I love your own self-build adventure model when deciding on your weekend meal plan. The best way to achieve this is to visit a diner. In Stanton, there is Rodeo 39 Public Market. Downtown LA has the Grand Central Market. There is a Flower Market in San Gabriel. And in Montebello, there’s Blvd Mrkt, which opened last fall.
Housed in the former Rite Loom Carpet building on the corner of West Whittier Avenue and North 6th Street, the indoor-outdoor space is decorated with striking white shipping crates containing a variety of food and beverage vendors. drink. It was co-founded by couple Barney and Evelyn Santos, both LA natives.
“We see strong demand for this type of community center,” Barney said on a recent call. “Community pride was very low and we wanted to build something that we felt showed community interest and invested in the downtown area responsibly.”
This week’s column is for the best I’ve eaten there:
The Godfather and Bada Bing’s Pizza from La Crosta
Pizza from La Crosta doesn’t have to be overdone or flashy; the top part is not sumptuous. Instead, chef and owner Jason Raiola is crafting simple, first-rate Neopolitan-style cupcakes. He joined Blvd Mrkt in April, with an indoor stand just off the field. His pie crust is wonderfully textbook, chewy and partially puffy, blistered and spotty along the edge and a bit sweet. It’s a humble background for San Marzano tomatoes, blobs of mozzarella cheese and shredded basil. Godfather might be the least original name for a meat pizza, but order it anyway. (Other pizza names are Bada Bing, Bada Boom, Gavone, and Gabagool). The meat on Godfather is rich, with shredded Italian sausage, thick mugs of Ezzo pepperoni curled in the oven and charcoal around the edges for a delicious crunch and thin strips of capicola topping every available surface. That way, it has a pleasant salty taste in that cured pork product, tempered by the sweetness of the tomato. Because I appreciate greens on my pizza (we could argue the existence of a salad pizza another time), I also ordered the Bada Bing, which comes with shredded broccolini , thick strips of Calabrese peppers, sausage crumbs and basil. But really, with this cover, any coating will do.
Loroco and cheese pupae from Vchos Pupuseria Moderna
Pupusas can vary in appearance, but are rarely present. Wendy Centeno uses fresh masa that she forms into balls, smashes and bakes until the cornmeal blisters and burns away with whatever’s inside. This is how she grew up preparing them in El Salvador, where pía is the national dish. She started pupating on a Vchos truck over a decade ago. Short menu favorites are cheese and loroco, a green variety commonly found throughout Central America. It tastes a bit like Swiss chard with a mild, earthy flavor. The middle is so filled with cheese and loroco that the molten mixture is green in color and spills out at various leak points. The spill creates a perimeter of cheese that you can eat before reaching the main attraction. One order comes with two capsules, a cup of curtido (pickled cabbage and shredded carrots) and light salsa roja. A little bit of everything in every bite is the way to go.
Gumbo and collard greens from Nola’s Cajun Cuisine
Chef Kevin Cross’ gumbo is a deep red colored gum. A lump of white rice floats up in the middle, slowly sinking into the broth below. It’s thick but not heavy, clinging to the spoon, the rice, and the sides of the bowl. With the richness of its base roux, there’s a wisp of smoke rising from the coins of the brown andouille sausage. Shrimp tails glisten on the surface, alongside pieces of chicken, peppers, celery and onions. It’s warm and sumptuous – a feast in the bowl. To go with the gum, a cup of greens. This is the side I go to most at a Southern restaurant, on mac and cheese or sweet potato. I’m always amazed at the intensity of flavors that are imparted from the greens cooked until they solidify and become chewy. The cross greens are delicious and spicy. Greens and gum arrived at the end of my Blvd Mrkt eating adventure. Next time, Nola Cajun and Creole will be my first stop.
520 Whittier Blvd., Montebello, (323) 863-5566, blvdmrkt.com
https://www.latimes.com/food/story/2022-05-31/what-to-eat-now-pizza-pupusas-gumbo-montebello-blvd-market What to eat now: Grub your way through this food hall in Montebello