Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hollywood Farmers Market - Starring LA Flavors Sunday Mornings

With June gloom thankfully a distant memory, I'm happy to be back to one of my favorite things to do on a bright Sunday morning (and one of the few things that will get me up early on weekends!): strolling through Farmers Markets.  Hollywood Farmers Market has been a favorite as of late, so thought I'd do a quick post that is sort of my free form, not really poetic, ode to 'TheHFM".

Top 5 Things I Love About Hollywood Farmers Market:

1. More Produce + Proteins Than You Know What to Do With: One Stop Shop for Fab Meals/Snacks

Four city blocks of tents filled with delicious discoveries: Farm fresh herbs at $1 a bunch (why does anyone buy those half dried out raggedy plastic trays of tiny sprigs at supermarkets anymore???)!!! Mushrooms from LaFungHi, from the familiar to the exotic - everything from white button mushrooms to morels to enoki to wood ear to coral-reef-like-blooms with names I've never heard of. Weiser Farms potatoes (Providence uses potatoes from Weiser Farms!) Veggies / fruits / herbs that you won't usually find at the supermarket like squash blossoms, pluots, Japanese tomatoes (momotaro) that are less acidic, chamomile, fresh lavendar.  Fresh caught seafood and grass-fed beef.  Artisanal cheeses and fresh baked breads. 

Pro chefs go to the Wednesday Farmers Market in Santa Monica, so I know TheHFM doesn't have THE BEST selection - but I have a day job in the SFV and TheHFM has the best selection near me on a day that I can actually get to it!

2. Street Fest / Anything Goes Vibe

There's a great energy to the Hollywood Farmers Market, a sort of 'anything goes' vibe that in a way perfectly captures some of the essential flavors of LA.  This isn't Malibu Farmers Market, where there's a very specific set of vendors and very specific target demographic.  There are all kinds of entertainment including characters and personalities at TheHFM, and people watching is part of the fun.  There's the Soledad Goat Cheese guy with his adorable and attention getting baby goats, the lady with leopard hair (just another shopper), the picture-perfect "Banana Republic graduate" couples with their preppy chic tots, the hip but not hipster musicians and actors, salt-of-the-earth type families, low key folks in their Sunday best uniform of shorts and flip flops, food paparazzi with their 600 pound SLRs, tourists with accents from all over the globe.  All set to the backdrop of different types of live music on different blocks from reggae to jazz band to just guys with guitars doing their covers of the latest hits on the radio. LOVE it!

3. Exciting Eats

Speaking of street scene - Hollywood Farmers Market has some fantastic, cheap and delicious street eats from Sri Windsor Cafe's Coconut Cake ($3 for 3) a pancake-like dough ball made with coconut milk, grilled fresh right at the tent and served in a tray made with banana leaf, sweet rice ($1 each), and their refreshing Thai iced tea ($2) to kebab plates to the tender, juicy chickens from Grillmaster's mobile rotisserie spit, which are also lined with roasted potatoes that capture all the luscious grilled chicken drippings.  Every direction you go at the market, you are greeted by delicious sights and smells!

4. OYSTERS shucked to order!!! Only $2 each!!!!

Just up the row from LaFungHi, there is an awesome stall called Farm Fresh Shellfish where they not only sell fresh shellfish including oysters at reasonable prices, they will also shuck them on the spot for you - if you are in the mood for brunch that is decadent only in taste - they are only $2 each!!!  (Last time I went they had Fanny Bay and Endless Summer ones)  There's a little table set up with lemons, cocktail sauce etc. if you're so inclined.  I personally love the purity of oysters that taste untouched and only of deep ocean, so I'm happy to gulp them down whole right off the plate as soon as they're shucked - no toppings.

5. Inspiration to Cook!? 

It's rare for me to want to cook because I have a super stressful day job and don't have time or energy to cook, especially on weeknights - and weekends I usually want to get out and eat my way through town, as much as my wallet will allow, anyways!  Plus, anything I make would be disappointing compared to the often life-altering experiences I can have eating what the pros dish out!  But when strolling through TheHFM, I do find myself inspired by the ingredients to throw together rustic meals that I know will literally only take minutes to make but taste good (because the ingredients are incredible).

Here's an example of one that I was inspired to make based on a $15 basket of mixed exotic mushrooms from LaFungHi. 

I basically adapted (i.e. grossly oversimplified) a recipe for Fettuccine with Wild Mushroom Sauce from Epicurious - I used half the recipe when just cooking for myself.  The below makes about 2 servings depending on your appetite!  Note: I am very particular with brands for some of my ingredients, but feel free of course to substitute with anything you like.


Fettuccine with Wild Mushroom Sauce

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) Land 'O Lakes butter
3 tablespoons Lucini extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 1/2 pounds assorted fresh mushrooms ($15 basket from LaFungHi)

1 bag Al Dente all-natural spinach Fettuccine
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Melt butter with  olive oil in large deep skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté until beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Add fresh mushrooms; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and cook until tender, stirring often, about 6 minutes. Uncover: sauté 2 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper.

Add fettucine to salted boiling water and cook for 3 minutes.  Add cooked fettuccine and 1/2 cup cheese to mushroom sauce in skillet. Toss over medium heat until heated, cheese melts, and sauce coats pasta. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to large bowl and serve with more cheese as desired.


Got any simple to make recipe recs for farmers market fare for me?  Please do share!  And maybe I'll see you guys around at TheHFM sometime!

[In the meantime, feast on more photos from fantastic farmers market finds around town at my Facebook page!]


Hollywood Farmers Market 
Sundays 8am - 1pm
8400 Melrose Place, West Hollywood, 90069 (Ivar and Selma)
Ph: 323.463.3171    

Parking: Street parking 1 hour meters on surrounding streets. Cahuenga seems easiest to find parking.  Some meters free until 11am on Sundays - check parking enforcement signs.

Website: farmernet.com

1 comment:

  1. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along.Thanks for sharing.



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