Here are some names you're going to want to remember: Ugly Drum pastrami, Amazebowls, Little Spoon Frozen Pudding, Guelaguetza micheladas. They're just a few of the talked-about foods and drinks that are part of Smorgasburg L.A., which just launched on June 19 and will run every Sunday.
Co-founder Eric Demby, who first debuted the groundbreaking market in Brooklyn five years ago, is also excited about the dozens of other buzzy foods on the L.A. roster, such as the sweet and savory pies from baker Nicole Rucker (formerly of Gjelina in Venice and Cofax on Fairfax), and Califas Tacos from Mexicali Taco & Co. fame, and Frogtown's Salazar. Iconic Korea-Town staple Guelaguetza will park its Miche Mobile micheladas bar in a vintage VW Bus, along with a DJ.
You'll also find the Guerrilla Taco truck, Ramen Burger, The Jolly Oyster, and Donut Friend from Highland Park. The bounty of 50 plus food vendors are mostly original to L.A.. but a few East Coasters made the cut, like Red Hook Lobster Pound, which flies in its bread and shellfish from Maine.
And if you want get your hands on the Japanese-inspired Raindrop Cake that's been a viral sensation since it kicked off at the Brooklyn market, just be prepared to wait in line. Fill up first at another Brooklyn transplant, Goa Tacos, with an Indian flatbread stuffed with pork belly or tofu, or stop by Big Mozz, which peddles large, gooey fried mozzarella sticks.
Even established celebrity chefs such as Eric Greenspan of Next Iron Chef and of Greenspan’s Grilled Cheese on Melrose, will be here; the chef has debuted the first ever “Mole Melt,” with pepper jack, chorizo and beans.
“This is the most gratifying professionally in terms of building a community and a gathering of people every week, which is what we do,” Demby told The Feast. “There is so much enthusiasm out here.”
Smorgasburg L.A. is set on the sprawling five-acre grounds of the Alameda produce market, as part of a mixed-use development project in the Arts District. The main difference out West is that the market will be made up of three quarters food vendors and only about one quarter other kinds of shopping. Mixed in with your tacos and ramen noodles, you can buy hand-made ceramics, jewelry, vintage clothing and modern wooden furniture. Smorgasburg similarly had its roots at the Brooklyn Flea, a flea market co-founded by Demby and Jonathan Butler in 2008.
“There is a real connection to Brooklyn and the East side of L.A.," adds Demby. "The neighborhood is changing and the geographic location is just great." The open-air industrial space is vast, with plenty of room for growth; Demby has plans for live bands and big events.
The L.A. lifestyle is also a big draw for Demby, who has lived in New York for the past 26 years. “L.A. is a little looser, less competitive and cynical while being more optimistic and collaborative. I think for New Yorkers now, L.A. scratches a different creative itch. It fits together with New York instead of trying to be the same, and this is refreshing.”
Cheers to that, and see you next Sunday at Amazebowls (pictured below), as we feast on a giant coconut shell overflowing with acai in the California sun.
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