Examiner was invited to try out both Smashburger and Live Basil Pizza this past week - at the same time! 'How's that possible?' you may ask. Well, have you heard of the 'food pod' idea? Bring more than one type of cuisine under one roof and give your customers even more options. Who doesn't want pizza and a hamburger at the same time? Or maybe a salad and some sweet potato fries? Pizza and a milkshake to go? Today - all of your wildest dreams will come true!
Owner Tom Ryan (who has quite a pedigree - McDonald's, Pizza Hut, Quiznos) was on location to introduce his fifth LA location of Smashburger as well as Live Basil Pizza's first California location. Both speedy yet crafted and delicious, they both hail from Colorado. While bringing customary flavors, quality, and service to the new DTLA location, they also have included some fare in honor of California. More on that a little further down.
The tasting began on the Live Basil Pizza side with a sampling of their simple, fast, and VERY tasty pizzas, in addition to a couple of salads. According to Ryan, "everything in this store can be categorized by one or more of these five words: organic, all natural, imported, authentic, and fresh." Standout pizza here: The Hot One. It is rare to find a pizza that has adequate heat to it. Sometime red pepper flakes just don't cut it. But if you want to clear your sinuses a bit - go for this very fresh and very spicy pizza which includes spicy giardiniera, fresh jalapenos, spicy oil (and red pepper flakes on top of allllll of that!) A close second is definitely 'The LA' of course! Mainly because of its use of truffle. You can't go wrong with truffles. Ever.
Live Basil Pizza understands that, here in LA, salad is just as desirable as pizza. Angelenos can't get enough salad and many times pizzerias don't focus so much on greenery. A layering of iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese does not a salad make. Kudos to Live Basil Pizza for making salads that took some inventiveness! (Best one: LBP Chopped Salad. Why? Fresh and meaty.)
Interesting note on this place: they grow their basil in house! You were probably wondering where the name came from.
More interesting side note: You can also pretty much create your own anything you want. Think of it as a similar concept to Chipotle in the sense that your personal 11-inch pizzas are handcrafted in front of you using freshly prepared ingredients.
The second half of the tasting took place at Smashburger! While Live Basil Pizza is new to California, Smashburger has been delighting Angelenos for a while now.
If you've had a burger from Smashburger before, you know that it isn't like most fast food hamburger joints - in that it actually looks, smells, and tastes like a hamburger. Some of the options to salivate over: the 'Classic Smash' which includes intoxicating Smash Sauce, the 'Truffle, Mushroom, Swiss' - for obvious reasons, and the 'Avocado Club Chicken' for the most LA superlative. Add on a side of fries, sweet potato fries, or onion rings and you're good to go. Well, maybe once you add that salted caramel milkshake!
Beyond the opening of Smashburger and Live Basil Pizza today, Tom Ryan is also opening Tom's Urban next month that will offer even more options to those in the LA Live area. Look for an upcoming article!
Smashburger LA Live: 213-631-3355
Live Basil Pizza LA Live: 213-746-5483