Spotlight

Pizzana’s Margherita

PIZZANA

  • By Paige Petrone
  • Photo By Dane Deaner

I’ll admit I’m a bit obsessed with Bobby Flay and New York pizza! So recently when I watched Chef Daniele Uditi featured on Beat Bobby Flay and he beat him(!) with a Cacio e Pepe white pizza … Bobby said that it was “the best pizza in Los Angeles” … I just had to judge for myself. I was surprised to learn that Pizzana is owned by actor Chris O’Donnell and the couple behind Sprinkles Cupcakes (one of my favorites!). There are two Pizzana locations — Brentwood and West Hollywood. It’s basically an upscale pizzeria offering Bianca Pizza, meaning “white” pizza with “slow dough” neopolitan crust which is house made with special care. Chef Uditi boasted that it’s all in the way you handle the dough and it really seems to make a difference. It is really special. He also makes his own ricotta cheese which I think puts his signature Cacio e Pepe pizza over the top. Besides the fabulous pizza Pizzana offers up weekly sandwich specials like the Padrino (Italian Sub) and Chicken Parmigiana. Save room for dessert! The manager was kind enough to include the Torta al Cioccolata made with pistachios to our order, and it was simply divine. A truly nice touch. We tried a couple of other pizzas, but the Cacio E Pepe is the one that makes it worth the trip. So what are you waiting for?! Get goin’ to Pizzana!

For more details, click here.

Olly’s Pretzels in Culver City

Olly’s Pretzels

  • By Arlene Winnick

We’ve all had a big salty ‘street’ pretzel and thought it was just okay.  Olly’s Pretzel in Culver City’s Platform will change your mind big time…and I guarantee you will become a fan at first bite.

Here’s why… Ingredients are unlike the big soft pretzel chains, Olly’s is all natural and contains no lye.  Ingredients are organic flour, filtered water, honey, baking powder, yeast and a touch of butter and salt. Freshness:  All pretzels are baked early Saturday mornings and are available only on the weekends (11-3). Best to order in advance as they sell out quickly. Four Flavors/Four Dips: The Original Salty with a mustard dip; The Everything (think bagel toppings) with Chivey Cream Cheese dip; Cinnamon Sugar with Dulce de Leche dip; and (drum roll please) Salty Chocolate with Ganache dip.  (hush hush, they tell me new flavors are in the works!) Charity: A portion of the proceeds go directly to Free Arts, an organization using art to help Los Angeles  children in need. Location: The Platform is a charming group of shops, mini-park, and restaurants (with a parking garage) plus lots of outside tables. Platform (old Hayden Tract) is next to the Expo line stop on Washington Boulevard. Olly’s is across the alley from Blue Bottle.

Recipe: Created by the Runyon family (the development team behind Platform).

Trust me, one taste and you’ll be back for more. Click here.

Descanso Gardens

Descanso Gardens

  • By Kenne Hoffman

Nestled in the foothills of La Canãda Flintridge is the 150-acre botanical garden known as Descanso Gardens. Each year, over 500,000 visitors wander through the property surrounded by an impressive grove of oak and sycamore trees, 1,600 roses, irises, daffodils, tulips, and seasonal annual and perennial plants and shrubs. The Descanso Gardens crowning glory is the Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival known as Sakura, which is the official welcoming of spring. For thousands of years the Japanese have gathered underneath the cherry blossoms. They call this custom Hanami which literally means “watching blossoms.” Even at night (Yozakura), viewing spots are crowded with people enjoying the blossoms’ beautiful romantic atmosphere. Symbolic of spring, cherry blossoms are a time of renewal, and the fleeting nature of life, including their own very short life. The two main cherry tree varieties Akebono and Beni Hoshi are now in peak bloom at Descanso Gardens, and will last about two weeks. But don’t despair, many blossoms remain on the trees into May (depending on the weather and temperatures). When the blossoms begin to fall, the mixture of blooms on the tree and the blanket of blossoms under the tree are equally part of the magic that is the Cherry Blossom Festival.

Descanso Gardens is open Daily now through May 31st. Advance reservations are required, click here.  

Baja Cantina’s Steak Tacos (Photo Paige Petrone)

BAJA CANTINA

  • Story / Photo By Paige Petrone

Baja Cantina in Marina Del Rey still has it going on and has been in the Marina for over 40 years. I haven’t been there in probably eight years or longer. I live in the area and use to frequent this place quite often. It was known for Friday and Sunday Happy Hours, especially in the summer months. It had this cool outdoor patio combined with delicious frozen margaritas and grilled tacos. It was always a happening scene … it was the hot spot! 

As you know, the pandemic has made outdoor dining the thing to do, so they have transformed the parking lot into a beachside oasis including sand (yes, sand!) under a massive tent into another happening scene! As the saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” but in this case how about fix it up just a bit? They’ve given it a cool and fun island feel. I just had to check it out and it did not disappoint. The margaritas were frosty and tasty as were the special grilled steak and chicken tacos, signature house salsa, creamy guacamole and chips. The price was right as well. The Happy Hour offerings are extremely affordable and they’re available Monday through Friday from 3-6pm. Baja Cantina will be celebrating Cinco de Mayo in grand style — check it out!

Baja Cantina is located at 311 Washington Boulevard.