Market

Night markets in Asia are ridiculous, so I hear. Lines and lines with no end, crowds from should to shoulder, moving along in a slow manner. Food of every kind, from the typical to the not so typical. This is what night markets are, and I think this is what the 626 Night Market brings to Los Angeles — more specifically, Pasadena City Hall. July 28, 2012 was the date, 4PM – 11:30PM was the time. After much debate on whether to go to this event or not, I was conflicted. Do I really want to pay a lot in the hot sun for small bites of food? Do I want to be stuck among a crowd of people? After reading horrible Yelp reviews on the 626 Night Market, I decided it was an obvious choice not to attend. I kept reading, “Worse event ever!”, “Tooooooo crowded.”, “Took 1 hours looking for parking, 5 blocks away!”, “EPIC FAIL!”… The list went on and on. Convinced this was going to suck, we headed to Pasadena anyways. We went to Arclight to catch a movie and decided to catch a flick. “If we have time, we will check out the night market,” we thought to ourselves.

I don’t know how the event was during the day, but when I went for the latter part of the event, it was quite nice! I think it is safe to say this event turned out a lot better. The venue was a lot bigger and accommodating. There were people skateboarding, dancing, walking freely — there was so much space! I didn’t know what everyone was talking about, but it looked like the new venue worked.

Walking around, you can tell the event was near the end. At around 11:00 PM, everyone was hustling and trying to get their last sales in. To do away with excess, most of the vendors were even selling everything for a dollar, if not, nearly half price. Everyone was screaming, “One dollar!”, “Sale!”. I appeared to me that I came at the perfect time. Everyone was desparate to sell everything, and I took advantage. I got some awesome fried french toast donuts for cheap. I got some expensive yakitori, $3 a stick — they threw in an extra stick for us. I even got to sample some of the free stuff too. The best was the bowl of noodles for a dollar. It was a cream based sauce with onions and nori strips on top. The massago inside gave it a nice familiar flavor. Tasty for a dollar, not for $5 though.

It was fun walking around at night and seeing all the food vendors. We got some real food at the Lobsta Truck. Though there were other truck at the event, Lobsta Truck was the best one. Honestly, the reviews on Yelp are crap. Those reflect the first event. There was no way of predicting how many people would show up to it. They learned from their mistakes and made this one a spectacular one. Huge space was what they were looking for, and that is what they got. The thing about the food here is, it is a luck of the lottery. Since most of the vendors are not really popular, you don’t quite know if a certain booth will have good food or not. You just have to trust your gut, and stomach and hope for the best. I can say the second time around was an EPIC WIN. I look forward to the next one.

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I just love farmers markets.  The fresh organic produce and everyone gathered in respect to good food just makes me happy inside.  I have been to my fare share of farmers markets, and Fullerton holds a pretty large one.  Today, the fifth of May, celebrates Cinco de Mayo. It commemorates the Mexican heritage and their freedom.  What better way to celebrate this holiday with good food and festive music.

Food wise, I think I out did myself.  Me and my girlfriend tried to hit up every stand we could.  We had a savory crepe, corn on the cob, a huge bratwurst, a smaller bratwurst, and a tri tip sandwich.  The last two items were our first bites, and it was for charity.  The savory crepe had mozzarella cheese, grilled chicken, and artichokes.  It was really tasty, and it was my first savory crepe as well.  The corn on the cob was delicious — I put butter, Parmesan cheese and some pico de gallo seasoning.  Lastly, the most filling, was the bratwurst (the big one).  It had grilled onions, brown mustard, and sauerkraut.  It was all so amazing, and we were very full.

The most memorable, and fitting meal was the one from a stand called Two Garnachasa.  It wasn’t really memorable because the taste was amazing, just the fact that it was new and exciting — I have never heard of it before. The cook was telling me a story about where the dish came from he really got into it.  He was telling how the dish originated from Southern Mexico and how to eat it properly.

Basically, a Garnacha is a lightly fried corn tortilla with a mild and spicy chipotle sauce, potato, onion and topped with beef. Unfortunately, I was not a fan of it.  It was overly filled with potatoes and there was no cheese element which I like in Mexican food.  The rice was mushy, the beans were alright.  Though the burrito or the quesadilla would have probably tasted better, I don’t regret getting this dish. Above all, the experience was great, and I learned a lot.

Besides the food, the farmers market had other vendors of all sorts.  The food variety was great and the atmosphere was just very festive. I had a blast trying out the food and had a wonderful time.  I think I will come back when it is just a regular Thursday.  Though it probably won’t compare to the Cinco de Mayo celebration, I am sure it will still be fun.

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