Fun Weekend Ideas Friday: The Original Farmer’s Market

I love The Original Farmer’s Market! It’s my go-to when I have friends from out of town who want to see LA, when multiple people want different genres of food for lunch, when I want to treat myself and generally whenever I’m in Mid-Wilshire.

Photo credit: 100 Things to Do in LA
Photo credit: 100 Things to Do in LA

The Farmer’s Market was founded in 1934 on the corner of 3rd and Fairfax, where it remains today. This was oil mogul A.F. Gilmore’s land. When oil derricks became outlawed in the area, A.F.’is son, Earl Bell Gilmore, agreed to let a few dozen farmers and merchants park their trucks on his land. The farmers sold fresh produce to locals out of the back of their trucks. It only took a few months before grocers installed permanent stalls on the land and housewives began doing their grocery shopping here.

Now, the Farmer’s Market is where couples, friends and families go for meals every Saturday and Sunday. The weekends are super busy with long lunches, post-church visits and museum breaks. Lunchtime during the week is also bustling, as the Farmer’s Market is a popular spot to go to for people who work in the area (I would do this all the time when I worked in West Hollywood!).

No matter what kind of food you’re in the mood for, you will find it here. You can get sweet and savory crepes at the French Crepe Company; fresh-made paella (including vegetarian paella) at Little Spain; New Orleans-style food at The Gumbo Pot; authentic Chinese at Peking Kitchen; meaty dishes at Bryan’s Pit BBQ; pizza at Patsy d’Amore’s or a drink at E.B.’s Beer & Wine. This makes the Farmer’s Market the perfect place to go when you’re with a group or significant other and are in the mood for different genres of food. Tables line all the stalls, so you can order at different places and still eat together!

 

Read below for my favorite restaurants to eat at:

Mee Goreng at Singapore Banana Leaf
Mee Goreng at Singapore Banana Leaf

My go-to restaurant is Singapore Banana Leaf. This is strange for anyone who knows me, because I have a strong dislike of Asian food. But this place is just too amazing. All the food is served on banana leaves instead of plates, a super-cute and unique touch. The food is amazing. I always get the mee goreng, which is a double-fried noodle with tofu, egg, green onions, potato and Sriracha. You can customize whether you want it mild, medium or hot. I have a low spice tolerance, but I LOVE the kick so I get medium and just sweat it out. The fresh-squeezed mango juice is a real help with this. For some reason the mango juice soothes your mouth when it’s on fire, and is so delicious to boot. Only $1.50!

Potato tacos at Loteria
Potato tacos at Loteria

When you’re craving authentic Mexican food, head to Loteria Grill. I know that there are many different Loteria locations in SoCal, so I try to avoid eating here at the Farmer’s Market in favor of places I can’t go to all the time. But this doesn’t always work out because LOTERIA IS REALLY REALLY GOOD. It’s pricey for the size, though, so don’t come here hungry or you’ll leave broke. I once ate 4 tiny potato tacos at once. My taste buds were happy but I was still starved and that whole thing set me back $14.

moishe's hummus and couscous
Moishe’s hummus, couscous and potato salad

My parents love the roasted chicken at Moishe’s, and I love the couscous! This Middle Eastern place has a restaurant with gyros, falafel, meat, side dishes and pita and hummus. There’s also a stall next to it, Moishe’s Village, that sells flatbreads and soups. I’ve definitely had better Middle Eastern food, but Moishe’s is a good option when you want something predictable and safe.

Last but not least is Bob’s Coffee and Doughnuts! I first found out about this place on an episode of Huell Howser’s “California’s Gold” and I’ve been obsessed ever since. I love coffee but I don’t drink it very often because of the crash. But when I’m at the Farmer’s Market, I can’t resist ordering at Bob’s. The ice coffee is amazing. And don’t even get me started on the doughnuts. Seriously. Because then I will have to drive over and get one.

 

 

Photo credit: Foodspotting
Photo credit: Foodspotting

Beyond food, the Farmer’s Market also has some pretty cool independent shops that aren’t the giant chain stores of The Grove.  Whenever I’m here, I stop by Light My Fire Hot Sauce to pick up a new bottle of hot sauce for Ramsay. He LOVES hot sauce, and someone who shops here will never run out of options! They have a sale basket pretty often, where you can get a small bottle of hot sauce for only about $3.

A place where I always have to browse, but NEVER let myself make a purchase at, is Sticker Planet. Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve been OBSESSED with stickers! I used to have boxes and boxes in my room. Because even though I collected stickers like crazy, they were always too precious to me to actually use, so my collection built up! If you buy one sticker at Sticker Planet, you will buy a thousand. So be very, very careful.

Taschen, located right by the famous 1948 Farmer’s Market Clock Tower, is another favorite destination of mine. Many of their coffee table books are super-duper expensive, but they also have racks of books here that are just $10 each. I got Ramsay a book about his favorite designer, the Eames, here. It didn’t cost me an arm and a leg, and it looks really nice on our coffee table.

I don’t have a dog, but if I did, I would definitely bring them to the Dog Bakery. Here is another classic LA establishment. Dogs can’t just eat dog food, they have to have yummy treats too!

 

Plantains at Loteria
Plantains at Loteria

Visiting the Farmer’s Market

The Farmer’s Market is located on the corner of 3rd and Fairfax. There are several parking lots surrounding the property, but they fill up super fast and if you get caught in one, and there isn’t a space, it will take you a lonnnnggg time to get out. Validating from the Farmer’s Market will get you a discount.

A better option is to head to Farmer’s Market Place and park in The Grove parking structure (the mall located right behind the Farmer’s Market). It’s pricier without validation from Nordstrom’s, but the structure is huge and you’ll definitely find a parking space.

The Farmer’s Market is open Monday – Friday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

 

Disclosure: This post is not associated with the Original Farmer’s Market in any way. I received no compensation for this post, and I have paid for my own purchases at the Farmer’s Market.

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