3 Things I Learned About Downtown LA This Weekend

I have lived in Los Angeles for just shy of 23 years, so one would think, at this point, I would have seen it all –– right? Wrong. Very wrong. I’m shocked at how many cool, interesting, weird, and fun things I have yet to do and eat in this city. I started exploring this weekend, and discovered 3 things that everyone in LA –– visiting or living –– should try and taste.

1. Grand Central Market

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This place is rad! I interned just down the street for FOUR YEARS in college at Rebecca Taylor –– and somehow never knew about it ––  so color me surprised when I discovered this food mecca was just a stone throw away. Nestled at Hill and Broadway, the Grand Central Market is a foodie’s paradise. Visitors are greeted by Egg Slut, but make sure you explore all options before you commit. Wexlers and The Horse Thief also came highly recommended, but we opted for good ‘ol tacos. And bring your baggu bag, because the produce there is top of the line for a fraction of the price.

2. Olvera Street

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Mexican food lovers rejoice! Upon entering this quaint, brick-lined pedestrian thorough-fair, you’re instantly transported to Mexico City. Candy-colored kiosks sell everything you’d find South of the Border –– cute handmade leather goods, authentic Mexican candies, ponchos, blankets, and enough candles to light up the whole city. Make sure you come hungry and thirsty. We had some killer Carnitas (my new favorite thing) and some pretty strong margs at La Golondrina.

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3. DTLA Flower Mart

Sure, I knew this place existed. And I had an idea in my mind of what it looked like. I was pretty close, but man, is it awesome! I hear it’s best to go early in the morning to get the freshest flowers, but I guess time doesn’t really matter when you’re buying succulents :D. They only cost $1 each! Needless to say, I came home with enough to start my own little desert garden, and an orchid, and pots (!) and it only cost me $40. Score! I will definitely be heading back here often to fill my new home with flowers.

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Olvera Street Photo Credit: San Diego Reader

San Fran Eats and Treats

I recently got back from my second trip to San Francisco this year. San Francisco has this magnificent ability to be a city and a suburb at the same time — with great food! Picturesque tree-lined streets dotted with Victorian-style houses in candy color shades give way to breathtaking views of California’s most recognized landmark, the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s also got a solid downtown, obligatory Winter-time skating rink included, and a Fisherman’s Wharf that is a seafood lover’s paradise. I could go on, but the point of this article is to tell you a few of my favorite food spots I’ve discovered during my past few trips there.

1. Chino 3198 16th Street, San Fran

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Some of the best Chinese food I’ve had in a long time! The cuisine is smart and innovative, but still manages to pay homage to more traditional dishes. My dish picks: Chino Chicken Salad, XLB (a MUST), Shrimp Wontons in Chile Oil, and Forbidden Rice. The old fashioned was pretty killer too.

2. Little Star Pizza 864 Divisadero

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Want really good pizza? This is the place. If you like meat, you have to try the Meateor thin crust pizza. And if you want something a little more carb heavy…go for the deep dish “little star.” And a bottle of Chianti.

3. Tacolicious 741 Valencia St.

Great for groups! Get the 10 tacos for $36 (make sure to get the carnitas and the short rib.) Also love the drunken beans and the made-to-order guac.

4. Bread and Cocoa

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Typical local spot next to the POPSUGAR headquarters on Sutter and Kearny. I get the Monterey sandwich, paleo style, with a side of fruit and a soy latte. Such a good power breaky to start the day off right! Unfortunately, stylish sunnies by Westward Leaning not included.

5. The Citrus Club 1790 Haight Street

Venturing down to Haight is always on my checklist when I’m in SF. And while my affinity for vintage clothing has been dwindling over the years, my love for some of the restaurants in that area hasn’t. Great place to go to for inexpensive soup and some good spring rolls.

6. Cha Cha Cha 1801 Haight Street

I’m a sucker for Cuban food. This place is as good as it is fun, you can’t have a bad time at Cha Cha Cha. My dish picks include: plantains, Cajun shrimp, Jerk Chicken, and Ceviche. But my favorite thing here is the sangria!