Fast Food Slow Wine: Let’s Support Local Pizza!

My previous fast food forays have been chains available to the masses—not that that’s how I think of you. You are not “the masses”. Never forget you are a special gentle-winged butterfly and I appreciate you—but as I was faced with picking a pizza chain, I faced three facts: 1) In the time of Corona, we should try to support the smaller restaurants. 2) Pizza can be religion. When it comes to chains, people tend to be devoted to their pet pizza place, and someone was either gonna get hurt feelings/get mad if I revealed my favorite (ahem Papa John’s—that butter dip tho). And: 3) I wanted to have pizza multiple nights without getting a delivery boy stalker, so why not order from a lot of places? Corona sucks so hard we should let ourselves have pizza every night, so why not just cover styles of pizza I got from a lot of different places? The pies I paired came from a bunch of places—I’m just going to give you a rundown of some of my favorites in Los Angeles, but must warn you, I’m not sure if they’ll be open at the time this is published. BUT! In order: Pizzanista (OMG you guys, Pizzanista get that Sicilian slice), Triple Beam, Braazo (honorable because they have fries too!), Pizzeria Mozza, All’Acqua, and, especially if it is 2 am, Garage Pizza, who (when it was open) would run their pizza across the Silver Lake stripmall parking lot to Jay’s Bar once Jay’s closed their kitchen. Jay’s gets that if you are drinking you want snacks. And Garage will bring it to you. What a life. I can’t wait to live it again. Pick your parlor. Or chain. Find your pizza below and order up. Pop a bottle and get crazy. Sadly there is no Tater Tally. Because, well, most pizza places don’t seem to have fries—albeit I did get some from Braazo once, and they were great. And there is a recipe for deep dish from Cook’s Illustrated that involves potatoes I really like. But for now Braazo wins by default in the Tater Tally. Lastly! In solidarity to all the Italians quarantining, I am trying to have mostly Italian wines, or at least varieties for these pairings. In food we make friends. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ GARLIC/PARMESAN BBREADSTICKS + TUSCAN SANGIOVESE 2015 Monte Antico Toscana You know those breadsticks. Depending on the source varying levels of garlic, oil and parmesan, they stand up to a little tannic strength but enjoy juicy acid. Which Monte Antico provides. This blend has some herbality to it to boot. At 85% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Merlot, it is quite budget friendly to…your other boot. Rich and refreshing. MOZZERELLA STICKS + SPARKLING ROSÉ Rotari Trentodoc Brut Rosé I have had these bubbles before, happy to have them again. The acid braces against the gooey cheese, the bright bordering-on-floral fun lifts the palate and waters the mouth. As in this is mouth watering. Ridiculously friendly and yah, also pairs with more or less anything, but I feel the borderline floral nature and acid make it a good salad and garlic break thing. SICILIAN CHEESE PIZZA + CARBONIC SANGIOVESE 2019 Stolpman Vineyards Love You Bunches Carbonic Sangiovese Crud I love this wine so hard. Again with the high acid. And chillable reds all day to go with pizza babyyyyy. The cheese is simple enough to appreciate the gentle carbonic notes on this. There is a hint at caramel yet it retains the, oh, I don’t know—tomato leaf?—and herbaceous notes of Sangiovese. I am gaga for this wine. I do in fact love it bunches. PEPPERONI OR SAUSAGE PIZZA (IN THEORY) + TEROLDEGO Zeni Teroldego Rotaliano “Lealbere” Okay I don’t know about pepperoni, but I do enjoy some vegan Italian sausage (one of the VERY rare meat sub things I’ll ingest. Mostly I like just the spices added though) and I’ve read a lot of pepperoni flavor profiles, so I knew I needed to combat some spice or in this case, match it. This Teroldego is so nice! Bright acid and ripe fruit but wow, macerated green pepper and earth make so perfect for a decadent spicy pizza pie. Sharp enough to fight back. MUSHROOM + MONTEPULCIANO D’ABRUZZO 2017 Nicoletta de Ferma ‘Concrete’ Montepulciano d’Abruzzo I know Pinot Noir and mushrooms are a classic pairing, but I went for a heavier wine that can be earthy. Montepulciano is a harder hitter in terms of the tannins but can have pretty high acid too. My nose went nuts upon smelling this. Earth as earth can be but stinky in a good way earth. The palate is non-barnyard earth, red fruit and flowers have gone into creating the compost for it. Big tannins but not mean ones. WHITE PIZZA + PINOT GRIGIO 2018 O'Neill Vintners & Distillers Line 39 Pinot Grigio White pizza, white wine—amiright? I’ve had a few styles of white pizza but the cheese is frequently the drier sort, like a goat cheese or feta, and it needs the bright acid and sympathetic lactic tones and the leesiness of PG can provide. The lees, the acid, the lightly honeyed fruit of the Cecchetti all work really well here! HAWAIIAN PIZZA + LAMBRUSCO DI SORBARA 2018 Paltrinieri Lambrusco di Sorbara Radici Lambrusco di Sorbara wines can veer into off-dry zone, which is nice when you have a sweet element like pineapple on the pie. But this one was dry! I was enamored of this offering. Feel free to go sweeter Lambrusco for Hawaiian too! The Paltrinieri was unique in being bottle fermented—it threw impressive sediment. I got thyme and honey notes brightened by grapefruit and lemon. Totally complex and plush! AND FOR DESSERT… So there you have it, a smattering of pie styles and wines to drink with! I recommend closing the night with some Amaro is you are honoring your digestion, or some Amaretto if you give no f*#@ks. Or some grappa , if you live dangerously. It may just be the excitement your quarantine needs. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Want to read more from Ellen? Check out her recent articles: Old World vs. New World: Pinot Noir Part Deux Old World vs. New World: Pinot Noir Part One Quaran-wine Pastimes It's Okay to Like Pinotage Fast Food Slow Wine: THE Taco Bell Oscars Gold Wine You can also listen to Ellen's podcast with Shaughn Buchholz, The Wine Situation here . Check out her recent transcripts of the Final Five questions: Wine Situation Final Five! With Carrie Dykes Wine Situation Final Five! With Matt Hirscheld


Radice Lambrusco di Sorbara Rosé

Pet Nat Lambro pairing with Picard, pizza and perseverance. Power to the pleasures in life. Wow is this a refreshing treat. Thyme flavored not-sweet honey on white toast. Oh that texture though, as sharp as the nose is the tongue is plush. Toasted grapefruit and lemon curd. Or...could you make a grapefruit cord? Could I? Should I? This wine is redirecting my life. — 4 years ago

Paul, Neil and 22 others liked this

O'Neill Vintners & Distillers

Line 39 California Pinot Grigio 2018

Oh hey! Line39. I keep wanting to ignore them but they keep overdelivering on price point and right now if I can tell you a good budget friendly thang to find at Whole for that. It has a bunch of that yeasty lees-y honeyed fruit richness but a refreshing acid and...damn I am enjoying this wine also it goes well with cheesy-ness on bread aka white pizza. Also I get a hint of beer and peanut shell but blinded, what would I think this was? Maybe okay maybe a pinot Grigio but an old world one. I don’t know if there are manipulations on this wine but it has a good balance and taste. I like. — 4 years ago

Paul, GV and 12 others liked this

Monte Antico

Toscana Sangiovese Blend 2015

A fabulously casual wine. Unassuming in price but delightful on the palate. Is it the NPR of wine—free but well-bred and a smidge eclectic? I’m struggling for a metaphors guys. Quite juicy but herbal. And spicy. And purpley. With plums. With gently grabby tannin times. And a bit of tang backing the big fruit. Thoroughly an overdeliverer. — 4 years ago

Paul, Trixie and 19 others liked this
Paul T HB

Paul T HB

Otherwise I would have to complement you on your strength to hold up a 3liter with one arm
Ellen Clifford

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Oh my I liked this so much I wish I had more so...take not winemakers at Monte Antico...
Ellen Clifford

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@Trixie which is not a movie but a free month of all-Access has this next gen lover watching

Nicoletta de Fermo

Concrete Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2017

Omg earth by which I mean Brett by which I mean the aromas leaping at me like a barnyard sheep leaping over the wineglass moon at my innocent nose. Patience. This brett (unlike political ones) will dial down and in fact help out the rest. Earth and acid and all types of fruits in the barn in the nose and the barn goes away on the palate. Super fun time. Try this. — 4 years ago

Chris, Matt and 24 others liked this
Stuart Scheff

Stuart Scheff

Melka look alike
Stuart Scheff

Stuart Scheff

@Ellen Clifford Melka Wine. Check out the labels 👀


Trento DOC Brut Rosé Chardonnay Pinot Noir

Should quarantine force me to eat pizza parlor offerings nightly? Maybe not but I’ve tasted Rotari before and was excited for a reason to get into another bottle which, spoiler, does well with well Parmesan/garlic infused quick pizza parlor orders. I mean it would be great in many places methinks but right now we are all either ordering in or cooking so...really thought this went well with some seasoned bread stuff. Wet stones, and cherry and peach yogurt and some lemon curd on the nose. Ripping acid. Abv were I to guess is...13 and it is, lemme see...12.5. They say lolz. I should make this review more amusing maybe? Or is this the time we all just need to exchange virtual hugs and carry on. I miss hugs. — 4 years ago

Ron, Severn and 17 others liked this

Stolpman Vineyards

"Love You Bunches" Carbonic Sangiovese 2019

Cannot stop drinking. I think I first tasted this 2016 or 17 and year after year it is my darling. About to heat some pizza to go with. Egads LOVE this carbonic Sangiovese. I want to share it with the world:just the whiffs of kirsch and bubble gum are so light and SO perfect with a slight chill and I’m about to see how it goes with a pizza pie. There is some white pepper and caramelized cherry. Some LA nights are more fun than others. — 4 years ago

Neil, Serge and 18 others liked this
Neil Valenzuela

Neil Valenzuela

Spent many nights in Van Nuys... LA nights are hit or miss. Pizza and good red wine- I can agree! 🍷
Paul T HB

Paul T HB

I agree about LA being hit or miss, living in the OC there are nights I can smell LA & other nights it dissipates.
Ellen Clifford

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@Neil Valenzuela @Paul T- Huntington Beach Hmmm, I said some nights are better than others—I didn’t mean to imply there are a lot of bad ones! I happen to love it here. I don’t know if I’d feel that way if I lived in Van Nuys though. I’m by downtown and adore it. But at least we can all agree on pizza and red wine! 🍕🍷❤️


Lealbere Rotaliano Teroldego 2016

Jumpy fun energetic wow this wine is a kitten: you love it but you gotten keep up with it. Fun fruit and jumpy spicy and green thangs Yas. — 4 years ago

Neil, David and 17 others liked this
Ellen Clifford

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@Trixie kittens are good! Take care on your end, too! 😻
Paul T HB

Paul T HB

My Self-Isolation Quarantine Diary.

Day 1 – I Can Do This!! Got enough food and wine to last a month!

Day 2 – Opening my 8th bottle of Wine. I fear wine supplies might not last

Day 3 – Strawberries: Some have 210 seeds, some have 235 seeds. Who Knew??

Day 4 – 8:00pm. Removed my Day Pajamas and put on my Night Pajamas.

Day 5 – Today, I tried to make Hand Sanitizer. It came out as Jello Shots!!

Day 6 – I get to take the Garbage out. I’m So excited, I can’t decide what to wear.

Day 7 – Laughing way too much at my own jokes!!

Day 8 – Went to a new restaurant called “The Kitchen”. You have to gather all the ingredients and make your own meal. I have No clue how this place is still in business.
Day 9 – I put liquor bottles in every room. Tonight, I’m getting all dressed up and going Bar hopping.

Day 10 – Struck up a conversation with a Spider today. Seems nice. He’s a Web Designer.

Day 11 – Isolation is hard. I swear my fridge just said, “What the hell do you want now?”

Day 12 – I realized why dogs get so excited about something moving outside, going for walks or car rides. I think I just barked at a squirrel.

Day 13 – If you keep a glass of wine in each hand, you can’t accidently touch your face.

Day 14 – Watched the birds fight over a worm. The Cardinals led the Blue Jays 3–1.

Day 15 – Anybody else feel like they’ve cooked dinner about 395 times this month?
Ellen Clifford

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@Paul T- Huntington Beach a web designer haaaaaa. This was a good laugh. And as a St. Louisan glad to hear the Cardinals won ⚾️