By Jennifer Buonantony
Every Thursday, just before the weekend officially kicks off, there is a quiet party happening in the hills above Hollywood. It is the Yamashiro Farmer's markets located adjacent to the iconic Yamashiro Japanese restaurant with Cal-Asian cuisine. The parking lot is filled with local food trucks, produce, baked goods, jewelry & clothing tents, beer & wine, and live music from 5-9PM.
To get to the markets you can either drive, walk, or park at the free lot at the Christian Science Church (7107 Hollywood Blvd., off La Brea) and take the complimentary shuttle to your pictureqsue destination, which is what I opted to do. As soon as you arrive, you can not help but take in the landscape which includes views of the Griffith Park Observatory, nearby Magic Castle, and the city at sunset hour.
One of the staples of the market is the Yamashiro Farmer's Market Grill run by Executive Chef Brock Kleweno, best known for his fusion tacos, as well as other rotating options including braised short ribs, black cod, duck confit, and beef sliders which I opted for along with a beer from the adjacent tent!
Other favorites at the market include Best of the Wurst which serves German cuisine and possibly the best pork Bratwurst this side of the Atlantic (they also offer chicken and beef options if pork is not your thing!) If you are looking for a healthy snack be sure to stop by Alex's Fruits & Nuts for a sample. I went for candied walnuts and veggie chips- still healthier than sweets! But if sweets is what you are craving, there is no shortage of bundt cakes (Italian butter rum and coconut apricot brandy 'had me at hello') by Dolce Monachelli or chocolates, cookies, and brownies by Sweets for the Soul.
Perhaps you are in the mood for a little salt or spice, Gunnar & Jake's peppers and pickles might be right up your alley (can you say gourmet stuffed jalapenos with prosciutto and cheese) or maybe just some classic Hollywood style kettle corn from PopGram Gourmet Kettle Corn in flavors like white cheddar or chocolate dipped (in case your taste buds can't make up their sweet or salty minds!)
If you are feeling a bit Mediterranean try the hummus and dips from Bolani Afghan Food or Brothers Hummus with some pita bread or check out one of the most popular trucks, the Global Soul Truck (I LOVE the Lamb Gyro's). My other favorite food on wheels is Coolhaus Ice Cream Sandwiches (you pick the flavor and cookies and 'violà', you are 7 years old again!) but be sure to get there early because both trucks tend to sell out or have long waits! What's that they say? The early bird gets the worm...good things come to those who wait. True and true.
This week the newest addition to the market was the Ludo Truck by Chef Ludo Lefebvre (rated one of Jonathon Gold's 99 Things to Eat in LA Before You Die). It's fried comfort food and if you try the buttermilk chicken, honey-garlic glazed wings, or 'messy' shrimp, you won't be disappointed!
After all the eating there was only one thing left to do: SHOP! St.John's Spong company offers organic sea sponges to spice up your bathtime or cleaning regimen and Lara Lyon Designs and John Joseph Designs offer hand-crafted bohemian chic jewelry and clothing.
Before calling it a night, you can also visit the restaurant's Padoga Bar (just below the markets) which serves signature cocktails and wine poolside (until 10PM) to close out your evening.
The markets are managed by Nick Spano, who also owns a Hollywood tanning salon, and Yamashiro owners Andy and Carlos Ulloa. All the local produce is healthy and sustainable, and all carriers are WIC certified. The venue does not allow pets, smoking, or outside alcohol.
If you're looking to combine a farmer's market feel with a night-life spin, this is certainly the place to kick back and relax with good company, great food, local music, and an amazing view.