There’s little doubt that the Wednesday Santa Monica Farmers Market assembles the most impressive produce in the Southland, but there are fringe farmers markets that actually offer more compelling prepared foods. Case in point: Eagle Rock’s Friday evening market.
A market sign touts “arts & crafts, fruits & vegetables, int’l food court, children’s zone.” That combination is indicative of Eagle Rock, a model Eastside community that houses Occidental College and plenty of young families. It’s interesting that the farmers market has so many elements, but I focused on the “int’l food court.”
Coal-fuel flames licked at rows of rotating spice-rubbed yardbirds.
Cup O’ Lightning was outstanding, combining sweet pineapple, bits of tart green apple and mango; Horchata was a little too watery, but combined vanilla, cinnamon, coco and morro seeds to flavorful effect.
The cornmeal pancake came with a nice char, containing plump shrimp, chunks of firm potato and pockets of oozing cheese. Ara will ask whether you want your pupusa with curtido (vinegary slaw), hot sauce and sour cream. You should certainly opt for at least the first two, which contribute nice tang and spice.
Ara’s has more interesting options to explore, including some seriously tempting fried plantains, and the rest of the market has other intriguing bites. Eagle Rock is a known hub for Filipino-Americans, and the market had a good-looking Filipino food stall. There will definitely be a return visit.