Sotto

Interior

Exterior

Bread with garlic anchovy butter

Funghi pizza

*** (3 stars)

Excellent service here is the highlight, and the decor is intimate while at the same time being bustling. The food doesn’t quite live up to the resulting expectations.

Housemade bread was delicious, and worth the extra charge. The funghi pizza was flavorful, but the crust was more like naan bread, with no crispness at all. We ate the toppings off.

Rigatoni was nicely al dente, but this dish should only be ordered if you absolutely LOVE chicken livers, and they weren’t just the prime flavor component, they were the only flavor component.

I give them points for doing something different with the wine list, but it may not be what you’re looking for. ALL of the wines are from lesser known Italian appellations, so you’re not going to find any varietals you’ve likely heard of. This encourages exploration, but also invites disappointment.

Sotto
9575 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90035
(310) 277-0210
https://www.yelp.com/biz/sotto-los-angeles

Pizza Hut

Interior at peak lunch hour

Personal pan pizza

*** (3 stars)

People seem to dislike this Pizza Hut, but I thought it was fine. At the middle of lunch time it was deserted and we thought it might be closed. But someone appeared and took our order, and the food was Pizza Hut standard, so I wouldn’t hesitate to go back.

Pizza Hut
1555 S Western Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90006
(323) 734-7713
https://www.yelp.com/biz/pizza-hut-los-angeles-11

The 3rd Stop

Pretzel bites to go

*** (3 stars)

This is a nice little sidewalk cafe and wine bar. The menu is extensive and we only had time for a snack, so I don’t have a lot of data points to go on. But I will say we were there in mid-afternoon, were the only customers, ordered a diet coke and espresso and pretzel bites, and the service was so slow we ended up having to take the pretzel bites to go. So I can’t recommend it if you’re in a hurry.

The pretzel bites, by the way, aren’t what you’re expecting. It’s actually a bowl of fondue with the pretzels floating in it. It was okay, but I wouldn’t have it again.

The 3rd Stop
8636 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(310) 273-3605
https://www.yelp.com/biz/the-3rd-stop-los-angeles

Flippers Pizzeria

Counter

Exterior

Interior

Lunch calzone

**** (4 stars)

Nice new location of flippers with a bright, clean interior. All the usual Flipper’s offerings. The lunch deals are excellent. I had my usual pepperoni and green pepper calzone, and it was nicely prepared.

The service was excellent. The only thing I didn’t like about the place was the manager didn’t seem to be treating the servers very well. I realize the place just opened and he wanted it to go well, but they were doing a fine job without all the shouting.

Flippers Pizzeria
6526 Old Brick Rd
Windermere, FL 34786
(407) 877-1717
https://www.yelp.com/biz/flippers-pizzeria-windermere

Shakey’s Pizza Parlor

Pepperoni and basil thin crust 9 inch

Mojo potatoes

Interior

**** (4 stars)

I’ve been coming to this location since the 1960s, when Shakey’s was in its heyday, the tables and chairs were wooden planks, and there was a live piano player cranking out honky-tonk tunes, accompanied by “multimedia” in the form of a slide projector!

The planks and piano are gone, but Shakey’s is largely unchanged. There’s a special taste to the pizza here that I really like; I think they use more sauce, and it’s tangy-er. The original thin crust recipe is still crisp and delicious, with just the right amount of chew, and even the pepperoni seems to have a slightly different taste from other places.

One thing that changed–albeit back in the 80s–was the addition to mojo potatoes, and those quickly became a favorite of mine, and still are. Essentially they are thin slabs of whole potatoes deep fried in a concoction that attempts to turn them into fried chicken. Yum.

I’m sad that there are so few Shakey’s left, but I hope this one hangs in there–it was certainly busy the day we visited–because it’s a delightful blast from my past.

Shakey’s Pizza Parlor
6052 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 937-4234
https://www.yelp.com/biz/shakeys-pizza-parlor-los-angeles-6

Fat One’s Hot Dogs & Italian Ice

NY Dog

Exterior

Interior

*** (3 stars)

This was a perfectly fine hot dog, but I guess I was expecting something more, having been to many gourmet hot dog places in other cities. The dogs and buns are split in two for grilled. I tried the New York dog, which had mustard and sauerkraut, but was somewhat overwhelmed by the cloying red onion sauce. I was glad I didn’t get the foot-long version, as the small size was plenty, although at $5 I didn’t feel it was worth it.

Fat One’s Hot Dogs & Italian Ice
8001 S Orange Blossom Trl
FC16
Orlando, FL 32809
(407) 634-0205
http://www.yelp.com/biz/fat-ones-hot-dogs-and-italian-ice-orlando-2

Mrs Potato

Exterior

Interior

Empanada

Chicken Catupiry Rosti

**** (4 stars)

This is both a counter serve and sit down restaurant. Although there are only three tables in the building, an adjacent permanent tent accommodates many more. The menu offers many variations of potatoes rosti, and also baked potatoes.

Rosti is essentially a beret-sized mound of hashbrowns with whatever filling you like. I tried the Chicken Catupiry Rosti. I enjoyed the crispy brown hashbrown crust, but the filling wasn’t my favorite.

In addition to potatoes, they also have many Brazilian and South American entrees and appetizers. My favorite was the empanada. The beef version I ordered was unavailable so I tried cheese, and it was excellent, with a delicate crust cooked a perfect golden brown, and served with an excellent salsa/relish.

Service was excellent, very friendly and efficient. I was impressed that every customer was promptly and warmly welcomed upon arrival.

They also have a large assortment of Mr. Potato head toys for the kids to play with!

Mrs Potato
4550 S Kirkman Rd
Orlando, FL 32811
(407) 290-0991
https://www.yelp.com/biz/mrs-potato-orlando-2

Pizza Bruno

Pepperoni, ricotta, basil

Cauliflower

Exterior

Interior

**** (4 stars)

I have to admit I was expecting a bit more from this place, given the hype, but while the pizza looked authentic, I didn’t find anything remarkable about its flavor or consistency. It struck me as odd that the basil was applied before baking, resulting in burnt leaves.

However I did love the kale salad! It was a perfect combination of a house-made Caesar dressing, plus little crunchy and sweet elements.

I also liked the cauliflower appetizer, although be warned that the sauce is very sweet. It’s almost dessert cauliflower.

The place can get quite loud, because the floors are concrete, and there are no soft surfaces.

Service was excellent.

Pizza Bruno
3990 Curry Ford Rd
Orlando, FL 32806
(407) 440-3894
https://www.yelp.com/biz/pizza-bruno-orlando

Pizza Hut

Counter

Side Caesar

Hand Tossed Pepperoni Lover's Pizza

Hand Tossed Pepperoni Lover’s Pizza

 

**** (4 stars)

This is a counter service location with a small dine in area that includes a bar. There is the obligatory wall of sports-bar-like TV monitors.

Service was efficient, even on a bustling Saturday night. The side Caesar salad is a great deal at $2.50, and the individual hand tossed pepperoni lovers pizza was served piping hot from the oven and had plenty of toppings.

Pizza Hut
7970 Winter Garden Vineland Rd
Ste 100
Windermere, FL 34786
(407) 909-4327
https://www.yelp.com/biz/pizza-hut-windermere-2

Luigi Stefani Pizzeria

*** (3 stars)

This place has quite a collection of poor reviews, but it is possible to get a good meal here. In fact, it can be one of the more healthful options in the entire airport food court. The trick is to go around the corner, past the greasy pizza, to the deli salad area. There, for$10, you can get a green salad topped with your choice of three fresh made deli salads. I chose grilled vegetables, asparagus, and something called harvest grains. They were all delicious.

Luigi Stefani Pizzeria
5700 S Cicero Ave
Chicago, IL 60638
(773) 838-8824
http://www.yelp.com/biz/luigi-stefani-pizzeria-chicago