Pizza contenders Pizza lovers lead a charmed life in L.A. these days. First there was Angelini Osteria's authentic pies. Then came Pizzeria Mozza and Nancy Silverton's irresistible pizze from the wood-burning oven. Now Jason Travi of Fraîche in Culver City has thrown down the gauntlet at Riva in Santa Monica with his own interpretation of the beloved Italian pie. It's taken him awhile to get the crust right, but as of last week, he's very close. And with a topping of sausage, bacon, meatballs, pancetta, caramelized onion and tomato, his "molto maiale" -- lotsa pig -- is a clear winner, the sweet taste of pork fat melding with the tomato sauce and judicious amount of cheese into something very like pig heaven. On Monday nights too, Nicola Mastronardi at Vincenti gets into the fray with his thin-crusted pizze. Keep a look out for the one topped with sweet pork sausage, caciocavallo cheese and either dusky fresh porcini or meaty shiitake mushrooms -- and, in season, truffles. Riva, 312 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, (310) 451-7482, Vincenti Ristorante, 11930 San Vicente Blvd., L.A., (310) 207-0127, Photo: Chef Jason Travi at Fraiche restaurant in Culver City.
Christine Cotter / Los Angeles Times
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