Monday, November 24, 2008

Lil' Parlor Pizzeria, South Pasadena



[Taking a short break from the South America posts for a minute as there are a million photos to sort through. I should have some more posts up soon!]

I’ll be totally honest and say I’ve never been a fan of Steven Arroyo’s restaurants. I never “got” Cobras & Matadors after several trips there, and my two visits to his South Pasadena wine bar 750 ml never did it for me either. I haven’t heard a lot of positive things about his downtown place, Church and State, so I thought maybe it best for me to stay away from that one as well.

So why did I try Lil’ Parlor Pizzeria, the new pizzeria opened in the old 750 ml space by this very same restaurateur? There is no real thin-crust, wood-fired pizza in my neighborhood, and the 7 minute drive from my door to the South Pasadena restaurant made it easy to at least give the place a shot. Other than sushi, Italian is my favorite food on the planet; thin crust, lightly dressed pizzas are near the top of that list along with a pile of al dente parpadelle clinging to some sort of slowly braised ragu.

J, my friend Ikea (not his real name but it’s a nod to his Swedish heritage) and I strolled in at around 7:30 PM on Friday night. We were warmly greeted and I immediately noticed the giant leg of prosciutto that sat on the counter, ready for me to dive into. Ok, maybe it wasn’t waiting for me but it was a good sign that maybe, just maybe Steven and I have a future together (as restaurateur and customer, of course).

We sat down, placed our orders and the wine was quickly brought to the table. Although J’s glass was filled well to the middle with his white wine, my glass was filled less than a third. Ikea suggested I take a sip, look at the waiter and say “Mmm, good, I’ll take this one!” and then give the glass back as if I was simply given a taste and that I wanted more. Although the idea was appealing, I figured I’d just sit this one out and hope that my next glass was more half full than half empty.



Appetizers: J ordered the heirloom tomatoes w/ burrata, and although I thought it a bit late in the year for the tomatoes I didn’t say anything. I should have. Look, you can spread burrata on a rusty iron and it’d still be divine. But even the rich creamy heavenliness that is burrata couldn’t save the grainy, bland heirlooms. We left most of it untouched.



Ikea fared far better with his baked ricotta w/ peppernata, aged balsamic and olive oil. The slab of baked ricotta was extremely mild and could have used some salt, and although J dubbed it as “tofu,” Ikea seemed happy with his choice.



I ordered the charcuterie plate – a nice selection of salami and prosciutto plus some pepperoncinis, olives and cheese. Very good, nice portion and nice selection.

Now for the pizzas:



Ikea went for the “Old School,” a pizza topped with pepperoni, tomato sauce, mozzarella and oregano. He deemed it delicious and thoroughly enjoyed every bite.



J was the real winner here- his “The Woods” pizza looked so bare upon first glance that I was worried, but powerful flavors coming out of the fresh chanterelles, smoked onions, fontina and rosemary were unbelievable. We kept looking at it, then tasting it, just wondering how such minimal toppings could pack such a punch. Truly delicious. I’m craving one as I type this actually.



I, unfortunately, lost the pizza battle with my Margherita pie. The “roasted tomato sauce” was bland and as grainy (oddly!) as those heirlooms and there was barely a smidge of mozzarella. Yeah, I know, I said I liked minimal toppings but, in the words of Oliver Twist, “Please sir, may I have some more cheese?” (minus the cheese part). Luckily I had some of the prosciutto and these incredibly sweet peppers left from my charcuterie plate so I doctored it up and it was fine.

I have to say, even though it was a hit and miss, I’d definitely go back to Lil' Parlor Pizzeria. The crust is the key- it’s tasty, it’s perfectly thin, it’s beautifully crusty without being too hard and the yeasty flavor of good bread runs deep. As always, I’d take into consideration that the restaurant is still fine tuning since they’d been opened less than a week when we went. All things considered, the pies are good and that’s what I want- a good pizza place near my house. I hope the margherita gets a little better and they stop serving mealy tomatoes, but that mushroom pizza alone is worth making the seven minute drive for……….heck, it’s worth making an hour drive for. Oh, and my second glass of wine was indeed more of the "half-full" variety.


Lil' Parlor Pizzeria
966 Mission St,
South Pasadena, CA
626.799.0711

5 comments:

tony said...

if you don't mind, what's the price of an average pie?

I'm equidistance from So. Pas and S. Monterey Park, so it'd be a toss-up (no pun intended) between this joint and Bollini's.

Tokyoastrogirl said...

Hi Tony,

All pies are between $11 and $15 and are roughly 10 inches.

Enjoy!

Diana said...

Oh those pies do look good! I would have been irritated about the weak pour though -- I hate when waiters (or sommeliers) give me a puny glass, especially if they give my male companions more! I can drink as much as the men, thank you very much!

Glad you made it back safely from your trip! It sounds like you had an amazing time!

hjkl said...

Today is the gold für wow second day of 2009 ,world of warcraft gold it also a mesos special for me .cheap wow gold Because i have cheap maplestory mesos a chance to go to an english speech of LiYang and crazy to learn english follow him . He is a firendly,kindly person who make me feel good.wow gold kaufen What‘s more ,maple story mesos he very confidence .And he make me sure what he can do i also can do,as long as i make a determination and force myself to do it every second,Crazy just like him .wow geld I learn one setence from his book ever :maple story items If you want to succeed always force yourself to do more .I can't agree more with him .wow gold farmen To be honest ,when i was a littel girl i already fall in love with english.But what a pity i am poor in english ,Maple Story Account and it make me feel frustrating .So i want to give up many times ,but i can't as i still love it .So i tell mysefl :if you think you can you can wow leveling,and all your maple story power leveling hard work will pay off.wow power leveling Today i am very happy i can listien this wonderful speech of LiYang. I reap a great benifits from him .maple story money As he say :i am the best ,and every one can do it . world of warcraft power leveling Yes,i belive i can do it if i crazy as he buy archlord gold.Now i want to say :i will never give up.

Anonymous said...

Buy World of Kung fu Gold is the chance. I always have a bad dream when my account was theft, since I buy World of Kung fu Gold ; I had not had the bad memory. At present, I want to say thanks to the people who stole my account, if he did not to do that, I would not play game, I would not have WoKf gold . Although I have little cheap World of Kung fu Gold , I will on the way of the game for long time. At one time or another, I am a pessimistic person, but when I have World of Kung fu money , it changes my attitude of life.

Remembered the first time I played the game and bought Lineage 2 gold , it is about two years. Since the first day I bought Lineage gold , we should know that the day will come sooner or later. And I will not leave my Lineage money . My friends forever, even though I will leave you one day, I will remember you forever. At that time, I was a naive; I must used money to have Lineage 2 money , as that I would not depend on myself. But I was not regret to buy it. It is just a way bring me to the success.