Downtown LA or DTLA is a really weird city center. You can live your whole life in Los Angeles and never make it ‘down’ there. When I lived in the faraway West Valley, I met numerous people who had not only never been there, but were scared out of their wits at the thought of it!
As the years have gone by the area has completely been revitalized. From Staples Center and Nokia to a thriving arts and fashion district, the Cathedral, Disney Concert Hall and MOMA, DTLA is really bustling and it’s really fun.
I enjoy it because it’s such a microcosm of Los Angeles. The Mexican heritage is abundant, with Quinceanera dresses in windows on the street, but there is also an old school LA Confidential vibe you get by walking the streets. There are beautiful old buildings that are as amazing as any you will find in one of those fancy east coast big cities..(Take that NYC!).
Hidden in the midst of all the excitement and grandeur is Grand Central Market. Grand Central Market proves LA is the one true melting pot city of the world. Mexican, Chinese, Kabobs, Hawaiian, fresh produce, cakes, cookies, desserts…….you name it…you got it. They also have a pharmacy and a place you can get keys made…just in case.
Kelli and I took the Red Line from NoHo and 28 minutes later, we arrived right smack in the middle of the neighborhood. Of course we had to have tacos and I think “Tacos Tumbras o Tomas” (Stall No. A-5), might just be the “Best Taco in LA”. If it’s not the very best, it’s got to be one of the biggest entree ever! For $7.50 I got a gigantic chicken taco, rice, beans and two tortillas. Needless to say, I was full for the rest of the day. The service was great as the guys behind the counter were friendly and ….very cute!
The fresh produce was also a big draw and the prices were fabulous! The market was buzzing with business people who work in the neighboring towers, arty types who live and work in the downtown lofts. When I was there about a month ago, I loved seeing all the families, pulling their kids around and eating at the tables and counters scattered around. It’s really worth a trip to downtown as there is something for everyone.
Grand Central Market was on my radar all the way from Minnesota. Honestly I didn’t do any research before our adventure on the subway to this oasis of yum. Now as I read more about GCM, I know we have to go back and dig deeper. Teri is right we did get an incredible taco at Tacos Tumbras A Tomas. One taco is $2.50, has tons of meat and really makes four tacos. Very authentic, old school, solid. Worth the trip with one bite. The friendly service and smiles behind the counter make you want to be a regular. SO good.
Somehow we missed the new “Horse Thief BBQ”! We have to go back. How does smoked beef brisket, bbq sauce, crema, shaved red onion and serrano sound. Wait, how about Smoked Pork Belly & Fennel Apple Slaw Yep, we’re going back. We did find a treat at Sweet Clementine’s. Their Lemon buttermilk popcicle was tangy good. Oh, wait…what about Sticky Rice! The market is calling me back for Thai street food.
As I said we took the subway downtown. Before I could say anything Teri told me it was quite safe (she knew I was thinking of earthquakes) “really safer than being above ground in an earthquake dodging downed power lines”. (Do you think she was serious?) I took her word on it. Actually it was fun, clean and fast, but that’s another post. If you drive to Grand Central Market, which most Angelenos do, there is a parking garage at 308 S Hill Street. You may have your parking validated if you purchase $10 or more in the market.
The market was filled with interesting friendly people. Lots of business people on lunch break during the week. The produce is reasonable and the fish and meat markets look great. It seems like downtown living is on the rise. Grand Central Market is a great place to do marketing or grab an inexpensive bite to eat. Good coffee, did I tell you I’m always in search of a great cup. As we entered the market I spotted G & B coffee and a case of pastries. I must go back. We had no room after our massive taco plate.
I have friends from Minneapolis coming to town soon. The market reminds me of Midtown Global Market in Minneapolis. I’d definitely make this a destination to show off the heart of LA. Yes, we really do have a thriving interesting downtown here. The architecture in this area will make you look up. (Just like NYC)
Grand Central Market 317 S. Broadway Hours 9am – 6pm