LA Grand Central Market

So this post is a little bit of a throw back, unfortunately into the span of time before my phone took a lovely trip through a washing machine but after my last computer sync, so all the pictures are gone (*sad face*) but this LA market is so well photographed a simple search will give you all you need to know.

Way back at the end of September, some friends, my dad, and I participated in the Homeboy 5k – a charity run to support a great LA foundation that is really close to our heart because it’s kind of literally close to home – and since we got up to go so early and the track was full of hill, we had worked up an appetite. If you have ever ran or walked one of these events, you know that all the food venues near site are crazy after the race ends – if you are hungry, probably so are the other hundreds of thousands of attendants.

We all took a quick drive to LA’s Grand Central Market. If you have been to larger cities and gone to their indoor food vendor markets, this isn’t new to you at all – the idea is more or less the same no matter where you go.

So what are some things to know?

The truth is, with all of these markets you are dealing with gentrification – even if they have been around for a long time! You will find a lot of really trendy vendors who serve really good but pricey street food which will basically be all organic, home-made/grown/prepared, and will use fancy words like ‘aioli’ – guys, this literally means sauce.

The atmosphere also means a very specific kind of crowd – young hipsters and groups looking to brunch, mixed with brunching families. It’s mostly communal dining and first grab, first sit so you have to be quick or charming enough that people give you their table as they leave.  So yea, crowded which isn’t helped by all the people walking around carrying food trays or snapping shots for Instagram – yes. Guilty as charged.

Dad and I got really good tuna melts from one of the vendors while most of our group got bagels and lox, but I was lucky enough to try both. The tuna sandwiches were really good and large enough that I didn’t feel bad about the cost and the same can be said about the lox – size and cost was one of the reasons I hesitated ordering them but I was gladly mistaken.

In fact, eating from Belle’s plate almost made me wish I had ordered it, except it was a little odd. The Salmon is prepared by the group that runs the booth and I know that smoked lox is not an easy task, however, the fish was slices thicker than I am used to and it wasn’t as salted. I know this could be part of the freshness, but it was off-putting to some in the group – hence me getting to eat more of it!

Instead of going home straight away, we decided to explore a little longer which lead us to an amazing artisan ice cream booth – I mean, Lavender and Earl Grey and Biscuit ice cream? Yes, please! and eating the Churro flavor – again real with pieces! – made me feel like I was in Disneyland (the only place I really eat churros….). The prices are a little hefty for what you get but with everything else you are bound to try, they are surprisingly filling and rich. Basically, watch out because they sneak up on you.

None of this is to say that I didn’t totally enjoy myself and all the food I got to have, because I did – after all, I usually don’t write about a place unless I enjoyed myself – however, I probably wouldn’t race into the city just to come back, and I wouldn’t drag out of town friends here unless it was because we were passing through. But that’s just me.

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

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LA Grand Central Market

Starlight Theater, Kansas City.

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Starlight Theater, Kansas City. 30 June 2017.

So this is Kansas: day one – and really day one. I got off the plane, picked up my bags, found Ryan’s car, and we headed straight over to Starlight Theater – these plans definitely contributed to my airplane dress code.

This is an amazing arena style theater (similar to the Hollywood Bowl for Los Angeles readers) with all outdoor seating and large screens for anyone who struggles to see from further seats. The atmosphere with a lot of twinkle lights, seating areas, shops, a show happening while sunset and twilight settled around us, and lots of red brick, this was also a lovely spot to have our official first date.

I missed a local LA production to fly out to Kansas so Ryan got us tickets to see Jersey Boys here and the production was fantastic. I actually had never seen Jersey Boys before and, while I know the Four Seasons, I never realized how many of their songs I grew up listening to (at least covers if not the real deal).

In terms of cost, like more attractions, you will pay for everything, but, luckily, this theater offers a military discount. However, you are require to purchase the tickets with this discount on the day of, at the box office which means seat choices are more limited. Still, we ended up getting relatively good seats and the production was phenomenal as this seems to be one of the main theater stops for major tours.

The theater preforms in all weather conditions (yep, rain or shine), so you don’t have to be worried about shows being cancel on you, however, you may need to be prepared for said weather or purchase a poncho at concession stands. Speaking of concessions, there are many food options from bringing something from home, your normal concessions like hot dogs and popcorn, to fancier buffet style dining. We chose that latter and, as a non-member, it cost about $30 each but the food was so good and, since we got to eat all we wanted (including ice cream) it was well worth it.

You also have to pay for parking but you get to choices: Lot or Grass. We chose grass parking (since it was a little cheaper) which was an easy walk in and, as long as you don’t mind navigating normal grass hill issues (like inclines) this is an easy option. Just remember to bring your cash!

If you are a Kansas City local, the membership seems well worth the price for all the shows and perks you have access to. If we were in the area again, we would definitely check out the line up and return.

The theater is also just outside the Zoo so if you have more time, you can also decide to send the day out here, fist at the zoo followed by a show at The Starlight! Just remember your sweater because even in the sweltering summer, it does cool down considerably. Also if you get here early and like to take pictures, bring in your camera because it really is a beautiful area and well worth a night out if you are in Kansas City!

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

 

Starlight Theater, Kansas City.

Stuck in the Suburbs (or somewhere like it)…

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Again, Kansas. Middle of Nowhere, Kansas. 1 July 2017.

Whether you are looking for things to do when you are home, when people are visiting you, or when you are visiting somewhere else but you are far from any real sites worth seeing, you have to figure out what you can do – after all, Netflix and chill only works for so long.

So, stuck in the suburbs (or middle of nowhere Kansas) and what do you do?

First, if you are creative enough, there is always something to do. There are parks to see, walks to take or hikes depending on the terrain and these seem much more common the more central you head. In Kansas, this ended up being Milford State Park and Kansas Landscape Arboretum.  If a few walks in the park doesn’t fill your time, you can take any mundane thing and make it an adventure if you change a few details (anyone remember fancy dress bowling?). Get overdressed, make a scavenger hunt, make an event out of every small thing the town can offer.

Second, if you can get your hands on a vehicle – especially if you are in LA or the middle of nowhere – you options grow exponentially.

In LA, we recently discovered cooking nights. There are companies out in the warehouse areas – like West LA – that house classes from cooking to tastings to game nights and as long as you have a rough idea of what activities you may want to participate in you can usually find them. However, even in LA, it usually means taking quite a drive. This doesn’t mean that you won’t find these activities elsewhere. Even Kansas can boast it;s share of murder mystery dinners and zip lining activities – we actually found these when looking for fun activities to explore.

And finally, of course, if you have access to a car and time to move further away – say a few hours – you can usually hit another area (a bigger city, for example) and then, once again, your odds of finding things also expands. Take Kansas: from where I am staying, a two hour drive takes you to either Wichita or Kansas City. Personally, I’m looking at the latter. But that’s next week.

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

 

 

Stuck in the Suburbs (or somewhere like it)…