Sure, you could maybe blow up your Instagram by going to a mall food court and putting together some sort of crazy delicious food mash-up (hi, honey walnut shrimp po-boy), but why settle for a whatever mall food court when you could DEFINITELY blow up your Instagram by doing the same thing at one of the best food courts in the entire country?
Head to LA’s Grand Central Market, hack together one of these 10 ridic Frankenfoods, and prepare to have the single-item lunch ruined for you forever.
1. The Frieslafel
Stuffing French fries into a falafel sandwich is a classic combo. Shoving the beef-tallow French fries sold at Belcampo Meat Co. into Madcapra’s flatbread falafel wraps -- stuffed not just with tiny balls of also-fried chickpea greatness, but pickled veggies and herbs -- is about to become a far classic-er one.
1. French fries Where to get it: Belcampo Meat Co. Price: $4
2. Green falafel sandwich Where to get it: Madcapra Falafel Price: $11
2. The Wonton Sopa
Like DJ Z-Trip, you can't talk mash-ups without a tip of the hat to the OG Grand Central Market combo. Buy an avocado from one of the vegetable stands and cut it into a bowl of China Cafe's famous wonton soup. Combined with the tub of chili paste and the bowl of limes given to you alongside the soup, it's the ultimate LA Chinese food experience.
1. Avocado Where to get it: Any of the fruit and vegetable stands in the market Price: < $1
2.Wonton soup Where to get it: China Cafe Price: $6.25
3. The Horchata Latte
Dirty horchatas are #trending right now, from Guisados, to the Line Hotel, to Cofax. But at GCM, you can next-level the whole thing by adding hipster coffee to it. Buy a small horchata from the classic taco stand Ana Maria and take it over to the counter of G&B for a shot of espresso, and then pour it into the Styrofoam cup right in front of the barista so you can see them cry tears of sadness over what you've done to their masterpiece.
1. Small horchata Where to get it: Ana Maria Price: $1.25
2. Shot of espresso Where to get it: G&B Price: $3.25
4. The Bangkok Pupusa
Honor Grand Central Market's classic pupusa from Sarita's by combining it with something from the very first new-school stand to open in 2013, Sticky Rice: a tangy and spicy Thai papaya salad. The added sweetness and nuts with the pork and melty cheese? Genius. Solid genius.
1. Pork and cheese pupusa Where to get it: Sarita's Pupuseria Price: $3.25
2. Papaya salad Where to get it: Sticky Rice Price: $4
5. The No-Brainer
When your food court is home to one of the best new bread bakeries and one of the best new cheese shops in Los Angeles it's only natural that the two will eventually find each other. The Clark Street kiosk (which you've likely seen while waiting in the crazy-long line at Eggslut) always runs out early, but luckily you can often find baguettes being sold at the counter of DTLA Cheese. And if you're too lazy to make the mash-up yourself, the sandwiches sold at DTLA are not only made with Clark Street bread but are also kind of amazing.
1. Anything Where to get it: Clark Street Bread Price: Up to you
2. Anything Where to get it: DTLA Cheese Price: Up to you
6. The Salty Sweet McValerie
McConnell's, the super-popular ice creamery from Santa Barbara, actually sells its own ice cream sandwich. But why settle for two generic-looking cookies when one of the best cookies in the city can be had from the Valerie Confections kiosk around the corner? The small $1 salty chocolate chippers are the perfect size for a single scoop of ice cream, meaning you not only get your amazing ice cream sandwich, but there's plenty of ice cream left over from that small order for a cone. Pro tip: if you ask them at the counter, they'll split the small order into two scoops for you.
1. Two chocolate chip cookies Where to get it: Valerie Confections Price: $1/each (Total: $2)
2. Small ice cream Where to get it: McConnell's Ice Cream Price: $4.25
7. The Salmon Slut
OK, follow along here: most of the remaining mash-ups on this list all use similar ingredients, so you can use some from one and some from another to make all of this epicness, starting with this: the best. Damn. Breakfast. Sandwich. Of. All. Time. Period. End. Of. Story.
1. Fairfax egg sandwich Where to get it: Eggslut Price: $7
2. 1/2lb of smoked salmon Where to get it: Wexler's Deli Price: $24
8. The Brisket Slut
… Except. For. This. One. Which. Has. BBQ. Beef. Brisket. Z. O. M. G.
1. Fairfax egg sandwich Where to get it: Eggslut Price: $7
2. 1/4lb of smoked brisket Where to get it: Horse Thief Price: $7.50
9. The Wolfgang’s Puck
There’s a classic smoked-salmon pizza at Spago that’ll set you back, like, a bazillion dollars. Believe it or not, this one -- which you can use some more of that lox you used, above, for -- plus a killer pie from Olio -- is, like, half the price and twice as good. Believe.
1. 1/2lb of smoked salmon Where to get it: Wexler's Deli Price: $24
2. Wild mushroom pizza (aka the closest thing to a white pizza available) Where to get it: Olio Pizzeria Price: $10.50
10. El BBQ Breakfast Taco
“There are no good breakfast tacos in LA,” people from Texas say, “and no good BBQ either.” Well, turns out they’re wrong. Twice. Just get the carnitas taco from a classic stand, add a little of the extra brisket you’ve got left over, and top it with a bit of the eggs that’ve fallen out of that Eggslut sando, and boom shakalaka. You’re all set.
1. 1/4lb of smoked brisket Where to get it: Horse Thief Price: $7.50
2. One carnitas taco Where to get it: Las Morelianas Price: $2.50
3. Fairfax egg sandwich Where to get it: Eggslut Price: $7
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Zach Brooks is the founder of Food is the New Rock and Midtown Lunch, and has spent an exorbitant amount of time at Grand Central Market. Hit him up with other suggestions at @foodisnewrock on Twitter and @foodisthenewrock on Instagram.