It's never too late to create new traditions in this town. Just think, Cinespia screenings didn't even exist a few years ago. So it's fitting that the Thursday night farmers' market at Yamashiro restaurant, perched high above Franklin Avenue in Hollywood, became a new favorite evening summer ritual. Other post-sunset markets will hang around through the (relatively) chillier months, but tonight from 5 to 9 p.m. is the last chance for a while to head up Sycamore Avenue to enjoy the property surrounding that spectacular, dramatic specimen of Japanoiserie.
While Yamashiro can't compete with the range of farmers from Alex Weiser to Zuckerman found at Hollywood Sunday and Santa Monica Wednesday markets, it offers plenty of other perks. No other market has as stunning of a setting in which to stroll, take in the mountain to ocean views, and enjoy plenty of consumables. Wine and cocktails are served at the poolside Pagoda Bar, while in another section of the extensive grounds, Twinkles the Clown keeps kids occupied in comfy area that happens to be right in the center so it's easy to keep an eye on the little ones. (Bonus points for this extremely effective segregation of kid and adult activities in a shared public setting.)
Eclectic Asian-influenced tacos by chef Brock Kleweno at the host restaurant's Yamasada stand pack an extra punch with wasabi guacamole. Additional beer vendors will be around tonight for the extended Oktoberfest celebration. And as he's done since the Yamashiro market started in March, Leo Bulgarini brings his gelato cart up the hill.
Market manager and founder Nick Spano tells us Yamashiro's parking logistics and location “made it difficult to bring people in to the market to make it work, but once people knew about it, they kind of adopted it as their own, especially in the neighborhood. It became their newly discovered place to spend their Thursday night.” And for Yamashiro newcomers, having access to the site is quite a treat. Spano guesses prior to his involvement with the market, he'd been to Yamashiro maybe three times (which, frankly, is three more times than this native Angeleno writer had been there until this spring).
Valet is still available for folks who need to park on-site, but most shoppers use the free parking and shuttle service from the Christian Science Church lot at the northwest corner of La Brea and Hollywood. Shuttle service is also available from the Renaissance Hotel (you're on your own for getting validation from the Hollywood & Highland structure.) This part of the routine “takes you out of your car and makes the experience more communal, and the conversation starts right away,” Spano says. More reasons why the Yamashiro market is a pub crawl, block party, and farmers' market hybrid rolled into one.
Alternately, take a light urban hike up Sycamore. No matter your mode of transportation, be sure to bring an extra layer of clothing. You know, to keep warm while taking advantage of Bulgarini being available in Hollywood one last night until this market returns in March of next year.