Grand Central Market, LA

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Last weekend a Highland Park friend and I met at L.A.’s Union Station, took the Red Line to Pershing Square and then walked to Grand Central Market, the indoor produce market and food-stall emporium that’s sort of a Latin-flavored Farmers Market. We got pupusas (a Salvadoran dish) at Sarita’s Pupuseria as well as an order of plantains. A pleasant time was had by all. This blog has been to GCM before, btw.

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  • Robin Gonzalez

    David –

    As an ex-Inland Valleyite, and a native of Los Angeles, I have to tell you that I’m loving your accounts of your day-trips into the big city!

    When I still lived in Pomona, yours was the first column I made sure to read, and if your byline was on a story, I knew I would enjoy the reporting.

    Thank you for your restaurant reviews as well; even though it’s unlikely that I’ll ever eat at most of the places you go (being as that I’m now 2500 miles away), it’s fun to live vicariously!

    Robin

    [Robin, thank you for the delightful note. You've made my day. And I hope others enjoy the day-trip stuff even it it could be seen as a slight departure (pun intended) from the blog's 909-centric nature. -- DA]

  • Jim Lee

    I echo Robin’s comments. Whenever I get a chance I hop on Metrolink to Union Station.

    While there, perhaps sipping a cold one at Traxx, I’ll often catch myself reminiscing about greeting my grandparents there as they arrived via Union Pacific from Iowa circa 1959. Although less busy, the station has hardly changed.

    From Union Station, I’ll plan my adventures — usually a lunch destination… Langers…Cliftons…Pantry…Grand Central…Cole…Bamboo Pavilion…or many many others. I’ll just hop on the subway and go. Although the Pershing Square Metro station is perhaps the seediest and grungiest station on the system, it is close to many of my favorite day trip destinations. I just wish there was a stop closer to The French Garden.

    I often imagine how great it would be to have a downtown loft to serve as a base to explore or at least have a place to stay if I miss the last train east. But then, if I lived there, I’d miss riding Metrolink.

    [You're a man after my own heart, Jim. I don't know Bamboo Pavilion or French Garden. Do you know the Nickel Diner or Pete's, two of my Pershing Square-ish favorites? -- DA]

  • http://www.hughcmcbride.com hugh.c.mcbride

    I’d like to echo Jim’s echoing of Robin’s praise of David’s travel posts. (Is it getting loud & confusing in here, or is it just me?)

    Today’s entry was of particular interest to me, as my wife & I are planning a Saturday Metrolink trip from Rancho Cucamonga to check out the recently reopened Angels Flight — and will now be adding Grand Central Market to the day’s itinerary.

    Adding to my anticipation is the recent revelation that we’ll be spending part of our day in the “seediest & grungiest station on the system.” Would’ve hated to have traveled all the way to LA & only made it to the second-seediest (or fifth most grungy) stop along the way. Is there a sign or plaque we should be looking for — or should we just ask that nice gentleman over there in the corner about how the station earned this honor?

    [Better ask from a distance and use your outside voice. I'll be looking at that station with a fresh eye next time I'm there. The street-level view is one of the more dispiriting (an empty lot) but I've never paid much attention otherwise. Good luck with your trip. Just walk north from the station to the market. -- DA]

  • shirley wofford

    Hi David,

    I’m sitting here wishing I had found time to go to the neon museum, so guess your report on our old neighborhood neon there has to suffice. Fortunately, the GCM is a mainstay that will still be there later this spring or summer.

    Grand Central Market is just like going to the fair. In the mid-nineties, the first vendor at the south entrance from Hill Street was “Geraldines”, a juice bar owned by Flip Wilson. They had any domestic or tropical fruit you wanted for making a delicious smoothie. I think they were in the five to six dollar range. It was a luxury we enjoyed then. “Geraldines” disappeared somewhere along the line — I supposed it might have been because Flip Wilson passed away.

    When it comes to the meat, fish, and chicken aisles at the GCM, I always have to take a quick detour. It’s the one area that I can’t find enjoyable.

    I know that you know when you emerge from the Market on the Broadway side, there is just more of the interesting neighborhood there, including the Bradbury building. So, I’ll be looking for more of your stories on that neighborhood. (I think I read something in the Times Calendar about a month ago regarding an appearance by Norah Jones at the Orpheum this coming April.)

  • Jim Lee

    Perhaps I should clarify my observation of the Pershing Square metro station. As you know each station has two entrances and exits. My comments were based upon the southern entrance at 5th and Hill which seems to be a hangout for homeless and or drug users. The lack of public restrooms and lack of Metro security at that entrance often makes for a somewhat malodorous if not seedy environment. I can’t speak for the northern entrance which luckily is closer to GSM, Bunker Hill and Angels Flight.

    David, The French Garden is a true hidden gem located at 7th and Mateo in an industrial section near the LA River. Besides the awesome food (lunch only), it’s great to watch the faces of first timers as you drive into an alleyway in a really rough looking part of town — only to be greeted by a parking valet and then walk into a secluded walled peaceful garden outdoor. I believe Huell Howser visited there on one of his shows. Well, here’s an LA Times review: http://findlocal.latimes.com/na/restaurants/restaurants/french-garden-los-angeles-restaurant
    You should check it out David. I wouldn’t try walkin there though.

    [Well, the French Garden sounds nice. A lot nicer than the 5th and Hill station, too. Thanks, Jim. -- DA]