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Los Angeles Area Pizzeria

il Capriccio Wood Fire Pizzeria


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il Capriccio Wood Fire Pizzeria

Tom Armitage | May 14, 2007 05:14 PM

For me, pizza is first and foremost about the crust. It may seem amazing that the combination of four simple ingredients – flour, yeast, water, and salt – can result in such a wide range of qualities of a pizza crust. However, the type of flour used (the percent of protein and the mill), the type of yeast used (baker’s yeast vs. sourdough), the water used, the proportions of the ingredients, the technique of kneading the dough, the time and method of fermentation, and the temperature and time of baking can each make a difference in the quality of the crust. I recently discovered il Capriccio Wood Fire Pizzeria on Hollywood Blvd. near the intersection with Hillhurst (4518 Hollywood Blvd.) I like their crust. It’s a Neapolitan-style thin crust that has the right balance between crispiness, elasticity, chewiness, and moisture -- and it tastes good! The pies are baked in a wood-fire oven, and heat of the oven produces a nice light to medium char on the crust. The toppings are applied in moderation to enhance, but not overpower, the crust. As Mario Batali constantly preaches, Italian cooking is all about balance. So, if you’re a pile-on-the-sauce-and-cheese-and-toppings type of person, the pies at il Capriccio probably won’t win your heart. The toppings are numerous, diverse, and creative. On my most recent visit, I had the pie with rapini, sausage, and mozzarella (no tomato sauce), and thought it was terrific. Other toppings, in addition to the usual standards, include shitake and porcini mushrooms, prosciutto, calamata olives, capers, bufala mozzarella, arugula, and radicchio. I’ve read complaints that the pizza at il Capriccio is soggy in the center, particularly when delivered or taken out. The folks at il Capriccio Pizzeria have read these complaints too, and have tried to address them by putting a mesh mat in the bottom of the pizza box to avoid the problem of the pizza “sweating” in the box and getting soggy. Frankly, I’ve never understood why pizza has become such a popular delivery/take-out item. It is extraordinarily perishable and fragile by nature, and will inevitably suffer from spending time enclosed in a cardboard coffin, mesh or no mesh. Pizza is meant to be eaten fresh from the oven, when the crust is hot, crisp, and full of life. If you want Italian food for take-out, order something like lasagna that can better withstand the rigors of delay and transportation. However nonsensical pizza delivery/take-out may seem to me, I understand that it has become a competitive necessity for most pizzerias. In any event, il Capriccio Wood Fire Pizzeria gets my vote for a good pizza pie. You’ll find me there a lot, since – by extreme good fortune – it’s right around the corner from where I work.

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