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There were many parts to the 626 Night Market, ranging from anime, art, plush toys, and live music.


After all the savory food, it was time for something sweet and cool to end the day:)

 I chose Hawaiian shaved ice, half pineapple, half lilikoi 🙂

 

After all the food and crowds, I wandered over to the Santa Anita Racetrack directly behind the festival.

Time to say goodbye 🙂

 

 

Although I have traveled to about 18 countries, I’ve never been to Asia. 626 Night Market brings a bit of the flavor of the bustling open air food stalls to the US, and like a tourist, I explored for the first time this past week-end. (There will be 3 more week-ends this Summer if you want to go). I took so many pictures, I will be posting a Part 2 tomorrow, but in the meantime, enjoy today’s photo journey 🙂

I went as they opened, so it wasn’t quite a “night” market, but the crowds grew so big by the time I left 2 hours later that I was glad to have missed the long lines I saw later in the evening.

The only downside to going early is that many of the vendors were not set up yet.

I don’t know if they had not yet put up any signage in English or if this it….

A few had displays of their food.

 

Some places gave out samples.

It was fun to watch some of the preparations:)

I decided on grilled squid for my first bite and just as in Asia, none of the cooks spoke English.

The squid on a skewer for $6 was HUGE and delicious with a spicy BBQ sauce!

After walking around all the food stalls twice, I settled on a steamed bun for my next bite.

This was the biggest bun I’ve ever eaten, at least 6″ in diameter and very very hot.

I chose seafood with a side of garlic sauce for $5.50 and it was a very savory filling choice in a pillowy fresh bun with a medium sized shrimp in the center.

Time to get some more cash before continuing my adventure….

Night Market at Grand Park is literally in the middle of Downtown LA, with easy public transportation (Civic Center stop on Red and Purple Metro lines), iconic landmarks, and this week-end, the added bonus of plentiful food options all in one place.

I went with four friends who all love to eat (they wouldn’t be friends otherwise), and we started with Nomad, a NYC transplant that now has not only food, but also a hotel here in Los Angeles.

Menus at many of the trucks were abbreviated for the sake of the festival, but a few signature items remained, and in the case of Nomad, the presentation in color coordinated boxes and shopping bags was a nice touch even though it wasn’t very ecologically minded.

The yellow beets with shaved fennel, chevre, strawberries, and rye crisp was an unusual combination of textures, flavors, and colors. We found this an interesting option for $9, but not sure we would order it again, but we were all glad to have tried it.

There fried fish sandwich with piquillo aioli and cabbage slaw for $11 was enjoyed by everyone, but I would have preferred a higher fish to bread ratio.

We passed the Cousins Lobster truck on the way into the park and one of my friends insisted on trying them, so we got two orders of the lobster tacos for $20 each order of 3.

The bits of Maine lobster were perfect, but the tortillas were terrible, worse than store packaged ones, and even adding a squeeze of lime and tapatio sauce couldn’t save the tiny tacos. We eventually ended up just picking out the lobster bits from underneath the mayonnaise tasting crema.

If you want to drink or enter into the bar areas, you must show ID at the ID booth and get a wristband, so do that when you enter the event (at the booth near the fountain). We got wristbands but once we saw the prices, we opted to leave the event to go get drinks elsewhere (bottled mass produced bottles of beer for $10).

 It looked like everyone was more interested in their social media than the drinks.

 Lots of beautiful art on trucks

 and some had windows so you could see them preparing your food.

 Choices included everything from BBQ cupcakes.

The Super Market section entry with all the most tempting food options was in the VIP section requiring an entry ticket of $10, but we had started at the other end and by the time we finished our two short rib burritos $7, spicy pork tacos $2.50 each, and black jack quesadilla $8 from Kogi, we were satiated.

Dessert was getting a picture with Roy Choi 🙂

Comfort food is whatever makes you feel better, and I’ve been missing the US lately, so I craved an American burger. Everyone has recommended Le Camion Qui Fume, or the “Smoking Truck”  the first food truck here in Paris, started by a Californian, so I braved the wait at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, or French National Library, for a taste.

The line starts on the left as you order and pay, then you shift to the right side to pick up according to your name; at 1pm it was an hour wait total.

Keep in mind if you go later to avoid the lines, they may be out of certain choices, so if you don’t want to wait, get there when they open.

For between 9-14 Euros ($11-$16) you can get a burger, or burger and sides at one of their locations.

There are three condiment choices for the fries, but I didn’t want any of them….

There are no tables or chairs at the truck, but at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, there are plenty of places to sit on benches or steps, and everyone created their own”picnic” nearby.

I went with the only French friend who was still here in August, who wanted TWO burgers (one to eat, and one to take home), one classic, with cheddar, pickles, onions, tomato, lettuce, and mayonnaise,

and one Barbecue with cheddar, caramelized onions, bacon, barbeque sauce, and mayonnaise (I thought it was weird to combine barbecue sauce with cheese). The fries are crisp, salted, and nearly everyone chose them as their side dish. The burgers are small by US standards, so you can order a double patty for an extra 5 Euros or $6, if you have an American appetite and don’t want two burgers. I was perfectly happy with my burger and side, but I eat like a French person now:)

I chose the Campagne, or mushroom, caramelized onion, Swiss Etivaz cheese, and mayonnaise. I was thrilled to see they toasted the inside of the soft bun 🙂

and I was even happier that there was some pink in the juicy meat! The combination of ingredients made this the best American burger I’ve eaten in Paris!

Even the coleslaw was outstanding, with real zing, and completely fresh authentic ingredients!

A view of the Seine from the steps of the library made this the perfect lunch spot.

The library itself is huge

with four modern buildings that reached sky high, as well as lower levels that went underground.

The green atrium in the center of the library was a green reminder of what books were made of in olden times, as well as providing some natural elements to the concrete and glass 🙂

I don’t like crowds, and I like sitting down at a table with silverware for my meals, so with the food truck craze stirring up both controversy and accolades, I must admit I have only been to the esteemed Kogi Truck (see my previous post) until today’s Ludo Truck foray.

I went to the Affair in the Garden, an art show in Beverly Hills, which I attend nearly every year. It’s a wonderful way to spend an afternoon in a park, walking around sculptures, paintings and jewelry while live music plays. It’s a free event, except for the price you will be paying for whatever you purchase, and there are always artists who bring unique and intriguing work to show.

My two favorite artists this year were Jett Jackson‘s whimsical and slightly disturbed pop surrealism paintings of Alice who never seemed to have escaped from Wonderland, and Thomas Barbey‘s black and white photographs which combine two negatives in ways that remind me of Escher‘s mind altering work with ironic titles.

But after wandering and shopping, it was time to eat and since there was no line at the Ludo Truck, I made a beeline for the order window. I decided to try both the chicken wings and the chicken “balls” with bearnaise sauce (you get a choice of BBQ, Honey Dijon, or Bearnaise). The plain 2 piece wing option for $6 includes a coleslaw with jalapeno that was a refreshing spicy take on conventional coleslaw. The wings were slightly sweet with the sauce, peppery, and crispy with no batter. I would definitely order these again. I didn’t even dip them in the BBQ sauce (which was spicy sweet).

If heaven smells like thyme, then the chicken balls smelled heavenly. They are made from chicken thighs, so they are juicy dark meat, with no bones and a fragrant aroma that wafted through the container. I ordered two pieces for $6 and couldn’t wait to taste them. The crunch of the flour batter was satisfying and perfectly seasoned.
 

Unfortunately the batter was not cooked all the way through as I found out after I had taken a few bites. Yes, that is RAW batter in the center of the chicken ball 😦

It’s too bad that I didn’t have a deep fryer with me or I would have refried it so I could eat it. I was very disappointed that more quality control wasn’t used to ensure a completely cooked order; I would have preferred to wait a bit more rather than to have received my order quickly, but not cooked.

I would try them again, perhaps it was an off day for them and they wanted to leave and enjoy the art show in the park too rather than being cooped up like a chicken in a truck all afternoon.

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