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farmers market at 3rd and fairfax

will be grabbing lunch at the farmers market next week. we would like to get an idea of what fellow foodies think of the eats available. they seem to be woven throughout the threads, but nothing concise and specific or all in one topic.

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  1. Banana Leaf is my favorite, especially for the mee goreng. Loteria Grill is outstanding for Mexican. Have never tried Monsieur Marcel but a French friend said he liked it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: houndofmusic

      Agreed on both Singapore's Banana Leaf, and Loteria. A curry puff from one, and tacos from the other are a great outing. Now, I'm just wanting to get back to try Huntington meats. Their selection impressed me last time...

    2. Very hit or miss. Some of the hits are:

      Singapore's Banana Leaf
      French Crepe Company
      Gumbo Pot
      Bob's Donuts

      4 Replies
      1. re: wutzizname

        Agree on all counts except for the crepe place... only been there once and had a completely mediocre and expensive savory crepe (don't remember which kind-- this was years ago). Is there a specialty there that I may have missed out on?

        Those buttermilk donuts at bobs are dense and wonderful and the cinnamon buns are a steal at $1.25 for a massive thing, lightly glazed with a generous dollop of cinnamon, without the buckets of cream cheese dumped on top that most people expect these days.

        And I really, really want to love Bennet's ice cream more than I do, but now at $4.50 for a single (small) scoop, the love is fading.

        Also, Moishe's is quite good, but also expensive.... chicken kabobs, baba ghanoush and tabouli for upwards of $12.

        Mr Taster

        1. re: Mr Taster

          Good point. The only thing I get from the crepe place are their waffles, which are pretty decent. The crepes are in fact eh at best.

          And I'm right there with you about Bennet's. The ice cream isn't even that great and the price is just absurd. Especially now that you can walk up Fairfax and get a scoop of Scoops from Golden State for $2.

          1. re: wutzizname

            Ironically, according to the Farmer Market Cookbook, Bennett mottos include 'a fast nickel beats a slow dime' and 'make good food at a fair price, and you'll make a living.'

            I wouldn't buy that book for the recipes, but its got some interesting stories about all the different vendors at the Farmer's Market.

            1. re: hobbess

              Agreed. Even at Costco the price was not justified by the recipes but the pix and the text were interesting.

      2. I know I'll get flak for this, mainly from misplaced southerners, but we really like the Gumbo Pot, find it to be well-spiced cajun food, which is hard to find in LA.

        1. Also, check out this extensive account from a Chowhound/blogger. He tried every place in the market, ranked them into three tiers, and gave details on most in subsequent posts. A couple years old but not that much has changed there.


          1. I second Loteria (I love their tacos sampler, not on the menu anymore, but if you ask they'll do it for you, and the queso fundido) and Singapore Banana Leaf (pretty much everything), hands down the 2 winners.
            I'm French, and honestly I think neither the crêpes place nor Monsieur Marcel are really good. Bob Donut's is great, and I like the Gumbo Pot too, especially because they have cheap (if unmemorable) oysters. I also like Moishe's on the other side of the market (near Monsieur Marcel).

            2 Replies
            1. re: bad nono

              Loteria - food is not even memorable. Nothing worse than pretentious watered down Mexican food.

              1. re: A5 KOBE

                I agree completely. Skip Loteria, drive east on 3rd and hit a taco truck on the way.

            2. I really like the sandwiches at Bryan's BBQ. The ribs and chicken plates aren't impressive but their BBQ sandwiches are quite good.

              I also like the carved sandwiches at Magee's, especially the corned beef.

              I don't care for the pizza at Patsy's but their spaghetti is sometimes quite good.

              The Brazilian BBQ Buffet, Pampas Grill, has great meats and good chicken stroganoff.

              The Chinese stand at the east side, China Depot, has decent items in their steam table but really good food if you ask them to cook something to order.

              Tusquella's seafood place has great french fries and decent fish, though the portions are sometimes amazingly small, given the price.

              Bob's donuts are the best in town as far as I'm concerned.

              I've tried most of the other places and haven't been impressed. Obviously, some posters here have come to the precise opposite opinions but that's how these boards work, I guess.

              1. i practically live at this market, at least i walk here about 3x a week. my recs are:
                Singapore's Banana Leaf
                Next door, for a smoothie- i love the one with Watermelon, Pinapple, and Mint.
                Bob's Donuts! Thee's Bakery! English Toffee!
                Avoid both Chinese places
                Glass noodles at the Korean BBQ Place. You can get a decent portion for only 2 bucks. i also like their veggie rolls, i don't know what those are called.
                Gumpo Pot is good.
                I'm not blown away by Loteria but i have a friend who claims it's his absolute favorite food ever.
                Pampas Grill for make your own plate buffet. It's expensive though. but i'm a fan of the beets and salad.
                Moishes is good if you are in the mood for mediterranean and some attitude with your food. they are strictly cash only.
                If you want cheap, there's a tiny stand in between the bbq place and one of the chinese places north of Bob's Donuts, in that area. It's american food like hamburgers, BLTs etc... and i go there sometimes for a very good veggie burger.
                out of all of my ramblings, i stick behind singapore's banana leaf. mee goreng is so great, i also love the paratha, the tuna sambol, any of the curries, and if you eat meat, try the beef or chicken rendang.

                1. For dessert , you can be virtuous and grab a fruit bowl or some fresh fruit at Farm Boy on the northwest end, and since Breadworks is claiming to use the same recipes as the late lamented Bread Bin, you might want to pick up a loaf of cinnamon swirl or rye bread to take home. And absolutely end your meal with coffee or a coffee drink from the Coffee Corner, which is across from Bob's on the eastern end.

                  But despite the fact that there are some really good food stalls at Farmers Market, the market is more about being a "great good place" than about having "the best" of any category of food (well, except doughnuts). Many of the people who work there (like the women at Bob's) have been there for decades, and others (like at the Banana Leaf and the Coffee Corner) are owners. A weekday lunch might be full of tourists, but look for the regulars who sit near Bob's, and spend some time just generally people watching, too.

                  1. I'm a big fan of Mr. Marcels-the cauliflower gratin is super yummy, the wines are nice, and it's great people watching. Moishes is pretty good mediterrainian. The Gumbo Pot is very popular. Half of the time I skip a real meal and get a coke float with chocolate ice cream from the ice cream place.

                    1. I was just at the F.M. and hubby and I settled for Pampas Grill - Brazilian. In the Farmers market north side. Really delish. I see that one mentioned it was expensive. I suppose that's relative. I don't think it's that much. 10-15$ per person depending on how you pile your plate. His meal, mostly meats, was less than mine. I had the salads and fish stew. No drinks , just H2O. His was 12$ and mine about 14$

                      1. One of my favorite lunches is to get a corned beef sandwich from Magee's, then walk down to the Gumbo Pot, find a table near there, and get their Cajun potato salad, then a beer or glass of wine from the bar there. If I'm broke or near to it, I'll just get a rice bowl from the Korean BBQ, with pork and kimchi, and a lemonade from the ice-cream place.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Will Owen

                          thanks everyone, it should be quite a lunch,can't wait.

                          1. re: kpatick

                            Be certain to grab a nice micro-brew at beer gardens just up from Loteria. And you can eat your food at their bar if you'd like.

                        2. Thought I would give more feedback on this one, considering my wife and I live a stone's throw from the place and end up there at least once a week. Given its location as a famous tourist/local place, everything is expensive:

                          Loteria - Their best dish is huevos rancheros morita. Morita is a very spicy, smoky red sauce. That along side their minty black beans and mashed potatoes is a perfect breakfast. Queso fundido with mushroom or chorizo (or both), is another stand out. All of their other food is high quality, but I prefer more of a taco truck experience for tacos and burritos. They usally have a nice special salad available also.

                          Gumbo Pot: It's perfectly good gumbo and worth it if you're in the mood, but it's not going to change your life. Everything else there is just so-so.

                          McGee's: Best corned beef sandwiches in LA that I'm aware of, and this is in comparision to the famous delis. Very small and expensive portions, however.

                          Mr. Marcel: Horrifying on every level, especially the service. Just a bad place. Here is my traumatic experience: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6361...

                          Thee's Bakery: Please get their plain NY cheesecake. It is perfect.

                          Dupar's: I know a lot of people will not like this one, but for pancakes I think they hit it out of the park. Make sure they are well done. When they are busy, which is usually the case, they will rush them off the griddle and they'll come out pale. They need to be dark brown. And yes, get the clarified butter on them. If you can sneak in your own maple syrup ala' Seinfeld, do so. Everything else is forgettable.

                          The Brazilian Pampas Grill: I love their food and apparently everyone else in So. Cal does too. They always have a long line. Their lamb, sausage, sirloin cap, spicy chicken (thighs) are done to perfection. I am fond of their bitter collard greens, tomato-artichoke salad and beet salads. But go their for the meat.

                          Singapore Banana Leaf: Very good curry fried rice, but I haven't had too much there. Good food though.

                          Huntington Meats: This is my go-to butcher shop and I'm very lucky to have them so close. Their dozen+ house-made sausages are wonderful, particularly the well seasoned and perfectly textured Italians and bratwurst and the Moroccan lamb which I have broken up and used to stuff in bell peppers. They have smoked andouille also. I usually pick up a couple of pounds of their applewood smoked bacon a month, which is the right thickness and very meaty. Perhaps best of all is the Nancy Silverton Burger Blend, which is the right 80/20 blend of high quality grass fed chuck and ground a couple of times to get the perfect texture. You simply can not make a bad burger out of this. They also have bare veal bones in the back to make stock with, and I've picked up lamb neck bones for stock purposes as well.

                          13 Replies
                          1. re: EarlyBird

                            I keep hearing about Thee's... what else stands out there? And I have to ask, since you said their New York cheesecake is perfect, does it compare to S&S? Good god, that stuff is decadent.

                            Mr Taster

                            1. re: Mr Taster

                              at thees, i LOVE their cup filled with cherries, cake, and cream. parfait maybe it's called? not sure. just delish. also, at the center location they have really good cinammon rolls.

                              1. re: Clyde

                                I absolutely love the cinnamon rolls at Bob's Doughnuts. They're massive, not overly sweet not gluttonized with heavy cream cheese, and loaded with cinnamon. At $1.25 they're a steal (especially when you consider the standard small buttermilk doughnuts are nearly $1).

                                Mr Taster

                                1. re: Mr Taster

                                  oh yes. bob's cinammon rolls are amazing.

                              2. re: Mr Taster

                                I had a fruit tart from Thee's that blew my mind, but once my wife (a proud New Yorker) and I tried the NY cheesecake, we can't get off of it! Where is S&S? Maybe I need to try it.

                                1. re: EarlyBird

                                  They make them in the Bronx, but they're available for sale around the city... I got mine at Zabar's. The website does mail order.


                                  Mr Taster

                              3. re: EarlyBird

                                You're right about the Silverton Blend, it makes a superior burger. Also a darn good meatloaf. Do you know how frequently they grind it? I haven't asked (I should) but sometines I get the impression that its been sitting there a while.

                                1. re: TomSwift

                                  Huntington Meats also has a specific meatloaf blend (beef, veal, and pork) with (I believe) some very few little green onions. Made a meatloaf with that this past weekend, and it was delicious.

                                  1. re: hhewitt

                                    Didn't know this but will certainly get some this weekend. Thanks!

                                  2. re: TomSwift

                                    I get the impression they move that burger blend very quickly, especially in the summer months. I've certainly never had any question about the freshness.

                                  3. re: EarlyBird

                                    Agree with all of your recommendations. I used to live down the St from FM-3rd and Fairfax, and we usually ate at Pampas Grill, washed down with aguas frescas from Loteria Grill.

                                    Re. Huntington Meats-- they are the real deal, old-fashioned butchers. They used to be the butchers at the Huntington Market (closed over 20 yr ago) on Huntington Dr in San Marino and supplied their top-notch meat to the posh families of San Marino. They're still using the same logo from the old days. I love those guys @ Huntington Meats.

                                    1. re: EarlyBird

                                      Yes, yes, yes on the huevos rancheros with morita at Loteria...it is my go to dish at the Farmers Market...so good and so hot! Also, try their chiliquiles with the morita sauce...yum!

                                      I disagree with the Gumbo Shop... the gumbo lacks flavor and the quality has really gone down hill since the early days when Charles Meyer owned and ran it. If you want to remember what the quality used to be like, visit Meyer's Big Sky in San Luis Obispo!

                                      Dupars used to have the best pancakes in SoCal...the last couple of time I have visited, they have been bland at best...maybe ordering them well done will help...I was told by a server that the recipe changed with the ownership!

                                      I really like Banana Leaf's beef rendang and their prata with curry sauce. No, it is not as good as in Singapore, but it is the best you can get in Los Angeles.

                                      The apple fritter at Bob's Doughnut is perfect to me...caramelized on the outside, full of apples

                                      The corned beef at Magee's is the best in LA ...especially when you use their homemade horseradish...really good...small and expensive yes...but really good!

                                      Both meat markets in the Farmers Market are really good...both with unique cuts and reasonable prices. Marconda's has flat iron steaks and wonderful spencer steaks that won't break the bank...as well as andouille and tasso from Louisiana.

                                      1. re: TravelPath

                                        I prefer Marconda to Huntington simply because I shop at the lower end of the price range, and they have more to offer me. My alltime favorite thing of theirs is the giant inch-thick pork steaks. One of those, either braised in beer with horseradish or baked with a coating of mixed oil and Dijon mustard, is a good dinner for both of us. I do want to check out Huntington's sausages, though.