All the City’s a Market

It’s one of my favorite things about living in Los Angeles. On any given week, I may visit any number of ethnic markets: Japanese, Chinese, Filipino and Korean groceries; Italian delis; Russian and Polish markets; Mexican carnicerias, Oaxacan specialty shops and the Vallarta supermercado; stores dedicated to Persian, Argentine, Hawaiian, British, Spanish, Ethiopian and all other variety of global foods.

Grand Central Market stall in 1920

Grand Central Market stall in 1920

One market I used to visit periodically if I was in the neighborhood — which happened to be the farmacias, counterfeit sportswear shops and old-theaters-turned-Mexican-iglesias of Broadway in downtown — was the Grand Central Market. An open-air affair spanning the length of the block on the ground floor of a large building, the market opened in 1917 and over the course of recent decades had turned into its equivalent of any similar market in Mexico City, Mazatlan, Guadalajara or a hundred other large Mexican cities — piles of dried chiles, pinto beans, mangos and nopales, cases of stinky meat and pig’s heads, votive candles and fresh corn tortillas. More

Lighten Up

There are a lot of overly serious food blogs out there. What’s there to be so serious about? I hope people are laughing as they read my food blog.

I find “foodies” in general to be an overly serious lot. They make unfunny jokes about agrobusiness or sourcing free-range capon as they sit around trading cooking tips, sampling Asian tapas and sipping lychee soju martinis. I get antsy when people refer to me as a foodie. It feels like I’ve got some kind of ugly condition and people are whispering about me. I imagine them picturing me waiting in line at the latest food truck, and then Tweeting about it when I get home.

Yoga students and starlets tend to be overly serious about food, too — except in an opposite way from foodies. Rather than looking for the newest obscure Italian salumi, they spend their time scouring menus and ingredients lists, ever vigilant for things like butter and salt. Their lives become more about what NOT to eat, and how much fun is that?

Mario Batali, Julia Child and Colonel Sanders ala The Simpsons

I saw a recent episode of “The Simpsons” where Marge, Bart and Lisa become foodies and launch their own food blog. It was very funny. More