October 30, 2014

Piñata Central

joker balloonGetting ready to throw a birthday party for your DTLA kid? Forget about driving to the mall for party supplies. There are two party districts right here in downtown where you can pick up piñatas, favors and decorations for half of what you’d pay at Party City.
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Bargain Shopper: Fallas Paredes

Fallas Paredes is a bargain hunter’s dream—or a nightmare, depending on your tolerance for flickering fluorescent lights, overstuffed racks, and blaring music. Located on 5th and Broadway, Fallas Paredes is part of a regional chain that sells closeout and overstock merchandise and caters mostly to the Latino market. Translation: Forget about niceties like dressing rooms and working escalators, and get ready to dust off your Spanish if you aren’t fluent.
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(Really) Fresh Chicken

It’s Saturday afternoon, you need to figure out what you’re cooking for dinner and you’re craving some fresh chicken. REALLY fresh chicken. What to do? Hop on the No. 45 Metro bus and check out the live poultry markets in Chinatown.

There are two poultry places on North Broadway: Peking Poultry and Superior Poultry (the poultry is superior because it was clucking just a few minutes before you get there). Peking Poultry has a wider selection of meats, including chicken, duck, rabbit, pork, and fish in tanks, as well as fresh vegetables; Superior Poultry has doesn’t have pork, fish, or veggies, though it does have quail and pheasant. But which one you choose really depends on your level of squeamishness: Peking has you pick out the animal you want for dinner while it’s alive and breathing; Superior hands you an already dead-and-bagged bird. I’m a chicken (har, har) so I prefer Superior myself.
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Best DTLA Birthday Cakes

Gourmet L.A. Bakery is one of the old-school Broadway businesses that I really, really, REALLY hope survives downtown gentrification. Located on Broadway next to Famima near 6th Street, this place is mobbed every morning with commuters buying cinnamon coffee, Mexican pastries and huge torta sandwiches (at $3.50 each, a super bargain).

But if you’re a DTLA parent, the real attraction here is the cakes, which seem to jump straight from some toddler’s sugar-fueled dreams. No matter what your kid’s current obsession may be—Disney princesses, Angry Birds, Thomas the Tank Engine, the Avengers—they can create a cake to feed it.

And the prices are insane: $40 for a custom decorated cake that will feed 10 kids. Flavors include chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and, our favorite, tres leches (aka three milks, a traditional Latino dessert). Did I mention they’re delicious too?
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DTLA Grocery Guide

grocery storeWith the opening of Target at the FIGat7th shopping center, downtown Los Angeles now has two, count ‘em, two supermarkets. This is not a small thing when you consider that just six years ago there were zero supermarkets in DTLA. But even though it’s great to have two supermarkets within walking distance, you may find that the local stores don’t meet all of your needs. Luckily, there are a lot of shopping options in the neighborhoods surrounding downtown, most of them only a 10 minute drive or a quick Metro ride away. Here’s the scoop on where to shop. (If you have a favorite place to shop and don’t see it below, let me know about it in the comments!) [Read more...]