When I was going to the University of Southern California, I lived in downtown Los Angeles. At the time, the area was just starting to undergo a revival. There were a few new restaurants and bars popping up. Old warehouses and office buildings were beginning to be converted into lofts.
I havenâ€™t spent much time downtown since my college years, so when I hung out there over the last couple weeks, it was really fun to see how far it has come. I would definitely recommend checking it out if you are in LA â€“ especially the Art District.
Despite all the new additions, I couldnâ€™t help but to revisit one of my favorite places that hasnâ€™t changed much for decades. And thatâ€™s the Grand Central Market.
It has been an open air market in the heart of downtown LA since 1917. Today. it reflects the very diverse Los Angeles population with food stands and specialty groceries from various cultures.
Among many great places to grab an easy meal, thereâ€™s a Mexican Bakery, a Cuban Sandwich stop, and a rotisserie chicken vendor.
And then thereâ€™s my favorite spot, Soritaâ€™s Pupuseria where you can get, among other Salvadorian fare, pupusas.
Pupusas are a rather simple and delicious street food. A dough made with cornmeal called masa is shaped into rounds like a thick pita. You can ask for yours to be stuffed with cheese (queso), beans (frijoles), pork (chicharon) or any combination of the three.
Once the pupusas are formed and filled they are cooked through on a grill. I like the queso with chicharon.
They donâ€™t look very impressive, I know. But they really hit the spot. And here at Soritaâ€™s theyâ€™re done just right. They hold together but are not too doughy, greasy or heavy. Did I mention they are made fresh to order?
Ask for the cabbage slaw on top. And before consuming, be sure to douse with the ubiquitous pupusa-red-sauce. Itâ€™s not spicy but adds great flavor.
And for one last piece of pupusa advice, I was told by a lovely Salvadorian woman, as I sat at the counter hungrily eating my pupusas with my knife and fork, that the traditional way to eat them is with your hands!
The Grand Central Market is on Hill Street between 3rd and 4th Streets.