Bad California Pizza, Killer LA Taco Trucks and Parasite Wine Writers

Golden Gate from Marin Headlands

(Above: The Golden Gate Bridge and entrance to San Francisco Bay as seen from the Marin Headlands.)

I snapped this picture about a year ago during a long ride on a day much like this past Saturday–no big container ships this time, although my friend and I did see a beautifully restored B-17 Flying Fortress soaring over the SF Bay (turns out it was on tour; info about this particular plane can be found here).

I love riding in the Marin Headlands, easily one of the best cures for the doldrums I can think of. Now, if only I had a helmet-mounted video camera, I’d record the fantastic downhill that’s the reward for reaching the summit. But wait, someone beat me to it. Oh well, have a look–it’s a great ride.

Anyway, I had every intention of posting all these links on Friday but an afternoon of glorious sunshine–and a call from a friend saying he was holding down the end of a picnic table in the beer garden at Zeitgeist–convinced me that I had better things to do with my time than sit in front of a computer screen.

Mario Batali thinks California pizza sucks

And you know, he’s about 90% right. I’d rank Pizzaiolo, Pizzeria Delfina, A16, Arinell’s, Tony’s and Mozza (Batali’s LA restaurant in partnership with Joe Bastianich and Nancy Silverton) as serious counterpoints to his argument as outlined in Wired’s homage to New York pizza. Still the piece is a fun read although what it’s doing in a tech-culture magazine is beyond me. Oh wait, now I get it.

I love taco trucks!

If you’re not already reading Jonathan Gold’s award-winning food writing for the LA Weekly, then I suggest starting out with this wonderful article on hunting down the best taco trucks in Los Angeles (and therefore arguably the best taco trucks in the world–where else would the car and Latino cultures mash up so perfectly?).

Taco trucks are dear to me, and while I’ve got a my favorites here in San Francisco, I urge you to hit the comments section with your favorite taco truck in the Bay Area (and beyond).

Meanwhile, I’ll be in LA later in May for the Wine & Spirits Hot Picks event, and in my downtime I plan on seeking a few of these trucks out.

Those Pesky Wine Writers

Like many in the wine world, I took the widely circulated report of remarks made recently by Jancis Robinson with a hulking grain of salt. Actually, make that a salty, puckering Muscadet. Anyway, two interesting comments here from Ray Isle at Food & Wine (go here) and Jim Gordon at Wine Enthusiast (go here).

OMG–it’s Prince covering Radiohead!!!!!

Forgive me this internet indulgence, but I just had to share. During the encore to what was apparently a kick-ass set at this past weekend’s Coachella festival, Prince played Radiohead’s song “Creep”. Well-worth a listen/watch (although the sound quality kinda sucks, sorry. Bootleg video and all If this doesn’t work, try searching on You Tube before it gets taken down)

6 thoughts on “Bad California Pizza, Killer LA Taco Trucks and Parasite Wine Writers

  1. Wolfgang –

    Fun post. I’d have to agree with Mario, and say that from my experience, he is right. No more Delfina pizza for me. I gave A16 one shot and the pizza was no good. Giallina is good on a good night, ok on a bad night, but still not up to the best of the big bad east coast. And I still have not yet been to Pizzaiolo.

    I am long overdue for a Marin headlands ride.

    And I hear about the Prince Radiohead cover….

  2. Hey Wolfe,

    This Jancis thing kills me, it’s so ludicrous. First of all, Decanter did take her comment completely out of context — I was actually there at the Ronda conference when she said it, and it was part of a longer discourse on how, essentially, winemakers are the actual people that do the work, while we basically observe their efforts. I happen to agree with her completely — I mean, I’m a professional wine writer, but it’s not like I’m exactly creating anything beyond abstract commentary. If as a wine writer you’re offended by that, well, good Lord, get over yourself.

    I saw that Wired article and, okay, being originally from California myself I’m the first to admit that California struggles in the pizza department (although I enjoyed Delfina very much the last time I was in SF). But here’s the thing — Otto’s pizza ain’t that great either, so there!

    I’m envious that you get to eat tacos in LA….

  3. Hey Peter,

    I know that Jancis’ comments were taken grossly out of context by Decanter (the cynic in me says they did that to one of their most respected contributors specifically so that it would be widely-circulated on the net)–rereading my post, I realize that the phrase “…taken with a grain of salt” is far too vague. Regardless of that, I do feel that both Ray’s and Jim Gordon’s posts were quite thoughtful.

    Tacos! I can’t wait…

    Thanks for the great comment,

  4. Mario is a little full of himself, it’s pretty apparent. I like some NYC pizza, but none come close to what my spouse makes at home. I’m not bragging, but I believe the important thing is the flour quality and type. I buy 3 kinds of flour from a food co-op. The ratio is about 2 parts high gluten white to 2 parts white bread flour with some whole wheat thrown in plus a little olive oil. I use Carlo Middione’s recipe from one of his books.

  5. Marco,

    That’s an interesting observation about the different types of flour. Thanks for sharing–I’m going to try that the next time I make pizza at home, and I’ll share the results.


  6. Good luck with it Wolfgang. Peter Liem mentioned you in his interview at Fermentation. Glad to find your blog.
    BTW, the recipe for the dough is in Middione’s “The Food of Southern Italy”

    2/3 cup warm water <100F
    1 1/2 teaspoons yeast
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    2 cups bread flour
    Add 3 tablespoons olive oil to warm water

    I double this recipe. Who wants one pizza?
    Put warm water in warm mixing bowl. Crumble yeast over water and let sit for 3-4 minutes. Stir to mix, add salt and stir again. Add flour and knead. By hand 12 minutes or 7 minutes on medium in an electric mixer. Put dough in a warm bowl and cover with kitchen towel plus a thick folded towel and let sit in a warm place for at least two hours.
    Reheat any leftover in a frying pan.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s