renting at the time, when I had first moved back to LA after not being able to stand the chilling Bay Area anymore. Isaac and I had ordered a pizza after a long day of moving, so we didn't know if we fell in love with Village Pizzeria because we were starving or if it was because they actually made good food. After a few more visits and deliveries, we discovered that it was indeed the latter, and soon enough we were returning to this very neighborhoody pizza joint on a regular basis.
I hate listening to the whole "New York vs. Chicago" pizza debate, so it's great that this place has both thin and thick crust pizzas so that everyone's happy and keeps their yaps shut. I am personally more of a fan of the thicker crust kind (though I do tend to crave a thinner, crispier crust at times), so I usually go for their Sicilian crust pizzas. You can get them whole or by the slice with whatever toppings you desire, and while some people think the crust on these is a little dough-y, I think the thickness goes well with the generous amount of toppings the restaurant gives each of its pies. Isaac's Sicilian slices with pepperoni and sausage were the perfect junk food--loaded with ooey-gooey cheese and sinful meats. I went a tad more healthy tonight and ordered the Sicilian pizza with broccoli and sun dried tomatoes, which was comforting as ever with its warm crust, fluffy on the inside but crispy on the bottom. I just wish the sun dried tomatoes hadn't been as tart as they were. Oh well, nothing several shakes of dried parmesan cheese can't take care of.
Yummy-nummy pizza loaded with toppings
Village Pizzeria's non-pizza food deserves mention as well. I'm also a fan of their Italian style heroes, particularly the meatball and the chicken parm. They're always served on a warm, chewy roll with the perfect amount of mozzarella and marinara and come with a refreshing house salad on the side--not bad for a little over six bucks. We decided to forgo the hero sandwich in lieu of pizza tonight, but we did split a small chef's salad which, for a small, was a huge mound of ham, salami, chicken breast, mozzarella, mushrooms, peppers, onions, lettuce and tomatoes. It was definitely tasty--Village Pizzeria's house vinaigrette is a slightly creamy concoction with a slight bite to it--my only peeve being that I wish they'd chop the ingredients up a little more. Those chicken chunks were huge!
A chunky, but refreshing chef's salad
Isaac and I spent a perfect evening sitting in their small sidewalk area enjoying the comfortable LA night air, people watching and talking shit while munching on our pizza and salad. It felt just like five years ago. But do I wish I could go back? Nah. I liked life five years ago, but I like it alot better today. I'll just pick this pizza memory upand carry it with me well into my thirties.
131 N. Larchmont Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90004