Study in Pizza Contrasts — Chewy NY Style, What I Imagine Is True Neopolitan, and Desert Curry Pizza

As we embark on our next pizza unit — New York style — we continue to eat our way through SoCal pizzerias. We start with Coop Pizza, the only NY Style pizzeria in our neck of the woods on the Eater pizza list. We find an unassuming storefront hugging the freeway, right across from the Palms Expo Line station. This place has been dishing out inexpensive and delicious NY style pies for decades.

Coop Pizza Menu

We arrived thinking we would dine in, but discover that is it take-out only! So I chat with the proprietors, a couple, while they bake our half-and-half sausage and plain cheese pie to take home. They explain that they bought the shop from the original proprietors, who trained them. When I explain that we are embarking on a pizza research and making journey, they say that they are happy to sell just their dough. Many customers like to use their dough to bake pizza and other pastries at home.

Sausage, Cheese, and Chewy Crust

Their pie is the perfect introduction to an unpretentious NY style. Soft, chewy crust, slight flop, rich slightly sweet sauce, stretchy low moisture mozzarella. Yum. The standard is set for our home NY pie.

Although we are in our NY unit, we take another Neopolitan interlude a few weeks later, when we pay a visit to Olio in Grand Central Market. The crust is a study in contrasts after eating NY style for a while. The crust is fat, poofy, blistered, and shatteringly light. This is a pizza you can polish off solo and barely feel full. I imagine that this is a penultimate Neopolitan style crust, more so than Pizzeria Mozza, which is its own peculiarly lovely concoction.

Olio’s Margherita — fresh out of wood burning oven at Grand Central Market

Final stop on this pizza eating tour is Sam’s Pizza in Joshua Tree. We were out on a desert outing to see the wildflowers over my son’s spring break, and discovered an Indian restaurant pizzeria there (baroo??). We had just been chatting with a friend how we should try pizza with Indian flavors later in our pizza journey, and we discovered this unlikely little gem.

Sam’s Chicken Tikka Pizza

Crust style is actually a light Neopolitan style, though they make larger NY scale pies. In addition to more traditional pies, Sam’s offers pies with curry sauce, Korma sauce, and coconut Korma sauce. So after digging into some samosas to start, we enjoy some pies topped with spicy curry sauce, mozzarella, chicken tikka, ginger, and cilantro.

Non-pizza bonus — rain has brought impressive desert blooms!
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