Member
Your donation supports our high-quality, inspiring and commercial-free programming.
Support Icon
Discover all the ways you can make a difference.
Support Icon
The Leadership, Advancement, Membership and Special Events teams are here to help.

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

Support Provided By

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.

hdng-lasiconicdish

VOTING CLOSED.

Photo by Mia Wasilevich

BBQ 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.

strawb donut-thumb-600x450-58913

Photo by Flickr user Ron Dollete

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.)

 

bbqcpksmall1

BBQ chicken pizza at CPK

Strawberry donut at Donut Man
 
Want recipes and food news emailed directly to you? Sign up for the new Food newsletter here!

hdng-thebracket
iconic-foods-of-los-angeles-1

See All Face-Offs

orangearrow

Support Provided By
Read More
Jennie Fou Lee is wearing a pink tie-dye hoodie and a white apron as she holds out a tray of doughnuts from a glass case. There are two kinds of doughnuts on the tray — a line of Oreo/cookies and cream doughnuts and a doughnut topped with Fruity Pebbles.

DK's Donuts Capture Sweet Memories in Golden, Fluffy Donuts

In this video, Jennie Fou Lee of DK's Donuts talks about how their family-run store has become a community staple and how their doughnuts hold memories for the community they serve.
A sepia-toned photo of Duke Kahanamoku surfing a wave while Viola Hartman stands on his shoulders. The two have their arms outstretched as they ride the wave.

Duke Kahanamoku and the Origins of Surfing in Orange County

If we were to trace back to a single place and time where California surf culture began, it was likely Corona del Mar in the 1920s. And the person who gave birth to it was Duke Kahanamoku — fittingly known as the "father of modern surfing."
Worn and slightly dilapidated beach cottages along a beach, some mounted on a hill that overlooks the ocean, not in frame. The setting sun casts an orange-y golden hue over all the houses.

Crystal Cove: When Coastal Housing in Orange County Was Affordable

Who should have the right to enjoy one of the most beautiful beaches in Orange County? Early residents of Crystal Cove fought for public access to the coast.