Meeting a Legend


#1

MEETING A LEGEND

I spent the Thanksgiving holiday with my son, who lives in Phoenix. I timed my arrival to get in close to noon. He met me at the airport, and off we went to Pizzeria Bianco, so I could start off my holiday with a contented smile. It is only a 15 minute drive from the airport. I ordered my usual Margherita with garlic. When it arrived I picked up the plate to inhale that wonderful aroma, and then took a bite from a slice.
When I bit down on the slice, there was that wonderful crunch in my mouth, the only slice I have ever had that does this. I finished off the pie in short order, and it was a good as ever. While I was savoring the taste, my son motioned with his head for me to look at the pizza bar. I did, and sitting there was Chris Bianco. I got up, walked over to the bar, and introduced myself to Chris. In a few seconds we bonded, one ex New Yorker to another. When I told him I lived in LA he informed me that he was working on 2 projects, both to be located in DTLA. The second, in about 2 years is gong to be a Pizzeria, and the first, which should be ready in less than a year I have to keep confidential, because he asked me to. He made me promise that the next time I go to Phoenix I would let him know ahead of time so he could prepare a meal at his new restaurant, Tratto, for me and my family. And, here is the two of us:MEETING A LEGEND

I spent the Thanksgiving holiday with my son, who lives in Phoenix. I timed my arrival to get in close to noon. He met me at the airport, and off we went to Pizzeria Bianco, so I could start off my holiday with a contented smile. It is only a 15 minute drive from the airport. I ordered my usual Margherita with garlic. When it arrived I picked up the plate to inhale that wonderful aroma, and then took a bite from a slice.
When I bit down on the slice, there was that wonderful crunch in my mouth, the only slice I have ever had that does this. I finished off the pie in short order, and it was a good as ever. While I was savoring the taste, my son motioned with his head for me to look at the pizza bar. I did, and sitting there was Chris Bianco. I got up, walked over to the bar, and introduced myself to Chris. In a few seconds we bonded, one ex New Yorker to another. When I told him I lived in LA he informed me that he was working on 2 projects, both to be located in DTLA. The second, in about 2 years is gong to be a Pizzeria, and the first, which should be ready in less than a year I have to keep confidential, because he asked me to. He made me promise that the next time I go to Phoenix I would let him know ahead of time so he could prepare a meal at his new restaurant, Tratto, for me and my family. And, here is the two of us:


#2

that’s fantastic… and that’s great news for us! the tomatoes he commissions are my favorite now… won my last blind test


#3

Wonderful story. I’ve met Chris in the past and he is truly a great person to chat with. Very personable.


#4

Of what tomatoes do you speak?


#5


#6

Nice photos! I’m going to google those and compare to my Italian imports.


#7


#8

At $7 a can (per Amazon) I’m not likely a buyer, but just for s&g’s, do you know if they’re available at retail in SoCal, particularly OC?


#9

They sell the Bianco tomatoes both crushed (blue) and whole (yellow) at Whole Foods and Cortinas. It’s cheaper at Cortinas - $2.49 for 28 ounce can. I’m pretty sure they also have a bigger can of yellow whole tomatoes. It also gives your a good excuse to pick up some bread and cold cuts at Cortinas.


#10

Thanks so much. Do you happen to know if Claro’s has them as well?


#11

I haven’t been to Claro’s in a very long time. The last time I went to the La Habra I don’t recall then carrying Bianco tomatoes but I wasn’t necessarily looking for them.

I switched over from the San Marzano brand and never looked back. These tomatoes are great.


#12

At Pizzeria Mozza you can order pizzas made with them & they are wonderful…


#13

I’ll try to get by soon and report back. Their Tustin location is much closer for me.


#14

They do not.


#15

Chris needs to stop expanding on the Pizzeria Bianco moniker.

There’s no need for for two Pizzeria locations (with one being more of an Italian restaurant than a pure pizza joint), as well as a sandwich shop and a bar.

And not to be parochial, but CA is not in need of another Neapolitan-esque pizza shop.

I say this being a devout Bianca fan. Having spent many weekend afternoons at the Arizona Science Center while waiting for the place to open.


#16

Thanks Ipse. I didn’t find it in their online store listings but there was a recent Facebook post from DiNapoli Foods on Google that suggested Claro’s did. Google can be dangerous. I have two Whole Foods much nearer than Cortina’s. Probably pricier but less gas for a first time try.


#17

Ipse, I keep hearing that Pizzeria Bianco is among the best pizza places in the country. Why would you deny us that in SoCal? What’s comparable or better here?


#18

Because you wouldn’t be getting something akin to “among the best pizza places in the country.”

Ever since his lung ailment back in 2010, Chris has been much more hands-off in the pizza making process leading to often very inconsistent results. Back in the halcyon days circa 2006-2009, it was said Chris oversaw (if not made) all the pies. Back then it sure seemed true. Nowadays? Almost never. And back then it was certainly worth waiting 3-4 hours in sweltering mid-August Phoenix heat for a taste of the Wiseguy. Nowadays? No, at least not for me.

There’s a reason Pizzeria Bianco in Tuscon shuttered recently. And it’s not because UofA kids don’t like pizza.

As to what pies in LA are comparable or perhaps better? Mozza, Sotto, Bestia and M&O to name a few.


#19

I thought the pie was pretty good. It’s certainly better than Mozza’s Margherita. Setto’s crust is much too soft for me. As Porthos knows, I don’t like to eat my pies with a knife and fork. I’m not familiar with Bestia’s pie. I’ll have to check it out.


#20

Inb4 Eater LA article!!