Sunday, March 14, 2010

Shoops Delicatessen

One of my favorite things about this lil' ole town is the fact that I can eat inspired, quality food from cuisines all over the world anytime. I mean, this town gets particularly specific with foreign cuisine.

One of my favorite take out Thai restaurants, Khun Dom, specializes in food from the northeastern Isaan region of Thailand. Being on the opposite half of the planet, I don't think it gets more specific than that. This is not that restaurant; this is Shoops.

The ever so Scandinavian Shoops Delicatessen may not seem so exotic, serving sandwiches with specialty meats and cheeses. However, one look inside, and you will be transformed into a world of salty licorice candies (although particularly authentic, I do not recommend trying it...ick!), varieties of Haribo gummie candies, gourmet horseradishes and mustards and a fresh meat and cheese display to draw the best of them.

They seem to love their licorice in this part of the world. They even sell licorice-flavored mentos:

You can order at the counter or sit down in the small sunny seating area. They have an elaborate breakfast menu and a variety of sandwiches and salads.

I was most impressed by the German Salami sandwich which came with onions, tomatoes, mayo and provolone cheese on a baguette. The salami was rich and sliced thinly.

The sandwiches come with one of three sides: slaw, fruit and German potato salad. The correct answer when asked which side you prefer is, "German potato salad, please."

It is not the creamy, mayonnaisey stuff you are thinking. It has a consistency of perfectly cooked potatoes that have been pulled apart and slightly smashed. The flavor is bold with a hint of bacon. I also tried the Shoops Club Sandwhich: roasted turkey, swiss, fresh avocado, sprouts and spicy mustard on multi-grain bread. The bread was on the dry side, nothing to write home about. However, the rest of the sandwich was nice, a lighter option for lunch.

Specialty sodas are a nice treat:

There is always plenty of room for a to-go dessert:

2400 Main St
Ste A1
Santa Monica, CA 90405
(310) 452-1019

Mon, Sun 7:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Tue-Sat 7:30 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Joe Peep's New York Pizzeria

What could be better than a slice of pizza? The only things wrong with Joe Peep's New York Pizza are the last 3 words of the name of the restaurant: "New York Pizza."

I read the most exciting article for any California pizza-lover in the February 2010 issue of Sunset Magazine. It suggested pizza has started making a cozy little home on the west coast. That's right, New Yorkers:

It’s official: pizza is the new night out, especially in San Francisco, where hand-stretched pies have become haute cuisine.

-Sunset Magazine, February 2010

While this article is all about our neighbors to the north, Los Angeles does get a small shout out in the bonus section at the end, naming the top three places to grab a pie in the area: Tomato Pie (2 east side locations), Pizzeria Mozza (Mid-Melrose - must make reservation in advance) and Antica Pizzeria (Marina del Rey). I couldn't agree more with the article about being able to feast on some superb slices at Tomato Pie and Antica Pizzeria (I have yet to visit Mozza). However, I feel as though the list should have been a "top 5," and I can fill in the missing pieces for you here and now: Joe Peep's New York Pizzeria (Valley Villiage) and The Village Pizzeria on Larchmont (midtown). I plan to write about each of these places individually, but here's a start:

Joe Peep's was recommenced to me by a co-worker a while back. When people speak with passion about food, I listen. I think sometimes if I listened to people all the time with that same sort of intensity, I would have made a really great journalist. The pizza joint has a unique style that is not much to look at in terms of class, but it is everything you want a small local place to be. The splattered writing on the walls involve everything from elaborate drawings of Joe Peep himself to strange poems, signatures and "we-were-here's." 75% of the inside is the kitchen while dine-in customers can choose from 5 or 6 mismatched tables and chairs.

The pizzas come in two categories: The 5,969 Calorie Pizzas and the more "modest" Blue Collar Pizzas. All you need to know here is that if you are a fan of fabulous fresh toppings piled high on every slice, the 5,969 calorie pizzas are more your style. It almost seems like the pizza is just a really delicious plate for the mound of toppings that come on it. Everything is tasty and fresh, including the sauce (which is always my favorite part of any pizza). The crust is doughy but sturdy (to hold the weight of the heavy sauce, cheese and toppings). It is toasted on the outside and soft on the inside. It is certainly the heaviest pizza I have ever had so don't come here unless your stomach is empty. I challenge a hungry person to eat more than 2 slices of a the large pizza.

picture from

"Do they deliver?" you ask. My friend, Joe Peep's not only delivers; they deliver anywhere. Specifically they deliver anywhere except Iraq. The cork board on the wall next to the register is tacked with shipping receipts to cities all over the United States. So pizza lovers all over the country can enjoy Joe Peep's (a day old and about $100 lighter, that is). Worth it? You tell me.

12460 Magnolia Blvd.
Valley Village, CA 91607

Monday - Thurs: 11am-10pm
Friday Sat: 11am-Midnight
Sunday: 12noon-10pm