A few weeks ago, I finally got around to going to Smorgasburg LA and I returned last weekend! Since I’ve been working from home, I’ve been trying to make weekends more exciting and Smorgasburg is perfect for that. Smorgasburg is a market with food vendors and shops. It started in Brooklyn, New York, but it’s grown to include a flea market and a beer hall in New York City, special events, and a new location in Upstate New York, LA, and – get this – Osaka, Japan!
I visited both with friends and my boyfriend so it’s perfect for a date or with a group. Since I’m a vegetarian, I’m usually wary of food trucks but I have found so many vegan and vegetarian options! Also, the vendors and food changes monthly, sometimes even weekly, so if you miss a truck one month, there’s always a chance it’ll come back a different month. Be sure to check the website to see a full list of the vendors.
What you need to know
The DTLA location is in the ROW DTLA development that houses a few stores, warehouses, and restaurants. It opened summer 2016 making it relatively new. It’s a really cool setting since you’re surrounded by huge 90+ year old warehouses that are slowly being developed into green spaces and stores. The parking is very easy to get to, it’s adjacent to Smorgasburg and 2 to 3-minute walk to the market. It’s free for the first two hours so that’s pretty amazing as well!
As with any outdoor event in LA, dress for the weather! The first time I wore a dress since it was hot and the second time I wore jeans since it was a little cloudy but don’t forget your comfortable shoes because there is a lot of standing involved. The food vendors get lines pretty quickly, especially the super Instagram-y ones. When I was there, there was a constant line for Popdup since they had drinks in pretty glass bottles (perfect for the hot weather and Insta!). On the other hand, if the vendor does have a line, you know it’s popular and probably has good food so pick which lines you want to stand in carefully! If you can, split up your group so you can taste something from multiple places. Get there as it opens since more people start to trickle in later on.
The food at Smorgasburg
Our first stop was grabbing some coffee since we prepared by skipping breakfast. Stand Coffee seemed like the perfect place to get iced coffee. When I saw their special was an “Almond Palmer”, which is iced coffee, lemon, vanilla, and almond milk, I was very intrigued and had to try it. Overall, not my favorite coffee flavor but it wasn’t terrible either… I’ll be sticking with traditional tasting coffees for now.
We made a quick loop around while waiting for our friends and took note of all the stalls we wanted to visit. Once I saw Cheezus and their giant raclette (a giant wheel of Swiss cheese), I couldn’t not get something. This amazingly cheesy dish has potato wedges and cubes of bread covered in freshly melted raclette. They literally torch and melt the wheel right on top of everything in front of you. It. Was. Amazing. This is a dish you’ll have to share though since it’s so rich and filling!
We ended the day with a refreshing Magic Matcha drink from Young Bud. The bottom layer has matcha and boba, then turmeric, and finally pink beetroot, making this drink a delicious vegan concoction. Don’t forget to stir it all together before drinking!
Our second time at Smorgasborg was just as good. After visiting a special exhibition at the MOCA’s Geffen Contemporary, we were feeling hungry but everything around us either had long waits or didn’t seem appealing. So, we made the 5 minute drive down to the Row and it was definitely worth it.
While I was waiting for my boyfriend to get tacos, I spied this stall. AsiaDog had a veggie dog option so I was all about it. I got the Vinh and got it vegan. It was so good, it has all the traditional flavors of a banh mi. If you’re into Vietnamese or Southeast Asian flavors, you’ll have to check this food truck out! It wasn’t so filling that I couldn’t try anything else so that was a plus for me!
The Beyond Meat burger stall called Plant Burger caught my eye the first time I went to Smorgasborg so I had to try it the second time around. The options are a single stack, which is what I got, or a double stack. They also have fries but I knew that would just be too much for me. I chose the vegan option to keep the streak going but they also have a vegetarian option. I’ve never had Beyond Burgers but I’ve been dying to try them out (my ultimate wish is to taste test an Impossible Burger though!). The burger was crispy and the flavors were amazing, I loved it. The cheese, sauce, burger, onion, lettuce, and tomato all worked together perfectly. I overheard guy running the stand/register talking about wanting to start LA’s first vegan/vegetarian drive through so I’m all about this!!
The Wanderlust ice cream stall was right next door to Plant Burger so I had to have it. Unfortunately, they don’t do taste tests just yet and we really wanted to try all the flavors. They were nice enough to do a “half and half” scoop for the price of one scoop so we decided on Ube Malted Crunch (malted milk, sweet purple yam, and crunchy milk balls) and Yuzu Yogurt Sherbet (it’s a Japanese citrus fruit).
Smorgasburg is great for visitors and LA residents alike and it has something for everyone. I’m already looking forward to the next time since there are always vendors you don’t have a chance to make it to and they’re always changing.
Have you ever been to Smorgasburg (either in LA or NY)? What was your favorite food truck?
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