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Friday, July 3, 2009

Casa Bianca

1650 Colorado Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90041
(323) 256-9617

The restaurant was established in 1955 when Sam and Jennie Martorana moved from Chicago to join the rest of the family in Los Angeles. It’s one of those traditional places with hand me down recipes, checkered table tops, ingredients made fresh on site, and techniques don’t change with the season or even generations passing.

I've tried Casa Bianca twice, once before my trips to NYC and the other more recently after I'd been spoiled and my blissful ignorance shattered. If I wrote about each experience, the reviews would be worlds apart. Unfortunately, I now know, not necessarily what pizza should taste like, but what it can taste like and it is with a heavy heart that I share my experience at Casa Bianca.

I headed over there after checking out a Ne-yo concert at San Manual Indian Casino. It was past 10PM and we were searching for a decent place to eat at the time, luckily Casa Bianca is open until midnight on weekdays. There was no wait and they restrict the Italian menu to just pizzas late night.

$3 Rolls and Butter, Side of Marinara Sauce (7)
I was starving and managed to negotiate some bread and dipping sauce. The marinara is the same they use on the pizza. I liked this, not only because I needed some caloric intake for the day, but it gave me a chance to try an important component of the pizza. It was had a robust tomato flavor with nice kick of Italian seasoning dominated by oregano.

$10.85 Medium Sausage, Mushroom Pizza (6)
There were some positives and negatives to the pie. First the positives, the sauce as previously mention was good quality. The sausage, homemade on the spot, was tender and the compulsory fennel seasoned it just right. And the negatives: The dough was overly chewy, almost soggy. The style was
reminiscent, not from my travels to the Italian Riviera, but from the frozen foods aisle and that $1 Jeno's pizza. If everything is homemade, that must include the mushrooms because they didn't taste like real mushrooms. They had a rubbery consistency, the canned variety. I was indifferent to the cheese, I enjoy fresh mozzarella and processed, I did like that they scattered it over the pie, so I could still take in the flavor from the sauce.

The first time I had a pizza here, it was with garlic and that helped bring out a stronger flavor. But, even with garlic, I don't think it would have changed my experience all that much.

Nota bene: Cash only.

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