If you needed yet another reason to go to Mozza during non-peak hours, TMZ provides you with one. Minions from the tabloid website were out in front of the Silverton-Batali-Bastianich restaurants the other night, stalking a vacationing (hey, at least he's home) Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and sometimes dinner guest Ryan Seacrest. Don't ask. Needless to say, TMZ (which stands for Thirty Mile Zone, the historic radius of Hollywood studios between Beverly and La Cienega) did not inquire as to what the pair had for dinner.
While you may not be able to order octopus at 3:30 in the afternoon (the Osteria opens at 5:30 on weekdays), you will be able to enjoy a pizza at that hour, blissfully unencumbered by paparazzi, errant public figures–or the need for reservations. In fact, you may spot someone truly noteworthy. Once, while waiting for my mid-afternoon lardo pizza to arrive, the pizzeria half-filled, Batali's normally-deafening playlist at a comfortable level, I spotted Paul Bertolli at the next table. The former Chez Panisse chef and maker of the exemplary Fra' Mani salumi in Berkeley was enjoying a pleasant feast with friends. No photographers or microphones necessary, although I bet the man could make a mean YouTube video on charcuterie.
Cooking By Hand, by Paul Bertolli. Clarkson Potter; 2003.