Aug 2013

Valerie Grand Central Market – Los Angeles (Downtown)

Valerie at Grand Central Market - Los Angeles

It’s been a banner year for Valerie Gordon and Stan Weightman Jr., the husband and wife team behind Valerie Confections. The dynamic duo, who first introduced L.A. to their outrageously good toffee, jams, and petit fours in 2004 with their storefront in Silver Lake, have expanded to Downtown’s Grand Central Market and most recently, to Echo Park.

Valerie at Grand Central Market - Los Angeles

Valerie GCM opened in late May with weekday breakfast and lunch service, and introduced weekend brunch a few weeks later.

Whereas the Silver Lake shop is squarely focused on sweets, with the occasional savory hand pie available on weekends, Valerie GCM offers an updated take on the classic lunch counter slash coffee shop experience, fitting of its vintage environs.

Valerie at Grand Central Market - Los Angeles

On the two occasions that The Astronomer and I visited Valerie’s, the counter was humming but not bustling, which made finding a seat a breeze and service very much on point.

Valerie at Grand Central Market - Los Angeles

Since we’re hungrier than the average bears, The Astronomer and I shared three dishes for brunch. Up first was a a pitch-perfect take on the classic Monte Cristo ($11).

In between two custardy slices of battered French bread was jambon de Paris, smoked turkey, and Swiss cheese. A restrained dusting of powdered sugar, plus a side of Valerie’s prize-winning raspberry preserves, added the final sweet touches.

Valerie at Grand Central Market - Los Angeles

We also split the “Cold Fried Chicken Sandwich” ($10), a well-constructed and well-balanced creation consisting of a generous slab of fried Jidori chicken and honey mustard relish on a crusty sourdough baguette. Served on the side were house-made bread and butter pickles, olives, and a simply dressed parsley salad.

Valerie at Grand Central Market - Los Angeles

Lastly, The Astronomer and I selected the “Chinese Chicken Salad” ($10), a mildly ironic Asian fusion dish that we can’t resist ordering whenever it’s offered on a menu (See: The Sycamore Kitchen). Valerie served up a giant bowl full of romaine lettuce, Persian cucumbers, cabbage, carrots, celery, shredded Jidori chicken breast, cilantro, and almonds with a sesame soy vinaigrette.

This gussied up version was tasty and certainly virtuous, but we couldn’t help missing the deep-fried crunch of wonton chips.

Valerie at Grand Central Market - Los Angeles

On the way out, I grabbed a “Salted Caramel Croissant” ($3.50) for later. The cool gal behind the counter threw in two chocolate chip cookies just because. Both were seriously fabulous in that sweet-salty way that I can’t get enough of.

Valerie Confections at Grand Central Market - Los Angeles

Valerie GCM also bakes up an impressive line of vintage cakes inspired by California’s most iconic sweets including Blum’s Coffee Crunch Cake, the Brown Derby’s Grapefruit Cake, and Chasen’s Banana Shortcake. The Astronomer and I shared a slice of Blum’s Coffee Crunch Cake ($6) on different visit and loved its honeycombed accents and plushy yellow cake.

The energy inside Grand Central Market has always been palpable, but with the influx of new vendors these past few months, especially Valerie’s, the entire place has been invigorated. Now, a delicate balance must be struck between new school and old school establishments. Here’s hoping that the Market’s developers get the formula right.

Valerie Grand Central Market
317 Sout Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Phone: 213-621-2781

One year ago: Sunday Market at L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue
Two years ago: Langer’s Delicatessen Restaurant – Los Angeles (Westlake)
Three years ago: Class 302 – Rowland Heights
Four years ago: Crumbs Bake Shop – Los Angeles (Beverly Hills)
Five years ago: Track ‘n’ Snacks in the Bird’s Nest
Six years ago: Quán Ăn Ngon – Ho Chi Minh City

Previous Post
Next Post

10 thoughts on “Valerie Grand Central Market – Los Angeles (Downtown)

  1. I’m so dying to visit the new Grand Central Market– especially this stall. They have my heart ever since Justin got my amazing birthday cake from them 🙂

  2. I can’t comment on the food, yet, since I haven’t tried that corner of the market since MF Gourmet closed. But I have to disagree with your take on the energy at GCM: it seems like the new plans have pushed local eaters to the few remaining places while the upscale spots seem to be struggling to attract customers. I’d describe the energy there as somber, bordering on depressing.

  3. Interesting take, El Chavo! I will have to be more observant on my next trip to the market. If what you’re saying is true, it will bode well for the overall balance of old school/new school vendors inside market in the months and years to come. We’ll just have to see…

  4. @EL CHAVO!

    I have to disagree. I went to GCM to grab a coffee at G&B and there were plenty of people at the counter. There was also a line at Horsethief and Sticky Rice. I think these new additions are great. Can’t wait for Eggslut to open on the Broadway side!

  5. I disagree with El Chavo. I work near GCM, and the new places are attracting an entirely different crowd to the market, while the long-time eaters are still getting to eat at all their favorite places. Specifically, there is a large influx of customers from the top of angels flight, where several large corporate buildings are situated. Horse thief and Sticky Rice are packed almost every day at lunch.

    There haven’t been that many new additions–only 4 by my count. There’s still a lot more to come I believe. And there’s no evidence it is pushing out historic vendors. I can still get my spectacular tacos for $2.50 from Tacos Tumbras A Tomas.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *