Friday, June 24, 2011

Foodie Fridays: Mother Dough Pizza

There are a few topics of conversation I tend to avoid when I would prefer a quiet evening over impassioned and frenzied debate. Those topics include: politics, religion, and where to get the best pizza.

Everyone can offer up an opinion on his or her favorite pizza pie, but such a subjective discussion tends to end with “agreeing to disagree.” However, it’s hard to refute what the Italians have to say. The Italians are the innovators and architects of the pizza so it only seems fair that their opinion should weigh just a bit more than the rest of us, no?

I proceeded to ask a few of my Italian friends, “where can one find the most transcendental, life changing, extraordinary pizza pie in Italy?” And rather than harsh debate, the Italians all quickly agreed (which is not common for Italians) that the best pizza comes from Napoli.

Pizza has never been an underrepresented food group in the Los Feliz/Silver Lake neighborhood where I live. We’ve got a plethora of non-chain options to choose from, but the abundance of pizza parlors did not stop Bez Compani from confidently opening up just one more in the neighborhood. His new venture into the restaurant scene, Mother Dough, serves up his favorite kind of pie, the same variety my Italian friends claim is the most delizioso: Neapoloitan pizza.

Bez, an Iranian-born Angeleno who arrived in LA via London and Italy, is the driving force behind Mother Dough, and I’ve yet to see a restaurateur more hands on than this guy. He works the dough with his own two hands, stares down the heat emanating from his 900 degree wood burning oven, and even built the wooden tabletops himself – from a fallen oak tree. He ships in his olive oil from Naples and has no tolerance for anything less than the finest buffalo mozzarella

So what about the pizza? First of all, it’s important that you don’t walk in here expecting NY style pizza. These pies are baked for only sixty to ninety seconds in a very special, very hot oven. (Most pizza cooks for about ten minutes at half the heat.)

The dough is chewier and softer than what you’re used to. The flavors, just like all good Italian food, are exquisite in their simplicity. It’s all about letting the natural flavors of the high quality ingredients speak for themselves. When was the last time you can remember tasting the bold flavor of olive oil in your pizza? At Mother Dough you can.

The beautiful combination of a house-made red sauce, buffalo mozzarella and basil are served on a barely baked, chewy, but just crisp enough dough. The ingredients are anything but the sum of their parts. The bold yet simple flavors sing in harmony. I think the tune goes something like “You found me! The best pizza!”

Mother Dough Pizza, 4648 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90027. 323.644.2885,, MAP.

NEXT TIME on Foodie Fridays: We're finally returning to the Westside, to sample the modern American comfort food at Upper West in Santa Monica.

Suggestions? Mail to: foodiefridays at foundtrack dot com


Monday, June 20, 2011

Found in London - LED Festival feat. Deadmau5

Festival season is well under way, with the biggest of them all, Glastonbury just around the corner...but for those who don't fancy using baby wipes for 4 days straight, London has some of the best day festivals that cater for all tastes, whether it be Tom Jones at Kenwood House or Snoop Dogg at Lovebox.

A couple of weekends ago, I decided to risk the London weather (which paid off nicely) to go to LED Festival in Victoria Park, with Deadmau5 performing at his first ever headliner outdoor event. They had strong support from DJ's like Skrillex, Zane Lowe and Calvin Harris but let's just say I wasn't willing to leave the comforts of the VIP area until the mouse came out to play. With vocal support from Sofi, the appearance of Deadmau5 on his giant light cube was an awesome sight to see as the sun began to set over Victoria Park. Check out the legendary "Ghosts n Stuff" below:

Special thanks to the Welsh DJ & producer who shared the deadmau5 love by giving us free glow stick mouse ears which we in turn paid forward and gave to the random blokes who kept trying to steal them.

No thanks to the boys behind us who kept referring to the headliner as Deadmau five - was funny at first until I couldn't help but say it too...

Can't get enough of Deadmau5?
You can download the Deadmau5 remix iPhone app here
The new mix album 4x4=12 is available to buy here
Deadmau5 Miawington Hax Tour (N America) tickets are now on sale

Friday, June 17, 2011

Foodie Fridays: Pairings by Savor Los Angeles

Creative collective Parallel Lines was kind enough to invite us to the latest incarnation of their Savor Los Angeles series, held earlier this month. With Abby out of town, I knew that all the sampling would be on my plate, literally. Tough job, but someone's gotta do it!

This time, Savor pulled together about a dozen participants under the theme of pairings: "foods made for each other, fusion, nostalgic specialties and unexpected flavor combinations," the invite read. While the theme was more apparent with some participants than others, Savor curated a brilliantly diverse group of eateries, ranging from long-standing LA restaurants (like The Farm of Beverly Hills) to the up-and-coming (like Auntie Fruf's Aahsome Fudge). The evening benefited CoachArt, a nonprofit which offers free arts and sports programs to children with chronic illnesses.

Parallel Lines once again selected a beautiful blank space, Hollywood's Siren Studios, which made the culinary displays stand out like works of art. While the city's young, stylish foodie set convened here, what was great about this event was that unlike other tastings, it wasn't overcrowded. Having to elbow your way through throngs of hungry people just to snag a microscopic bite of cheese is never fun.

Upon entering the event, attendees were treated to cocktails by Veev ("the world's first açaí spirit") just past the check-in desk—no better way to get a party started. They had an interactive come-up-with-your-own-creation setup, using one of two different concoctions and a handful of fruits and veggies. I ended up with a blackberry mint lemonade, which turned out sweet and refreshing. The cocktail was served in a fun little mason jar.

With our drinks in hand, we entered the main tasting room. Bacon seemed to be a major player this time around, appearing first in Pure Cheesecakes' blue cheese and tomato creation. I'm generally not a huge fan of cheesecakes—probably due to how heavy and rich they are—but these savory varieties of the typically sweet dessert were a delightful new experience.

Bacon was also found in caramelized form in Cast Iron Gourmet's incredibly addictive trail mix. The crunchy snack also consisted of dried fruit, chocolate, and nuts.

Also participating were Silver Lake's Malo Restaurant and its new downtown offshoot, Mas Malo, which I recently had the pleasure of trying. Unfortunately they didn't bring any of their very unique chewy tortilla chips or the super spicy habanero creme dip, but we were introduced to a new dish: the aguachile shrimp. The robust green lime and chile salsa definitely made the plump raw shrimp go *KABOOM* in your mouth.

Our old buddy Nguyen Tran of Starry Kitchen was present as well, and as you can tell by this photo, lively as ever!

His intern offered us plate after plate of the restaurant's mouthwatering pandan chicken (chunks of chicken wrapped in pandan leaves which are then fried). The savory dish's pairing counterpart was pandan flan, which was equal parts sweet, rich and smooth.

Bangers & Smashed made me nostalgic for London with their take on classic English pub grub. Two varieties of bite-sized bangers and mash were offered: Hungarian smoked pork sausage with "Loaded & Smashed" potatoes, and a smoked apple sage variation with goat cheese and sage mashed potatoes for the vegetarians amongst us.

The Farm showcased a beautiful flower arrangement made of raw veggies. Apparently we were standing in the right place at the right time, as we overheard a simultaneously hilarious and unfortunate conversation which went something along the lines of "so what flavor is this flower?" "...uhh... radish?"

Although desserts were the main focus of Savor's last tasting, sweets were certainly easy to find this time around as well. The Farm tempted attendees with platefuls of their simple, yet well-executed powdered brownie bites, and Auntie Fruf's offered a wide array of sugary treats. My favorite was a chewy chunk of fudge, encased in a vanilla macaron. Supposedly they were also serving fudge-filled fried ravioli—too bad this wasn't sitting out when I swung by!

The imbibers amongst us flocked to the bar upstairs, to score more drinks from Veev as well as one of my favorite classic Belgian beers, Duvel.

While we were busy sipping away, the raffle began. I've never won anything in a raffle before, but OF COURSE the first time I do it was for a little black dress! As great as this cute number (made by local designer Nuj Novakhett) might look on me, it will likely be finding itself on eBay soon. Other lucky winners scored items including a barbecue set and a pizza stone.

On our way out, we were treated to gift bags courtesy of Yelp, which included goodies like a Skoy eco-friendly dishrag, Wonderful pistachios, and an espresso cup. I've also been able to try the Zhena's Gypsy Tea coconut chai blend which I picked up at the event, and I must say this truly is a magical combination. Trust 'em or not, apparently gypsies really know what they're doing when it comes to tea! Refreshing cocktails, delicious "BFF" bites, and a free dress—all in all, a successful night. Great work, Parallel Lines!

Savor Los Angeles,

Photos by Aurora Tang.

NEXT TIME on Foodie Fridays: We'll be giving you our thoughts on Los Feliz's recently opened Mother Dough, and let you know where it ranks in LA's sorely lacking pizza scene...

Suggestions? Mail to: foodiefridays at foundtrack dot com