Used to be, when friends and family visiting from out of town wanted a quick-and-easy way to get the “flavor” of Los Angeles, I would take them to the Farmers Market at 3rd and Fairfax. It was one-stop shop(ping) for some decent eats, and for people watching, especially at the adjacent Grove shopping mecca. Nowadays, though, probably the best place to go is Grand Central Market in Downtown Los Angeles. It is there that I took my sister and my baby nephew last month for a crash course in what’s hot in the L.A. food scene.
Having tried and failed to eat at Eggslut previously–the line is just ridiculous during the weekend–I made this a priority. Fortunately, as it was a weekday morning, the queue was only a half dozen people long at around 10:30 AM. My sister and I placed our order, and we plopped down on two bar stools, playing monkey-in-the-middle with her son in his sling.
Bailey Biscuit [$3], house-made buttermilk biscuit, salted butter, apple butter: While we waited for our order, chef Johnny Lee, still with his Zagat 30-Under-30 glow (could also have been the heat of the stoves), threw one of these golden pucks in front of us. The biscuit was excellent, but it was the apple butter that caught me off guard. I’ve never found apple butter to be very exciting. I’ve either been served a thick, bitter, apple-peel tasting paste, or a cop-out rehash of plain apple sauce. But the apple butter at Eggslut was a bright, concentrated burst of apple, and not overly sweet either.
Fairfax [$7], soft scrambled eggs, chives, cheddar cheese, caramelized onions and sriracha mayo in a warm brioche bun: This was my sister’s choice; I probably would have gone with one of the sandwiches with the over-medium egg. But it was still mighty tasty, especially with the bacon and avocado “upgrade” we got. It’s also very photogenic; with 180+ Likes, it is by far my post popular pic on Instagram.
Slut [$9], a coddled egg on top of a smooth potato purée, poached in a glass jar and served with a demi baguette: The eponymous dish, I had figured on liking it, but I was still curious if it’d live up to the hype. I think it did.
The egg was custard-like, while the potato actually reminded me more of a creamy polenta. It was very good with the baguette, though I wish it came with more than three pieces of bread. To be fair, I think I could have requested more bread.
Dark & Stormy [$5], split shot of espresso & house ginger beer, w/split shot of espresso on the side: After Eggslut, my sister wanted to try G&B’s iced almond macadamia-milk latte. I have a thing for ginger, so I went with the Dark & Stormy. I don’t think I’ve ever had coffee and ginger together, but they went surprisingly well, forming a smokey, spicy concoction.
MCCONNELL’S FINE ICE CREAM
Flight [$5.50], Alex’s Lemon Chocolate Tart, Olive Oil & Salted Almonds, Toasted Coconut Almond Chip: Last on the rough itinerary was dessert! My sister, nephew, and I shared a “Flight” of three flavors, some of their “fussier” proprietary combinations. All the flavors were a hit, but I particularly liked the Alex’s Lemon Chocolate Tart.
BELCAMPO MEAT CO.
Pulled Lamb Belly Bun [$5], harissa aioli, arugula, cilantro: After milling around for a while, taking in the ambiance of the place, we decided we’d try Belcampo before leaving. My sister got the Pulled Lamb Belly Bun, a slider-sized sandwich that was simple but well executed, the meat and the greens balancing each other out.
Cabeza Frita Cemita [$11], deep-fried pork head & trotter, avocado, salsa, queso: Of course I had to get the breaded and fried head cheese! The protein was shaped like a filet-o-fish, square and breaded, but I cut it in half to reveal the tender morsels of meat and fat inside. This sandwich really packed a punch in flavors and textures, and I really enjoyed it!
Before we left, we made one more round of the market. We didn’t actually eat at Wexler’s, as we were quite stuffed, but we saw Anne Fishbein taking photographs of Micah Wexler and his shop for an LA Weekly article.
My sister and my nephew thoroughly enjoyed their experience at Grand Central Market, as did I. In the span of about three hours, we got to sample a large variety of food from a number of very different vendors, and we barely made a dent in GCM’s offerings. Between the old school and new hotness, GCM really has something for everyone. I can’t wait to go back and explore more.
Grand Central Market
317 S Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90013
McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream
Belcampo Meat Co.