Authentic Mexican taquerias and craft cuisine stalls coexist in downtown LA’s Grand Central Market, giving visitors the opportunity to try dishes from a variety of cultures. The market’s reinvention began in 2011 with the opening of Eggslut. Since then, LA’s top culinary talent have been setting up shop in GCM’s historic Homer Laughlin Building, including Valerie’s Confections and Wexler’s Deli. Even with the new developments, the long-time classics like Las Morelianas are still incredibly popular.
The bustling atmosphere, narrow walkways and overall chaos fill some with a sense of adventure and others with a sense of being lost. To make navigation easier, we’ve gathered the must-visit stalls and their best dishes.
The name of this breakfast and lunch spot is as inviting as the food itself. Eggslut should be the first stop on any trip to the GCM because the wait in the wrap-around line at peak hours is about 45 minutes. But the house-made turkey sausage breakfast sandwich, the velvety soft-scrambled eggs with spicy Jalapeno mayo in the Fairfax, and the signature coddled eggs are worth it.
For visitors who come in pairs or groups, the baked goods at Valerie Confections make perfect snacks while one member of the party waits in the Eggslut line. The herb and goat cheese scone, with its crunchy exterior and fluffy center, is a must-try as is Valerie’s recreation of Blum’s Coffee Crunch Cake. As tempting as it looks, the cake should be saved for dessert with a cup of G & B coffee.
A traditional Mexican taqueria specializing in Michoacan-style pork carnitas, Las Morelianas is one of the longest operating food stalls in the market. Their slow-cooked carnitas utilize the entire pig, from snout to tail, for a result that’s juicy and tender. The free samples of the mini carnitas taco are impossible to resist.
Belcampo Meat Co.
When diners visit the Grand Central Market, they should expect to eat something between two slices of bread. Whether it’s the brioche egg sandwich at Eggslut, the pastrami at Wexler’s or the grass fed beef burger at Belcampo Meat Co., the chefs at the market have perfected the classic sandwich. Belcampo’s signature burger is made with beef from their own farm in Northern California and should be consumed with a side of crispy beef tallow fries.
Known for his appearance on Food Network’s Iron Chef America and his small Mediterranean bites at Mezze (shuttered in 2012), Micah Wexler resurfaces in the culinary scene with Wexler’s Deli in the Grand Central Market. With this new concept, Wexler has drawn inspiration from his Jewish roots, specializing in a pastrami sandwich on par with the best in the city. The deli’s bagel with house-smoked lox and their pickles are also must-try menu items.
Family-owned and the best kind of smelly, DTLA Cheese is a hip fromagerie with dozens of local and international cheese options. Those who want an adventurous tasting experience should ask the person manning the case for their favorite cheese. One staff member’s pick is the Brabander goat cheese from Holland with a subtle nutty flavor.
G & B Coffee
From espresso milkshakes to house-made almond macadamia milk lattes to traditional brews, G & B has a caffeinated creation to satisfy every preference. Co-founders Kyle Glanville and Charles Babinski met while working at Intelligentsia and founded G & B to introduce people to the world’s great coffees. The pair later opened Go Get ‘Em Tiger in Larchmont Village and their iced latte has been named the country’s best.
McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream
Artisanal ice cream has been on the rise in Los Angeles and McConnell’s is the cherry on top of the freshly-churned sundae. The Downtown LA location of Santa Barbara-based McConnell’s ice cream shop boasts a large menu of innovative and classic flavors. Among the most popular picks are churros con leche, Turkish coffee and toasted coconut almond chip.
Originally published on LosAngeles.com.