CLOSED: L.A.'s Iconic Dish: CPK's BBQ Chicken Pizza Vs. Donut Man's Strawberry Donut

Los Angeles is full of people who care passionately about food, and there are plenty of restaurants happy to serve us. We don't all agree on what constitutes "good," but we do know we like our burgers, our froyo, our Korean BBQ, our pizza. (That's right, our pizza. We like it.)

The thing is, we don't have one iconic dish. Nothing that we can point to and say, "This. This is Los Angeles on a plate." So now we're going to find out. KCET Food came up with 16 contenders. You vote on your favorites. Here's the first match-up of round three -- voting for this bracket ends Friday, September 13 at 12 p.m.

VOTING CLOSED.

Photo by Mia WasilevichBBQ chicken pizza at CPK: The dish that launched a million written food fights.

The History: CPK is so ubiquitous on the west coast now that it seems hard to believe that in 1985 a couple of dudes wanted to put weird stuff on pizza dough, and managed to get some wealthy friends to bankroll it. The BBQ chicken was on the the original offerings, and you can bet east coasters got all furious about it. Now it's on the menu at most pizza joints, of course.

The Scene: The first location, in Beverly Hills, was actually a pretty trendy destination for flashy folks when it first opened. The outposts now are all firmly "family friendly."

The Food: Pizzas, pastas, and salads, all a little sweet, but not too terrible if you're being honest. And that BBQ chicken version ... come on, admit it. It's pretty good.

Strawberry donut at Donut Man: Midnight munchies worth the drive.

The History: This donut shop -- one where they actually make the donuts in-house -- has been open for 40-some years, under the same ownership. The strawberry donuts came a few years after the store opened, and then there were peach donuts, too. Though L.A. is absolutely lousy with donut shops, Donut Man is one of the few known and requested by name.

The Scene: You know how donut shops are. There are usually some characters milling about, along with the parents and kids and the food tourists and, after dark, the people who feel as though they might totally die if they don't get a strawberry donut now.

The Food: The owners are really on to something here. They took something absolutely ubiquitous to Los Angeles, and they elevated it with something else very L.A.: fresh fruit. Do you have a sweet tooth? You'll like the strawberry donut. (Which is only available a few months a year, adding to its allure.)

BBQ chicken pizza at CPK
Strawberry donut at Donut Man


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About the Author

Katherine's role as the Living editor at KCET.org keeps her running from farms to markets to restaurants to pop-up swaps all over SoCal. She's been living in and writing about this area for over a decade.
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