For me, traveling is just as much about trying new food as it is seeing new places. Even before I buy my tickets, I’m always scoping out where to dine. A recent trip out to the West Coast with my wife was no different. The months preceding our departure were spent figuring out where we would eat in LA, where we would only be for less than 24 hours, before continuing on to the Coachella music festival.
Our first stop in the City of Angels is at Mozza pizzeria’s small sister spot, Mozza2Go. Both restaurants are a collaboration between the omnipresent Mario Batali, restaurateur Joe Bastianich, and celebrated chef Nancy Silverton. Their tiny takeout joint offers up gourmet goodies for home cooks alongside ready-to-eat fare like paninis, pizzas, and, salads. There’s a hearty dessert selection, which draws my interest, even though I haven’t eaten lunch yet. A stack of iced raisin squares sitting right next to the cash register is irresistible. A cross between a Pop Tart and a Fig Newton, it’s just sweet enough, and the buttery crust possesses the right amount of richness.
Back around the corner at Mozza, the official savory start to our luncheon is a trio of small plates, including shaved purple Brussels sprouts tossed with hefty avocado chunks, spot-on tempura fried squash blossoms filled with creamy ricotta, and a disappointing order of arancini that are neither crunchy or cheesy enough.
For my main course, I opt for the Napolitana pizza, which comes topped with tomatoes, generous puddles of buffalo mozzarella, and marble-sized fried capers that add a salty crackle. The crust is a little too crispy for D.O.C. standards, but all the other elements are pitch perfect.
I come full circle by ordering a second dessert: the pudding-like butterscotch budino sprinkled with sea salt crystals and dolloped with freshly whipped cream. A petite pair of rosemary pine nut cookies completes the dish. Though I enjoy it, my wife orders the table’s winner: caramel copetta (a cousin to gelato) with a snowline of bruleed marshmallow running atop it, a shower of salted skin-on Spanish peanuts, and a stroopwafel-styled wafer hiding underneath. This treat alone was worth the price of airfare.