Smashburger and Live Basil Pizza are both located at L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles. (Sabina Ibarra/Living Out Loud LA)
We’ve all been there. Heading to L.A. Live to get to a film fest, sports game or concert and rushing to make it on time but oh-so very hungry.
That time crunch where you’re checking the time on your phone and realizing that you only have 30-40 minutes for a quick bite to eat. You look around. Is it happy hour somewhere? Do I have cash for the taco trucks? Because let’s be honest, most restaurants over in that area are sit down places that just won’t work under time constraints.
The heart of Los Angeles’ entertainment hub gets two quick bite additions Smashburger and Live Basil Pizza. Don’t worry, they’re by no means bland fast food eateries but some awesome concepts that combine quality meals with expedient service. Here’s the skinny on some of the offerings they’ll be dishing out to busy crowds once they open on the 21st.
Live Basil Pizza:
During the media preview Thursday night, we started off by sampling a couple of their salads. First up was the Arugula, Lemon and pistachios salad, which certainly ups the ante in the arugula craze. Now with this salad in addition to the butter pistachios and lemon vinaigrette, you HAVE to squeeze the lemon slice it comes with over it. Trust me, that brings out an aromatic and delicious taste when it’s all combined.
The LBP Chopped Salad was also pretty excellent; it’s a good medley of spinach, lettuce chicken, bacon and eggs that becomes unique with its Sriracha Ranch dressing. It will definitely
please the Angelinos who are currently addicted with the popular hot sauce.
The Live Basil Pizza folks know what to offer at their locations, and they personalize the offerings based on what people are loving in whichever city they have an establishment.
With that in mind, they also have a pizza contribution to the Truffle craze with their Arugula, truffle and wild mushrooms pizza. The white cheese blend with the truffle oil and bed of arugula on top is delectable.
Then there is also the signature Live Basil Margherita pizza. Now, the dough in these pies are Neapolitan and a delicious palette for the red sauce and cheese that it’s baked with. What’s really fantastic about this pizza is that after it’s baked, they place live basil leaves on top plucked from the plant on their station. The moment you take a bite, the fresh taste of basil enhances the slice.
For those who love Spicy, there is The Hot One and although I don’t do spicy, I took one tiny bite and OUCH! Yeah, it was spicy with its intense smorgasbord of hot toppings including jalapenos slices, spicy giardiniera, red pepper flakes and spicy oil.
It’s also important to note that you can also build and modify your own pizza with gluten free options as well.
Okay, now the burgers–well before they arrived we got to sample all of the sides. This location will have sweet potato fries, onion straws, flash fried carrots and green beans and truffle fries. The best of the sides are definitely the sweet potato fries and truffle fries. Yes, more truffle.
And of course there was a truffle burger, a truffle mushroom swiss with sauteed baby portabella mushrooms and aged swiss that with those oils simply unleashed the flavors of all the layers. The burger was great paired with the Angel City Brewery local craft beer, which was hoppy but not overwhelmingly so. Locales highlight a local draft in addition to popular ones like Blue Moon and PBR to suit whichever burger you choose like their signature Smashburger with American cheese, Smash Sauce, ketchup, lettuce, tomato, and pickles.
And if you’re a vegetarian, they have an interesting alternative with Spicy Veggie Black Bean burger with a black bean patty, fresh jalapenos, guacamole, pepper jack, lettuce, tomato, onion and chipotle mayo on a spicy chipotle bun. This is also pretty spicy, but a good flavorful option compared to bland vegetarian burgers.
Founder and concept creator Tom Ryan promised, “We’ll open at 10 a.m. every day and stay open later than most stores.”
This is perfect for the late night crowds in the bustling entertainment venues surrounding these two new establishments that will contribute to the L.A. Live attraction as it grows.
Smashburger and Live Basil Pizza are located at 1011 S. Figueroa St.