Summary at the bottom if you want to skip ahead . . .
I have been reading Chowhound for years and decided to become a member tonight, probably about 10 years. I can post about Casa Bianca Pizza, which I also saw for years driving past going to Art Center and just exploring at night. I hopefully planned on giving a good review. I always liked the neon signs outside. There is no parking, but I immediately found a spot on the side street adjacent to the place.
I ordered mozzarella sticks, garlic bread, vegetarian lasagna with red sauce, and a large pizza with mushrooms totaling $32 (well, a penny short).
I believe the man who took my order was Ned Martorana (a well tanned man with pepper hair) and the old woman puttering around I guess was Jennie Martorana. I was not offered a menu or a receipt. (I meant to ask for a receipt before I left but I was so hungry so I forgot so I do not know if they give them.) There were great looking chicks serving, also. I chatted up a bird before she left to party with others getting off of work from the Casa. I saw a lot of people my age, from Occidental I guess, and bar-hoppers. The place has the atmosphere of the local pizza parlor. I did not have any line problems, and there was no one in line when I got there, because I ordered food to go.
I had to wait 20 minutes for my lasagna, which will not color my opinion because I am a very patient man and I understand it's not McDonald's. I got there around 10:45 PM, witnessing someone rear end a car in front of me on the way, right in the 110 tunnels in the I-5 lane.
Anyways, I got my order, and rushed to my car to eat it. The mozzarella sticks were fine but I know I could get the same at Jack-in-the-Box. One of the reasons I ordered the sticks was in some online pics, I saw them served with ranch sauce or something. I thought it was great I would get two different sauces. All I received was the standard marinara. The garlic bread was also fine, not too much bread like you can be stuck with. It was kind of salty though not dry. It was probably the best thing I ate. It was mild in garlic taste but my breath definitely stinks.
The pizza did not look as good as the pizzas many people captured and posted, but it was close enough that I figured I got a good representation. Even if not, I have to review the food based on what I received. The mushrooms tasted canned. I don't know how to describe what canned mushrooms taste like, except from my experience that's what they tasted like--sort of water-y and rubber-y. Which is strange in Southern California, because if it's not a result of their cooking, then they must forego the cheap and easily available mushrooms sold around here. The crust was like cardboard. If you enjoy this style of pizza crust, you might as well go to Little Caesars and pay $5 for your Pizza! Pizza! This is exactly what it tasted like. There were spices on top of the pizza, the kind and the overall taste that you can get in microwavable pizza. I always wondered how they got away with claiming that it tasted like authentic pizzeria pizza. I added some of the parmesan that I had been given in one canister. The parmesan itself was not very good, though you might like it if you like the strong salty style.
I think the crust was trying to be like what you can get at Me-n-Ed's in Santa Ana (I think they may still have one or two other local spots) with cornmeal crusted crispy-ness, light and flaky, the cheese and sauce to the edge, with a thin crunchy thickness. It just was not that. The vegetarian lasagna I ordered was just cheese, sauce, and pasta and some spinach leaves at the top (I thought it was basil at first until I tasted it). It was okay, but nothing to write home about . . . or blog about (I guess the first phrase is out of date). I also did not receive any plastic utensils. Luckily, I had some in my car. There was an unwrapped dinner roll with sesame seeds and no butter also. I took a bite of it to start off, but it wasn't really tasty and was probably just there to eat with the sauce in the lasagna.
I was going to take pictures with my new camera, a Sanyo Xacti, but did not because it was raining and then I was extremely hungry. I came with my appetite so I ate enough of the food to taste it and was probably overcompensating in ranking the food's taste because I was so hungry.
Re-reading Pulitzer Prize awarding winning journalist Jonathan Gold's reviews, I did not order the fried eggplant or the sweetly spiced homemade sausage. It seems to me from the reviews that are actually informed (a Phillip Bazan described it as "quietly nestled among the many Asian establishments on Valley Blvd. in San Gabriel"), the food was not as good as he and others raved about. Not even close . . . I am not sure how you can compare it to Damiano's or Jacopo's. In that area, there used to be Domenico's Old Town (closed down) that I really enjoyed, and Julio's (closed down, which has re-opened in Artesia with inconsistent food--close to their opening, they may have gotten it down--and exorbitant prices). As I drove east on Colorado and south on Figueroa, I saw a pizza place with a large glass window that simply said PIZZA. I meant to ask if anyone here if they knew the place, it was just past York on Figueroa . . . I will re-confirm details and ask again.
I am not one of those people who loves to complain or bash things that other people love. I ordered the food there, and paid a lot of money (well that is always relative, so for me) and really hoped that it was decent if not even good. I love all different kinds of pizza, from the thin crust soft New York style, to the thick crust deep dish Chicago eat with a fork and knife pizza, crunchy thin crust Italian, to the kind of pizza Casa Bianca is, to the kind of premade ones on what tastes like hard biscuits sold by a French baker at the Village Bakery in the Camp in Costa Mesa, etceteras. I just did not expect the pizza to be bad. I ended up eating the cheese and sauce and mushrooms off the top because I was so hungry. I wish I wasn't so hungry because I did feel slightly naseous after I finished. I am a picky eater, and I always regret eating something that doesn't make me feel good (I didn't mean healthy). I still have a bunch of food left in my car that I will probably trash.
Before someone starts attacking my review or me, put your money where your mouth is. If you really enjoy the food that I tried refund me my $31.99 (I will happily accept Paypal), and if you give me more I will go back and give it one more try (this time with eggplant). Otherwise, I suggest people who have not been there save their money, and look for somewhere else. And those who love the place accept my review for what it is, unless you are willing to go the distance for Casa Bianca. I think I might actually write Jon Gold and ask him for a refund, haha . . . I guess, even though it's 3:30 AM I can still go to Berri's on 3rd or Damiano's Mr. Pizza . . .
SUMMARY: Good neon signs and atmosphere, expensive food, and bad pizza . . . someone got in an accident during the course of this review . . . not worth the gas getting there and back even . . . my whole article [sic]
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