Farmer's Market, 3rd & Fairfax
Just got back from the Farmer's Market.
Half the stalls were closed, but that's okay because half of them were open.
Ate at The Banana Leaf a restaurant with Indonesian type food.
It was just okay. I had the Laksa a sort of soup and my mother had the chicken curry. We each had a curry puff that was served with sweat chili sauce.
We traded half way through. The curry was way too salty and the Laksa was missing the long ramen type of noodle that I've had at other restaurants.
The curry puffs were delicious. Maybe a bit too doughy and very similar in taste to a samosa. The sweet chili sauce set them apart.
I did like the way the food was served as it's basically Mall Food. Each plate had a piece of a banana leaf topped with a mound of yellow rice. They were further dressed with fresh bean sprouts and shrimp chips. It looked great.
Would I order either of those two dishes again? No. Would I try it again? Yes as there were other items on the menu that looked interesting.
My beef (Chowhound humor) with Farmer's Market.
I hadn't been there for quite some time.
I know that the food isn't stellar, but I did NOT expect to find Starbucks and Pinkberry.
I don't go to The Farmer's Market to find places that occupy every other corner in the city.
I fault the company that leases out FM. I would think that they'd want oddball, different types of stalls.
I bet they're getting major rent from those chains.
Guess money talks.
Guess they'll have a Pollo Loco and a McD's on my next visit.
One rec I have there is the Korean stand. It's not Park's or Corner Place or Soot Bull Jeep, but for standard fare, it's pretty decent and reasonably priced, and the staff is very friendly.
I was majorly bummed when the Pinkberry showed up. It's funny though because while I've seen obscene lines at other branches, that one at the FM never seems busy. In fact, most times, I don't see a single soul in there. Hopefully its stay there will be short-lived.
It is sad indeed. I remember that i started freaking out when they removed the old antique alley from that place years ago and initiated the renovation. The place became so trendy... look at how Fairfax is changing too, with all those skaters and dj shops, north of Canter's. I am sure the rent at Farmer's Market is skyrocketing. Many neighbourhoods just don't allow this kind of transition, due to the historical value. Once again, greed is changing the landscape.
I'm surprised that people are complaining that the Farmers Market is turning into a mall food court. Just Starbucks and Pinkberry? Trust me, the Pinkberry will be gone in a couple of years when that trend dies down. There's also a Johnny Rockets and a Chipotle, but I don't think those detract from the better places there.
There are still lots of great places to eat that aren't chains. Even Du-par's, which is a chain, is better than most coffee shop food. I've eaten at the Banana Leaf, and did find it only so-so as well. But down the way there's Monseiur Marcel, Moishe's, Loteria, the Gumbo Pot and Bob's Donuts and Bennett's for dessert. Those are the standouts, but I've never had a bad meal at any of the places I've tried there. The other thing is that a lot of these places are very busy on weekends and the during the office lunchtime rush, so I don't think the good and successful places are likely going anywhere. I also like how they've kept most of the chains on the outside of the market while most of the smaller places occupy the prime spaces on the inside.
I hope you give the Market another try.
Ever since the Grove opened, the Farmers Market had been gradually turning into little more than a shopping mall food court. If the Gumbo Pot closes, trhere will officially be no reason to go there any more.
The Starbucks has been there for a long time.
The Kokomo is relocating to Beverly Blvd. EaterLA thought they'd be relocated by Feb. but I haven't had a chance to check it out:
I wasn't crazy about the Laksa either. Try the Gado Gado, Indo-style Mee Goreng and the Rojak Salad. The Tuna Sambal is interesting. The curry puffs are good, as is the Paratha.
I totally agree about the influx of chains. Hopefully the downturn in the economy will curb that trend.