The Grammy Food Marathon
In honor of the Grammy Awards I made a trip around LA on a Grammy Food Marathon. You know there's an awards show in LA when the limo population doubles and the rented Bentley convertibles triples.At first I was trying to think of music-inspired restaurants like the Rainbow Room (Guns N Roses), Roscoes (Tupac), etc but wasn't really excited about the options. So I just based the marathon around Staples Center, the site of the Grammys.They were setting up for the big event.
The Original Pantry Cafe was the first restaurant I thought to visit, because it's one of the closest places to Staples and an LA landmark. I've been to the Pantry, however, and preferred places that were new to me. I've never eaten at Grand Central Market and had heard their pupusas and tacos were good, so that was my first stop.It should be noted that parking downtown is as expensive (or more expensive) than Beverly Hills, Santa Monica or any other area in LA. 2 minutes for a nickel, 4 minutes for a dime and 10 minutes for a quarter...
I started with a pupusa at Sarita's. In trying to describe a pupusa to someone who didn't know it was, I found myself trying to mimic the process of its construction. Thanks to the wonders of the worldwide web you can just watch here.
I ordered one with queso and chicarrón (fried pork rind), and about ten minutes later was served my handmade creation. It was a little greasy actually, but the flavors were good. The sauce wasn't terribly hot. Overall, not a bad start.
Next was Ana Maria's for a taco.
Normally on a marathon tacos are good choices because they're small, but at Ana Maria's they might have been trying to inhibit forward marathon progress. The taco (note, it was just one taco and cost $2) came with two extra tortillas because it was so large. The carne asada was spiked with onions and cilantro, and the fatty meat was flavored to perfection. Standing on the side of the food stall, I happily hit the tacos with fresh lime juice and salsa and finished them quickly. Definitely tasty- not the best in LA but certainly not the worst.
The final stop would be dessert at Grandma's Deli Babushka (get it Grandma/Grammy... ). Grandma's is a Russian deli/market with a variety of fresh salads, side dishes, entrees and other Russian treats.
They sell Dadu- these pre-packaged ice cream cones, which are surprisingly good.
After that I stopped by the famous Capitol Records building. The stack-of-records architecture reminds us of the changes the music industry has gone through recently. Follow that up with this shot of American Idol, and you'll see how the business model of artist development has changed drastically- with songwriting being completely omitted from the equation and television used as the means of growth (over radio). Note also Juno, which featured songs by Kimya Dawson (of The Moldy Peaches). The song made famous by the film was released back in 2001 and took seven years to reach mainstream audiences. Credit Juno's director for having the good taste to use the rare gem-of-a-song. Suffice it to say my favorite song from that Moldy Peaches album was "Who's Got the Crack."