Best One-Stop, Head-Scratching Shopping (2010)

Echo Park Time Travel Mart

Out of barbarian repellent again? Pick some up at the Echo Park Time Travel Mart, Los Angeles’ very own convenience store lost in time. The EPTTM is also the retail component of Pulitzer Prize–winning author Dave Eggers’ nonprofit writing and tutoring center, 826LA. Like the rest of Eggers’ work, it is whimsical and clever and funny, but with surprising depth. You can spend hours browsing the shelves and laughing at the bottles of medicinal leeches ($8.99), the Egyptian canopic jars, Viking Odorant ($6.99), Dodo Chow (now with fennel), Mammoth Chunks (“Bold Mammothy Flavor!”), the bin of donuts (“Fresh ’n’ Delicious ... in 1985!”) and the stoppered vials of Famous Last Words (Julius Caesar, 44 BCE, “Et tu, Brute?”). Declining child-literacy rates, however, are no joke. To that end, proceeds from the store fund 826LA’s many wonderful programs. Peer through the freezer (stocked with bottles of “robot milk”) and you may catch a glimpse of kids working on their after-school projects in a large backroom. That’s the tutoring center. At least someone’s making progress. Outside, the handwritten “Out of order, come back yesterday” note taped to the slushy machine has been there since the beginning. The dinosaur eggs in the refrigerator still haven’t hatched. It really is the most inconvenient convenience mart. And thank goodness for that. 1714 W. Sunset Blvd., Echo Park. (213) 413-3388, —Gendy Alimurung

Location Details

1714 Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles CA 90026


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