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Almost every city has a local farmers market at least once a week, El Segundo‘s is every Thursday afternoon, from 3-7 pm and takes up the 400 block on Main Street in front of the Fire Department/Library/City Hall. There are stands that sell produce, prepared foods, and a few vendors who sell jewelry and clothes.

The biggest reason to shop at a farmers market is you are supporting the people who produce the products directly instead of a middle person who takes a cut for distribution. You may not find everything you may want here, but there are enough options to supplement your groceries from the big chains, and the quality is far superior while the prices are usually about equal. My favorite peaches came from the seasonal Summer stand who only comes when their fruit is in season.

Avocados are sold at several stands in varying sizes and varieties.

Mom’s Products sells spicy olives, hummus, marinated artichoke hearts, and spanikopita (spinach and feta pastry), offering increasing discounts as you purchase more.

 Gaytan Family Farm not only sells wonderful orange yolk eggs,

but their produce includes some of the best heirloom tomatoes, unrivaled by any you can buy in a chain supermarket.

I loved the harissa from the Parmigiano-Reggiano spread stand; I always keep some on hand to spice up anything that needs some zing, whether it’s scrambled eggs or fish.

The Chicken Guys sell parts or whole chickens for a great family take away option (there is also a Thai takeaway, tamale stand, pupusa stand, crepes, kettle corn, and swirling potato most weeks).

If you are in the area, it’s worth stopping by, especially since parking nearby is easy and free, and they even offer a shuttle so that you may leave your car at home!

Having good restaurants downtown makes a world of difference, especially when driving anywhere during rush hour traffic to get to dinner can be a nightmare (I actually had to change a dinner reservation twice because it took an hour to drive 5 miles)! Not wanting to subject non-Angelenos to the parking lots called freeways, the option of walking to a good meal made their visit much more pleasant.

I love living walking distance to downtown El Segundo. Even if I had to drive to get to the center of town, parking is easy and free for 2 hours on Main Street and for unlimited time on side streets. No, I don’t work for the city tourism board, I’m just a resident who loves this hidden mecca by the beach as much as the blue butterflies who call this city home.

Jame Enoteca now calls Main Street El Segundo home and I am very happy to have them in the neighborhood. Two veterans of the restaurant world own and operate this small space, focusing on quality ingredients and brilliant execution of classic techniques with a modern twist. My favorite places are those where the chef/owner is sur place because there is no quality control that is better than owner quality control.

Their specials change, but it’s a pretty solid bet to choose whatever strikes your fancy from the blackboard. Seeing a 36 hour tomato sauce combined with one of my favorite pastas was a no brainer choice for me.

It was as delicious as I imagined it would be, generously sauced, in a portion just right for my appetite, but also small enough for a bigger appetite to order a side or dessert.

Another blackboard special was the squid ink with rock shrimp, which was offered with cheese(!) which off course I declined, preferring to enjoy this perfect dish Italian style.

I am sure there will be future visits, so there might be a future post, but the lines are already forming as the seats are beginning to fill with local regulars, so go before getting a reservation becomes as rare as a blue butterfly sighting:)

Thai Cafe has no website, is in a strip mall in Hawthorne, and sometimes the woman who owns it is both the cook and server. I ate there with a friend and we both felt as if we were channeling Jonathan Gold as we marveled at the flavors, quality, and quantity of Thai food.

Nothing on the menu is over $20 and the quantities are copious enough for me to eat two meals (your appetite may be bigger than mine, but chances are you will be very full if you finish your serving). The best surprise of all was that the flavors are wonderful! After just one bite of the Pad Woon Sen with shrimp (glass noodles), my friend started smiling. And although he is bigger than I am, he could not finish his plate, saying, “I usually just eat the shrimp if I can’t finish the noodles, but there are too many shrimp for me to do that!” At $12 for a tasty generous portion, it is truly smile worthy:)

I love rice noodles, so I ordered Pad See Ew with shrimp for $12 and asked for it to be spicy. I beamed after I took a bite and found that I did not need to add anything to perk up the flavors from the array of chilies on the table. As you can see, it was an equally generous portion, and I was so relieved to find it wasn’t greasy! My only note on this otherwise perfect plate was that I found the shrimp a tad overcooked.

Because the cafe is in a strip mall that is not in a great area, I ordered some food to go, the chili ginger stir fry with beef for $10, which was mostly celery and although tasty, not a dish I would order again.

My friend’s Pad Woon Sen looked so good, that I ordered it to go with tofu for $10 and was very happy to be able to choose fried tofu, adding a nice texture contrast to the noodles. I managed to eat about half of the portion for lunch, and enjoyed having leftovers for another day.

They also offer curries, soups, rice, and other sauteed dishes, and I will surely be back to try some other items. They recently repainted and refreshed the interior, so you may want to eat in, but if you do, it is still likely that you will be taking leftovers home!

New Orleans has always been a food lover destination. Whether you adore beignets, gumbo, jambalaya, crawfish, gulf shrimp, muffalettas, or po’ boys, Nawlin’s is the epicenter of good eating and drinking. I still remember my café brûlot at Galatoire’s, the oysters and crawfish at Acme, and the beignets from Café Beignet (which I prefer to the famous ones at CdM).

Finding Crazy Créole Café nearby, serving authentic créole dishes, has made me a regular in a span of only a few weeks. The first excellent sign was the selection of hot sauces on every table 🙂 Depending on what I am eating, I chose a different hot sauce, but my usual go to is the Red Rooster. I love that some dishes require NO ADDITION of anything because the flavor and seasoning is absolutely balanced! I am always happy to find food that has layers of taste beyond a simple one-note spice. At Crazy Créole Café, they play with their food like a harmonious band of talented musicians, creating a melody of joyous notes that will make your mouth dance!

Gumbo is one of the mainstays of créole cooking, and this wonderful medley of shrimp, sausage, crab, and chicken will make you wonder if you are in New Orléans. It took me about an hour to get every delectable morsel out of the generous portion of crab, but it was worth every minute. The roux is rich and satisfying, and for those who want some heat, just choose your preference of Louisiana hot sauce.

Fresh crawfish is rare in these parts, and even rarer is a great etoufée (smothered) that combines the tender morsels with a rich creamy bath of deliciousness.

The meals are all around $20 and come with two sides, so I chose the red beans and rice

and the boiled cabbage, both of which could have been meals in and of themselves. Neither needed any seasoning or hot sauce, but if you wanted to, you could of course add heat to the very tasty dishes.

If you follow them on Facebook or Instagram, you will see when they have Oxtails on the menu; I HIGHLY recommend you follow them because these are some of the best I have ever eaten (that I did not make myself 🙂 They offer delivery within 6 miles for $25 minimum order, so if you don’t want to drive to Long Beach (much closer than Nawlin’s) you can relax at home and let les bons temps roulez chez vous 🙂

After last week’s post on Bavette Meat & Provisions, it seems I’m on a butcher post spree 🙂 When I want to just pick something up to cook immediately or have someone cook for me, I go to Belcampo. I live closer to their Santa Monica location now, but it’s also easy to get to their Grand Central market location in DTLA is you ride the Metro. I carry my own cooler bag with ice packs (thank-you @jean_de_paradis) whenever I shop for provisions that are temperature sensitive like meat, poultry, and seafood, but if you live close enough to any of their locations to walk home, their grocery bags advertise all the attributes of their products.

Their ground beef was on sale, so I made two half pound patties of their marvelous grind.

 Of course, I topped it off with some bacon 🙂

 I used the spicy Italian Sausage in some pasta.

The Porterhouse pork chop was a hearty meal and well worth the $20 price tag.

If you don’t want to cook, they will do it for you; I highly recommend their lamb burger with sweet potato fries!

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