The last time I was in Los Angeles was almost thirty-three years ago, which was well before my formative eating years. Back then, there was no appreciation for barbecue, Neapolitan-style pizza, pasta made from scratch, smoked meats, and so forth.
So it was with great anticipation that I looked forward to my recent trip to Los Angeles. Knowing all about the famed food scene in town, I carefully did research of what hot food spots I should target. My primary resource was Los Angeles Times food critic Jonathan Gold’s comprehensive and fantastic list of the 101 Best Restaurants in Los Angeles. I also caught the recent AskMen.com piece naming the country’s ten best sandwiches, including two from Los Angeles. Given the desire to “carb load” on the night before a marathon, I planned to hit up a top notch Italian restaurant. The final guideline? After much thought, I did not want to go to Spago or another expensive prix fixe spot, figuring that there were plenty of other outstanding, more affordable spots.
And what did I find? Two observations: 1) There is plenty of amazing food in Los Angeles, from casual to high end places, and 2) some Philadelphia restaurants are just as good as those LA restaurants though there are just many more options in the City of Angels.
It had been fourteen months since the epic Philadelphia Pizza Crawl of December 2012. Over seven months elapsed since the Philadelphia Taco Crawl of July 2013. People were getting hungry, and it was time for the food crawl planners to plan the next outing: Philadelphia Pizza Crawl 2: The Search for New Pizza. There is so much good pizza in this city the only logical thing to do is have a second crawl to try the best of the best.
Opening night of a new restaurant can be extremely busy and not truly indicative of a typical night. Throw in the additional factor of Marc Vetri opening up his new pizza restaurant, and you would think there was the potential for all-out chaos. Fortunately, while the crowds came in droves to the public opening of Pizzeria Vetri at 1939 Callowhill, the night ran as smoothly as possible for both customers and staff.
Pizzeria Vetri is by no means a large establishment. It seats about 35 and has no bar at which to hang out while waiting for your table. What it does have, however, is a check-in system, in which the hostess accurately gives you an expected wait-time and then automatically texts you when your seats (not necessarily table) are ready. So, getting news of a one-hour wait at 7 p.m. wasn’t the worst news, as I just went one block over to Kite & Key for a drink during the wait.