#LAFoodCulture - Smorgasburg LA with Food Tribe's Community Manager, Isabel
This post was originally written by Isabel Willis.
What’s better than sleeping ‘till 11 AM and having cold pizza for breakfast? Celebrating your Saturday night victory of hitting the town (or staying in with popcorn, wine, and BuzzFeed Quizzes in my case) on Sunday afternoon over at Smorgasburg. Now I’m sure you’re thinking, “What is this Smorgasburg you speak of? It sounds so intriguing…tell me more!” Well, in essence, it’s hanging out at an outdoor marketplace on a weekend with fantastic food, lively art, quirky trinkets, and refreshing drinks. Not to mention, major bonus points for all of the Instagrammable vendors! So, it’s definitely the place to be on a Sunday. Or in our lucky case, a Saturday.
In an interview with the two Smorgasburg founders, Eric Demby and Jonathan Butler explain that the Smorgasbug empire began with a trial event called Salvage Fest in a Chelsea schoolyard. The event was a success and they began to draw a following. As for their vendors, there were good days and there were...well, not so good days. Certain vendors stuck around and developed their own fan bases, drawing even more of a crowd to the event as a whole and adding to its credibility as a notable place to visit.
In Swedish, Smörgåsbord is a type of buffet-style meal with a little bit of everything. Smorgasburg is a poppin’ event with a little bit of everything. Coincidence? Actually, yes. The founders made no mention of this correlation between the two words and claimed that they came up with the name just because it’s funny… but we think it’s pretty freakin’ ironic.
Now, Smorgasburg has its usual Downtown LA appearance every Sunday with the occasional Santa Monica Pier pop-up, which we had the pleasure of visiting. Although it was chilly and rainy, that didn’t stop hungry Los Angeleans (Or Angelenos... you take your pick) from making their way to SaMo to find the best #eeeeeats of the streets.
Some notable eateries that make a usual appearance include Amazebowls, Cheezus, Golden Clouds, Lobsterdamus, Shrimp Daddy, and Sweet N Hollow. We had the awesome opportunity of being able to meet the founders and indulge on Lobsterdamus, Shrimp Daddy, and Golden Clouds.
First, we hit up one of four founders, Francis Reyes, over at Lobsterdamus. They keep it short, sweet, and to the point with their menu: grilled lobster, lobster truffle fries, lobster nachos, lobster balls, and garlic noodles. But don’t be fooled: each dish explodes with unique, complex, and mouthwatering flavors that you certainly won’t want to forget. First they start with a fresh, wild-caught Maine lobster. They season that baby up, throw it on a mesquite grill, and boom- that’s half of the equation for a Guy Fieri certified trip to flavortown. After a little bit of barbecue action, they add in whatever extra components they need to facilitate the dish. The verdict? Lobster truffle fries = heaven. The mystery man of my dreams, the answer to my prayers, and everything I expected and more; Lobsterdamus will fulfill what you’ve been missing in life.
Next, we paid a visit to the iconic Shrimp Daddy and had a chance to chat with June Quan. These authentic, Hawaiian style garlic butter shrimp bowls served in a pineapple are no joke. Served alongside white rice, macaroni salad, lilikoi (passion fruit) powder sprinkled atop pineapple, and voila: you’ve got yourself a content tummy that won’t stop begging you for seconds. After the first bite, my taste buds were tingling, reminiscing on something… Suddenly, I felt the sand beneath my feet, warm water splashing on my legs, and the magnificent sunset devouring the sky. Yep, I was angstily listening to the debut of So What by P!nk on my purple iPod Nano in Hawaii circa 2008 when I made my first visit to Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck in Haleiwa, Hawaii. I’m telling ya- Shrimp Daddy is the real deal! If you’re looking for legit Hawaiian peel-and-eat shrimp without the 400 dollar plane ticket, you know where to go.
Finally, our last stop was at Golden Clouds, where we met Simran. I swear, I saw these goodies from the opposite side of the venue. From glittery rose glaciers to chickpea clouds of joy, Golden Clouds will not disappoint. Not to mention, these Indian dishes have several vegan options, too! Then there’s the rose glacier, which included rosewater, corn vermicelli, sprouted basil seeds, and butterfly pea cardamom plant mylk topped with rose petals, rose sorbet, and glitter. It was literally as if Coachella were a drink or a drinkable Lush bath bomb. It was so delicious, I couldn’t stop drinking it; it was also so beautiful, so I just wanted to admire it… and I present to you, the Instagram foodie’s dilemma of a lifetime. Then there’s the main attraction... looking at the chickpea pillow, one does not know what to expect. What even is a chickpea pillow and how does one create a chickpea pillow? Fluffy, moist, warm, and so pungent with Indian flavors topped with the freshest ingredients all resting on a banana leaf. It felt like royalty, so I was certainly floating on a Golden Cloud, myself.
Smorgasburg is only one of LA’s several marketplace attractions, but is certainly the place to go to fulfill all of your food loving desires and the best way to spend an afternoon. If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll be able to score a day at the Santa Monica pop up! But until then, the usual event is every Sunday from 10 AM to 4 PM in Downtown LA.