Enzo’s Pizzeria, Westwood – No Better Than a Cheese Sandwich

enzo's pizzeria, westwood, ca

Enzo’s Pizzeria

10940 Weyburn Avenue (between Broxton Ave. and Westwood Blvd.)
Westwood Village, CA 90024
310.208.3696
www.enzospizzeriawestwood.com

After an awesome night in the Emergency Room of the UCLA Medical Center that started before dinner and didn’t end until the wee hours of the morning, I was, quite understandably, hungry. It was late, and though Westwood has quite a few late night places, I wanted pizza, so we went to Enzo’s Pizzeria on Weyburn, open until 3 am. I had a slice of plain cheese pizza because I was afraid of eating anything else that might potentially rustle up yet another stealthy attack by my own body, setting off hista(land)mines that explode into a violent outbreak of hives all over my skin. Bread. Cheese.

I ate a slice of cheese pizza that night. Plain old cheese pizza is kind of boring. Kind of like eating a cheese sandwich.

Kind of boring, like this post. Dear Diary, I ate a slice of cheese pizza…

food & wine magazine, march 2006
food and whine?

It’s been over a month since an article titled “In the Belly of the Blog” (Food & Wine, March 2006) sparked a cheese sandwich controversy around the food blogosphere that went down like a white hot panini grill on two slices of ciabatta. Article author Pete Wells is a contributing editor to beautifully glossy flossy food magazine, Food & Wine. His simple piece didn’t say anything earth-shatteringly new about food blogs, and recognized some already highly recognized, well-deserving-of-such-recognition blogs. However, Wells’ sort of implied that everyone else, “hundreds of pointless cheese-sandwich meanderings, were “tiny empires of boredom.” Yikes. The fires that sought to burn Mr. Wells in effigy have died down now, so I certainly realize that addressing it is a little late in the game, but it was done on purpose.

You see, I am what you might call…passive/aggressive. Obviously, I haven’t been clinically diagnosed or anything like that (or have I? Maybe I’m blogging from my tiny padded asylum cell right now!), I just simply know this of myself. I try the best I can to maintain a smiling calm, but the truth is, when I am very reactionary, I take it a little too far. I needed some time to chill out. I think I have sufficiently chilled myself out and can write with some (very small) degree of level-headedness.

When I first came across Wells’ article, I didn’t think much about what I was reading. In fact, when I first came across the article, I didn’t even read the whole thing carefully. I scanned it, looking for…myself. It is human nature. When your best friend posts photos from the party last weekend and sends you the link, you click over to ofoto, scan the pictures, and what are you looking for first? All the pictures that you are in. Or, you scroll through, but you slow down and double click to enlarge the ones you are in. The point is, people are inherently self-seeking. It’s just the way we are built. Reasonably, I knew I wouldn’t see The Delicious Life mentioned anywhere in Wells’ article since I don’t ever recall a writer from Food and Wine magazine trying to contact me, but our subconscious works in very mysterious, very hopeful, very stupid ways. I didn’t intentionally look for myself, and I’m certainly not saying that every other food blogger who read the article did either. I just know that I did.

Perhaps for but an infinitesimal moment, there was imperceptible disappointment in my heart, but it was overwhelmed by “Oh! There’s Deep End Dining! That’s Eddie!” I don’t know Eddie. I have never met Eddie, but this is the blogosphere and let’s just say that reading, commenting and emailing is the real-life equivalent of clinking beer steins at a saloon that is halfway between the two of you. High five! High five for the LA crew, Wes-saaaaaaa-ide! I wasn’t really shrieking like a monkey, since I would have sent coffee flying all over my keyboard, but that is was what I was thinking, and if there had been someone other than my two stuffed bears with me, I would have said it all out loud.

Now, the events that unraveled next are very indicative of group social behavior. Sheesh, I never took a sociology class in my life, but work with me here. The article was brought to my attention again in a very neutral, FYI-type blog post, so I re-read Wells’ article. This time, however, I thought more about what Wells was saying. I was the first person to post a comment on that FYI post, and it was negative. I think I said something like…I am slightly offended that he implies that my Delicious Life is a cheese sandwich. Well, we know what happened from there. I’m not saying that my comment initiated the whole spewage that came after that, as I am pretty sure that name-calling, wicked criticism of writing ability, conspiracies to overthrow the Food & Wine regime, and whatnot would have happened anyway. I just wonder what would have happened over there if the first comment had been something slightly more positive.

Well, now that time has passed, I know that many people have changed the way they feel about the article, or had second thoughts about their reactions. The thing is, I still feel negatively toward the article, and while I could continue and say all this stuff about how Wells’ writing sucks and he shouldn’t have said or done this or that, and that he can kiss my big bloggy ass, I know, in my heart that my “critiques” would be a sham. I am just hiding what I really feel, and am too afraid to admit out loud because it makes me look ridiculous. Am I the first to admit this? I reacted the way I did not because I thought the article was poorly-written or that Wells was completely inaccurate in his claims. I just didn’t want to admit that in fact, I agree with what Wells said, but I was jealous. I was upset/angry/resentful/sad because a credentialed writer like Pete Wells didn’t categorize me as one of those blogs that I too believe are examples of those qualities that truly make a good blog: well-written, passionate, and purposeful. It was a hard thing to swallow for someone who is, as I have claimed myself before, an absolute egoiste. That is all. And instead of taking the opportunity to use the very good points he made as way to improve myself, I just sort of let my hurt feelings and pettiness snowball into almost…infuriation.

There. I said it.

I was mad that he didn’t pick me.

I said I agree with “some” of the things Wells wrote. There are some things with which I don’t agree at all. However, Pete Wells has every right to say whatever the hell he wants and how ever he wants to do it, as does anyone. God knows I do the same thing on my blog. I badmouth shitt
y service and condescending asshole maitre d’s and food that tastes like ass on my own blog. Who is to say that I’m right or wrong? Who is to say he’s right or wrong? They are opinions. Whether he did research, or interviews, or spent 2 minutes looking at food blogs or 2 years, it doesn’t matter. We were all picking at and picking apart things that don’t really matter. Even using the term “cheese sandwich” was being over-analyzed.

All this having been written still doesn’t mean I’m not pea-green with envy of the awesome blogs that Wells did mention. But you know, that’s just me. :)

And where does that leave me with Enzo’s Pizzeria? Exactly where I was when I started this post. Enzo’s is unremarkable – small, red checkered vinyl tablecloth, dark inside, a few tables on the sidewalk for watching drunk college students hobble across the street in a hookah-induced haze to Jerry’s Famous Deli. In fact, I don’t like Enzo’s as much as Frankie and Johnnie’s or Mulberry Street Pizzeria because the crust is a little too thick for my taste, but it’s open late (until midnight on weekdays, 3 am on the weekend), and at 3 am, post-ER, all I needed was hypo-allergenic cheese pizza.

** a year ago today, an email from the chef/owner of osteria latini made me swoon **

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 L March 26, 2006 at 10:11 pm

What a fantastically honest post! I laughed, I cried. Well, no, not really. But I did love it!

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2 santos. March 27, 2006 at 1:15 am

the most important thing about this post has been glossed over–wtf? you were in the er??? i hope you are feeling better, that the hives have gone away, and you are getting some rest.

the second most important thing hasn’t even been addressed: how’s the er at ucla? cedars is the pits.

i am tempted to say who the **** is this pete wells, but i know now that i no longer confuse him with that guy that kate moss seems to always hook up with; now that i know he didn’t write “for lovers”, i don’t particularly care to know more.

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3 Grace March 27, 2006 at 1:20 am

All I know is.. I want some cheese pizza now. And I think that alone makes this blog worthy of reading. Although I really shouldn’t be THANKING you for making me want to eat more.. (;

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4 sarah March 27, 2006 at 2:58 am

L: thank you!

santos: heh. yes, i have gone to the er and urgent care several times now because of allergies, and STILL we do not know what i am allergic to (besides shrimp). and the ucla med center er is not too bad. i mean, it IS an emergency room, but i’ve been in worse. cedars is bad? i can’t imagine that, with all tht money they have…

grace: aw, thank you! and you should eat cheese pizza! it’s good for you! :)

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5 Maure March 27, 2006 at 3:15 am

well, alls i know is, reading your blog is always a delight to the senses and something i look forward to after a long day of pretending to work. and i spend an unhealthy amount of time as it is
surfing the net on food and dining.

but what really piqued my curiousity wasn’t the er visit or the wellsian/cheese sandwich rant -but what the heck are the names of your two stuffed bears?

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6 sarah March 27, 2006 at 3:44 am

maure: i love how you and santos pick out the funniest things in the post to comment on! LOL!

i have a very ratty teddy bear named pookie who knows every deep dark secret in my heart, and his sidekick is pooh (as in “winnie the”). it was not intentional that they would have similar names.

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7 Maure March 27, 2006 at 4:09 am

sarah: i believe your next column, or post or blog or whatever it’s called should be “to er is human, to dish divine: dining in the emergency rooms of the westside”
wait until wells reads that one!

i’d love to interview pookie for a
VH1 behind the scenes style expose:
Sarah – The Delicious Life: the true story. a bet pooh is secretly leaking pics and stories of you to the enquirer and star magazines. you with nick lachey, or was that
tony bordain, at zankou chicken at
3am.

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8 Jocelyn:McAuliflower March 27, 2006 at 4:34 am

Awww… thanks for having the guts to spill the beans on your Well’s article reaction. I think you summed up a whole lotta other people’s reactions too (raising hand).

So, when are you going to get one of the grid on your back allergy tests done?

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9 FooDcrazEE March 27, 2006 at 1:32 pm

great post….all of us are entitle to our own opinion as long as it dont really goes into racial, sexist, whatever….

Keep up being honest in ur post…its sure is nice …what a pleasure

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10 s'kat March 27, 2006 at 6:42 pm

Pooh’s with me, dude. However, I’m afraid his nose is long gone.

Great posting! I can certainly relate via sports, which I detest. Consequently, I was always the very last one picked in school. Bastards.

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11 hermz March 27, 2006 at 8:54 pm

You know what’s funny? Last week my roommate and his girl brought back some Enzo’s, saying how good it was. haha! :P

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12 sarah March 28, 2006 at 5:02 am

mcauliflower: hi! thanks for the comment! i mean, i know that there were a lot of people who were not as “what abot me?!”-ish as i was, rather they were genuinely peeved at the way that wells simply wrote off the rest of the food blogosphere. and on the allergies…dust. and berries. and they have to redo it with a whole new set of blood. YAY.

foodcrazee: thanks again! hm, not gettin racial or sexist? uh oh… i think i’ve already broken the rules, then ;)

s’kat: hello! you can keep pooh. he was a nuisance. so nosy.

hermz: ha! they went all the way to westwood for pizza?!?!

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13 Carrie March 30, 2006 at 9:15 pm

Hey Sarah!

Just wanted to say that I ADORE your blog, and the Food & Wine people can go eat a pickled pig hoof for all I care.

I used to go to Enzo’s *all* *the* *time* in college, and probably the most noteworthy thing about the place is that the owner (Lenny Montana Jr.) is the son of the guy who played Luca Brazzi (“sleeps with the fishes”) in “The Godfather” (which explains the posters of Marlon Brando plastered on every wall).

But if you find yourself there again anytime in the future, definitely indulge in the Cheesy Garlic Bread (dipped in marinara) – it’s Cheesy Delicious Hangover-Warding-Off Goodness.

Mmmm…cheesy bread….[Insert Homer-Simpson drooling noises here.]

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14 Jeanne March 30, 2006 at 9:36 pm

Hiya Sarah-
Well, I don’t know what M.Wells was thinking, but I have to say, Delicious Life is on my food blog short list. I forgot how I stumbled on to it, but now it’s gotten so that I can recognize your Slashfood posts without even looking at the byline. I hope that doesnt sound stalker-y. Fear not, I’ve never even been to LA and have no real plans to visit. (actually, I’ve never been west of Iowa.) But anyhow, the Delicious Life is delightful, a much needed diversion from the work I should be doing. ^_^

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