When the Mrs. does not relish the long drive from her office in Glendale to the old homestead in Chino, she sometimes calls me and "suggests", only in the way that a lovely Significant Other can, that we meet at Domenico's in Monrovia. Now this call may be received by me when I am in relative proximity to Monrovia at my office in Monterey Park, or it may be received when I am working from the office at home in Chino. In either case, I am always expected to acquiece (sp?). I am always glad to oblige, because 1) I really enjoy my visits to Domenico's, and 2) it is better than the alternative, which occurs all too frequently, which is instead of coming straight home, the Mrs. instead makes numerous stops along the way, at various shopping venues, and it takes her about 4 hours to get home, instead of the expected 1 to 2 hours.
So while at my office in Monterey Park on Wednesday I did get a call from the Mrs. suggesting that wouldn't we really like to meet at Domenico's. Wanting to keep the Mrs. happy, and instantly discarding any thoughts of The Liquid Diet with visions of pizza, of course I agreed. It must have been a fortuitous decision, because when I pulled up in Herman, there was a vacant parking space in Domenico's lot (which can be completely impossible to get in to at times), right next to the lovely and exciting Melanie. (Herman for those not yet initiated, is my Detroit iron, Melanie is the Mrs'. Detroit iron, Melanie has recently replaced Heather, as Heather was getting on in age, at 3 years, Melanie is just an infant in comparison, and also a souped up version of Heather.)
I joined the Mrs. in a booth, and Marie, the proprietress of Domenico's greeted me with "I am sure you don't need these, Wayne" as she handed us a couple of menus. Marie was of course correct, as we are long time happy patrons of this establishment, and before that of its sister establishment in northeast Pasadena. So feeling starved, as by this time it was about 7:45 and all I had to eat all day was a chicken Ceasar from the company cafeteria, I suggested to the Mrs. "Would you like some fried ravioli appetizer", knowing full well that she would say yes, becuse she loves this stuff (and I would then be able to extrapolate in my devious way). So I gave Marie our order, not a ravioli appetizer, but rather a combo appetizer of fried ravioli, fried zucchini and "poppers". I also ordered a dinner salad (hold the onions) with the house Italian (oil and vinegar based) dressing for the Mrs., a bowl of minestrone for me, and a "large very, very, very thin crust, double pepperoni and sausage pizza".
The soup, salad and appetizers came at almost the same time. Domenico's dinner salad is not remarkable to me, it is basically lettuce with a bit of tomato, some chopped black olive and about half a cup of shredded mozzarella on top. This does not appeal to me, but the Mrs. and daughter like it, so that is all that matters. When I have a salad at Domenico's I prefer their Ceasar, a bowl of torn Romaine, some chopped tomato (I know that is not according to the "classic" recipe) and at my option anchovies (no croutons). Of course, as in many such establishments, the salads are usually prepared by the servers, so depending on who our current server may be, the Ceasar will vary a bit, but when they do it well, it is very enjoyable, appealing to the eye in the way it is composed within the oversized bowl, and tasty with the melding of the Romaine, anchovies and salad dressing.
I do not particularly care for a lot of fried appetizers. The fried ravioli at Domenico's is pretty good though. It consists of cheese raviolis, dipped in bread crumbs that have been deep fried. I can taste a hint of chile in these and believe they may add a little chile powder to the bread crumbs. The fried ravioli, as are the other fried appetizers, is accompanied by a nice little bowl of Domenico's marinara, and I do enjoy the way the fried appetizers and marinara compliment each other. A combo appetizer is one in which you may choose any three items (out of ravioli, zucchini, poppers, calamari and I think something else, which escapes me as I write this). I have had the ravioli so many times that at this point I can take it or leave it. So my strategy paid off, one third of the combo was the ravioli, which I graciously left completely to the Mrs. and the other two thirds were the poppers and zucchini. I also graciously offered the zucchini to the Mrs. who only took one piece, leaving the rest to me, and of course I knew she would not want any of the poppers. The zucchini was very nice, it was sliced on the long axis in to nice "sticks" and the batter was almost tempura like. The zucchini slices came dusted with a bit of parmesan cheese. I really liked the zucchini, it was very fresh and tasted like something clean and wonderful from the Earth, and the batter was nice and subtle, not overpowering as these things can be when they come from a freezer in a commerical commisary. The poppers are jalapeno peppers that are stuffed with cheese, then battered and fried. I really like these too. I enjoy spicy food, and the combination of the faintly (to my palate) hot peppers and the warm melted cheese goes down my gullet very smoothly. I was drinking iced tea this evening, but these appetizers would go extremely well with a pitcher or two of beer.
When Marie initially went in to the kitchen I heard her call out our order, and when it came to the pie, her words to the line cook were "a large thin, thin pizza, double pepperoni and sausage". I have come to believe that the turn of phrase "thin, thin" is key to everything. Normally a Domenico's pizza is prepared with a thin crust, however, their standard thin crust is much to much doughy crust for the Mrs. and I. I think the un-houndly masses probably go for it because they don't know any better, and it is a cheap way to fill up. When Domenico's produces a "thin, thin" pizza it is Heaven on Earth. Our thin, thin crust pizza arrived hot from the oven, and the crust was truly thin, the crust was maybe 2/8 of an inch thick on the outer edge, or "lip", much, much thiner towards the center. The outer edge had the consistency of a very nice, warm, golden brown, cracker. So the taste sensations that came through, were of a nice dry crackly outer crust, a softer, but not doughy or gummy inner crust, and a perfect melding of tomato sauce, melted cheese, pepperoni and Italian sausage. Now when the Mrs. and I order a large pie at Domenico's, if we do not order it "thin, thin", we can never finish it, and end up bringing some home, but when it is ordered and prepared, the proper, "thin, thin" way, we totally demolish that pie. Absolutely nothing was left, and as Marie came by the table there was only a small morsel of sausage on the pie pan, and Marie remarked "gee, you aren't even leaving a piece of sausage for me to take home to my dog", and she was right, because I grabbed up the sausage morsel and popped it in to my mouth, as there was just enough room for it in my stomach.
So Wednesday was an outstanding night for pizza in Monrovia. All in all, I would rate Domenico's "thin, thin" pizza the best I can find in the greater L.A. area except for D'Amore. So if you want to taste a great pizza, join us for the Roving Chow Fest on June 1, when we make a stop at D'Amore, or make the trip out to Monrovia anytime (except Mondays) and try Domenico's,
236 West Huntington Drive
Monrovia, CA 91016
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