Welcome to The Smorgasburg Update, a little weekly look back at Downtown’s recurring food festival. This week, we made it a point to check out one of the new pizza vendors, Two Doughs, plus Evan Funke’s one-day porchetta pop-up. We also tried Todo Verde’s strawberry and flax seed shake, plus a bite of Califas Tacos’s amazing carnitas fries. Finally, we took a bite or two from Big Mozz and had a plate of pad thai from White Guy Pad Thai, which will eventually turn into a mobile version of Grand Central Market favorite sticky rice. Here’s a bit more from Matthew Kang and Euno Lee, who hit the Sunday food bonanza yesterday.
I started out with the classic arepa from Sus Arepas, which did their first week at the market this past Sunday. I hadn’t had an arepa in LA, with my only experience at Viva Arepas in Vegas. This one had a nice, slightly crunchy bun and it was stuffed to the gills with beans, plaintains, crumbly cheese, and an addictive green sauce. For $6, it’s sure to fill you up, and I’ll be back to try that bulgogi version.
Since Evan Funke was doing his porchetta special to remind people that he’s still one of the city’s best damn chefs, he placed the tender herbed pork on thick cut focaccia bread from Slow Rise Pizza. While it was interesting to see Funke do a little collaboration, I almost wonder what it would be like if he just put the porchetta on his legendary focaccia that he made at Bucato. That stuff I still have dreams about. Either way, this $12 sandwich was really fantastic, with crunchy pork rinds thrown in for good measure.
Our man Euno tried White Guy pad thai, which is currently in transition to Sticky Rice:
White Guy Pad Thai's truck has been parked at the entrance to Smorgasburg LA and whipping up both solid versions of pad Thai and pad siew at the Sunday event since late June. The pad Thai is a season-to-taste experience with springy, near al dente rice noodles that goes easy on the vinegar and tamarind. The result is a slightly offbeat, albeit satisfying pad Thai experience deserving of its current cult following.
Since it was pizza day, I opted to try Two Doughs, which was making wood-fired pizzas for the first time at Smorgasburg. They offered a sweet honey sorpressata pie, with a hint of spice atop melty mozzarella cheese. The $12 pie, which wasn’t too big, had a nice tangy crust with a good pliancy. I wish the pizza had a few more slices of sorpressata though, as the dish came with just three measly slices.
Finally, nothing washes down a hefty Smogasburg meal than a salutary smoothie from Todo Verde, which also stops at places like the Highland Park. I loved the strawberry shake, filled with crunchy flax seeds, dates, almond milk, and a hint of cinnamon, though the $8 price is not what you would call “cheap.” The seeds themselves make for an addictively fun way to sip this thing over time.
Here’s a few pro tips for those who haven’t visited: first, there’s ample covered parking in what might be the most enjoyable and user-friendly parking lot in the city. Yeah, only Angelenos can really comment on how great a freaking parking lot is. Secondly (and I always forget this myself), it’s always more enjoyable to hang out in the shady tree-lined entrance to the market than inside the market itself. While people have complained about the heat, the weather’s finally becoming reasonable in Southern California, and that breezy causeway is the perfect place to waste away an afternoon while sipping on strawberry date smoothies.