A Heart-Attack Meal
You’re lucky I’m still alive.
After all, the amount of fat I consumed in one meal recently in Los Angeles is probably enough to send most folks into cardiac arrest. But I am a seasoned professional — used to putting my body on the line when it comes to chowing down on the finer, fattier tasting things in life.
And it doesn’t get much finer than Pizzeria Mozza at N. Highland Avenue and Melrose Avenue. Everytime I make it to Los Angeles, this is a stop I have to make, a stop I dream about all vacation-long.
A restaurant by Nancy Silverton (of La Brea Bakery fame), Mario Batali (who needs no introduction), and Joseph Bastianich (Lidia’s son), this is a true temple of carbo-load hedonism. It makes what is arguably the best pizza around. It’s the only pizza in which I eat every bit of crust. When it’s this good, why let any go to waste? It’s at once chewy in some parts, crispy in others, and with a deep, bready flavor like a fine artisan loaf.
Since it opened, the restaurant has been a hard ticket. But it does take reservations now. And if you don’t mind eating at the odd hour of 3 p.m.-ish, you usually can walk in on a weekday or weekend to find a free table or a free seat at the bar.
That’s what my hubby and I did, snagging a table on a Friday afternoon. We started with an appetizer of sinful bone marrow ($12). Roasted in the oven, three dinosaur-like bones come to the table, encasing a wealth of unctuous, rich marrow to be spread on grilled bread. Add a sprinkling of salt, some parsley leaves, and a confit garlic clove for a taste of heaven.
We followed that up with a clam-garlic-oregano-Pecorino pizza ($17), and what may very well be my new favorite pizza of all time — squash blossoms, tomato, and burrata ($18). Although the clams used to come whole in the shell atop the pizza, now they are scattered on the pizza sans shells. Tasty, but I kind of miss the fun presentation of the whole clams.
If anyone out there hasn’t yet tried burrata, get thee a taste now. It’s mozzarella with a center of cream. It doesn’t get more decadent that that. It’s like whipped cream in custardy, cheese form. And with its milky, fresh taste, it’s the perfect foil to the sweet-acidic tomatoes and the from-the-earth taste of the squash blossoms. My hubby kept laughing as he watched me eat my pizza with a big, happy grin plastered across my face.
I don’t even want to know the fat content in that meal. No, it’s not something one can indulge in every day — without dire consquences, I’m sure. But if some day it were to be my last meal, what a grand exit that would be.