After a quick stop in the cathedral gift shop to buy a medallion for my Catholic cousin who's graduating from the LA Police Academy tomorrow, I wandered down Hill Street and... I wonder what all those tents are?
Well, as it turns out, there is a farmers market every Thursday afternoon from 2-6 right there on Hill and Alpine. And there's free parking. I walked, but next time, I'll just drive and park there.
I like the Hollywood farmers' market (the one on Ivar & Selma, not the Sears one) because they have such a great variety, and many prepared food booths. But the actual produce at this Chinatown farmers market looked so much fresher that I just may make this a regular stop.
They had about 10 produce booths, 2 prepared food booths and an information booth. There were also picnic tables set up in the middle so you could eat your food.
Now these weren't like the lame booths at the Hollywood Sears farmers market. These were full-blown produce marts at each booth. And the mostly Chinese customers were buying some of the stuff as fast as they could put it out onto the tables. Just in the 20 minutes or so that I was there, I saw one vendor going through case after case of what looked like exceptionally fresh produce. I wouldn't be surprised if the local restaurants were buying their produce there.
To make it even more appealing, I stopped by the information booth and picked up a free "Guide to Los Angeles Chinatown Restaurants." It's not the normal advertising spam. Rather it's "Chinatown Favorites from People Who Know Chinatown." Oh boy!!
I learned that Quentin Tarantino went to Empress Pavilion last Thanksgiving and had the Peking Duck. And Amanda Feldman, age 10, likes Yang Chow "because it has great service and the food is well prepared and tastes great."
Yes. These people who "know Chinatown" can steer me to the good places.
But all kidding aside, this is a really good farmers' market; and it's a bonus that it's in Chinatown so you can have a great meal before you buy your weekly produce. (Better to buy the produce last so you can get it home without letting it sit in the car for an hour while you eat. I know you knew that. I just had to put it in so I would remember.)