Spending the week on the west coast has brought up many questions for me. Why don’t I live here, for example, is one of the bigger ones. Aside from the glorious weather, the obvious relaxed nature of most of its locals, and the salty smell of the air near the coast, California is a gold mine of fabulous dining. I know there are tons of posh restaurants in LA where you can spend a boatload of money and that’s all well and good considering that I love gastronomic adventures as well as the next foodie, but sometimes you just want a great farmer’s market to knock your socks off.
The other day, Danny and I ventured to the farmer’s market at the Grove. The farmers market is open every day and it has been that way for 75 years. The market is not only a green market like the one in Union Square but it also offers a range of cuisines from Louisiana Gumbo to Sushi and Funnel Cakes. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I could easily live in this market all day, every day for a whole year and not eat the same thing twice.
One of the many options when you first arrive at the market is a bbq pit. Here you can sample juicy pork and ribs as well as your typical bbq sides. There is also a Brazillian Barbeque joint where you can get endless skewers of meat. Craving something more familiar? Try Patsy’s pizza or other Italian favorites.
One of the best things about this market is that it is loaded with dessert options. As you know, Whitney and I love desserts. How can you finish a meal without something sweet tingling your tongue or without a creamy bite of chocolate? There are several ice cream stops in the market as well as candy stores and even this popcorn place that sold sweet nuts and a myriad of different types and colors of popcorn.
Now for something just a little more familiar: fresh produce! Here are some deliciously ripe mangoes. They look so bright and fresh. All of the produce at the market is no doubt picked fresh daily and is incredibly inexpensive. All sorts of herbs and spices are on sale for less than a dollar. I wish I had time to really go grocery shopping and take advantage of all the produce before I have to move to Chinatown in a week and will be several subway stops away from the Green Market in Union Square.
Look at that baby! What is it? This LA farmer’s market even has monstrously large produce. I’m thinking this is a squash but I’m not sure. Either way, cool!
The best part of the whole market was absolutely the dried fruit. Despite that this looks like a dark, ominous seedy blob, this dried strawberry was soooo fresh and delicious and didn’t have any of that terrible crunchy crystalized sugar. That sort of sweetener is great for peachy-o’s and sour patch kids, but my dried fruit should just be fruit…dried.
Whitney and I have always had a thing for dried apricots. We LOVE them. They’re so chewy and sweet, yet soft and tart. I don’t even like real apricots but the dried ones are just delightful. I still have a few left and I’m figuring out how to save at least one for my co-blogger but I’m having a hard time because I just wanna eat ’em.
So that’s all for now folks. I’m so happy I got to share a little bit of my west coast journey with you. I hope that you’ll be able to venture out west someday and check out this delicious and historical farmer’s market. Look, I know you’ll always be able to frequent your whole foods or shaw’s or trader joe’s, but it’s important to take advantage of what is truly fresh! Of what is picked today and served…today! Soon the summer will be over and it’ll be freezing and we’ll all be stuck eating canned corn so get out there now and start eating the fresh produce that’s right at your finger tips!
Ps. My Ina Garten Cookbook just came in the mail and I’m SO EXCITED to be reunited with Whitney so we can get cookin!