How to Conquer Taste of Farmers Market

Sample the amazing falafel at Moishe's during Taste of Farmers Market // (c) 2014 Monica Poling

Sample the amazing falafel at Moishe's during Taste of Farmers Market // (c) 2014 Monica PolingEvery July, the merchants at The Original Farmers Market, Los Angeles throw a Market-wide party known as Taste of Farmers Market, a colorful evening of food tastings, live music, specially priced merchandise, and giveaways. And with more than 50 merchants participating, the event showcases the best parts of Farmers Market.

Since many of the merchants at Farmers Market–which is celebrating its 80th birthday this year–have been located there for decades, they have an obsessively loyal fan following. Which can sometimes be a little overwhelming for the first-timer trying to navigate the ins and outs of Taste of Farmers Market.

No worries, though, any lines you encounter move quickly and there’s plenty to eat. Did I mention, 50 merchants are serving up their best?

But if you do end up waiting in a line, pass the time by eavesdropping on the insider tips on where to go next being shared by your fellow guests, or just chill and enjoy the live music. Need more insider tips? Here are a few:

Strategize
Get to know the merchants at Farmers Market merchants and what they’re serving in advance of the event. Pick a handful of favorites before you arrive and make those your target.

Type A? You’ll probably want to take a quick spin throughout the Market, checking who has the biggest fan following, and which samples most appeal to you, and make a plan from there. Everyone else, grab your recyclable plate and head straight to the nearest foodie attraction.

Be Flexible
Farmers Market is home to many well-known restaurants and eateries, such as Fritzi Dog, Loteria Grill!, Gumbo Pot, and Pampas Grill as well as a long list of vendors that have been serving patrons and their families for generations. If you plan to enjoy tastings from specific merchants, I get it, I have my favorites too. But if you are more interested in maximizing your investment and trying as many new dishes as possible, consider moving on and checking back with the fan favorites later in the evening.

Enjoy tostaditas of sirloin tips at Loteria Grill! during Taste of Farmers Market // (c) 2014 Monica Poling

Dress for Success
Needless to say, your attire will be guided by how you define success. If you’re planning to stop at all 50 merchants–no matter what–wear loose-fitting clothes that will allow you to properly accommodate the samples you’re planning on consuming. Otherwise, if you’re trying to keep an eye on calories, points and your girlish figure, wear tighter-fitting clothing that will remind you when to say when.

Take a Break
I know this is LA and things here are done at the speed of light, but there’s no shame in enjoying some downtime. Food always tastes better sitting down, than it does when eating at a run, so go ahead and sit a spell. There’s going to be live music and happy hour pricing at 326 and EB’s Beer & Wine, perfect if you just want to relax. And don’t forget there’s plenty of extra seating on the Upper Dining Deck.

Enjoy
Yeah, I’m not big on strategy either. I’m definitely of the pick-up-our-plate-and-go camp. But, whatever your palette wants, there’s something for you:

Meat Lovers: If you love meat, you’re more than covered. Be sure to sample the Harris Ranch Tri Tip Sandwiches at Huntington Meats and Sausage, the Niman Ranch Pork at Marconda’s Meats, the Brazilian Sausage at Pampas Grill, or the Reuben Sandwiches at Phil’s Deli, just a few of meaty items being served.

Seafood Lovers: Prefer your bounty from the sea? Try the Spicy Tuna Spoons at Sushi a Go Go, or the Smoked Salmon Tapas at Tusquella’s Fish & Oyster Bar.

Vegetarians: Fear not, there’s plenty for vegetarians to sample, including the Mushroom Ravioli at Deano’s Gourmet Pizza, fresh Mexican-style corn from Farm Fresh Produce, Carrot Dogs at Fritzi Dog, Falafel at Moishe’s, Tomato, Garlic, Basil Pizza at Patsy D’Amore’s Pizza, and Truffle Mac n Cheese at Planet Dailies.

International: As the saying goes, travel the globe without a passport. just by strolling the Market. Enjoy samples of the vegetarian Mee Goreng (noodles) & Egg Roll at Singapore’s Banana Leaf, the Pork Fried Rice at China Depot, or the Tostaditas of Sirloin Tips at Loteria Grill!

Spice it Up: Like your food with a little kick? Try the Chips & Hot Sauce at Light My Fire, a store dedicated to all things hot sauce. Or sample the Spicy BBQ Chicken Breast wrapped in red lettuce leaf at La Korea or the Honey Chipotle Chicken from Puritan Poultry.

The Sweet Life: No food tasting is complete without a sweet ending, and Taste of Farmers Market has plenty of just desserts. Bennett’s Ice Cream is serving up mini scoops of their insanely popular ice cream, or you can try peach or chocolate hazelnut frozen yogurt at Pinkberry. There are samples of chocolate chip cookies at Du-par’s, Dark Chocolate Bark at Littlejohn’s English Toffee, S’more Pies from Blaze Pizza and Zia Valentina is dishing up samples of chocolate mint and coffee granita.

Ready to join the event. Tickets are still available and cost $35 in advance or $40 at the door.
www.farmersmarketla.com/

 

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Monica Poling, the editor of Travel Glitter, is a Starbucks-addicted, video-game obsessed travel writer with a weakness for hotel rooms with a view, luxury spas, and sometimes Hello Kitty. Her dream trips include ice fishing in Ohio's Put-In Bay, driving Highway 50, the "Loneliest Road," across Nevada and sailing around the horn of South America.