Celebrating Smorgasburg LA...AKA, My Happy Place
Imagine a place where all of your food-loving desires are fulfilled. A place that stands to survive every single Sunday and a place that cures the common weekend hangover in 30 minutes flat. SmorgasburgLA - because delicious dreams of LA’s best tacos, noodles, musubi, grilled cheese, and Hawaiian shrimp do come true. They coexist so harmoniously, it almost makes me cry.
SmorgasburgLA is, my happy place.
It all began in New York City back in 2011. Then, by an act of a gastronomical God, the open-air food market was brought to Downtown LA’s Arts District exactly one year ago. And while we may not have quite the 100+ food vendors that the O.G. Smorgasburg in Brooklyn boasts, there are about 30 or so, and good lord, are they impressive. Mostly that of glorious ethnic and Americana comfort food, the market also houses some charming and thrifty kinda clothing, book/vinyl, and floral stands too.
I’ve never had a dish at Smorgasburg that I didn’t like. Some of the vendors score more fans than others - which is pretty apparent by the lines that are 3x as long...but to be totally honest, even those that aren’t hyped, are just as freaking delicious.
One of my staples is definitely Chinese Laundry Truck’s noodles. Depending on the week, they’ll change the dish up a bit - but it’s always offered hot or cold. (Order it cold!) Currently, they’ve been concocting a Dan Dan Mian - which is filled with perfectly chewy noodles, loads of spicy and tangy Asian oils, pickled cucumbers and cabbage, chickpeas, cilantro, and crushed peanuts. Add to it some of their famous pork belly and you’ve got one of the best noodle bowls you’ve had in your entire freaking life. That’s a promise.
Because I’m a sucker for Asian fare, I also get down with Brothecary’s soul-soothing and oh so scrumptious broth and dumplings. They change up their game pretty regularly too, but what I’ve ordered consists of perfectly handmade chicken (or veggie) dumplings that sit beautifully in a delectable bone broth and are topped with a soft-boiled egg, fried chicken skin “shavings,” and some micro-greens.
On any given Sunday, there are about 2 taco vendors who have set up camp. TJ’s Tacos is a favorite. These guys serve up Vietnamese-style tacos (told ya- I have a thing with Asian street food) and they are about as flavorful as any taco I’ve ever had. I’ve eaten a lot of tacos in my life too. Rich and tender meats, pickled veggies of all kinds - you just can’t go wrong.
I can’t devote so many words to every vendor whose food I’ve loved and devoured - but a quick shout out to a few others is necessary. Shrimp Daddy sells Hawaiian shrimp and rice in pineapple bowls and it’s as pretty as it is true to Hawaii. Order it. Share it. Mama Musubi kills it with their musubi game. I’ve literally never had better musubi (even in Hawaii). If you want a grilled cheese that you’ll remember in 50 years, do not miss out on Cheezus. Holy shit. It’s insane.
Okay, I’ve got a few more shout-outs that I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention. So, I don’t eat hotdogs...like ever...but AsiaDog changed my life with their Asian-inspired variety. Oh, and more Asian fav for you - the pork belly Banh Mi at...Banh Oui is literally heaven in your mouth. That French bread. The decadent meat. And the giant load of Vietnamese veggies (pickled and fresh) on top...it..is..everything.
But you can’t finish any solid feast without some something for your sweet tooth, right? Okay, so at this point in my gorge-fest, I’ve usually developed a stomach ache so I’ll often order something “healthy.” My go-to for said healthy dessert? AmazeBowl’s Instagramable coconut-filled Acai bowl. It’s lovely and also, crazy refreshing on a hot and gluttonous day.
If, by some miracle, I still have momentum for bad-for-you kinda grub, then I get an ice cream cone from Wanderlust Creamery. You’ve never had ice cream so creamy. Their artisanal flavors are all interesting too - but I’m personally obsessed with the Ube Malted Crunch in an ube cone. Talk about flavor. Gotta love that Japanese purple yam when it’s in dessert form.
I mean it when I say it, you cannot go wrong at this food fest. Actually you can go wrong. Do not even enter the primacy of the place unless you are hungry, like very, very hungry. Because you’ll want to order multiple delicious things. One does not go to Smorgasburg LA and just order a couple of tacos. Tip from a pro? Go with a few friends...or at least your S.O. and share everything!
Happy One year Anniversary to my...Happy Place.