“There’s no good pizza in LA.” That is a statement that is mostly true. Although, it might be more appropriate to say “there’s no great pizza in LA.” There’s plenty of fine pizza joints, but nothing that launches me over the moon. Now I’m sure I’m going to get hundreds of comments (what else is new?) about this or that particular place where the pizza is “really good.” Shove it up your bum, I say. Becoming familiar with a certain type of pizza is not the same as liking it. And that’s all it is really. We transplants have become complacent in our pizza judgments. Hell, I’ve come to possess the opinion that Domino’s is kind of good. And I hate myself for that. One local joint that I don’t hate myself for enjoying is Joe’s Pizza.
Joe’s has a few locations in Los Angeles, but the one that matters is on Hollywood Boulevard, just off the corner of Wilcox Avenue. This also happens to be the same block where one would find The Cupcake Theatre, the home of Fraggled Productions‘ The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (tickets are still available for next weekend – my parents will be there!). Joe’s has been a saving grace for me more than once throughout the rehearsal process, and the fellas at Joe’s came to my rescue once again this evening.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you that Joe’s Pizza is churning out perfect pies. That would be ridiculous. Especially after I went on that rant in my first paragraph. But it is pretty good. The crust tends to be thin and crispy, and the boys working the oven know exactly how long to leave a slice in. The grease can be a little overwhelming at times, but that is to be expected. You’re gonna get that no matter where you go, in fact I like it like that. Except when it burns my mouth. Ouchie!
If I had a real complaint it would be that sometimes Joe’s comes up short in the sauce department. Now this is a tough aspect to pull off perfectly. Too much sauce and your pizza is overpowered. Too little sauce and suddenly you’re eating a dry piece of cardboard. Joe’s Pizza never tastes like cardboard, but their slices could stand to be a little more “juicy,” if you know what I mean.
The only thing left to talk about is the restaurant itself. It’s a small little space, with a counter lining the walls. It has never been too crowded for my taste, but I’m sure the place fills up. The employees are always nice, some of them are even willing to riff with me on the rare occasion that I walk in and actually want to interact with other human beings. Overall – a pleasant experience.
I don’t know what’s going to happen when The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee ends. I walked past Joe’s a hundred times without going in prior to rehearsal; will I ever go in again when this is all over? Who can say? Maybe one day I’ll find myself on Hollywood Blvd. – presumably lost because there is no other reason I would be up there – and Joe’s Pizza and I will lock eyes. All of the good times we shared will flash before our eyes. We’ll smile, Joe’s and I, knowing that what we shared was special, but could never really be re-created. In that moment we’ll consider reconnecting. And maybe we will, laughing over a slice of pepperoni. And then we’ll separate, a lingering hand-hold the only proof that we knew each other at all. That and a greasy, crumpled napkin in the trash. Our offspring. Our baby. Our trash baby.