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.
GRAND CENTRAL MARKET
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