Maybe we were being a little selfish. But when faced with the prospect of deciding what to eat for this week's food fight, we found ourselves in West L.A., sitting on a couch with some NBA playoff games about to start. So rather than rush through a pair of tongue sandwiches on Westwood Boulevard, we opted for a pizza delivery fight. But from where? Do we order fancy pizzas, with things like Brussels sprouts, crispy pancetta and mascarpone cheese? Or do we follow a heavily beaten, and far more affordable path? Then we realized that this was a food fight, and that we should probably look into both.
So we called two pizza places, back to back. First we rang Pitfire Pizza, the “artisan” choice (their word, not ours), where pizzas come in but one size — small. To keep things simple, we opted for a basic margherita, though did have to order a few extra things to hit their delivery minimum. The pizza arrived fairly quickly, with its bubbly, crackling crust; liquefied fresh mozzarella; and crispy leaves of basil all intact. It was, to be sure, a more than acceptable pizza for a basketball game. Luxurious in fact, especially when you consider that you've paid nine-fifty for four smallish slices of bread, cheese, sauce, and basil. If you had, say, six hungry men who planned to watch sports for five hours, you could easily see yourself spending eighty dollars or more.
For our second pizza option, we ordered from a longstanding local Italian joint, Mama's Original, on Motor Avenue. As expected, there are no options for fresh mozzarella or, “California EVOO.” But then, a large one-topping pizza is just twelve dollars. We ordered it with fresh basil to keep things simple (we also ordered their oddly addictive garlic twists). Their delivery person arrived shortly after Pitfire's, avoiding the potentially awkward situation of two pizza guys walking up to the front door at the same time.
But how was the pizza? It was bready, and soft, and the cheese stretched and pulled as we lifted each slice from the box. There was no crackling crust, no soft runny cheese, and little relation to the types of pies you usually see written about on serious food blogs. It was, however, a perfectly adequate pizza for an evening spent focusing on people like Chris Paul and Manu Ginobili.
So who's pizza was better? Well, Pitfire's. But the larger question is, if you're going to be sitting around with friends watching sports, what type of pizza place should you order from? Do you order pizza, or do you order fancy pizza? The answer, it turns out, is rather obvious: you order regular pizza. Unless you're rich, in which case, mazel tov. Tell Nancy Silverton we said hi.