Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Italian, by way of Iran, in Westwood: Cafe Glacé Persian Pizza
Amid all this ruminating and cultural confusion, a trip to a restaurant in Westwood's 'Tehrangeles' quarter called Cafe Glacé -- a phrase that fills me with nostalgia -- that serves something called Persian pizza -- a concept I didn't know existed -- fits right in. I've waxed sentimental about Persian cuisine (all over this blog, for one thing) for ages. But what I know of it is what came with us to the United States over 30 years ago: the food cooked at home, the traditional dishes of rice, heady spices, tangy fruits, and grilled meats passed down from mother to daughter in humble family kitchens.
The pizza I tried tonight had no sauce. It was personal-sized, on a thin but soft and substantial crust. The toppings, pretty much chosen for me, included chopped green peppers and tomatoes, thin slices of mushroom, and meat in the form of chopped kalbas and discs of saucise (baloney and hot dog, respectively), and were packed in to the very edges of the crust. All of this was topped with a layer of cheese, then browned fast and at high temperature, resulting in vegetables that stayed bright and just barely cooked under a puffy layer of crisp browned cheese. Evidently the Tehran cool kids squirt these guys generously with ketchup and ranch dressing -- bizarre to me, but I must admit, it works. Persian pizza is not the high cuisine of the shahs, but you know what? It's really satisfying.
zoulbia. We sipped and took in the scene all around us: tables of young Iranians -- some with veils, some with dreads -- collectively burning their tongues on sizzling-hot cheese and commenting cattily on the cosmetic surgery choices of every hot new JLo-esque Persian pop starlet crooning in highly produced music videos on the flatscreen behind the counter. As soon as I got into my car, I put on my favorite Persian pop, too. Shahram Shabpareh's Diyar, Persian pop circa 1980.
Cafe Glacé is at 1441 Westwood Blvd., about 5 blocks south of Wilshire.
The Los Angeles Times writes about Cafe Glacé