Who says there isn’t any good food in the valley? If you’ve lived anywhere north of the Santa Monica Mountains for long enough, you’ll find out three things. One, the traffic there is just as bad as anywhere else during rush hour – sometimes it can take literally 30 minutes just to get across Busway on Balboa from the 101. Two, there really isn’t much to do in the way of fun apart from a few lackluster farmers’ markets in the summer and maybe (and I mean, seriously, only if you’re brain-meltingly bored and a huge Incubus fan … and still in high school) checking out the Cobalt Café. And finally, there are some really fantastic restaurants if you know where to look for them.

Take Gourmet on the Go in Sherman Oaks, for example. Down the street from the Valley’s only mini golf center, the restaurant’s been around for nearly six years and yet it’s still a bit of a secret for a lot of locals because its tiny storefront is easy to miss with all the traffic heading north on Sepulveda. It’s also a bit of an anomaly for this part of town because, unfortunately, there’s no parking.

But that’s certainly no reason to pass up this family-run pizzeria. When you walk into the place, you might see the owner, Tim Burt, working the phones and the register, serving customer after customer coming in for their pickups, because the flavor of the food is in direct opposition with the size of the restaurant. You might see his 17-year-old son Taylor in the kitchen slaving over the stove. You’ll also find a small smattering of tables pushed to the edges of the tiny dining room, and more likely than not, you’ll hear the phone ringing off the hook with order after order pouring in.

Gourmet on the Go serves what at first glace looks like typical pizzeria fare: pizzas, sammies, salads and pasta. But look closer – the food is so much more. The Meatball Parmesan has exquisitely spiced meatballs in robust marinara, and the pastas are flavorful like the tender broccoli served with a well-balanced Alfredo in the very popular Broccoli Penne.

But the real draw for foot traffic is actually the New York “Thin Crust” slices, with everything from the specialty Bianco – chicken, mushrooms and shallots in an Alfredo sauce – to the spicy Buffalo Chicken Pizza that almost has an Asian tang to it. Of course, that staple of pizzerias, the cheese pizza, is served by the slice all day long, but even the standby red sauce is nothing like the overly tomato-y lava they call sauce at Pizza Hut. Here, the sauce is has a surprising mix of spice and what I can only imagine is magic. It’s that good. No, seriously. And at $2.50 a slice, how could you turn that down?

OK, I know what you’re saying, “$2.50? How big are these things, anyway? I’m going to need to get four or five to get full, aren’t I?” The answer in a single word is, unless you’re a giant or a black hole … wait for it … no. It still takes two pieces to make a quarter of a circle, but each piece is cut from an 18-inch X-Large pizza. Now, I’m not good with numbers, but that still comes off looking a lot bigger than you’d expect.

This sort of portioning is pretty on par for all the dishes, from the Calzones that are definitely bigger than your head to the pasta that will feed you for days. This also includes one of the restaurant’s hidden treats: the Red Velvet Cake. These monster double layer slices are moist with just the right amount of vanilla to round out the flavor. And let’s not forget the all important cream cheese frosting that comes off tasting rich, but feeling light.

Almost everything at the restaurant is made from scratch on site and the attention to detail really comes through in the flavors. Gourmet on the Go delivers anywhere in the San Fernando Valley on week nights and only in their local area on weekends, but it’s totally worth the trek to check them out. Be sure to ask for a side of pickles. They are not quite dill, and not quite sweet, but they’re all the way delicious.

For more information, call (818) 789-3335 or visit gourmet-otg.com.