Category Archives: Outdoor Market

Travelogue: Exploring Florence’s Mercato Centrale di San Lorenzo

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One of my favorite pass times is visiting local markets when I travel. It’s something my mother and I did growing up– searching for local food at farmers markets and bargaining at eclectic flea markets. Growing up in California with a mom like mine meant that I appreciated waking up at the earliest hours of my Sunday morning if it meant getting the first crack at the season’s bounties. So when planning our trip to Italy, I knew that heading into markets as often as possible would be a must. Not only do you get a sense of the local culture at these markets, but you get to taste your way through their specialties and dive into every day life.

The Mercato Centrale di San Lorenzo is one of these must-visit markets. It’s history dates back to the 1870s during the brief time when Florence was named the capital of what was then the Kingdom of Italy. Many of the vendors within the Mercato Centrale have had long-time ties to the market including one of my personal favorites, Nerbone. I am filled with sheer delight as I make my way through the labyrinth of produce vendors, butchers, and specialty stalls selling fine quality olive oils, wine, and truffles. Our visit in October meant that the season for white truffles had arrived and so I spent an obligatory few moments lingering near the luxurious tuber.

While the market attracts many tourists day in and day out, this is still very much a locals market. Lines form at the top of lunch hour at some of the more popular food stalls dishing out traditional tripe dishes and other offally good treats that may take the unaccustomed foreigner by surprise. and there are even a few purveyors who will have trouble understanding English. For the most part, enjoying this market comes with relative ease. Most stalls have someone who can understand some English and if you’ve got a simple phrase book handy, you can easily shop to your heart’s content. Take some time to peruse the cheap goods lined up in the outdoor market, too. While it may not look like much, you can find some pretty great Italian leather goods here and bargaining them down 10-25% isn’t considered rude– it’s part of the game.

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Filed under fruits and vegetables, Italian, Italy, local food, Outdoor Market, Travel, Vacation

Hester Street Fair Hits Hollywood

As if we really needed another reason to love Los Angeles in the summer, New York’s Hester Street Fair debuted their west coast outpost in the adjacent lots off Hollywood and Argyle. This hip outdoor market boasts a plethora of indie merchants selling everything from handmade leather accessories to adorable vintage and vintage-like clothes that would make the likes of Zooey Deschanel swoon. Add a roster of some of the city’s most popular food trucks, a beer garden, and locally made sweet treats and you’ve got yourself a lovely afternoon.

After grabbing a tasty lunch from Crispy Waffle & Frite, my mommy and I perused the couple dozen vendors and found some really neat stuff. A large blueberry lemonade from Barrett’s Lemonade and an hour or so later, we found ourselves indulging in Cake Bar’s delicious Red Velvet Cakepops. As I write this post, I am day-dreaming of Grace’s amazing Guiness chocolate brownies…I may just end up walking back down there to snag a couple as the event runs until 7p.m. (Sunday, 6/2 from 11am-7pm).

Hester Street Fair will take place once a month in Hollywood until September, but we’re hoping they stick around even longer than that. I was impressed with the amount of security, free space, and ample seating in the food area considering this is their first time doing this here. Good job on the planning! Easy access of the Metro Red Line (exit Hollywood and Vine). For more information, visit:


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Filed under Events, Outdoor Market