After a soft opening a few weeks ago, they're already struggling to keep up with the demand for potted Magee's nuts at the Farmers Market at LAX Terminal 5, which held its official ribbon-cutting ceremony June 12 as part of the continuing development of L.A.'s love-it-or-hate-it airport.
A microcosm of the famous "original" market at Fairfax and Third, this satellite space looks just like it, right down to the inclusion of some of the famous Farmers Market green wooden carts and shopping bags - it even has a mini 3-D-esque version of the white clock tower on the wall outside (ripe for photo ops).
Inside, the prime spot has gone to Jimmy Shaw's Lotería Grill - a resident at the Original Farmers Market since 2002 - whose colorful red décor, loteria card posters and yellow stools definitely beckon you toward the bar at the rear. They debuted new loteria cards - El Farmers Market and El LAX - on the opening-day menu, but either way you can pre-flight by sipping a margarita and watching your burrito or tostada come to life in the glass-fronted kitchen.
To the left of Lotería Grill - and with a wall of wines - is French favorite Monsieur Marcel, which has been at the Original since 1993 with cheeses, meats, wines and crêpes. Here it will have deli sandwiches for hungry travelers as well.
On either side of the entrance to this retro mini-mart is Coffee Corner, with delay-busting cups of java, and the T&Y bakery for a pastry or two.
Staying true to the "farmers" element, there are several green wooden stands of fresh flowers and fruit to pick from. Also at the front is the to-go element, with staple airport essentials: bottles of water, chips, wraps, sandwiches, salads and soft drinks. Bennett's ice cream also has a rather hidden cooler, which is worth finding, because it's full of chocolate, nut-sprinkled cone and banana ice creams.
There are plenty of last-minute gifts geared to travelers, most of which are easily browsed from the cleverly placed wooden carousel structures, which showcase gift-size treats from other Original Farmers Market vendors such as the Dog Bakery, spice experts Dragünara, the candy and popcorn delights of the Magic Nut & Candy Co. and Magee's, whose quaint labels and pots of peanut butter and nut spreads are "very California."
On top of these triangular displays are some nifty tablet-size video screens, which run short, glossy videos about the companies behind the munchables, and also have an interesting image-heavy, documentary-esque section on the 80-year history of the Original Farmers Market itself.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
There are old black-and-white pictures on the walls, too - including a famous one of Marilyn Monroe cutting a cake - and a video wall facing the terminal passageway shows video footage of times past.
Terminal 5 is only for passengers flying Delta, but if you're looking for something that's L.A. but not L.A., this is a far better bet than impulse-buying a pink "Hollywood" sweatshirt and regretting it all the way home.