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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Luggage Room Pizzeria: Promising but a Miss

I had somewhat high hopes for The Luggage Room Pizzeria in Pasadena after reading some of the message boards and hearing about it from a fellow foodie friend. Then I heard it was from the owners of the adjacent La Grande Orange. First red flag. Aside from a slightly decent burger, I hadn't been impressed. Didn't like the vibe or decor there. And I felt somewhat the same way about the ambiance at  Luggage. Plus, I have yet to find a fantastic eatery in Pasadena (cue the hate mail from impassioned Pasadenos). Call me a hater, but it's true.

I entered fully prepared to like this place. I even refrained from a chance to have pizza for lunch to save myself for this pie.

But you guessed it. I was disappointed. I had been excited about the prospects of being able to top my pies with extra freebies like egg. Looks the part above, right?

Well, the crust didn't quite cut it for me. Ok, I am a crust snob. Fine, I am an everything snob. But I can't help it if I've tried the most amazing pizza in Napoli and can't get it out of my head. It set the standard and I can't go back. The crust should be crispy yet substantive enough to be able to hold the cheese, tomato sauce and other light toppings without getting too soggy. I long for light and airy pizza where you don't feel heavy at all even after four slices. I know I sound like a broken record when it comes to burgers and pizzas, but Mozza for sure and Olio does a better one than this place.

Let's start with the good -- the kale and quinoa salad. Kale seems to be making a comeback and that's a good thing if it means getting more vitamins and calcium into my body. It came shredded with some shaved Parmesan cheese and tomatoes but the nice touch was the crunch and nuttiness from the sunflower seeds. It was like a speed cleansing to prep my stomach for the unhealthy food about to make its way. The dressing was light and lemony. Thumbs up. See, I'm not always scathing.

But that was the extent of the somewhat positive experience. Service was good but the clunky wooden trays they brought the pizzas on were inconvenient and miscalculated for the small tables, especially since we had ordered three pies. Why disincentivize (I hope that's a word) ordering multiple pies and make it hard to place on the table?

The white wine Sangria that our server claimed was one of its signature drinks was basically 99% ice, 2 grape halves, one tiny orange wedge and one teaspoon of wine. Weak. I drank it because it was cold. But I can confidently say that my Sangria is at least five times better.

We got the classic Margherita, one with Italian sausage, fennel and roasted red peppers and another one with burrata, roasted garlic, piquillo peppers and balsamic reduction. The last one we topped with an over-easy egg for free. I give them props for offering the option of adding cool toppings like egg, broccolini, fresno chiles, roasted garlic, etc, for free. But alas, while I loved the egg, it wasn't able to save the mediocre pizza.

Margherita is my pizzometer wherever I go. And this didn't exactly pass. Serviceable, but not enough to want to return. My love of piquillo peppers drew me to that pie but I could barely taste them, not to mention the roasted garlic.

The sausage and fennel one was probably last  among my ranking of pizzas we had. But I am biased against meat in my pizzas. Yes, the carnivore extraordinaire, the one who adds bacon and meat to everything does not like to have meat in pizza.

We had a bunch of leftovers so my dinner mates and I took some home...and had them for breakfast with an egg the next day. Sure, eggs always take things up a notch but the pizzas were still too salty without too much else in terms of flavor.

None of the desserts enticed us so we passed.

Needless to say, I'm glad I tried it but I won't be returning.

Credits to photos 4 & 5 go to ctg. Thank you!


Anonymous said...

LGO is like a gourmet TGI Friday with really cheap beer during HH. No reason why Luggage Room would be any better. The only edible pizza in Pas has to be Settebello.

ironchef442 said...

agreed sinosoul. haven't tried settebello but pas has been consistently disappointing. will try it!

ironchef442 said...

but you clearly do need some guidance on korean food. after all, while la has some decent haunts, korea has the world's best korean food.