Though I’ve frequented only a fraction of the businesses and parks in the area, I’m totally in love with downtown LA. A couple of weeks ago I checked off a few destinations on my hit list: Angeles Park (the one they make look so pretty in 500 Days of Summer), the Angels Flight Railway, and the Grand Central Market just across the street. This is a great trifecta, each just steps from the other and perfect for an easy, historic outing.
The park isn’t as kept up as I’d hoped, and of course the cable car was under construction the day I went, but the market was awesome– it’s nearly 100 years old and has been in the news lately because of a contentious facelift that’s still going on. Pricier, hipster-serving merchants are moving in and there’s legitimate concern that the new clientele they draw will push out the old-school, affordable vendors that have been there for years. My hope is that both the old and new businesses can have a place here; there are certainly just as many veteran stands I’d like to frequent as there are new tenants. Here are four newbies that are already moved in or are about to open… once the July heat subsides and you’re feeling a little hungry, a walk through the market will make for a great day, or at least a great lunch hour.
1. Valerie Confections: I walked passed the original shop for years while teaching in K-town, and now Valerie and her team have a brand new counter in the GCM. Everything they do looks amazing, but it’s their Blum’s Crunch Coffee Cake I can’t wait to try. It’s a throwback to an old cake made at Blum’s of San Francisco, which is no longer in business. I love that it’s an old timey dessert revived. We need more of those! From what I understand, you can get it by the slice at the new location, whereas previously you had to buy the whole cake (not that I consider that a problem)!
2. G & B Coffee: These two gentlemen (Kyle Glanville and Charles Babinski) have been brewing exceptional coffee at SQIRL for the past few months, but now they’ve flown the coop and opened a space of their own in the GCM. I’m not a coffee snob, so as long as they don’t pull a Handsome Roasters on me and provide not one sugar packet at their counter, I’m sure to like whatever I sip. Should pair well with that crunch cake!
3. Sticky Rice: Thai street food– ’nuff said. This little kitchen was already open and serving when I visited last month, but we had big plans to eat at Ricky’s Fish Tacos so I had to abstain. Everything looked delish, so I’ll return for some penang curry, papaya salad, or mango sticky rice.
4. Gourmet Cheese: There’s no official opening scheduled just yet, but the owners of The Cheese Cave plan to open a sister location in the market. I’ll be there to check out the goods– their shop in Claremont is known for a great wine and cheese selection plus daily first-come-first-serve sandwiches.