Sunday, January 4, 2009

California Man Travels To Florida Just To Get A Chicago Style Pizza

So as you probably know by know, I'm in Orlando, FL doing the DisneyWorld extravaganza with my bro-bro's wife, kids, and in-laws. As with most touristy places, the eats situation has been a mixed bag. Friday we ate at Chef Mickey's - a helluva good buffet for a joint that caters mainly to the Webkins crowd. Saturday was a mix of PBJ's and chips brought to the park while the evening brought the inevitably overpriced and insanely mediocre bill of fare served at the park itself.

Tonight, however, was a different story altogether. Tonight, my friends, I ate a stuffed pizza from none other than my favorite Chicago pie shop, Giordano's. When I heard there was a Giordano's here in Orlando, I nearly fell out of my chair. I've only ever eaten at Giordano's while in Chicago. The last time was in April when I went to visit my girlfriend's parents in Freeport, IL. There's nothing quite like it. If you're one of those pansies who only eat thin crust, then stop reading this right now. This isn't for you. As a matter of fact, I don't think we can go on being friends any more. Just go. I'm not kidding. Go!

Ok, for the rest of you, Giordano's makes the best Chicago style pizza, and by that I mean stuffed pizza. The kind where the tomato sauce is on top, and beneath it...beneath it are layers upon layers of mozzarella cheese, your toppings of choice (which are no longer toppings, really, more like middlings) and more delicious tomato sauce. The pie is surrounded by a circular fortress of the thickest, butteriest, golden-browniest crust imaginable. The kind you look forward to eating after you're done inhaling the soft, gooey, center. Yeah, it's serious stuff.

So as I walked into the palatial confines of the Orlando Giordano's, I couldn't help but think why the {fork} isn't there one of these in L.A.? And not just L.A. but anywhere in the state of California? And then I remembered, oh yeah, years ago a Pizzeria Uno opened in downtown West Hollywood. What a time that was! Me and my buddy Jayce would meet there and relive our Chi-town glory days (which, granted, really were not that glorious, but we did eat well.)

Too bad the Uno's only lasted about a year. I can only guess that the stuffed pizza, grinders, and mozzerella sticks didn't quite jell with the sushi and tofu crowd. But do you know what eventually replaced the Uno's in West Hollywood? A friggin' DuPars, which is your basic hole-in-the-wall diner (though I hear their pancakes are to die for.) So where's the logic in that?

Anyway, my point is this: are there any good pizza places at all in Los Angeles? Yeah, we got California Pizza Kitchen, but then again, so does Alabama. And that's not real pizza, it's designer pizza. And designer pizza does not fly on Michigan Avenue, superfans.

I hear lots of displaced east-coasters have their favorite New York style pizza places in L.A. One of them, Mulberry Street Pizza, is even rumored to import their water from the east coast so their pizza crust is like the real deal. Now that's dedication!

Me, I'll just settle for one Giordano's in California. I'm even willing to travel. Orange County, San Diego, Palm Springs...I'm flexible! Please don't make me beg. Couldn't we lose a few Del Tacos and have a Giordano's or even a Gino's in their stead? The trannies on Santa Monica Boulevard might even appreciate the change in pace.

Just don't make me have to go to Orlando to get my Chicago pizza fix. Mouse ears and stuffed pie just do not go hand in hand.


JP said...

Next time you want real pizza, just get your ass back home to Chicago!! Come visit me and I promise we'll have a different stuffed pie every night from places you haven't even dreamed of yet!!

Giordanos??? OK, but you're doing Malnati's a great disservice, AND they ship around the country! (note to self - will probably survive shipment to LA better than choco-covered peanut butter balls! Your next birthday might be a "cheezy" one!)

But I have to agree with you that LA is severely lacking good pizza, which seems to me to be the way of the west (coast) - I don't even remember seeing a Lou's or Uno's or Giordano's in Vegas!! (although I could be very wrong as I haven't seen every little corner of every little hotel or casino, but I do recell seeing a few Noble Romans around Vegas, a chain I remember from when I lived in Indianapolis!!)

Hope you're enjoying your time in Disney, food and beverage issues aside! :)

TDiddy said...

When it comes to stuffed pies, it's probably six in one, half dozen the other. I know I've never met a Chicago pizza I've never liked. It's probably from working at Giordano's that I really became accustomed to the stuff(ed.)

I don't recall any Chi-town pies in Vegas either. Never heard of Noble Romans. I'm sure I;d love it though.;)