The heavy renovation and construction down the street in Downtown LA has sent myself, and likely many a USC student, into daydreams and excited jitters. There is small chatter about a huge facelift for the currently-depressing Macy’s shopping complex, and it seems that new adventures are continuing to pop up on every corner.
Now in the final stages of retail additions (though their website claims even more storefronts will arrive in time for Spring 2015), FIGat7th — at the intersection of Figueroa Boulevard and and 7th Street — is easily accessible via the Metro Exposition line, and is filled to the brim with everything a college kid needs: Target for the dorm essentials, Zara and H&M for some quick back-to-school and theme party shopping, a Sports Chalet for the gym peeps, and of course, lots and lots of amazing eats.
While there are a few notable eateries scattered throughout the complex from this initial stage of development (Sprinkles and Mendocino Farms), “Taste,” the official food court of FIGat7th, is the gem of the joint. Located on the very first floor, Taste is not your typical food court.
We went over the first half of Taste’s goodies last week… here is round up number two.
At The Melt, your comfort food cravings are satisfied with the fastest, cheesiest, cheapest gourmet grilled cheese in the area. The Mac Daddy melt entices with a smoked bacon a mac and cheese stuffed melt with aged cheddar on artisan white, and The Bird reinvents grilled cheese the L.A. way with grilled chicken, fontina, baby spinach and Caesar on sourdough. If you’re looking for a healthier option – or just something to supplement all that cheese — The Melt also has a combo option in which a small side salad or soup can be added to any melt. Locations also serve freshly baked cookies, milkshakes, and a dessert confection called a Chocolate Marshmallow S’more Melt if you need some sugar to balance out all that cheesy salt.
Hesitant to take the plunge into foreign cuisines? Let the Flying Pig Cafe help you dip your toe in the water of pacific flavors. The Flying Pig Cafe is the place to stop for pork belly buns and duck tacos, and their whole menu is inspired by Asian and Pacific Rim flavor profiles. The “Westernized” themed menu items include a BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich, Lobster Mac and Cheese and a Steak Salad Bowl that works to combine these Asian flavors with more familiar global foods. The cafe also offers a Build-a-Bowl feature, similar to a few other eateries in FIGat7th, that come with salad or rice, a protein, veggies, sauce and garnish.
Taking the make-your-own model to an extreme, Twist & Grill serves up wraps, salads and bowls that are completely customizable, making them guaranteed delicious. Rotisserie options include free range chicken, grass fed beef, corn fed pork and farmers market veggies. Bases such as lettuce and grain options act as the main element, and toppings and sauces are then added atop to round it all out. With over 30 topping options and more than 10 sauces, your options are endless, and you can never be bored.
Another member of the Asian constituency in FIGat7th, New Moon Cafe offers up a contemporary twist on classic Chinese food. Options like Kung Pao Chicken, Mongolian Beef and Vegetable Chop Suey are reminiscent of greasy Saturday evening takeout, with none of the grime. Their menu is extensive, with 10 soup options, including the classic Won Ton and and Egg Drop varieties.
As suggested by its name, Gentaro Soba serves up Japanese buckwheat noodles, both cold and hot. They also offer a few tempura options, including a tempura bowl with shrimp and veggies. Though the menu is quite limited, it certainly has you covered if you have a soba craving. Stop by and check it out… even if you have no idea what soba is.
ProTip: There are a few restos within the FIGat7th complex that are not included within the Taste dining concourse. Sprinkles, California Pizza Kitchen and Morton Steakhouse are located on the top two floors, with City Tavern, Pazzo Gelato, Mendocino Farms and George’s Greek Grill housed right alongside Taste on the first floor.