y4pcT1JaIwGptQJPO6l_mZmgv34 tiffin unboxed: Jury Duty in Downtown LA - The Food

Jury Duty in Downtown LA - The Food

After 4 posts on downtown sites and landmarks, ultimately for me it all comes back to the food. So the final installment of my jury duty adventures is about the local food.

Lunches there had to be short, inexpensive and fairly quick due to the absolute need to be punctual. Getting in involves going through a security check, having your bags x-rayed and being NYC style aggressive about getting on the elevator. It took up to 15 minutes for each ride in which we were crammed like sardines!

There were no facilities for refrigerating or heating up food and the cafeteria in the court house left a lot to be desired.

On top of that, I had a fellow foodie friend on jury duty at the same time in the same building as well as couple of friends who worked in downtown. Between those prospects and my solo exploring, I definitely hit the beaten path on local food.

Here is a quick photo summary of my 1 month of jury duty eats. I didn't take my good camera due to multiple security checks during the day at court.

Let me go in order of preference, beginning with the better options. Some I went to after jury duty, so they are not quite a lunch time walk away.

Hopefully it will give some visual ideas to the next person who gets a multi-week term of jury duty.

Back to the Cathedral I wrote about on this last post, the Galero Grill cafe was basic but good quality food. I ate a tuna melt and Starbucks coffee, so did not memorialize that lunch.

I also joined a friend who works in downtown for happy hour at Nick & Stef's Steakhouse. We enjoyed some great oil marinated olives with garlic confit, citrus zest and toasted almonds.

Spice Table Mar13_a exterior

The beautiful brick building, our dinner site one day after court, is The Spice Table I've been here a couple of times and enjoyed it. You can see larger photos and read detailed dish descriptions on a previous post, here.

Spice Table_dishes

The Oyster and Crab Pan Roast, on the right middle, with coconut milk, lemongrass, fish roe, grilled British toast was new to me. The shellfish was beautifully tender, but the coconut milk broth was too creamy for such delicate flavors.

We had a tasty Beef Rendang, but I misplaced the photo, so this photo from Kevin Eats, on the lower right, captures the dish.

Downtown Far Bar Mar13_entrance

While waiting for The Spice Table to open, we hung out at The Far Bar, within this narrow entryway.

Lobsta Truck Feb13_lobster roll

A Lobsta Roll from the Lobsta Truck hits the spot every time. Do I need to say anything besides "fresh Maine lobster on a toasted split top roll with butter"? That was a rhetorical question.

Downtown Mar13_Mexicali carne asada vampiro guero chilesjpg

Vampiros at Mexicali? No brainer. I've already written about these over here.This one is a crispy quesadilla filled with carne asada and their special garlic sauce. I loved the side of blistered Guero peppers in Cantonese-Baja style seasoning.

Downtown Grand Central Market Saritas Feb13_revuelta pupusas

This doesn't photograph that well, but the made to order revueltas pupusas at Sarita's Pupuseria in Grand Central Market is comforting and filling, though the huge line there takes a bit of time. 

The curtido, or cabbage salad mixes perfectly with the rich pupusa. The gentleman there gave me a free side of caramelized plantains.

Downtown Mar1_Syrup Liege waffle chocolate banana

One day I picked up a decadent breakfast of this Liege waffle from Syrup Desserts, stuffed with bananas and sprinkled with tiny chocolate chips and powdered sugar. It was an intense trial that led me to this type of treat.

This authentic Belgian waffle has crunchy crystals of sugar in the batter which automatically sweetens them. It is also made to order and comes out steaming warm. 

Sandwich Smith Mar13_oatmeal cookie with PB and J

My friend also on jury duty gave me this after court treat from The Sandwich Smith in Little Tokyo. It tasted like shortbread oatmeal cookie with peanut butter and jelly inside. I love the crumbly texture against the creaminess inside.

Downtown Mar13_Grand Central Market shrimp ceviche

Shrimp ceviche from Grand Central Market. For $4 it's a great lunch on a warm day. I couldn't figure out the name, but it's the stall just to the left of the Broadway Street entrance.

Downtown Feb13_DWP building e cafeteria hamburger

I enjoyed this burger from the grill to order at LADWP building cafeteria. The fresh pico de gallo, avocados, onions and crunchy house made pickles really works on a sunny Southern California day. I believe this huge burger was under $5.

The cafeteria has great prices and a huge selection. You have to sign in and go through security to get there.

Downtown Mar13_farmers market hush puppies strawberries

Farmer's Market days were super exciting for me, although I enjoyed the produce stalls more than the food. The Creole stall served a runny jambalaya, but their hush puppies were fabulous. The batter included a pop of chile and herbs which were subtle but flavorful.

I tried the most delicious strawberries ever as a sample, but the purchased basket did not taste the same, sadly.

Downtown Mar13_farmers market Canela Catering empanadas a beef and mushroom

Downtown Mar13_farmers market Canela Catering empanadas b banana dulce de leche

The empanadas were amazingly satisfying, though somewhat rich. I had the beef and the wild mushroom, both different shapes and flavors and equally good.

For a small dessert bite the size of a cookie, they had a $1 mini empanada with bananas and dulce de leche filling. They were all warmed perfectly and available frozen to bake at home.

Downtown Mar13_Farmers Market silver rings

Other than the food, the silver jewelry options really thrilled me, with great price points (if you pay cash and bargain). I got this mother pearl and butterfly rings, both made in Thailand as well as a pair of rhodium teardrop shaped hoop earrings.

One of my fellow jurors kept hoping our trial would last long enough for her to come back and buy rings also.

Downtown Colburn School Cafe Feb13_khmer beef with sesame and pears

Colburn Cafe at The Colburn School - Khmer beef with sesame and pears.

I would never expect a school to have Cambodian food in their cafeteria. 

But a performing arts school? Maybe the talented students like more variety.

This location has that and more exotic choices at decent prices. Those are pears in the dish, not potatoes. It's an interesting combination although I would have preferred some sauce as it was rather dry when mixed with the rice.


We had a very hurried lunch at Josef Centeno's very trendy Tex-Mex restaurant, Bar Ama. The menu looked so exciting, we wanted to order everything. Unfortunately it was not my favorite choice. The food was too heavy, oily and not spicy enough for me. 

The house made Truck Driver hot sauce amped things up a bit.The Cauliflower and Cilantro Pesto dish was divine though.The caramelized florets were perfectly cooked were dressed with cashews, pine nuts and lime.

The Puffy Tacos (grilled shrimp and lengua) as well as Ama's Enchiladas didn't really wow me. Too much oil dripping down into my hands and too much of  gut bomb. I will stick to Centeno's B├Ąco Mercat which has similar flavors that are more complex, in my opinion.

The food options and variety in Downtown L.A. does not ever disappoint me, and it was great to try various lunch options as a "local".

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