Those keeping up with the dining trends in Los Angeles no longer blink when they see ingredients such as labneh or za'atar on a restaurant menu that doesn't happen to be Middle Eastern. The thick yogurt cheese might as well be the new ranch dressing, and the thyme-heavy spice mixture, the new salt and pepper.
If you visit the Mega Pizza and Grille in Culver City, which bills itself as a halal restaurant serving Scandinavian pizza and Middle Eastern food, you can order something called a gyro pizza sandwich.
There are some food mash-ups that just make sense. The Cronut, the Taco Bell Quesarito and the Ramen Burger all come to mind. The gyro pizza sandwich is now a part of this small but mighty list.
The sandwich looks like a pita pocket, but upon closer inspection, you realize that pita pocket is actually crisp pizza dough covered in tomato sauce and cheese, wrapped around strips of gyro meat, lettuce, a sambal-ish house-made hot sauce and creamy garlic sauce. Because when certain cravings hit, deciding between a gyro wrap and a cheese pizza is too much to handle.
There's also a traditional cheese pizza topped with everything you'd find in a gyro wrap, including sliced tomato, lettuce and the gyro.
The restaurant is also making a version of acharuli khachapuri, a Georgian cheese bread, calling it "canoe pizza" on the menu. Order the meat sauce canoe and you'll be presented with a bread boat filled with mozarella cheese, a hearty meat sauce that will remind you of someone's grandmother's bolognese, feta cheese and scallions topped with two ready-to-pierce-and-ooze fried eggs. One canoe will easily feed a family.
Then there are the dishes labeled "house special plates," which include a beef koobideh or chicken kebab plate served the traditional way, with fluffy white rice dotted with saffron and a salad.
If you somehow find you have room for dessert, there's a bakery display case full of baklava. And why not add a scoop of saffron ice cream?
Mega Pizza and Grill is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.
11028 Washington Blvd., Culver City, (424) 298-8135, www.megapizzagrille.com.
Schmootz is my middle name. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @Jenn_Harris_