Chicago and LA have more in common than you might think. We're both situated adjacent to massive bodies of water (ours is bigger, #winning); we both have gangster DNA in our bloodline (Capone for them, Cohen for us); we both figured out a way to make hot dogs even more artery-anihilatingly awesome (they deep fry 'em til they burst, we slather ours in bacon and grilled peppers.) But where those similarities end is in the pizza department. Our Midwest brethren gave the world the ever-delicious Chicago deep-dish, while we gave the world... some shitty franchise that you eat at the airport.
Luckily for us Angelenos, Masa of Echo Park exists. A funky little joint with an old-timey European cafe feel and a bed-headed eastside crowd, Masa serves up Chi-town style pie that's every bit as much an event as it is a meal. A few minutes shy of an hour is what it takes to make a single one of their signature concoctions, so don't be afraid to call and order it in advance. The pizza comes out thick as a brick and round as a 45 rpm record (and that's if you order the small), and the layers contain multitudes: perfectly crackly-chewy cornmeal crust; a steaming layer of chunky-crushed tomato sauce that seems to have been born with garlic coursing through its veins; slices of tender mushrooms; a spicy, fennel-infused disc of Italian sausage; and beneath it all, an almost subliminal sediment of molten mozzarella. One slice is enough to stop you in your tracks. Two or more is tempting fate.
Later, when you walk out of Masa and find yourself not in the wind-blown lakeshore cold of Chicago, but in the balmy begonia-scented night of Echo Park, you can't help but think: "who says you can't have it all?"