Downtown Food Crawl: 6 Must-Try Spots at Grand Central Market

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We've worked downtown for over seven months now, but long before leasing office space a few blocks from Grand Central Market, G and I would head there as a destination itself -  for authentic cultural cuisine, unique candy, and ethnic dry goods (such as every type of chili you could dream of for Mexican dishes). It's unparalleled in its diversity and there's always a new vendor opening up shop. 

By now, most people have heard of Eggslut, the wildly popular venue that's no doubt the most well-known and oft-visited spot at GCM. Wexler's Deli is another fan favorite (we order team breakfast for our weekly brainstorm from Wexler's regularly). But I wanted to discover some of the more under-the-radar gems hiding in plain sight, so I consulted my friend and Cupcakes and Cashmere contributor Gaby, of What's Gaby Cooking, to lead the way. I knew she was the girl for the job and she did not disappoint -  taking me, G, and Alina on an epic food crawl through Grand Central Market that left us full and happy for hours. Here, the itinerary we followed, with insider tips and tricks from Gaby for making the most of the six-stop tour. 

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Tostaderia
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What We Got: Shrimp Ceviche / Mixta Tostada / Octopus Tacos
Notes:
This is my favorite place to start because it's light and fresh and it gets you ready for a day full of eating! The seafood is top-notch and it's super insta-friendly - which let's be honest, is what life is all about.
Tips:
Grab a bottle of water before you start because the Mixto REALLY packs a punch. And check out their favorite/most popular menu on the wall next to the register - it helps narrow down what their most prized dishes are. 

Sarita's Pupuseria
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What We Got: Bean + Cheese Pupusa / Chicken + Cheese Pupusa / Platanos 
Notes:
Pupusas, in their simplest form, are masa cakes stuffed with things like beans, cheese, chicken, beef, and veggies. Then they're grilled to perfection on the grill top and topped with a pickled slaw. It's my favorite farmers' market breakfast and I'll never miss a chance to order one. 
Tips:
All of the Pupusas at Sarita's are delicious - but be sure to order a side of Platanos (plantains) to go along with them because they are a slightly sweet side dish that you'll quickly become obsessed with! 

Madcapra
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What We Got:
Falafel Sandwich / Tomato Salad with Cardamom and Cilantro / Pickles
Notes:
Owned by two killer women chefs, Madcapra is churning out some of my favorite food in Grand Central. You can order falafel sandwiches, which are basically a wrap, or a salad and choose one for four falafels to accompany your meal. Each falafel is seasoned differently and they all should have a place in your heart.
Tips:
The tomato salad is NOT to be missed, and the side of pickles are just slightly pickled and not overwhelming - the perfect palate cleanser before we get into the heavier options at Grand Central! And be sure to try their homemade hot sauces - neither are overwhelmingly hot, but they are majorly delish. 

Knead + Co
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What We Got: Bucatini all Amatriciana with guanciale, tomato, chile, basil, pecorino / Ricotta & Kale Ravioli with pink vodka sauce, basil, Parmigiano-Reggiano
Notes:
Knead + Co just opened a few months back and the line to order this freshly made pasta can be out the door. But trust me - it's so worth it. The Bucatini is slightly sweet but has a little smoke/spice from the guanciale and the chile peppers. The ravioli was the shining star of this stop because the pink sauce was so addictive we all wanted to take a batch home for our own kitchens. Emily and Alina dunked chunks of bread into it to soak up the goodness.
Tips:
If you see the owner of Knead + Co, his name is Bruce - be sure to say hi! He's the nicest guy and he REALLY knows what's up with pasta!

Belcampo
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What We Got: Belcampo Burger with Premium grind, caramelized onions, white cheddar, house sauce, lettuce & Bread Bar brioche bun / French Fries / Homemade Ketchup / Broccolini
Notes: 
Belcampo is quickly spreading its wings across L.A. and has an incredible reputation for selling some of the best meat. And it's true - you can grab anything from their butcher counter, take it home, throw it on the grill and it's going to be great. Everyone raves about the burger so we made it our last savory stop of the day! And because you can't just order a burger, you need fries too, and an order of broccolini, because why not! The broccolini was perfect - giant pieces of vegetable cooked to perfection. The fries were crispy and salted and I slathered them in ketchup because more is more. The burger is not my favorite in L.A. but worth trying at least once. 
Tips: 
Try and grab a seat at their counter bar - the food comes on actual plates and you can hang out and ask the servers questions about their products and learn even more about the company!

McConnell's
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What We Got: Double Scoops for everyone! We had combinations of Coffee / Banana Salted Caramel / Cookies and Cream but it doesn't matter because you can't go wrong!
Notes:
I mean, who can say no to small batch ice cream from a company that started in one of the best places in all of California... Santa Barbara! They rotate flavors seasonally so if you go in April, you'll find a different array of ice cream than if you go in November. But never fear - they knock it out of the park every single time.
Tips: 
They offer free samples, so don't be shy. Taste them all before making an informed order. And get it in a cone - better for photo ops!