LAS VEGAS ( MainStreet) -- No one needs a reason to order a pizza, but here's one anyway: Sept. 5 is National Cheese Pizza Day. Whether you like thin crust or deep dish, that makes it time to celebrate without guilt. If you want other toppings - go ahead, order them too. It's OK. We won't tell.
TravelsinTaste sought out some of the tastiest and most original pizzas around the country. Enjoy. Can't get enough of Wolfgang Puck's famous pizzas? Now you can get one in a truly elegant setting at Wolfgang Puck Pizzeria & Cucina at Crystals, the luxury retail, restaurant and entertainment center at CityCenter, Las Vegas' newest mega development. A tribute to the culinary world's "liquid gold," the restaurant is decked out in olive and olive oil motifs, which are proof of the attention to detail that's been paid throughout, not only to design, but to cuisine. Chef Dustin Lewandowski is a master of many things, including Puck's famous pizzas. When craving a quick pizza and leisurely contemporary dining experience, rest assured: Puck's got the place. Did you ever have that favorite neighborhood spot? Maybe it wasn't the most elegant, but it served just what you wanted, when you wanted it and was comfortable, friendly and always fun. First Food & Bar in the Palazzo, also in Vegas, is that neighborhood spot -- and so much more. This restaurant is your favorite neighborhood restaurant on steroids. The expansive open demonstration kitchen provides incredible dinner theater, and with the large happening bar it is no wonder First is a hit with restaurant industry insiders. Also a hit? Chef Sammy DeMarco's Grilled Grandma Style Pizza with San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and an optional pepperoni. On Mulberry Street in New York City, Rubirosa's flagship thin-crust pizza dates back to a 51-year-old family recipe from the original Staten Island restaurant run by the owner's parents. The pizza is the perfect bridge between old world regulars and trend \-setting new customers who seek out one thing -- the perfect old world pizza that is crispy, loaded with gooey cheese and dripping with olive oil. It's a definite fold-worthy New York pizza. (If you weren't already aware, New Yorkers are known for folding their slices to keep the goodness in.) Co. in New York's Chelsea neighborhood is where Sullivan Street Bakery owner Jim Lahey reinvents the Roman-style pizza. His Flambe is a perfect mixture of bechamel, parmesan, mozzarella, caramelized onions and lardons. You can savor the aroma during its route from the kitchen to your plate, and upon arrival its crispy crust and cheesy mixture melts in your mouth. Giulio Adriani, an Italian pizzaiolo, began his New York presence in Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood but brought his authentic Naples pizza to the Bowery (along with his fryer). His Montanara boats a margherita pizza with a crust flash-fried before being topped and finished in the restaurant's wood-burning oven. You read it right: fried. In Los Angeles there are two pizzas you simply can't miss. The first is at Spago, Wolfgang Puck's Beverly Hills gem. Puck's Smoked Salmon and Caviar Pizza is a legend in pizza circles. (Spago is closed for renovations; this is one menu item to stand in line for when the restaurant re-opens in September.) There's also Pizzeria Mozza, the pizzeria of Nancy Silverton, Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich. Silverton perfected the art of bread baking at La Brea Bakery and applied her finesse to Mozza's perfect pizza crusts. Mozza has about 20 varieties of pie, ranging from a meat lovers' with bacon, salami, fennel sausage, guanciale, tomato and mozzarella, to a breakfast substitute with of egg, bacon, Yukon gold potato and Bermuda onions. You can't go wrong with any pick here. For a totally cheeseless option, head to Florida for Pizza D'Angelo's in Fort Lauderdale, the newest Italian restaurant from famed chef Angelo Elia of Casa D'Angelo. Its Siciliana combines Italian tuna, red onion, oregano and capers. Cheese? No. Delicious? Yes. If you're dining with someone who simply needs cheese on their pizza, though, D'Angelo offers at least 24 pizzas, most with cheese and all delicious (including a twist such as the Fico, with stracchino cheese, sundried figs and black pepper).
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