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22: Pizzeria Lola's Korean BBQ Pizza

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Have we transcended the concept of fusion cuisine? When a dish borrows a spice from one culture to heighten the ingredient of another, do we even bat an eyelash? Mixing and matching cuisines has become so commonplace, such an American way of cooking, it's almost passé.

But then something like Lola's Korean BBQ Pizza smacks you upside the head.

See also: 23: The Hendrick's at Five Watt Coffee

This pizza is a flawless mash-up. It's the improbable song you'll want to sing every night. The genius collision of tastes and textures kicks you out of complacency, giving a reminder of why fusion took off in the first place.

The dish itself is not complicated. Pizzeria Lola takes the tangy, sour, sweet flavors of Korean BBQ and puts them on a crispy, wood-fired pizza shell. But there's so much potential for disaster when you co-opt Asian ingredients and plop them on some dough (California Pizza Kitchen, we're looking at you). Lola's creation shows no fear.

The 12-inch pie arrives with a wild swirl of arugula showered with sesame seeds. Nestled beneath are Niman Ranch beef short ribs, cooked low and slow, so they're nice and tender. A handful of scallions and some mozzarella cheese round out the pie.

The pizza is drizzled with a sesame-soy-chili vinaigrette -- a signature Korean flavor combination that ties everything together into one umami-packed bite. The bitter greens, beefy short ribs, and sweet, tangy vinaigrette leave an addictive tingle on the tongue. Put this perfect combo in pizza form and it makes us downright proud to be American.

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