The Executive Chef at Pizzeria Ortica, Justin Miller, prepares a seasonal cotechino (a cooked holiday sausage) and cavolo nero (Tuscan kale) pizza with smoked mozzarella, spiced mascarpone, and curls of spring onion. It is a perfect balance of flavor and texture.
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[Photographs: L.A. Pizza Maven] Pizza Ortica 650 Anton Boulevard, Costa Mesa CA 92626 (map); 714-445-4900; pizzeriaortica.com Pizza style: Neapolitan Oven type: Wood-fired oven When it opened early in 2009, Pizza Ortica generated its share of controversy on Chowhound. This David Myers venture, next door to South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, California, was variously described as "the worst pizza experience ever," "$87 for pizza and pasta? Extortion!" and "embarrassingly mediocre." Many of the complaints repeated, ad nauseam, the old "too limp and wet in the center" refrain. More recently, several Southland bloggers have defended Ortica's pizza style as Neapolitan-influenced...