A gorgeous, sunny December Day. Downtown Los Angeles. Our friends Chantik and Sol. And…a Food Tour! What riches we were offered yesterday. We took the Sidewalk Food Tour with our very good guide, Scarlet. We learned a lot about the history of downtown, stopped to gawk at some amazing buildings, and had six “tastings” of some of the best food offered there.
We started at Pitchoun!, which is a classic French boulangerie owned by a couple from France. The name is from the Marseilles dialect of French for “kiddo.” It was crowded even early in the morning. Their almond croissant stuffed with frangipane was amazing, as was their strong cappuccino. We arrived early for the tour, sat down, and each ordered a large coffee. They were so big that they were served in bowls!
We then walked by the Biltmore Hotel, now the Millennium Biltmore, which opened in 1923 as the largest hotel west of Chicago. It hosted the first Academy Awards show, and in 1964 the Beatles stayed in the Presidential Suite during their first US tour. Fans crowded the the streets so densely that they had to get to their room via a helicopter landing on the roof.
After walking through Pershing Square, we headed to the Grand Central Market, across from the Angels Flight funicular that takes passengers up to Bunker Hill. There, we tasted Horse Thief BBQ and DTLA Cheese’s grilled cheese sandwich. The BBQ was very tender brisket with a spicy/sweet sauce and pickles, while the grilled cheese was made on brioche with two cheddar cheeses and some mozzarella. Because the brioche is a sweet bread, they crisp it with the oven broiler rather than in a frying pan. It was heavenly – very light, flaky, and tasty. The Grand Central Market is jammed with food, whimsy, color, AND people, as you can see from the photos. It was a lot of fun to see people out again, enjoying life.
In the Broadway Arcade Building we had a good margarita pizza at Pizza Napolita and great tacos at Guisados. The corn tortillas are handmade there, and the three varieties of tacos were all delicious. Our final stop was at Donut Friend, which makes vegan donuts. It is quite remarkable, because all of the donuts taste like “normal” donuts…you couldn’t tell that they didn’t have eggs or dairy in them. The last three photos are of some of the vast array of unusual donuts. It was an amazing place!
All of the tastes we had were in places that you likely wouldn’t discover on your own, which is what makes a really good tour. We normally wouldn’t order a cheese sandwich, for example, but the one we had was surprising and delicious. And a good guide always delights. Scarlet was very knowledgeable and interesting. Not a woman to be daunted, she bravely talked over all the street and truck noises and amid all the pedestrians bobbing through and around our sidewalk tour of 16 people. It really was a remarkable day!