Grand Central Market – Los Angeles

Jan
2014
17

posted by on Travel

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Grand Central Market Mural

Continuing in my theme of avoiding all this cold, I’ll tell you all about my last visit to Los Angeles. It wasn’t my first trip there, but it was the first time I had a little bit of time to explore.

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My fabulous husband, took it upon himself to do a bit of research on where I should visit,. He suggested I go visit LA’s historic covered market. I googled “market Los Angeles” and the Grand Central Market was one of the first hits. I figured that had to be it, and I was on my way by foot. Halfway there I was calling my husband wondering if I had gotten it all wrong. The downtown financial neighborhood I had started off in with skyscrapers and banks, had turned into dollar stores, homeless people, and a shady looking man (was he following me…)

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Granted, if I were to find myself in the unfortunate situation of being homeless, I would much prefer to do so in a warm city like LA as opposed to a cold one like Cleveland. (Yes, I’m still trying to come to terms with it.) It was just incredibly sad that juxtaposition between the extreme wealth (10 minutes before I had seen an Aston Martin pull out of a garage) and the obvious poverty I was now facing.

Fortunately I made it to Grand Central Market safe and sound. And I am happy to report those few seconds of panic were well worth it!

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Grand Central Market is an awesome mix of several of LA’s cultures under one roof. Founded in 1917, “the market has always reflected the changing population of downtown”

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I entered the market in front of “EggSlut”. I have to say that hipster stand looked down right appetizing. But I had eaten eggs the last two mornings, and figured 3 days in a row would be over doing it.

Egg slut - sandwich

I continued on to the fish stand. There was perhaps the ugliest fish I have ever seen steering at me, all fried and crispy with this bone/cartilage like something protruding out of its body. The man standing next to me, told me what it was called, but I don’t remember. He suggested I try it, but I think he was more interested in my boobs. (Maybe this T-shirt was a bad choice…) Moving on.

Ugly Fish - Grand Central Market

Then there was this awesome store selling the widest array of chilies I have seen outside of Mexico and some super cool dried shrimp. I couldn’t help but wonder what they usually make with those shrimp.

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Next to it was a Mexican restaurant. I am happy to report that it does not sell just the usual rice and beans. (I spent a bit of time in Mexico. I was stupefied by the diversity of the food. We here in the US usually only get to see a small slice of what Mexican food is. This stand had promises of a slightly bigger slice …)

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After walking around a bit I sat down to eat at the counter of the historic “China Cafe”. The cooks all looked Asian but the wait staff were all Spanish speaking Hispanic women. I decided to order the chicken wonton soup, because the police officer behind me says it’s what he always gets. It was good not great, but certainly very filling.

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The longer I sat at that counter the more I wondered whether I was going to get food poisoning. From afar that place had this super cool vintage appeal. On closer inspection I could see that vintage look had a lot to do with the layer of grim that covered most of the stand surfaces. Oh well. I can’t be clean freak all the time. Besides with the amount of turn over this place got, I knew nothing was sitting for very long.
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Time for desert, and “Valerie” seemed like a valid choice. And praise the lord hallelujah I got it right! Just delicious. I picked out this square pear tart. The crumbly crust was lined with a layer of cream made with real vanilla bean, topped with a thin slice of pears, sprinkled with a little bit of raw sugar. Now I could go back to my hotel happy.

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I took a different route back to the hotel. Passing by a very tantalizing tea and coffee stand and an open air BBQ joint.

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There were more homeless people (minding their own business) sitting in a park near the market and quite a few police officers chatting and riding around the area.

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