Saturday, October 4, 2008

Grand Central Market

A friend blogged about Anamaria's tacos at the Grand Central Market, and I realized I hadn't been to the market for a while. So I went.

L.A.'s Grand Central Market is located in a large brick building that spans the block between Hill Street and Broadway. It's just across the street from the base of the Angels Flight funicular that descends from Bunker Hill - now the huge corporate towers of California Plaza on Grand Avenue. The train ceased operations in 2001 - sadly, after a fatal accident - and is expected to re-open soon, with updated safety mechanisms.

The building's wide doorways open right onto the sidewalk, inviting you to step up to the vendors' stalls and experience the tempting sights and smells of delicious food.

The market opened in 1917. The main floor houses 30 or so vendors that sell produce, meat and sea-food, baked goods, herbs and vitamins, spices and chiles, jewelry, liquor and prepared foods beneath the lazily turning fans that hang from the high ceilings. The interior is lit by daylight streaming through overhead skylights, and by the array of colorful and historic neon signs advertising the stalls.

The food stands are very popular at lunchtime. Many Angelenos first learn of the Market when they report for jury duty at the nearby County Courthouse. What a great place for lunch break!

The hardest thing to do is decide what to get. Anamaria's Tacos or Roast-to-Go? Pupusas from Sarita, or a bento box?

Stop at Tacos Tumbras a Tomas for a burrito? Chicharrones? Crispy fried mojarra?

Chow mein from China Gate or Hawaiian Barbecue?

Sometimes the line for Las Morelianas' Michoacan-style carnitas stretches out so far that pedestrians on Broadway have to go around it.

For dessert, you can get a cookie or a sweet empanada de manzana (apple turnover) from Adelita's Panaderia - and smell the yeast dough of cornos rising while they bake on site.

If you're here to grocery shop, the produce stalls and specialty food vendors will thrill you.

You can buy fresh chiles in beautiful colors

or you can buy dried chiles at the spice vendor.

Gorgeous tomatoes!

Watermelon slices and nopales, or cactus paddles

Limes and prickly-pear fruits, or tunas

Bananas and Mexican papaya

And did I mention the prices? In this uncertain economy, you'd be shopping smart to come down to the Grand Central Market.

There's even a 99-cent Store in the basement!


SUEB0B said...

I have always wanted to go there!

And maybe I have been a California vegetarian for too long, but when I hear the word Tuna, I think of cactus, not fish.

KatCollects said...

Yummmy, looks like a great place,

Jason, as himself said...

You have officially made me want to go back to this palce again. It's been a while.

barbara said...

This is a fabulous portrayal of the market. I go there all the time, and you have caught the very things that make it interesting in your excellent photographs.

Mrs. G. said...

Wowza, that post is a drool inducer.

180360 said...

Wow! Now that looks like a fun place to photograph! I will have to keep it in mind for my next visit.