My food paradise
Edison, 17, has grown up going to the Farmers Market, eating dishes from all over the world. WITH PHOTO GALLERY.
My memories of the Fairfax Farmers Market define who I am. I’ve become a big foodie because of the thousands of hours I’ve spent there.
For my family, it was almost like our market, since there was only a smattering of regular customers, including us, who would show up to the open-air food court on weekend mornings. When I was younger, the market was going through financial problems. The creation of The Grove next door changed the market, but also kept it alive. Because of The Grove, an upscale outdoor mall, the Farmers Market is now a more “hip” place, but it has kept essentially the same vibe. Ever since The Grove became a teenage hotspot, I’ve been trying to spread the gospel about this little taste of history that’s right next door.
When I was younger, my weekend mornings blended into a collection of smells, sights and cravings. We would park in the old parking lot and I would get that instant high that can only come from being barraged with the scents of hundreds of types of foods all at once. Often we would go to Charlie’s and I’d get my silver dollar pancakes, and if I was lucky I’d see a couple of Mickey Mouse-shaped ones thrown in there. The older woman who owns the place has memories of me sitting on the counter to order when I was a little kid.
When I was a little older, I frequented The Gumbo Pot on the west patio. The oyster po’ boy sandwiches were, and still are, my life. These warm, deep-fried oysters in sweet harmony with chilled tomatoes, lettuce and thin slices of lemon are one of the many reasons why I’m not a vegetarian.
Some mornings, my family settled down between The French Crepe Company and a Mexican restaurant that is no longer there. My then 4-year-old brother had a habit of sitting at the counter so he could flirt with the cute waitress. Whenever I try to place the root of his playboy tendencies, this is what comes to mind. Now in its place there’s a new Mexican joint called Loteria, which has some of the best south-of-the-border cuisine I’ve ever pigged out on. Though relatively expensive compared to the rest of the market, it’s well worth it. It’s a good idea to split those shredded beef nachos with a friend, though. Trust me, you can’t eat it all on your own.
Since I’ve been a sushi fiend for as long as I can remember, I was thrilled when a sushi restaurant came to the market, though “sushi crevice” might be a more apt description. These days, Sushi A Go Go does a good amount of business considering it’s just about the smallest purveyor in the Farmers Market. When I first started going there, I suspect I was one of their only customers. The owner knew what I would order every time, an eel handroll and a spicy tuna handroll, and he even gave me a free mug at some point. They had a “C” on their health code inspection, they gave the place a terribly cliché name and they continually hired cashiers who didn’t speak a word of English. Since then, their prices have gone up by about a dollar on every item, their health code rating is an “A,” they have a dedicated following and now they have a new cashier who speaks some spotty English. Somehow it still feels like the same funky place it’s always been.
There are many other delicious eateries, such as the stunning pizza at Patsy D’Amore’s, the hearty pedeh (pronounced pih-day), which are Middle Eastern pizzas, at The Village, and the comforting Chinese food at Peking Kitchen. There’s something for everyone, waiting to be discovered by an adventurous eater.
6333 W. 3rd St. (at Fairfax)
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Mon-Fri 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Saturday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sunday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.