Hot wings, New York-style pizza, and Philly steak sandwiches may be the signature foods of the east coast, but it's hard to imagine any restaurant treating them with more reverence than west-coast franchise Alondra Hot Wings. The eponymous wings are the house specialty, hot and slathered in one of 18 sauces. Ranked on a scale from mild to atomic?which requires a waiver to order?the sauces also include flavors such as lemon pepper, spicy barbecue, maple syrup, and thai chili.
Alondra's other major influence is written all over the menu?and the walls. Mug shots of famous mafiosi hang throughout the dining room, and the owners are so fascinated by the subject that their website even offers tutorials in mob history. Also from that old Italian-American milieu: pizzas built on from-scratch dough, bearing names such as The Godfather?a hearty amalgam of four meats?and the Little Italy, which flecks chicken breast with basil. Draft beer and wine help mouths cool down after biting into a hot wing or almost insulting the ghost of Al Capone.
John's Incredible Pizza Co. graces guests with acres of incandescent entertainment options and a fully stocked buffet ($9.49 value, $1.50 value for drinks). In addition to a slew of soups, salads, pasta, desserts, and traditional pizza choices, the buffet brandishes a bouquet of specialty pizza creations, including spicy peanut-butter, barbecue chicken ranch, and alfredo pizza.
The chefs at FalconesPizza can cater to any pizza palate. Depending on a customer's personal tastes, they toss crusts that are hearty and thick or as thin as the parchment from which Leonardo da Vinci placed his first take-out order. Toppings, too, range from traditional flavors, such as the pesto, garlic, tomatoes, and fresh basil that make up the Napoli, to the inventive combination atop the shrimp pizza, which pairs succulent seafood with chorizo, pepperoni, and onions. Italian meats such as mortadella and capacolla join fresh mozzarella on salads and sandwiches, and family-style trays of baked ziti or lasagna keep large groups from taking over a grocery store.
A Whittier Boulevard fixture for more than 40 years, De Luca's Italian Restaurant continues to showcase the Boot's classic dishes. Inside the kitchen, cooks toss linguini with clams, coat fettuccini and chicken with a creamy, sherry-spiked tomato sauce, and stuff eggplant and mushrooms into vegetarian-friendly calzones. Pizza-wise, they take their cues from New York by rolling housemade dough into a thin-crust pie covered with mozzarella cheese from Wisconsin. That joins medleys of up to 20 toppings?from cappicola to artichoke hearts?as well as eight specialty pies with additional ingredients such as herbed chicken. To complement feasts, bartenders pour plenty of wines from an extensive list of reds, whites, and America's rare blues.
At Georgio's Pizza & Subs, the Meat Lovers pizza has to contend with the Athena: a pesto-covered disk decked in roasted red peppers, kalamata olives, eggplant, feta cheese, and pine nuts. The Athena is just one of four vegetarian combinations that share menu space with 10 other specialty pies, such as the barbecue chicken and the classic margherita. Though their topping options span a wide spectrum, all of them lie atop hand-spun, housemade dough.
The word housemade permeates much of the Italian menu, preceding several of its pasta sauces, the meatballs in its submarine sandwiches, and the breadsticks in its appetizer section. Salads, calzones, and calamari constitute savory side plates, and slices of original New York–style cheesecake conclude meals with the rich decadence of some French palace.
Extreme Pizza's topping tycoons devise an innovative spread of ingredient combinations, forging distinctive tastes among a lineup of gourmet pizzas, creative salads, and zesty sides. Palates carefully balance the sweet-and-salty notes of the Paia pie, whose canadian bacon, pineapple, and mandarin-orange slices proffer a more flavorful taste of Hawaii than a molten-lava mai tai. Meanwhile, the Asian-inspired Hanoi Fever pie decks out dough with shredded pork soused in spicy hoisin sauce, peanuts, jalapeños, and fresh cilantro, and the Poultry Geist spreads ranch-marinated chicken over a bed of four cheeses sizzling with broccoli, red onions, and fresh sage. Bite-size wings wallow in a choice of four spicy or sweet sauces, and Extremely Twisted sticks imbue bready morsels with two types of cheese beneath oregano and fresh garlic. Otherwise, forks and pocket-sized bulldozers can unearth savory goodies found within a range of herbivorous ingenuities, such as a vegetarian-friendly caesar salad or the Wobbs salad, which nestles smoked bacon, grilled chicken, and sliced tomatoes in a bed of chopped lettuce and gorgonzola cheese.