Tag Archives: fruits and vegetables

Downtown LA’s Grand Central Market

20 Sep

I have been wanting to go to DTLA’s Grand Central Market for a while. So last week, when I had a meeting in downtown I decided to finally walk around the Market.

Growing up in Brazil, I would love to go with my grandma to the Municipal Market (this is how we call them) and explore the fruits and vegetables that you would not be able to find anywhere else. So I was very excited to see the Los Angeles’ version of it.

The Market has a Public Parking Lot and it offers Free Parking for an hour with a $10 minimum purchase.The parking ticket needs to be validated, then stamped at the Information’s Desk right before you exit the market.


Once I was there, I realized I picked the wrong day for my food explorations. It was scorching hot, with temperatures in the high 90’s and it felt like a sauna in there. Alright, gotta move fast!

I walked around trying to choose a place to eat, but there were so many options! Pupusas, Tacos, Seafood, Middle Eastern, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Bagels,Pizza… all freshly prepared there.

So my first and favorite stop was at DTLA, an amazing Cheese Shop stocked with cold cuts and cheese from all over the world. They also sell jams, condiments, and a surprisingly delicious cucumber soda. I ordered a sandwich of Pork Loin, arugula, grated Grana Padano, mushrooms and house made cucumber pickles =Spectacular!

I also bought yummy California’s Toma Cheese,and drums please – Bread Cheese!!


 Bread Cheese is also known as Leipäjuusto, a Finnish cheese, and as my beloved Brazilian Queijo Coalho (which means Curd Cheese in Portuguese). Queijo Coalho is a little bit firmer, and does not melt inside, but its elastic texture and taste is very similar to Bread Cheese. People sometimes compare Bread Cheese to Halloumi, and while I adore Halloumi, you cannot compare apples to oranges. I am so indescribably happy I found one of my favorite ingredients in Brazilian Cuisine! There is an infinity of recipes you can make using it.Here, I quickly warmed it in a skillet(microwave for 30 sec works too), and ate with organic blueberries and Raw Honey.

The Market also has a Seafood Shop, a meat shop, and fruits and vegetables stands. The produce is extremely cheap but it does not look super fresh. I am guessing they can afford to sell it this cheap because the produce is on the verge of going bad. For example, a pint of blueberries was $1. If I were to buy it at the store or Farmer’s Market it would cost anywhere from $3,99 to $5. But when I inspected the bottom of the container I noticed many were squished and moldy. No organic produce was available. I bought a bag of limes, a bag of corn, and a bag of bananas for $ 1 each.

By then I was melting, it was terribly hot in there. So I made my last stop at the Dried Chiles stand, and bought a generous amount of Oaxacan Mole. It keeps in the fridge for a year, and you just have to add some chicken or vegetable’s stock, and heat it in a pan sauce. Serve it with seasoned Chicken breast, Mole Sauce and Sesame Seeds on top.


The Market was great and I am definitely coming back. I was a little bit disappointed at their fresh produce availability and selection though. But on the other hand,it was great to see that in a world where carrots are more expensive than a sandwich, people can still buy fresh and affordable fruits and vegetables and have the option of eating healthy.

317 S. Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Open Seven Days a Week,
Monday – Sunday 9:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M.
Telephone: (213) 624-2378
Fax: (213) 624-9496


Bring Your Lunch From Home

17 Apr

Are you tired of eating the same lunch everyday? Peanut butter and jelly, turkey and cheese, tuna, or egg salad sandwich are on your lunch menu rotation? Say Sayonara to these boring lunches and start eating delicious and nutrition meals by bringing your own lunch from home.

It is easy if you follow these simple steps:

1. Shop and prep your food ahead of time

When you get home from the store, wash, dry, cut, and portion your veggies and fruits. It makes your life so much easier if you also cook your veggies. Keep in mind that eating them raw is the best way to consume all the nutrients. But steaming, blanching and roasting are good too. You are going to lose some nutrients by prepping and cooking them ahead. But let’s be realistic – It is better to lose some nutrients and eat fruits and vegetables, than not to eat them at all.

2. Portion your meals

It is much easier to portion your snacks (baby carrots, fruits, nuts, yogurt, cookies) and place them in the refrigerator, so in the morning you just grab them, put them inside your lunch box and go. If you are environment friendly and do not want to have too many containers or use ziploc bags, just portion them by categories, such as one container for fruits, another for nuts, and so on. You can also use Mason Jars instead.

3. Cook double or triple the amount you usually do

Whenever you cook something, make more than you usually do, so you will have leftovers to take with you. I also freeze foods like beans, lentils, and stews. I make big batches and freeze them in individual portions, so I always have something to take with me.

4. Find containers and Lunch Boxes that keep your food cool and safe

To me, this is the most important part of packing my lunch. But nowadays it is really easy to find good quality containers and lunch boxes. They come in all shapes and forms. Salad bowls with plastic utensils and separate salad dressing containers, small bowls with two partitions to carry your granola separate from the yogurt, stainless steel containers, reusable sandwich bags, there are options for every taste.

lunch box 2

These are my new favorite containers, they come with a ice gel pack which goes in the middle

lunch box 3

There are four small containers that fit on top of the ice gel. Made by Rubbermaid, and bought at Target

Blue gel ice blocks help maintain the temperature of the food, and I always have a few in different sizes on my freezer.

I love this Lunch Bag. It has ice gel inside the bag, so I leave laying flat in the freezer for 12 hours before using it. Made by PackIt, bought at World Market

I love this Lunch Bag. It has ice gel inside the bag, so I leave laying flat in the freezer for 12 hours before using it. Made by PackIt, bought at World Market

5.Do not forget your Lunch

It sounds funny, but I have forgotten my lunch many times, only to realize it when I was starving. Try to follow a morning routine where grabbing your lunch becomes a part of it. Leave notes to yourself until you get used to taking it with you, or keep your car keys in the fridge so you will not forget it.


Enjoy your yummy healthy lunch, and let me know what are your favorite snacks in your Lunch Box!










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