12/16/14

Western Burgers and Garlic Fries at Rounds Premium Burgers

As American as apple pie. That is how the saying goes but it could probably be argued that said honor should rightfully belong to the hamburger. Wherever I have been in the world,it is the one dish which is universally associated with the United States. Fried chicken might be a distant second place.

When you stop and think about most other food we think of as quintessentially American though,most of it has its roots elsewhere. Pizza is clearly Italian. Hotdogs hint back to Germany and anywhere else that served sausage with bread. Even the hamburger’s best buddy the French fry has its roots in Belgium and France.

Hamburgers,however,are about as American as it gets.

Good then to see that we’ve started to take pride in our culinary heritage by demanding more from our fast food hamburgers than a microwaved patty of questionable origin. From Five Guys to Umami Burger and The Counter, higher quality burger experiences are now available across a spectrum of price points. Some of which aren’t too far removed from the drive through giants.

Particularly true in the Los Angeles area where you could eat at a different high end burger joint every night of the week and still not scratched them all off your foodie bucket list.

As with all things,some gourmet burger places in Los Angeles are better than others. Finding somewhere that cooks the burger just the way you like it is part of the battle .  From there, it comes down to who does the combination of burger toppings that has you coming back for more.

For the past year or so, that place for us has been Rounds Premium Burgers. Chris was seduced by a spot we saw done on them during a show on The Cooking Channel because the burger they were highlighting – The Western – was a burger without cheese.

He doesn’t eat cheese and so he has either had to avoid most featured burgers on menus or ask to have the cheese left off. Nobody has ever refused to do that but if the flavors were built with cheese as one of the ingredients then he isn’t really getting the experience the chef had intended.

We headed on over to give the Western Burger from Rounds Premium Burger a try and found it to be delicious. The beef patty was cooked to order (medium in our case),dressed with barbecue sauce,bacon and crispy onion strings.

western burger

Juicy beef and crispy bacon strips worked together to make the Western Burger a particularly succulent burger. I was a bit unsure about the onion strings because of my life long hatred of raw onions. Cooked onions are good but I straight out hate raw onions and onion rings can be raw onion roulette. If cooked properly they are great but often enough the onion is just the wrong side of raw. Rounds Premium Burgers got it just right. The onion strings were crispy on the outside and had the texture and taste of a grilled onion on the inside. All of it was brought together but a rich barbecue sauce that relies on tang rather than heat to wake the taste buds.

Since that first visit, we have been back to to Rounds Premium Burgers a bunch of times. More often than not, we end up at their West Hollywood branch but lately we’ve gone to the Pasadena one. While the Pasadena branch certainly has a better parking situation, I have to take a moment to say that what really make the WeHo location special is the service.

We have had the same two members of counter staff serve us each time that we have gone and we have never failed to be impressed with their friendliness and quality of service. On our second visit, we were truly impressed that the gent behind the counter not only remembered us but knew our past order as soon as we walked in. The owners of the WeHo branch should make efforts to hang onto their staff because they are something special.

Over our visits, Chris has remained a devotee to the Western Burger whilst I have made my way through their premium burgers menu. The most unique of which has been the PB&J which is topped with caramelized onions, bacon and peanut butter and jelly. Yup, I said peanut butter and jelly on a burger. It was super messy to eat but it worked a lot better than I would have thought. Perhaps they could use the peanut butter to develop some sort of satay sauce for a new burger. I’d be sure to try that.

Apart from their set menu, Rounds Premium Burgers also has a build your own burger option. On recent visits, I’ve been playing around with that.

rounds premium burger

My latest combination was the burger in the above photo which was made up of a beef patty, mild cheddar, sauteed mushrooms, grilled onions and a garlic aioli. Nom nom!

garlic fries

I’d feel like I was doing Rounds Premium Burgers a disservice if I didn’t mention their garlic fries. They are super good and not at all for somebody who is even the slightest bit worried about getting garlic breath. Just take a look at them and the chunks of real garlic that is piled on top. My tip is to eat them hot. They are still good when they cool down but hot and fresh out of the fryer is how they are meant to be enjoyed. You will need some strong breath mints afterwards but it is worth it for those crispy garlic fries.

 

04/15/14

Groupon Review: Cupcake Tour of Hollywood

I may have mentioned this one or two times before but cupcakes are sort of my thing. The Doughgasm girl icon has a cupcake in her hand for a reason. When a Cupcake Tour of Hollywood showed up in my Group offerings,I was pulling out my wallet in record time.

The cupcake tour Groupon cost $47 for a tour for two. Which, is down from the Great Food Tour’s normal price of $100.  That is a bit steep but Chris has been known to enjoy the taste of a cupcake now and then too and I figured it would be a nice foodie day out.

The morning of the Cupcake Tour of Hollywood started with a bit of chaos when we misinterpreted the address the company gave for the starting point of the tour. I have a bit of a thing about being on time and had a mini stress attack before we finally figured out where we should be and powered our way there just in time for the tour to begin.

When we finally arrived at the first cupcake store of the day, Georgetown Cupcake, we were met by a tour guide that suggested we go inside and buy a bottle of water for the journey. I suppose we should have thought about bringing a drink with us but since we didn’t we took his advice.

Once the rest of the tour group had gathered, the tour guide told us that we would each be getting to try a mini cupcake from the shop.  The offering of the day was the Cherry Blossom cupcake that Georgetown Cupcakes created as a homage to their Washington DC origins.

The Cherry Blossom cupcake is a Madagascar bourbon vanilla cake with fresh cherries baked into the cupcake. It is then topped with a cherry infused cream cheese frosting with a fondant cherry blossom appropriately  being the cherry on top.

Neither myself or Chris usually care for cream cheese frosting. So, I was a bit unsure about how the cupcake would go down with us but, as it turned out, the cupcake was really good. The cherries in the batter had a lovely fresh taste and helped to keep the cake extra moist.

IMG_0434

A big thumbs up from both of us and left us curious to try more from the Georgetown Cupcake menu.

IMG_0432

When time came to move on, our cupcake tour guide informed us that our next stop wouldn’t be to a cupcake shop. A bit of a bummer since the whole point of this tour was to try as many cupcakes as possible. Instead, it would be to Tartine O Chocolat, a French style pasty cafe, where we would be given the chance to taste one of their French macaroons.

IMG_0443

To be fair, the pastries looked great but Chris doesn’t like macaroons. So, that was one less tasting that he would be enjoying for the price we paid. I’m not an enormous fan of macaroons either but I figured that I had paid for it, so I would try it.

IMG_0437

The man that ran the cafe was kind and gave us some interesting history of the shop before he allowed us to select from a choice of flavors of French macaroons. Fairly predictably, I went for the chocolate macaroon and it was pretty good but it wasn’t a cupcake. You could be the best macaroon ever and I would still think you aren’t as good as a decent cupcake.

IMG_0440

Next, we moved on to Joan’s on Third.  Joan’s has been on my foodie radar since I moved to Los Angeles but I hadn’t been there before the day of the Hollywood cupcake tour. Sadly, I still feel as if I haven’t been there because rather than be invited inside to experience the feeling of Joan’s on Third, the guide left us part of the way down the block and asked us to wait while he went inside to collect the cupcakes we would be trying.

IMG_0445

When he came back, he had boxes of full sized chocolate cupcakes with him. To say that they weren’t good would be unfair to Joan’s.  The cake itself was very rich and dense. I felt like I should be using a fork rather than biting into it. They were very good but they were more like a cake in the shape of a cupcake than a cupcake.  Still, they were good enough to make me want to go back to Joan’s on Third and actually go inside.

IMG_0446

Next up was another non-cupcake stop in the form of Simplethings Sandwich Pie Shop.

IMG_0449

Initially, it was disappointing to have another cupcake taken out of the tasting count of what is advertised as a cupcake tour. However, in this case I am going to be forgiving because both myself and Chris thought their offering was the best thing we tasted on the tour.

Amongst the pies that Simplethings offers are a series of mini pies they call Cutie Pies. On our tour stop, they gave us their salted caramel pie to try. I’m a sucker for salted caramel as a flavor profile. So, I was happy to taste the salted caramel cutie pie. I wasn’t so sure if Chris would find it appetizing but I loved that he was willing to go out of his comfort zone and give it a go.

I know he is glad that he did because it was a true doughgasm moment. When we saw the salted caramel pie we were both concerned that it would be an overly sweet dish but instead we found it to be deliciously balanced.  The graham cracker crust took on most of the work of bringing the sweet tones to the almost clean tasting salted caramel. The richness of which was cut by the unsweetened cream on top.  Winner!  As soon as my healthy eating challenge is done, I am dragging Chris back to Simplethings for more pie.

IMG_0447

Eventually the tour had to move on and the group headed to Sweet E’s Bake Shop. Happily, this took us back to being given cupcakes to taste on the cupcake tour.  Sweet E’s is a super cute shop. The perky colors and playfulness of the shop design brought out the kid in in a candy shop feeling in our cupcake loving adult bodies.

The cupcakes weren’t half bad either. The cupcake that they offered the tour was the mini version of what they were calling an Irish Car Bomb cupcake.

I feel that I would be untrue to myself if I didn’t address my dislike of the American insistence on using that name to refer to the popular beer,Baileys and whiskey cocktail.  Having lived in the UK during some horrific car bomb terrorist attacks associated with the Irish troubles, I find the name to be in incredibly bad taste. Not just towards the victims of such attacks but to the Irish themselves where it borders on having racist undertones.  There, now I said it.

Anyway, no matter what they were called, the cupcakes from Sweet E’s were really tasty. The whiskey and stout that were involved added an adult flavors to what looked like a very youthful cupcake.  We enjoyed them enough that after the tour was over, we went back and tried a couple more of the mini cupcake flavors available from Sweet E’s. They were all good but none of them popped as much for me as these.

Allow me a girlfriend moment and say that I really love this photo of Chris holding the cupcakes from Sweet E’s. How lucky did I get to find a guy that not only enjoys foodie stuff  but who volunteers to hold the things we try so that I can take photos for my food blog? He’s mine ladies! lol.

IMG_0451

The final stop on the cupcake tour of Hollywood was Magnolia Bakery’s Los Angeles location. I had been to their main New York City location a couple years ago and enjoyed what I had ordered so I was curious to see how the West Coast venue measured up. Aesthetically, they managed to keep the same quaint but modern feel to the shop which makes for a cozy and inviting atmosphere.  The big displays of full sized cakes were a nice touch and good advertising for what they do beyond the cupcake menu.

At first, I groaned a bit when I heard that what we were being offered from the Magnolia Bakery was a mini cupcake version of their red velvet cupcake. There we were again with the cream cheese frosting issue. Something which has meant that neither myself or Chris are big fans of red velvet cake.

It all comes down to that dang cream cheese frosting. My sister and myself have been insisting to people for years that the red velvet cake that we grew up with in the Philadelphia area did not have a cream cheese frosting. It wasn’t exactly a buttercream either.

Frustratingly, neither of us can remember the recipe for the family’s red velvet cake frosting despite having made it several times as kids. Sometimes on its own just so we could eat it with a spoon. Yeah, I was pretty much destine to be the fat kid.

Preparing myself for disappointment, I bit into my mini red velvet cupcake only to be met with a yummy frosting that was not cream cheese! This was the nearest I had been to that family frosting in the years since I moved back to the United States. Reading the Magnolia Bakery’s menu, they use a whipped vanilla frosting. Bingo!

IMG_0457

With them being a New York operation, perhaps it was a case that red velvet didn’t always have a cream cheese frosting in the North East but that the Southern recipe that included it has since become the national norm? Whatever the reason, It was great to have validation of what I had spent years insisting to be the case.

Once the tour was over, we were left wondering between us if it had been worth it.  We did have a good time but largely because of being with each other. Was it worth the money?  The truth is in the numbers themselves. After the tour, I went through the websites of the places we stopped at on the tour and did some calculations.

We could have gone to each shop and bought the items we were served for a total of $16 per person or $32 for the pair. At the full company price of $100 for two people that is a ridiculous mark up. As it was, we paid $47 for the tour through Groupon so the level of service from the tour guide could have swung things.

IMG_0431

Unfortunately, we were both really disappointed in the tour guide. At each stop, he would take a moment to give us some background on each of the shops. Seriously, just about every time the story boiled down to how they were originally from Europe and then came to the States and started baking and were now running successful businesses. Not much at all about the actual food was shared.

He was also pretty rubbish at keeping track of his group. The tour covered a lot of ground between shops which meant a bunch of crossing streets. Not once did the tour guide wait at the other side to make sure everybody had crossed before he marched on. Instead, there were always a few people left way back trying to keep a visual on the group so they could eventually catch up. This lack of attention to his group was made most evident when several people left half way through the tour without him noticing.

All of which was made just a bit more tacky when he ended the tour by making a plea for tips. Normally, I would tip a guide but for $16 worth of tastings, I felt like I had already tipped the company enough. Not least because two of the promised tastings on the cupcake tour weren’t even cupcakes.

Whilst I enjoyed eating cupcakes with my sweetie, the truth is that for $50 we could have put together our own self-guided tour based on Yelp reviews and been able to sample a lot more than we did on the official tour.  In fact, I might just have to put together my own Doughgasm tour of Hollywood for us to do on our own.

That way I can go back and try more from the cupcake shops that we enjoyed without feeling I am paying for more than is being delivered.

03/8/14

Glazed Donut Bistro brings donuts for adults to West Hollywood

Clear as day, I can remember my fourth grade teacher venting to the class about how much she disliked stores using purposely misspelled words in their names.  Of particular frustration for her was the way in which doughnut was becoming donut.   Some twenty five years later and I can’t remember the last time I saw a shop where it was spelled ‘doughnut’.

Spelling variations aside, I sure do love a good doughnut. Doughgasm was, after all, coined after I ate a particuarly wonderful doughnut. Since moving to Los Angeles last year, I have yet to find a really good doughnut shop. I’d wondered why LA didn’t have an answer to Portland’s Voodoo Donuts or San Jose’s Psycho Donuts.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, the LA foodie press was buzzing about the opening of a new shop in West Hollywood called Glazed Donut Bistro.  Branding themselves as ‘Donuts for Grownups’ it sounded like they were making a play to fill that void (proud of myself for not going with ‘hole’) in the market. In addition to a bunch of creative versions of the traditional doughnut concept, Glazed Donut Bistro also has savory donuts such a fried chicken stuffed beignets and bbq pulled pork sliders served on doughnut-style bun.

Last Saturday, having waited for a pause in the Great Los Angeles Rainstorm of 2014, myself and Chris set off  for the West Hollywood end of Santa Monica Boulevard to give Glazed Donut Bistro a try. The block in which it is located is quickly becoming a regular foodie cravings haunt for us. With Rounds Premium Burgers (review coming in the near future) and now Glazed Donut Bistro there, all they need is a dispensary and it would be munchies mecca.

Apologizes for the less than stellar photo of the Glazed Donut Bistro storefront. The rain had started to bucket it down again and I was trying to quickly get a shot without getting my iPhone wet. There are many things I would do for a good doughnut but killing my phone isn’t one of them.

Glazed Donut Bistro

Apparently, we weren’t the only folks that decided it was a good time to go on a doughnut run. When we got to Glazed Donut Bistro, there were barely any doughnuts left. They are still in their soft launch period and, according to  Yelp reviews, frequently selling out. A quality problem for them. For us, it meant denial of the chance to try the s’mores doughnut. It was a photo of that doughnut on their website that got Chris in the car in the first place. So,boo!

Glazed Donut Bistro Doughnuts

Glazed Donut Bistro Donuts

We made the most of it and made up a collection of four doughnuts from what was left and headed home for some quality TV and doughnut time on the sofa.

Box of Glazed Bistro Donuts

We started off the box with their vanilla bean ring doughnut. It stands to reason that if a shop gets the most basic of doughnuts right then there is hope for their more complicated varieties. For me, this one was okay but nothing particularly spectacular. Difficult as it may be to dislike a vanilla bean glaze, it does have to be an especially good glaze to be noteworthy. Likely, it is much better when still warm but at room temperature it was simply satisfactory.

vanilla glazed donut

Chris added the chocolate doughnut. It is a chocolate cake doughnut that is then dipped in chocolate and topped with chocolate pearls for good measure. I only had a tiny bite of this one but it was pretty good. I tend to like yeast doughnuts better than cake. So, ‘pretty good’ is praise.

chocolate donut

I didn’t get a taste of the sprinkled doughnut that Chris ordered. Nor could I find a description on their menu board or website for a sprinkled doughnut. Chris said it was good but beyond it looking pretty, I can’t fairly judge.

sprinkles donut

Glazed Donut Bistro’s PB&J doughnut,however, I am more than happy to judge. It was so good! I’m a peanut butter nut but it can be tricky to get right with anything baked. Often, the peanut butter takes on a burnt quality that is too far removed from the peanut butter taste that I love for me to truly enjoy it.

On this doughnut though, they got it right. The PB&J doughnut is a yeast risen doughnut that is filled with house made jam, dipped in a peanut butter glaze (such a sexy phrase!) and then sprinkled with honey roasted peanuts. By going for the honey roasted, they prevented any salt overload issues which may have occurred with so much peanut on peanut action.

I do believe that my doughgasm face came out for this one.

peanut butter and jelly donut

All in all, I see promise in Glazed Donut Bistro. It will be interesting to see what changes are made between their soft launch and their proper opening.  If they listen to the feedback and get rid of the ‘meh’ varieties and work to nourish the more creative winners such as the PB&J then they should be on the right track. Hopefully, next time we get to try that S’mores doughnut!

03/2/14

Behind the scenes of the Oscars Red Carpet

I’m new enough to Los Angeles that I still think it is cool that I live so close to where the Academy Awards take place. Not particularly because of the celebrities but because I love film. I’m also a sucker for ‘world events’ and the Oscars certainly qualifies.

Last year, I stumbled into finding out that you can get pretty close to the Oscar’s Red Carpet preparations. At one point, I was actually standing on the red carpet and I would be lying if I said I didn’t think that was pretty cool. I ended up getting some great photos of the Oscars Red Carpet preparation.

Chris is in town this weekend (yay!) and I thought it would be neat to take him down to see the red carpet setup. What I didn’t know when we made those plans was that Los Angeles was about to have a massive rain storm. Those that don’t live in Los Angeles  often make fun of the way the city reacts to rain. In most cases, that is completely valid. This time though, this storm was the sort  that pose a challenge to most cities. Busy streets were flooded as the rain came down hard and fast.

Nothing in Los Angeles was able to escape the storm and that includes the Academy Awards.  As we got close to the Hollywood and Highland Center,where the  Oscars are held, it was clear that we weren’t going to be able to get as close to the red carpet this year. Mostly because, they had put a big tent over it. A shame because I had been crossing my fingers that we would get to see a red carpet full of dripping wet actresses in expensive gowns.

As you can see, the rain was making the Academy Awards setup difficult. They even had to have the giant Oscar statues covered in plastic to keep them safe from the rain.
Oscars rain

Inside the Hollywood & Highland Center, the other preparations for the Oscars ceremony were well under way.  The hallways were filled with the scent of freshly cut flowers that were being placed around smaller replicas of the Oscar statue.

oscars red carpet

academy awards red carpet

Before we left, we did get to get a look at the rolling out of the red carpet. At least, the portion of the Oscars Red Carpet that is inside the building.

oscars red carpet

I’ve been down these stairs fairly often since the building is a busy shopping center the other 364 days of the year. Never, in any of those times, did they look as snazzy.

03/1/14

Vampire Slayers Pickles from Pickled By Hattie

Society can be divided in to two types of people. Those that take the pickle off the hamburger and those that don’t. I am most certainly one that does not.  Maybe it has something to do with my Pennsylvania Dutch blood that predisposes me to like anything pickled but I really I love pickles.

When I was at the Hollywood Farmers Market this weekend, the Pickled By Hattie stall caught my eyes. Normally situated in the Spice Alley section of the market, this week they stood out in contrast the the fruit and vegetable stalls that surrounded them.

Pickled By Hattie Hollywood farmers market

There are a good number of artisan products available at the market but I think this was the first time that I saw artisan pickles. A variety of pickles available on the stall, most of which were spicy. Sadly, I am a wimp when it comes to spicy. Spiced is a great thing but spicy not so much. My heat boundaries have been pushed back since moving to California but I am still not going to be actively buying something labeled as hot and/or spicy.

Pickled By Hattie

Being spice-challenged, those varieties of pickles from Pickled By Hattie were out for me but what did grab my attention was the ir Vampire Slayers pickles. Garlic and pickles? Jackpot!

Vampire Slayers Pickles

Vampire Slayers Pickles

When they say garlic, boy do they ever mean it. My nose was twitching like Samantha as soon as I popped the lid off the jar of Vampire Slayer pickles. It was great to look into the jar and see real ingredients such as herbs,garlic and even a lone whole chilli floating around. It gave me the impression that I was truly getting a handcrafted product rather than factory produced in faux rustic style.

Pickeled by Hattie Vampire Slayer Pickles

There are few things as sad as a limp pickle, right? Not an issue with these super crunchy pickles. To say that the Vampire Slayer pickles were bursting with flavor would be a massive understatement.  Immediately, my whole mouth was tingling from the intensely zesty garlic. The chili took my taste buds to the edge of too much spice but managed to still keep it pleasurable.

These aren’t a pickle that you are going to forget moments after they have been eaten. That flavor bomb of garlic and spice stays with you. That is good for your taste buds but does mean that you probably do want to have a stick of gum ready.  Unless the person you speak to next particularly enjoys the smell of garlic breath.

At $12 a jar, there is no pretending that the Pickled By Hattie Vampire Slayer pickles are the cheapest around. However, the jars are big,the pickle spears substantial and they are the best pickles that I have had in a long time.

 

02/24/14

Sunday morning at Hollywood Farmers Market

Should I eat before I go? Inevitably that is the question I ask myself before heading out to the Hollywood Farmers Market.

It is a mental toss up between knowing that my tummy will be grumbling as I pass by all the glorious food stalls and wanting to wait so that I have an excuse to tuck right into something I bought once I get home. Today, I opted for the empty tummy plan.

What foodie doesn’t enjoy a good farmers market? Especially in an area like Southern California where the weather allows for such lovely local produce all year round. Since moving to Los Angeles, I’ve tried out a few local farmers markets. None have clicked with me as well as the Hollywood Farmers Market. Initially a bit of a surprise because I assumed that one smack dab in the middle of Hollywood with the sign visible in the distance, would be the snobby one with ridiculously hiked prices.

Pleasantly,that isn’t the case. The fruit and vegetables are all fairly priced. In many cases, on par with local supermarket prices but for a superior product. Some of the more artisan products such as cheeses and oils from mom and pop sort of start ups might feel pricier than your normal shop. There too, it will often be better than whatever brand you would buy in the supermarket. Normally, my plan of attack is get the fruit and veg that I need for the week and then pick out one of the artisan products to try as a treat.

The Hollywood Farmers Market takes place each Sunday from 8am to 1pm. Even if the apocalypse,otherwise known in LA as rain, should occur. It is on the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Ivar Street. There is reasonably priced parking available at the nearby Cinerama Dome parking lot. Just go to the markets information booth for validation.

For me though, part of the charm of the Hollywood Farmers Market is how easy it is for me to get there from Koreatown by public transport. I just hop on the underground Metro at the Wilshire/Western station, get off two stops later at Wilshire/Vermont and jump onto the red line headed towards North Hollywood. That takes me all the way to Hollywood/Vine, which is the nearest station to the market which is just a few minutes away by foot. If the trains match up, the whole thing takes me about 15 minutes.

I find the produce selection at the local supermarket chains rather limited. The same apples and the same oranges each week and only the sort of vegetables, such as carrots and potatoes, that they know will be sold in large numbers.

At the farmers market, you will find whatever is in season. Look at the size of the leeks this lady is pondering. I have barely seen leeks in a supermarket since leaving the UK and when I do they are small and uninspiring.

Note to self: Those and some of the wide variety of potatoes found at the market would work well together to make a lovely leek and potato soup.

Hollywood Farmers Market Leeks

Soft fruit such as these strawberries always look so much better at the farmers market too. You can practically taste them with your eyes.

hollywood farmers market strawberries

As somebody who,more often that not, is cooking for one, I also like that I can buy as much or as little as I like of an item.  These sugar snaps, as an example, looked so good. I can snack on fresh sugar snaps like candy but I just needed enough for me. I grabbed a few handfuls and ended up paying two dollars for a farm fresh and organic product.

Hollywood Farmers Market

Did you notice the ‘try me’ written on the sugar snaps sign? That is another reason I enjoy the farmers market. You can taste practically anything before you decide to buy.  Not only does this allow you to go between stalls and see who has the best tasting strawberries (or whatever) that week. It has also encouraged me to stab one of the provided toothpicks into a sample of a fruit I have never tried before.

I didn’t know what a persimmon tasted like until I tried one at the market. Without having that opportunity, I may have remained a bit unsure and never given it a chance.

Certainly, it helped fruit stall owners get a sale out of me today. After a taste test, I ended up picking up this bounty which includes several super juicy blood oranges, an Asian pear, some mandarins, Meyer lemons and some perfectly crisp pink lady apples.

hollywood farmers market fruit

Whereever you go in the market, you will find ladies,such as these, tucking in to bit of citrus.

hollywood farmers market people

The people of the Hollywood Farmers Market is another one its charms. As you can likely tell from my street photography efforts, I am a people watcher and there are few better places to people watch in Los Angeles than at this farmers market.

You get all sorts of people from the expected hippie types to the the long-haired rock veterans and the hip good looking LA types. The market is good for the occasional celebrity spotting too or so they tell me. So far, the only celeb that I have noticed on my trips has been America Ferrera.

hollywood farmers market people

hollywood farmers market people

hollywood farmers market people

It is Hollywood though and so there is no shortage of creative people making themselves known at the market. Musicians are at every turn from a rather nice looking and rather talented male harpist (must remember to find out his name!) to ragtime bands and much in between.

hollywood farmers market people

Hollywood Farmers Market

Then there are the folks that show their creativity by being the characters of the market. Which is great. Whether it has been London, San Francisco or Los Angeles, I have loved that every city in which I have lived, no matter the size, has their local characters that everybody recognizes.

hollywood farmers market dog

hollywood farmers market poet store

hollywood farmers market busking

Before I left the market for this week, I had to make a stop at the Homeboy Bakery stall. It is always the first stall that I see when I walk into the market but I force myself to wait until the end. Mmostly so that I don’t end up squishing the bread I buy under the weight of the fruit and veg.

homeboy bakery hollywood farmers market

You have seen me mention my appreciation for Homeboy Industries before when I used their tortilla strips to make my Drunken Sloppy Joe Nachos for the Super Bowl. As yummy as those are, there is something wonderful about about seeing the program in action at the farmers markets they attend. Plus, the bread is really good. So are the cookies they sell.

homeboy bakery hollywood farmers market

This week, I walked away with a loaf of the Homeboy Bakery’s  Multigrain Pan Bread. The first thing I always notice when I buy this variety is the weight of the loaf. None of this so light that you wonder what is in it type of bread. This is a dense loaf that feels like it really is packed with all those grains and oats that are promised on the label.

Homeboy Bakery Bread

Since I had left for the market on an empty tummy, thinga were getting to critical hunger status by the time I made it back to my apartment. The Homeboy Bakery bread came to the rescue. Which was a good thing because just the rich color of the bread slices had my tummy threatening to stage a coup.

homeboy bakery bread

homeboy bakery sandwhich

So, excuse me while I go enjoy my tuna salad made with fresh dill and lemon that I picked up at the market. Of course, on top of this great bread.