Remains of L.A.

Traces of L.A.'s past can still be found, in the kitsch of '50s diners and the decayed glamour of '40s hotspots… and sometimes the food is good, and there are nice people.

(1956) Mazzarino’s, Sherman Oaks

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mazzarinossignTonight Ari and I went and got pizza at Mazzarino’s. It was actually a lot more complicated than that; we did not plan ahead and  drove around for quite a while trying to look up places on the list while my phone kept dying, and at one point a man almost walked his dog directly into Ari’s car, but the important part is that no dogs died and we ended up at Mazzarino’s.

-High ceiling room with massive black chandeliers, terra-cotta tiles on the floor and halfway up the wall, large paintings showing scenes of Italy. The room was a little oddly shaped, sort of long and narrow, but I still liked it.

-Ari and I split a pizza with mushrooms, tomato, and meatballs on it. They also brought us some delicious garlic bread, which was good because we were both extraordinarily hungry.

-I think they mostly do take-out and delivery; people kept coming and going but the restaurant was completely empty when we got there; as Ari was sitting down the manager (? we think?) walked by and said “oh, do you have a reservation?” and laughed because we were the only ones in the whole place. Shortly after we sat down a group of about five came down and sat at the table next to us, and that was it the whole time we were there.

-The man at the table next to us had the worst toupee I’ve ever seen. I actually texted Ari to make sure he didn’t miss looking over and seeing it. His real hair was a fluffy dark brown shot with gray, and the toupee was a stiff light blond, and stood out about a half-inch from his head, and you could see his bald head in spots. I was flabbergasted that anyone could put that on and think it looked okay. I played with the idea of taking a picture to show you but of course I’d never really do such a thing.

mazzarinoschandelier-The same man, the one with the toupee, had an accent exactly like Tommy Wiseau, to the point that I almost thought maybe it was him, but it wasn’t. The plates for their pizza were square and he said, “Oooh, we get square plates!” as if this was fascinating and perhaps a little titillating.

-The pizza was huge; we were glad we hadn’t gotten a large because the medium was so big we thought we might not be able to eat it all. We did, though. The waiter had a lot of trouble getting the first piece away from the tin onto my plate, because of all the strings of cheese. As he struggled, he said, “Ah, isn’t that beautiful?” I thought it was neat, too, even when a long string of mozzarella fell into my water.

-A waitress came up at one point and asked if we’d like fresh mozzarella on our pizza. We’d never heard of that, but said sure, and she came back with a large block of cheese in one hand and a grater in the other, and grated cheese all over our slices. It was fantastic.

-There were so few people eating, the entire waitstaff gave us lots of attention, which was nice but sometimes a little startling. They kept whisking away our plates and utensils almost before we’d realized we were done with them.

-There was one of those claw machines, where you try to catch a toy, by the door. There was a sign on it that said “Game of Skill Good Luck Have Fun” All the toys inside were balls, about the size of a grapefruit, some with cartoon characters on them. I usually don’t even think about putting in money and trying to catch anything–the claws are never strong enough to carry it all the way to the chute. But for some reason this time I wanted to. I don’t know why, I know where I can buy those balls for about a dollar which was how much it cost to try to win one. Maybe I was delirious from cheese?. Anyway, I got a ball about three inches into the air and then it dropped down again.

What I Ate: Garlic bread, pizza with mushrooms, tomato, meatballs, and fresh parmesan

Who I Ate With/Things We Talked About: Ari; an upcoming Sacred Fools Theatre production called The Box; the Hollywood Fringe festival, how happy we were that Ari hadn’t actually hit that dog that had gotten in the way of his car when we were driving there, how inexcusable it is when plays have bad scene changes.

What Sort of Ghost I’d Expect to Find if I Believed in Ghosts Which I do Not:  A pizza delivery boy who used to deliver pizzas on his bicycle, and never had a job he liked more. Note: Unless otherwise stated, all ghosts mentioned in this blog died peacefully of old age and then reverted to the age/place of their choosing.

12924 Riverside Dr, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

mazzarinosinterior

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