Local farmers markets keep finding better and better locations. To wit: the new Yamashiro Garden Market, which takes place for the first time this Thursday, March 4 from 5-9 p.m. at the landmark atop Sycamore Avenue in Hollywood. It's all part of market organizer Nick Spano's goal to "push for smaller, local markets that give people more options." And this indeed is a market with many choices and perks, including a commanding view of Los Angeles, Bulgarini Gelato (need we say more?), booze, and later evening hours, just to name a few.
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Sure, a lot of us know about Yamashiro and have seen it perched above Franklin Avenue near Highland, but we haven't necessarily gone up there. The new market will help take care of that issue. Spano says that Yamashiro's owners, Andy and Carlos Ulloa, approached him after wanting to "bring the community into what's an incredible property with some of the best views of Los Angeles. And in L.A., we like to be outside." No better time than the magic sunset hours towards the end of the week to eat and hang out.
The vendor lineup features primarily organic fruits from Santiago Farms, Tutti Frutti Farms, Apple Sherrill Orchards' juices, Yasutomi's hydroponically grown Japanese vegetables, Alex's Fruit and Nuts, Leo Bulgarini and his magical gelato cart, J & P West Coast Seafood, Cobbler Mania, ChocoVivo, Aris Food's Mediterranean goods, and the BreadMan. The restaurant plans to incorporate produce from the market into its regular menu, as well as provide al fresco market cooking and dining options. A grill station will be set up with items in the $4-8 range, and the outdoor Pagoda Bar will serve cocktails, wine, and offer corkage fee for BYOB-ers. And there's live jazz. Spano says wine tastings with cheese pairings from on-site vendors are in the works, too.
In addition to the Japanoiserie landmark restaurant, the Magic Castle and Frank Lloyd Wright's Freeman House are within view. This weekly event might be on private property, but what a fantastic way to support public, civilized life. Even the two dollar valet parking (required) encourages good will. For some folks in the area, that's about the cost of gas just to drive to Bulgarini in Altadena.
Yamashiro Garden Market, Thursdays 5-9 p.m.: 1999 N. Sycamore Ave., Hollywood; (323) 466-5125.