Hollywood Farmer's Market on Sunday at Ivar and Selma (a little long)
Anyways, tried out this hollywood farmer's market again. and it might just be the best after santa monica's wed. market on arizona.
I got there too late (maybe a hair or so before 10am) and they were already out of the Persian Mulberries at Circle C ranch stand. Completely gone. Asked her if they would have it on Wednesday, and she said they should. it's about 10 dollars per box, or 70 for the whole slate.
They also have sour cherries here for 9 dollars per pound.
i tried the rasberries from Harry's Berries today, they were ok, nothing truly special, but one of the berries in the little plastic box had already turned to delicious jam, a nice little gem.
There's stand serving stand serving greek food called Kahilla's International foods, and I tried a lamb gyro there, and it was pretty good, excpet for the fact that the meat was a kabab/skewer instead of slices of gyro meat from a roasting turning spit. is this standard?
also, had a green papaya salad from Sir Winston's thai food stand, it was nice, not as spicey as I had wanted it. And an order of Kanom Krok (aka coconut cakes or coconut pancakes) to wash it down. these were coconuty and liquid-y/milky in the center, is this standard or is it usually cooked all the way thru like an actual cake.
There's a lady serving Jamaican treats like Jamaican patties and also a Loussiania gumbo in a couple different sizes on the other side of the market.
I tried some lime ade from the stand serving Solvang's famous donut balls with straberry jam and powdered sugar called someting like shanfelshipitz.
I tried some blackberries and boysenberries from some other stands (samples) and they just weren't that great today.
Went yesterday and glad to report it was alot of fun... Lots of great stands of produce - only second to Santa Monica Farmers Market on Wednesdays from my limited experience... I just can't believe that strawberries are still available... It's January and some great looking large stawberries that tasted - well, really great for January - are still available... Must be some new mutant variety that's going to cause some strange disease later in life ;) Citrus is really happening - it's peak season... also pears are showing up, along with lots of avocados and artichokes... If you like dates, those were really good too - even offers organic. Try seeding and dicing them, then adding to the blender with vanilla ice cream and some milk... A truly Wow shake - just like Hadley's out in Cabazon minus the drive... speaking of milk, even a stall selling raw milk products...
This Farmers Market has alot of non-produce boothes as well... hawkers selling jewlery, ethnic merchandise, hand-woven scarves, oils, soaps, etc... and a fair amount of musicians as well, considering how early it was - most musicians are not known to be morning people - and how cold it was - alot of the boothes are buried in the shadows of the surrounding buildings... a slight breeze made the thermometer feel like it dropped 15 degrees... anyway...
Food: Got there pretty early so not all the food boothes were set up but, lots of great looking baked goods, prepared foods to go, and hawker food stalls selling Greek, Mexican, Korean, Thai, and even Salvadoran foods... I tried the foods from the Thai, Korean, and Salvadoran stalls - because they were situated right by or across from each other, and because that's where the lines were - I took it as a good sign, and it was. While waiting in the lines, I listened to what the "regulars" were ordering and did the same. Was not disappointed at any of the stalls.
Thai food stall: The coconut cream balls, fried bananas and pumpkins, the sticky rice with taro or banana, and even the chicken satay and pad thai with chicken or tofu was quite good. Total bill came to about $15 for all of the above - what a deal...
Korean food stall: The pancakes - which kind of reminded of a slight twist on okonomiyake were also quite good, as were the noodles with kim chee and tofu... don't know what the price was - my wife ordered that while I was getting the Thai food. Also got their three different types of kim chee to go - if you like kim chee it's worth taking home - not too heavy on the chili and just the right amount of flavor to go with a nice steaming bowl of rice.
Salvadoran Pupusas stall: probably the nicest surprise of the three - Never had a real pupusa before so I am assuming this was the real thing... a delicious disc of batter that's been loaded with your choice of ingredients listed on the sign - I got the zucchini as many were ordering this and my wife is a vegetarian... nice dark crust on the outside, moist and soft on the inside... topped with a shreded cabbage salad with a nice picant salsa and sour cream on the side... also grabbed a fresh roasted jalapeno... 3 bucks... really hit the spot...
A stall selling Indian packaged and cook-to-order foods was pretty good, although I think they pulled back on the spices and heat for the local crowd - that's the feeling I got at all of the stands I tried except for the Pupusas... We got three things to go - don't remember the names but we picked up lentils in a yellow curry sauce, chicken in a tikka sauce, and cooked eggplant. Had them for dinner and it was a nice balance but I felt myself reaching for some sri racha on the chicken. They offer lots of samples so you can decide.
One of the baked goods stalls that caught my eye - LA Bakery - about half a dozen stalls away from the Pupusas stall - was really delicious. The items all looked so good and that's what caught my eye... what finalized my decision to buy their goods was that the president of the Hollywood Farmers Market Association was getting her goods there (found this out when she broke a $20 for me so I could buy my goods). My assumption was that if anyone knew which stall had the better this-or-that, it would be her... Got the heart-shaped brownie - thin fragile crust on top that hid the moist chocolatey center... Blueberry tart with a filo dough crust, dusted with powdered sugar, and something resembling a clafouti but the batter used was a little more substantial sort of like a muffin... had mixed berries and
chunks of peaches imbedded in the top... I sampled all three this morning - all three were in sizes meant for sharing - and am glad to say I was not diappointed with any of them... Their goods are reasonably priced as well - considering the quality and size, I paid $13 for all three.
Strawberries are a year-round crop in Southern California. That's not to say that they're GOOD all year round, but even at their worst (which is coming real soon here) they're the same as your typical supermarket strawberries. At their peak in May and June they're sublime.
You'll get the best of the available strawberries at a farmers' market, for sure. I don't know what the recent freezing will have done to the crop -- not sure if it froze in Camarillo and Oxnard, but it sure did in the Valley, and took a huge chunk of my garden with it.
re: Das Ubergeek
This is a new variety of strawberry - came out in the past couple of years.... David Karp - known as the Fruit Detective - talked briefly with me about it - to him, it's completely unnatural for a strawberry to be so big, so red, reasonably flavorful and sweet past October. Keep an eye out for him - he is always roaming around the local farmers markets - sometimes wearing his signature pithe helmet... Yes - end of spring thru most of summer is peak - don't know if you've had a chance to try Harry's Berries from Oxnard - Old school organic farmer with some great varieties that have a short shelf life - but definitely sublime as you mentioned... they usually show up at Santa Monica's 3rd St. Farmers Market...
The freeze has probably destroyed most, if not all of the crop - with temps along the coast below freezing, and frost just about everywhere, I can guarantee that just about all frost-sensitive fruit crops will be at serious shortage now... I may have gotten my last strawberries for a while... hope you had a chance for some as well... Cheers!
re: Das Ubergeek
For some reason I remember Oxnard strawberries being much better in my youth. When they're in season and I'm in the area, I regularly drive around the Oxnard plains stopping at stands here and there. Still haven't gotten anything worth going back for. The last great strawberries I had came from Gaviota (just north of Santa Barbara) They were packed with sugar and aroma.
Harry's is consistently good, and expensive.
I find that Orange County strawberries are really great too - the only problem is they are becoming rare as farmland is being converted into trackhomes... I think it's the consistantly warmer weather...
As mentioned above, have you tried Harry's Berries? He's got great summer strawberries... can't remember the variety names, but one is a little more tart with a stronger flavor...
Parking remains miserable but its worth it. Most times, I find that it doesn't take too long to find a spot.
We stopped by circle C got some lovely cherries to take to a barbque this afternoon. We also picked up some nice apricots near the Sunset end of the market [plus a flyer on pick your own fruit] and some Thai peppers. And of course, we hit Peacock Farms for 2 doz eggs. Clearwater Farmes still has really nice porcini--got some a week ago in Santa Monica. And there were a number of stands with all different types of fresh shelling beans including garbanzos at Flora Bella Farms [who seem to be back this week].
Today was the markets birthday so it was especially crowded. But there were also cooking demonstrations and other extra stuff.
worth every bit of the traffic.