Now that I’m rarely out and about alone anymore, I’m less inclined to drive very far to shop, grab a meal, or get some exercise in. If it’s not convenient or if the trip includes getting on the 405 at all, I try to make alternative plans. To that end, the Grove has become my go-to place for all things fun: coffee dates with friends, walking with O in the stroller, even daytime dates with the husband when a babysitter is available. It’s especially easy to while away time in the Farmers’ Market area, where there are enough food stalls to eat lunch everyday for weeks and not try the same place twice. It’s also rather baby friendly; most of the seating is outdoors (i.e. messy eater’s paradise) and it’s usually pretty busy (i.e. no one will notice if your baby is whining).
Here are my current FM’s favorites:
1. Littlejohn’s Candies: Known for handmade batches of English toffee (pictured) and fudge, this is one of the oldest stands in the FM, moving in in 1946 (though they’ve been making candy since the 1920’s). Grab a free sample from the young ladies at the front counter, and look in the back room to see if anyone is prepping or baking fresh treats! Their toffee is so good– a great thought if you’re into the idea of giving locally-produced gifts that tell a little snippet of LA’s history.
2. Short Cake: Love or hate the burgers at Short Order (people get so riled up about burgers, don’t they?), Nancy Silverton and Amy Pressman’s adjacent bakery is a must-visit. I’m partial to the chocolate chip cookie and the mocha over ice– they make the latter with fancy TCHO chocolate. The perfect treat, IMO. If I’m feeling like the cookie is enough sugar for the day, I grab an iced tea instead.
3. Singapore’s Banana Leaf: At lunch time this counter is one of the busiest in the market, and once you’ve tasted the mee goreng (fried noodles) you’ll understand why. Add chicken or tofu if you like, but with or without the protein the dish is pretty heavenly. The egg rolls weren’t thrilling (too doughy), but the green curry with chicken was another winning entree. Next time the line at the Brazilian weigh-your-plate place is too long, be sure to head here– or, just head here first.