Friday, June 14, 2013

Veggie lunch

A quick summer lunch snack that won't make you sweat too much. Halve (have) an avocado, stab a knife in the pit and twist it out. Sprinkle lemon juice on the avocado meat, and throw both halves on the grill for a minute or two. We spooned roasted tomatoes and chopped cippolini (cipollini?) onions in the middle.

Saw this car downtown the other night

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Live Basil Pizza

Tom Ryan (he came up with the McGriddle, Smashburger, Tom's Urban 24 and more) and Rick Schaden (he's worked with Ryan on Tom's Urban 24 and Smashburger) have launched their latest fast-casual concept, Live Basil Pizza, with plans to open 100 around the country in the next four years.

Live Basil Pizza takes Steve Ells' Chipotle Mexican Grill concept (natural ingredients, customizable entrees, made quick, with an option to have liquor) into the fast-casual pizza world.

Basically, diners queue up and grab a menu card. They choose what kind of thin-crust 11" pizza they want (or choose customized ingredients themselves) and mark their choice(s) on the card. They hand it to someone behind the counter, who starts ladling on the sauce. The pizza moves through the line with each worker adding various ingredients til it gets put into an oven that cooks the pizza in just 2.5 minutes (150 seconds). "It's fast, fresh pizza, made before your eyes," Ryan says.

Balls of pizza dough get prepared into crusts
The dough is rolled, sauce and other ingredients go on
It goes in the oven for 2.5 minutes
A handful of shops in California also have tried quick-cook pizzas (think 800 Degrees in LA or Blaze). Ryan and Schaden are posturing their chain as an option for lunch or dinner. There are some booths but also high top tables and stools. Live basil plants are key to the decor.

Live Basil offers 13 different kinds of pizzas (menus will be localized for different states, like Ryan does with Smashburger). The pizzas do well at layering flavors so that you want to take more bites to taste everything.

Examples of menu options include the Live Basil Margherita (left) and Arugula, Truffle and Wild Mushrooms (right)

There's also The Hot One (below), which includes pepperoni, spicy giardiniera, jalapenos, red pepper flakes, spicy oil.

Other notable ones include The Colorado (ingredients include bison sausage, green chile, goat cheese, roasted sweet corn, cilantro, Italian cheese blend), Maui BBQ Natural Chicken (includes smoky bbq sauce, fire-roasted pineapple, cilantro). Gluten-free crusts for the pizzas are available ("This is Colorado," Ryan quips.)

Smoothies made with Haagen-Dazs sorbet and fruit (peach mango or mixed berry) and salads also are on the menu for those looking for lighter fare. 

The cooler is stocked with Boxed Water is Better water, Mickey's malt liquor, cans of Fat Tire beer, etc. Chardonnay and Malbec also are available. The soda machine has Boylan sodas.