I love pizza, but pizza three days in a row is stretching it even for me. Tuesday night was Casa Bianca, as a sort of control, since many people think it's the best in town. We waited about a half hour and were seated in back next to a cackling party of cacaphonous girlfriends. I ordered a small fried eggplant and garlic, which was about as big as a medium other places, and cheap to boot. Matt had a medium sausage and mushroom. Both had a nice balance of sauce and cheese, and the thin, crispy crust managed to stand up to the toppings. I like eggplant on pizza, but breaded, fried eggplant seems to be gilding the lily. The sausage was particularly tasty, with strong fennel flavor. However, crispy crust is not my favorite -- I prefer a slighty chewy, slighty yeasty regular crust. The price is right and the flavor is nice, but the inevitable wait makes it hard to run over to Casa Bianca when the pizza urge strikes. Verdict: Very good, but not my style.
Wednesday was lunch at Cheebo with Ramin. I had the sausage, since many of their unusual toppings don't appear on the eat-in menu. Cheebo's rectangular pizza is served on a wood plank, and their takeout menu lists pizza add-ons like burrata, pine nuts and cheddar cheese. I wish more L.A. pizza places would offer interesting options like this -- in places like Portland, Oregon, it's accepted that people will want to branch out beyond pepperoni. Also nicely balanced, also good sausage. But I don't love their slightly sweet, oil-brushed crust which is a little too soft. Service also left a lot to be desired -- the server spilled ketchup on Ramin, said he would comp him a dessert, added it to our bill anyway, and gave us the table closest to the kitchen door, which the servers had to squeeze past everytime they entered. Verdict: good if it's convenient, especially for takeout, but not the pizza of my dreams.
Thursday we had Damiano's Mr. Pizza delivered to the office. For some reason, people often dismiss Damiano's -- they're turned off by the dingy interior, or they figure anything they drunkenly consumed after late-night clubbing in the 80s couldn't have been that good. But actually, Damiano's has been my favorite pizza so far on this quest, although the crust didn't seem quite as perfectly done as when we had it delivered to the blogger party late at night. We all took bites and said, "yeah, that's pretty good." Then after a few more bites, we all dived for second pieces and realized that Damiano's comes near what I call "total pizza-osity." It's not delicate or gourmet, and you probably can't get it with goat cheese, but it sure hits the spot. Verdict: You'll probably want to have it delivered if possible. If you haven't tried Damiano's since that Wall of Voodoo show in 1984, give it another try -- you may be very pleasantly surprised.