La Grande Orange: Your Next Pizza Spot
I am truthfully not a big wine drinker. It is bitter and with some amazing cocktails and beers out there in the world, wine is always an afterthought. This is why it is surprising to find myself sipping a glass of pinto grigio on a Friday night in the middle of Arcadia.
Phoenix is an oasis in the desert and Arcadia is the oasis within that oasis. An older part of town built on once citrus farmland, the neighborhood has more natural growing vegetation on residential property and along the roadside then I have seen anywhere else in Phoenix.
It is fitting then that a place such as La Grande Orange (LGO) would be one of the most popular spots in town. Busy just about anytime of day, it is a grocery store, coffee shop and pizzeria all in one.
I have been to LGO before but always just for coffee or breakfast, which they do both very well. But this is my first venture into their pizzeria. It has been a long week. I am here for pizza with my coworkers and a friend of there’s. Conscious of trying to separate myself from my college ways I order a glass of wine instead of beer.
The place is popular, packed and bustling. Aside form the large seating area there is a side dining room and a tall wooden table wide enough to make you feel like you aren’t eating with the person across from you. The lights are dim (really dim as you can tell from some of the dark photos) and there are candles on the table. Even with the lights low there is a warmth in the place as all of the décor is a shade of red, yellow and well, orange.
After our drinks arrive we order some food. To start us off we go with the LGO chips and dip plate. This is a big bowl of tortilla chips, guacamole, salsa and the
crowd table favorite pimento dip. I’m sure I have eaten it before, at parties and such, but am an immediate fan of a mix of cheddar, processed cheese, mayonnaise, pimentos (a type of pepper) salt and pepper. It sounds fancy but tastes, and this is a compliment, like refried beans and queso cheese dip mixed together-that good!
We munch on the appetizer, I order a second glass of wine and talk about work stuff. That’s right, the real basic boring stuff that immediately makes our one table member who doesn’t work with us, understandable, bored.
To her rescue our pizzas arrive. We have ordered three pies and being the sharing food that it is, sample all of them. There is the Fallen Angel: sausage, shaved fennel, shaved peppers, cheese and red sauce. It’s rich and flavorful. Next is a gluten free (at the request of one of my coworkers) Roasted Corn pizza, goat cheese, corn, tomatoes and basil. The dish is sweet and tasty with the corn as the stand out flavor of the pie. While it too was good, my heart that night went to the Classic Margherita. A type of pizza that I still remember my first slice of. It is simple and rarely done wrong. Great because of how frugal the toppings are on the dish, making every bite a little different and highlighting a different topping at a time instead of having them all together on top of each other. Mozzarella, fresh basil, tomato sauces and warm crust there is no way to go wrong.
We eat until we are full, ask for to go boxes and leave satisfied.
LGO’s coffee, pastries and fresh squeezed orange juice make this place great if you want a quick bite or morning wake up call. But if you want a lasting meal that is a treat, make LGO your regular pizza spot.