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.
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.
At the bright and cozy Canadian Pizza & Grill, many of the pizzas are served in twos. Working in accordance with their regular ?2-for-1? deal, cooks bake up pairs of pies fresh, tossing twin 10-inch, 12-inch, or 14-inch circles of dough with imaginative specialty toppings like chorizo, ham and pineapple, or Canadian bacon. They outfit both pizzas in sturdy cardboard boxes and matching "It's a Boy!" bonnets, peddling them to customers for the price of one. When they're not whipping up pizza duos, the kitchen staff turns their attention to other pizzeria classics, including crunchy foot-long subs, plump wings, and grilled philly steak sandwiches. They also prepare a variety of two-person pasta dinners that include meat lasagna, chicken parmigiana, and fettuccine alfredo.
It begins with dough, spun at its center into a flat round disk. Next comes the marinara––sweet red sauce ladled evenly across the pie’s surface and topped with handfuls of shredded mozzarella. Finally, the best part: Bella's more than 20 toppings, which range from artichokes and peppers to pine nuts and crispy bacon. Outside of artisan pizzas, the kitchen prepares hand-tossed salads, sandwiches, and hot wings in barbecue and buffalo flavors, which can be complemented with wine, beer, and gelato. Diners may also request Bella's catering services to feed a party or spice up a dull doctor's appointment.
Staffers at Pizza X Two have been slinging pies behind their neon-lit storefront since 1987. Already bubbling with 100% mozzarella cheese, their pizzas can don an array of extra toppings from bacon bits to green peppers. Salads and hot or cold subs also appear before diners seated on chrome barstools. In addition to their culinary prowess, the staff members are proudly bilingual, singing both Spanish and English lullabies to their pizzas as they cook.
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.