By Sam Goodman
Grand Central Market is the food lover's heaven that defies all boarders. A downtown staple highlighting the incredible variety of cultures, cuisines, and character that Los Angeles has to offer, Grand Central Market allows hungry people from around the globe sample new and exciting foods at an incredibly low cost. Long story short, I ate 5 full meals with coffee and dessert and I'm not even mad at myself. Being able to travel the world from Japan to Italy to El Salvador and back through food was the full fantasy. Follow along on my journey through vegan ramen, Lady and the Tramp pasta, and an entire loaf of sourdough bread.
Pizza Mind: OLIO GCM WOOD FIRED PIZZERIA and Knead Pasta Co.
Olio GMC Wood Fired Pizzeria — 4/5 stars
Margherita Pizza — $8 — 4/5 stars
Knead Pasta Co. — 5/5 stars
Spaghetti and Tomato Sauce — $9.45 — 5/5 stars
When I first walked into Grand Central Market, I was overwhelmed by the intense smells coming from the various stalls. But, the one that stood out the most was the smell of fresh tomato and basil coming from Olio Pizzeria and Knead Pasta Co. I knew that I had to have that pizza and pasta and they was everything I had hoped for. The pizza came with 6 slices and, because I knew I was going to be eating a lot of food, I shared it with two friends and the serving was plenty. The crust was thin, the cheese was melted and gooey, and the prices were incredibly reasonable (8 bucks). But, the pasta was what was really incredible. I have never had a bowl of pasta like the spaghetti and tomato sauce from Knead Pasta Co. The pasta was thick and flavorful without the sauce. But, the marinara added a new level of flavor. I would highly recommend these two stalls for pizza and pasta lovers. And you know we had to get some Lady and the Tramp Instagram pictures.
Thank you very Mochi: Vegan Ramen with a Vegan Egg???
Rame Hood was our next stop and the first thing that caught my eye was the sunflower broth advertised on the menu. Usually, ramen is served in a chicken, beef, or pork broth. But, because this is vegan, the broth was made of sunflower seeds and filled with king oyster mushrooms, bean sprouts, scallions, chili threads, nori, and ramen noodles. The broth was extremely salty but the noodles were flavored by the broth. Honestly, I would rather have just eaten the noodles. The serving size was so big that I could never finish a bowl myself. It also made me really thirsty. But, the vegan egg was what really drew is to Ramen Hood. And, sorry disappoint, but it was gross. The 'white' tasted the jello and the 'yolk' tasted like chalk.
Ramen Hood — 4/5 stars
The OG Sunflower Seed Ramen— $10 — 3/5 stars.
Vegan Egg— $2 — 0/5 stars.
El Salvadorian Delicasy: Sarita's Pupuseria
For a quick bite to eat, I recommend Sarita's for its flavorful plantains and authentic pupusa. By the time we reached Sarita's, we were so stuffed we could barley finish our pupusas, but we found a way and they were delicious. 4/5 stars for the plantains, 4/5 stars for the pupusas, and, overall, 4/5 stars for Sarita's.
Affoogato get this dessert: McConnel's Fine Ice Cream and G&b Coffee
We had to stop for some dessert and this combo was perfection. G&B Coffee is bar style service with fresh coffee and baked goods. Usually, I like my coffee with lots of sugar and milk, but, their iced latte with almond milk was the perfect balance of coffee and sweetness, with none of the added calories of sweetener. It was a little on the pricy side at $5.25, but, I would be sure to go back. 5/5, would recommend G&B Coffee. McConnell's was the dessert that took the cake...cone? I don't really know, but, the sweet cream (vanilla) and double peanut butter chip ice cream was great and the single (comes with two scoops) was plenty. It was creamy, flavorful, sweet, and all for relatively cheap (5 bucks). 5/5 for McConnell's.
Street Food: Clark Street Bread
At the end of our journey through Grand Central, we decided that we needed a snack for the ride home (as if the pizza, pasta, ramen, papusas, plantains, ice cream, and coffee weren't enough). We stopped at Clark St. Bread and picked up a $7 dollar loaf of fresh sourdough bread, country style. The bread was chewy, rich with sourdough flavor, and made perfect avocado toast for the next couple of days. For that cheap? I would defiantly go back to Clark St. Bread. 5/5 stars.
Grand Central Market was the perfect place to taste test foods that you otherwise might not come in contact with. Not only is it just a cool place to be, but, the food is delicious and cheap. I got all of that food for under 40 bucks! 5/5 stars for GCM and you should definalty give this historic place a try.