A Day in L.A. ~ Part 3

Now to wrap up our whirlwind tour of L.A. My friend described Grand Central Market to us and since that's where Eggslut was located we made sure to get it on the agenda. It's also near MacArthur Park and we wanted to at least drive by there too. To be honest, I'd never heard of either place but we were game to check them out.

MacArthur Park has been featured in, or the subject of, quite a few movies and music videos.  Unfortunately, there are a lot of homeless people hanging in and around that area so it didn't feel very safe to stop and get out.  We opted to drive around it instead. 

Pano from the corner of the market. Mole by the pound just to the left.

Pano from the corner of the market. Mole by the pound just to the left.

Center of the market. The Chop Suey place was by far the busiest spot.

Center of the market. The Chop Suey place was by far the busiest spot.

There's a parking garage connected to the Grand Central Market and at only $2 for 90 min. it's a great value. I'd say it's on par with Pike's Place Market in Seattle albeit on a much smaller scale. One of the first vendors we came across had a variety of moles scooped out like ice cream.  We so wished to be close enough to home to take advantage of those!

After walking all around and seeing what was available we decided on Sarita's Pupuseria and McConnell's Fine Ice Cream.  A couple vendors we might have chosen were closed for the day (Wexler's Deli and Horse Thief BBQ) but we were not disappointed with our choice of what was left open.

saritaspupuseria.jpg

I had my first pupusa while in Honduras 9 or so years ago. They were unlike anything I had ever had up to that point with a nice mix of corn masa, cheese, cooked onions and cabbage slaw. A perfect little bite from a street vendor. Sarita's loroco y queso version sounded closest to what I'd had before. These were El Salvadorian but almost exactly like I'd remembered. Creamy masa dough stuffed with cheese and loroco (a vine with edible flowers) grilled until crispy on the outside with melty goodness on the inside.  Their version was also served with cabbage slaw and a sweet, vinegary sauce on the side. I also tried their version of horchata. Typically seen here as a rice drink with some cinnamon. Their version featured an ingredient I'd never heard of, semilla de morro. It had a slight nuttiness and was less sweet than the rice version.

Digging into the pupusa

Digging into the pupusa

Seeds the horchata was made from.

Seeds the horchata was made from.

We took our food over to the nearest table, and as we ate we were in full view of a little ice cream stand. Remembering our friend talking about a "breakfast shake" of some sort we realized this was the spot to get it.  Ellie opted for a cone of some of the best salted caramel chip ice cream to ever grace my lips. Paul and I decided that even though we didn't really need a milk shake...this one was special and mustn't be passed over.

Salted caramel chip on mint chip

Salted caramel chip on mint chip

The menu reads:  Breakfast of Champions Shake

Let me just say this. They must have cast some sort of magical spell to create this concoction.  As best as we can tell, they have to make their own cornflakes? They're a bit salty and somehow keep their crunch. The shake itself is made with sweet cream ice cream blended with cornflake-steeped cereal milk and cornflake crumbles!  Let that sink in for a bit. Then...be sad you can't have one right now.  I know I am.

Our food adventures ended there for the day but we did explore L.A. just a bit further. Driving through MacArthur Park again as we headed towards Rodeo Drive BABY!!  Because....Pretty Woman. You know the scene I'm talking about.

labreatarpits.jpg

We drive down Wilshire Blvd. and lucked out going past the La Brea Tar Pits.  Ellie was excited to stop and see what they were all about. I think her exact words were, "now things are getting interesting!"  Nothing feels stranger than walking through a beautiful city park and seeing tiny tar puddles coming up through the flowers and grass. It's quite a scientific marvel in the middle of millions of people.

labreatartpits.jpg

Afterwards we continued on Wilshire.  It's interesting to see the neighborhood change, from poverty stricken to working class to filthy rich.  Once you turn onto Rodeo Dr. in Beverly Hills you enter another world all together.  There's no point in even getting out and walking around.  Ain't no way I'm affording anything on that street! After the shops you move into estates with homes that are truly beautiful.  Classic in a vintage way. Not mansions really but homes that have known money for a very long time.

We headed home via the Sunset strip and through Laurel Canyon.  Tons of traffic since it was around 5 pm but it was actually better to go slow enough to look around and see everything. Places like The Comedy Store, House of Blues, Laugh Factory, The Viper Room, and The Roxy. So many iconic places.  Wish we had time to go to one or all of them but that'll have to wait for another visit.

We were tired but fulfilled when we got back to the apartment. It was nice to sit down to a dinner with friends, make some cocktails and debrief.  Paul and I mutually decided that based on our amazing day in L.A. we could up our friend's status to being our very own Anthony Bourdain, and that's high praise in our world.

Tomorrow we leave for Monterey.