Thursday, September 6, 2012

Slice of Italy in LA

So, it's Thursday. And I still feel like the week is just beginning. The 3-day weekend somehow managed to throw me off even though I don't usually go into the office on Mondays anyway, which, I would argue, is borderline impressive.

Anyway. I had planned to post my last Italy pictures (Florence!!!), but I'm going to save those for a little later and share the little piece of Italy I explored with my Florence roommates this long weekend.

First, pizza on the beach! Technically not a typical Italian venture, but since my lovely roommate from Italy DeeAnne (first picture above) and I decided to explore Manhattan Beach and have a pizza picnic on the beach, it felt a little like being back in Cinque Terre or the Amalfi Coast, munching on pizza and staring at the gorgeous water. 

Then, the real Italian reunion: Michael's Pizzeria in Long Beach. Friends, there is something you should know about me. When living in Florence last fall, I fell completely, irrevocably in love with a little place called Gusta Pizza. If you know anyone else who has studied abroad in Florence, you've already heard of this place, because it is universally loved. I was lucky enough to live right around the corner, and took full advantage of that by demolishing entire pizzas on my own at every opportunity (which was a lot). So much so that the workers all remembered me when I came back this summer, which I would have to claim as one of my proudest moments to date. I still can't understand more than 5 words they say to or about me, but who doesn't want to be greeted with open arms by their favorite pizzaioli? 

But the point is: I've been on a perpetual search for pizza even near as good as Gusta in America, and this weekend, I think I had the closest approximation yet. You'll thank me for finding this when you see pictures of the real Gusta later. 

It was so. good. I'm super picky about my crust -- classic Neopolitan crust is meant to be thin and crispy, but I typically hate thin crust. So finding a pizza that balances the thin crust for most of the pie with a doughy, chewy, delicious perimeter is the Holy Grail for me. See above. 

But, as displayed by my beautiful roommate Jessica, it does tend to be a little messy...

This is actually a one pizza per table deal, we discovered, but totally worth it. And that weird looking orange bottle? A chili-infused olive oil that is fantastic with the crusts of the pizza. 

To top it off...Nutella pizza. I know, I know. Stop. Not as good as the Nutella calzone I had in Sorrento as seen here, but a worthy contender. We had it topped with stracciatella gelato. YUM. 

About three minutes after it arrived at the table...not even sorry.

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