Question: The last time I was in New York, friends were telling me about a place out in Queens that served kimchi pizza. Kimchi pizza! If kimchi pizza can exist in Queens, I assume there has to be something like it here, but I have never heard of such a thing. Have you?
Addie, Los Angeles
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Answer: When Geraldine Baum wrote about that New York kimchi pizza last year in the Los Angeles Times, I was a little taken aback. Surely there had to be a local example of the phenomenon Los Angeles does have the biggest Korean community in the United States, and it seemed a little strange to be writing about culinary cross-pollination in Queens when Koreatown was in our backyard. But when I thought about it for a while, and checked my stash of Korean menus, the closest I could come was the kimchi pancake with cheese at the Korean nightclub Zip in the Mid-Wilshire district. The pancake was surprisingly good, and had most of the sensations of pizza, but still it was a different thing. Just last week, though, I wandered into the newly remodeled Grecos, a fairly mainstream restaurant in Old Town Pasadena: antipasto plates, cheap red wine in carafes, a rudimentary menu of veal and seafood and such, but basically an old-line pizzeria. And although this was probably the last place I expected to find something exotic done well, the kimchi pizza with Italian sausage was excellent brawny-crusted and muscular, healthily sluiced with cheese, with a sweet-sour spiciness that came across more as a rustic vegetable thing than as anything Korean (you probably couldnt identify it unless somebody tipped you off in advance). The pie tasted resolutely Italian, as if it originated in a southern region you couldnt quite locate on a map. Kimchi pizza! Go figure. 43 E. Union St., Pasadena; (626) 795-9615. Got a burning culinary question? Ask Mr. Gold by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.