Destination: California: Los Angeles
The most wonderful thing by far about the Grove shopping center, with its multitude of familiar (and boring) retail and restaurant brands, is that it was built next to Farmers Market. This cultural landmark (which came into existence in 1934, in the depths of the Depression) may be a tourist trap, but it’s the best kind of tourist trap. And locals adore it, too. It comprises more than 100 vegetable, fruit, nut, candy and doughnut stores, restaurants and stalls, including two of L.A.’s top fish and butcher shops. Bring the kids! You can watch toffee being made at Littlejohn’s English Toffee House and see ice cream churning at Bennett’s Ice Cream. The people watching is superb, including gaggles of out-of-work screenwriters and directors perusing “the trades,” and so is the eating: Mexican, Japanese, Chinese, Texas barbecue, Cajun, Korean and Italian are just some of the cuisines represented. Don’t miss the limeade at Gill’s, and Deano’s Gourmet Pizza (“health oriented” and lower fat!) goes down well with beer from E.B.’s Beer & Wine next door. The recently renovated Du-par’s Restaurant & Bakery is, simply put, a coffee-shop legend, known for its appealing food, especially buttermilk pancakes. Farmer’s Market is open weekdays, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. (closes earlier on weekends); Du-par’s is open daily, round the clock.
Santa Monica Farmers’ Market
Here, sweet limes, tangelos and pink naval oranges battle with kumquats, Meyer lemons, red carrots and Hass avocados for the attention of home cooks and leading chefs. Pick up some dried Fuyu persimmons and organic walnuts for the trip home or perhaps grab a jelly doughnut from the Röckenwagner Bakery stand for your stroll. Open Wednesdays and Saturdays between 8:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
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