PIPS Formerly Anna Maria's 1356 S. La Brea (and Pico, N.E side just above gas station) Tuesday to Sunday 5 - 11 pm, www.pizzapastasalads.com reservations: 323.954.7477
Mid-City and West Adams cuisine hoppers, looking for a cool place to bring a hot date, will be delighted to discover Pip’s Pizza, Pasta, Salads, Restaurant (& Wine Bar) located just north of the gas station at Pico and La Brea. Originally called Anna Maria’s Italian Restaurant, the location served as a popular local spot for many years before being sold as a Karaoke joint.
Derek Pipkin, a successful jazz event organizer who grew up in the area, decided to revive and restore this faded gem to its former popularity and he is well on his way. I invited a local friend to meet me for dinner and our friendly chatter turned to appreciative wow’s as we opened the unassuming front door and stepped into the beautifully appointed interior. Derek greeted us and walked us past the long bar, into the softly lit, main dining room where tables, covered in white linen were surrounded by comfortable upholstered chairs. We were escorted out to the gorgeous, tree covered, landscaped patio with soothing water fountains distracting from the traffic zooming by. Duly impressed, I made a note to come back and enjoy a Sunday brunch in this charming environment.
We settled in as a gracious waiter explained the specials and left us with crunchy crusted homebaked bread and a bowl of olive oil and garlic.I ordered the vegetable soup to start. It arrived with plentiful and fresh, perfectly cooked vegetables in a tasty broth. It was slightly oversalted but that is easily corrected. Next came the Salmon Alfredo pasta.
The alfredo sauce was delicious, perfectly creamy, noodles al dente with large, flaky, generous salmon pieces. My friend ordered salmon laid on top of a salad filled with a variety of leaves, feta, vegetables and a great seasoned house dressing. It earned repeated exclamations of approval and “ucommonly good!”. I ran into several locals including Johnny and Theresa Green, owners of the Eureka Cafe. Theresa ordered the house specialty Pesto Pizza and had great praise for the thin crust, balanced combination of pesto, garlic and tomatoes and an inventive addition of sliced almonds. They also ordered the Creole Pasta with shrimp larger then most restaurants serve.
Derek looks forward to creating a very “Cheers” type local gathering hole and has begun movie night and jazz evenings.
The prices satisfy a range of pocketbooks and you can come in jeans and T’s or dress up; hang out at the bar or stay for food. Everyone is welcome.