What to Eat at Smorgasburg (That You Can't Get Anywhere Else in LA)
Smorgasburg -- the acclaimed NY market focused on emerging chefs and concepts that's launched Instagram-friendly food trends like the Ramen Burger -- is finally coming to LA in a new Arts District space called ROW DTLA on Sundays beginning June 19th.
We tracked down the best vendors to get food from there that you can't get anywhere else in LA -- with extremely enthusiastic Smorgasburg LA food curator Zach Brooks (the guy behind Midtown Lunch, a regular contributor to Thrillist LA, and the only guy in LA who's actually eaten all this stuff) dropping science about why you should be excited for each:
Zach says: "It's served in half a coconut. A hollowed-out coconut! It's going to be awesome! Imagine 100 people walking around Smorgasburg in the heat with these hollowed out coconuts."
Zach says: "Did you ever have the banh mi at Red Medicine? This is even better. They bake the bread themselves, it's the right size, and it's based off of this banh mi they had traveling in Australia. It's just gooood."
Zach says: "Dude. Fresh pulled mozzarella. Made into mozzarella sticks. Where do you get good mozzarella sticks in LA?? Nowhere!! So excited."
Zach says: "They're doing grilled meats topped with French fries and califa sauce, which was inspired by two of his favorite sauces in LA -- the green sauce at Mario's Peruvian, and the vinegar-based marinade at Dino's [Chicken and Burgers]."
Zach says: "This dude's posole is exactly what you want to eat hungover on a Sunday morning at 10am. Also, he's going to have tamales!!!"
Zach says: "They're a legacy vendor -- we have a few legacy vendors that are part of the Smorgasburg family. And dude, it's homemade chimichurri sauce. It's gonna be good. Where else do you get choripan?"
Zach says: "I'm so excited for this one. They've been wanting to do something in LA -- and this is going to be their launch. It's a taco with paratha -- Indian flatbread -- instead of a flour tortilla; they're doing stuffings like slow-roasted pork belly and tofu."
Zach says: "Dude, biscuits! There'll be sweet and savory -- biscuits and gravy, or biscuits with potted cream and jam."
Zach says: "It's like a Cuban sandwich, and Tampa's really well known for their Cuban sandwiches -- with bao instead of bread, put in a press with ham. The bao it gives it a sweetness, like an Asian medianoche (a Cuban made with egg bread instead of French bread)."
Zach says: "If you want to come and hang out in the sun and eat a whole grilled lobster with garlic noodles, you will be able to do that. And you want to do that! We're bringing the beach to Smorgasburg."
Zach says: "Who doesn't like eggs on everything? That's what it's going to be: they're going to do a burger with an egg on it, and there's basically eggs on everything they serve. Honestly, before there was Eggslut, there was Monsieur Egg."
Zach says: "Future contender: best bagels in LA. They are real, NY style bagels -- they're the right size, they're dense in the right way, -- they're the perfect bagel. He does these perfect NY style bagels, but his signature is a jalapeno cheddar bagel, which you can get with a housemade lime zest cream cheese and pickled radishes, which are awesome."
Zach says: "They're hand-dipped at the event itself, so they're fresh -- not packaged. I hear there's money in this sort of thing."
Zach says: "If I'm involved, you know there's going to be poke -- and there is. They want to be traditional using this hard-to-find red sea salt, and it tastes great."
Zach says: "Have you seen this on Instagram? Have you tried it yet? Do you want to? Of course you do."
Zach says: "This is a Jonathan Gold favorite that's been homeless for eight months. We're giving her a new home. I want Jonathan Gold to come to Smorgasburg, and I thought this was the best way to make it happen."
Zach says: "Ramen burger is as legacy as you get with Smorgasburg -- they got their start there -- so of course it's going to be at Smorgasburg in LA. We wouldn't have it any other way. It is an inextricable part of Smorgasburg."
Zach says: "We were really excited to bring them from NY, and this is one of them. It's a great lobster roll, and you can't get it anywhere else. For New Yorkers, it's got name recognition, for sure."
Zach says: "The menu's going to change all the time. Her chocolate pie is legendary. Her apple pie is legendary. I've heard rumors of a Vietnamese ice coffee pie that I can not confirm or deny. This sort of insanity is what we're talking about."
Zach says: "They're doing avocado toast, but it is going to come topped with smoked brisket. And during the week they work at [award-winning BBQ spot] Maple Block. So you know it's gonna be great."
Zach says: "If you had Ugly Drum's pastrami three years ago when they popped up at Mendocino Farms and Spice Table, you're incredibly excited about this. And if you didn't, you should be. And now, for Smorgasburg, they're also doing homemade hot dogs."
Zach says: "This was one of the first vendors we signed up to Smorgasburg -- it's a lot of what Smorgasburg is all about, a guy who's worked at a ton of different restaurants and is trying something new on his own. I went to his house for a tasting, and he made three different noodle dishes from three different countries, and they were all great. I'm very interested to see what he does."
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