A while ago — like, probably a few years ago? — somebody told me about the Yamashiro Farmers’ Market. I want to say my friend Joanne posted it on my Facebook? (Even though… she doesn’t even live in LA, but she’s pretty in-the-know about food things.)
Immediately I was like — this looks awesome! But it only runs from April through September, from 5-9pm on Thursday nights. So for a while I couldn’t go because it wasn’t happening. And then I couldn’t go because of work. And then it was closed again. And now I work really close, but I just kept forgetting about it.
Long story short: it took a while to make it over there.
But last night the stars finally aligned, and Sam met me in the church parking lot at Hollywood/La Brea, where they valet your car for FREE (free parking/anything is so rare in LA) and provide a shuttle to the market! (It’s up a hill, behind the Magic Castle.)
There was a puppy in the shuttle with us, and later we saw the puppy-owner playing with the puppy in a big circle of kids on some Astroturf. So I think it was a… professional puppy? Because allegedly no pets are allowed? (If you can read the sign in the photo above.) Just so you know… that might be a job that your puppy can apply for. In case your puppy isn’t pulling its weight just by being CUTE.
When we first got to the market we ate a bunch of fruit samples. And then we wandered around the property a bit…
Eventually we ate dinner in this lovely Pagoda (with an excellent view), because all the little farmers’-market tables were filled with people. So… we win, table-sitters! HA.
Here’s another view of it, with Downtown LA in the distance. Not a bad place to perch for a bit.
You could see pretty much all of LA… a feat only possible from a few key places in the city. (A few I can think of: Griffith Observatory, the Getty, Soho House… maybe.) Here’s a view toward the Westside. (I think those buildings in the mist are Century City.)
After dark the view was all glowing and glittering, but that’s not a great time for non-professional cameras. So… I don’t have pictures of that. I’m sure you can find them somewhere.
And of course, some Eastside love… my beloved Griffith Observatory is on the left. You can see Capitol Records, too. (Downtown LA would be just right of the frame… I have it in another picture, but I don’t feel like posting both.)
We walked to the top of the stairs and found the real Yamashiro restaurant (and many valets), but for some reason I didn’t take a picture of it. It was a very cool building, keeping with the Japanese-style architecture.
But I did get a picture of the “Best View in Hollywood” sign.
As for the food… I kept hearing about these legendary tacos at the market. But the Yamashiro booth was selling… sliders. The Heirloom LA truck was there (I had their lasagna cupcakes at a catered party recently-ish), and the Border Grill truck was there (selling tacos… but I’ve been to the Border Grill, and I was pretty convinced that the famed tacos were Yamashiro’s own).
But when at Yamashiro… I ordered the sliders, hoping they’d maybe end up being tacos. (I got the chicken one lettuce-wrapped, just because.) I also wanted access to the crazy pickles.
THIS JUST IN as I look at the Yamashiro page — I’m not crazy — scroll down to see pictures of the mythical tacos in action! (Also scroll down to see pretty night-pictures of the market.) I guess I missed taco night? Which kind of blows because I’m in a window where I’m allowing myself to eat beef right now, and it closes soon. (Cholesterol fun.)
Next time, tacos. (How will I know when you’re there?)
But here’s what I DID eat:
What you’re seeing: pickles (we’ll zoom in next), a crab slider (sort of a small crab version of a lobster roll), and a jidori chicken lettuce wrap. And chips… which I think were homemade. One of mine was soft in the middle, which made me VERY happy. It reminded me of a county fair. And the ketchup had something added to it. Shibuyo? Shibuso? But it still tasted sufficiently Heinz-y.
The pickles were, off the top of my head/memory, mango pickled with ginger/wasabi, haricots verts in something sweet/spicy, and garlic dill? I enjoyed them, in small doses. If they weren’t too spicy for me, they’re probably okay for anybody.
And then Sam got his first Coolhaus (not pictured) — mint chocolate chip and chocolate chip cookies. The mint was a little too garden-y for me, but I got used to it. (I grew up on the Baskin Robbins version of mint.) At some point I’ll trek to their store so I can try whatever I please.
Then we ended as we started, with more free fruit samples. I bought a bunch of fruits for my ongoing fruit salad, and we hightailed it back down the hill (to the church parking lot with MASON JARS IN THE TREES!) while the shuttles were un-crowded. (Overall, their parking system worked shockingly efficiently.)
So that was Yamashiro! Finally — dreams do come true. You should go, too! It’s a not-so-secret awesome thing to do in LA.
And I have to go back, if only to finally try these evasive tacos.
OH — and on the way home I saw THREE different types of unusual police vehicles in Los Feliz — white pick-ups (narcotics, according to my Breaking Bad-fan mom), unmarked black sedans, and a black firetruck that turned out to be the BOMB SQUAD TRUCK! (And almost hit me.) (I think they ended up using a robot to blow up a suitcase on Franklin somewhere… for the 2nd time this week. ODD.)