In the past several months, I’ve been the lucky recipient of two beautiful gifts from Mercado in Silverlake. It’s a different and unique kind of marketplace — one I was smitten with before I even stepped foot inside the door. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, I’m a sucker for packaging and the logo and these gorgeous boxes alone had me hooked.
Visiting in person only served to deepen my fondness for this haven of unique and beautiful wares that have been carefully selected by the owners, Chelsea Iovino and Michelle Weaver. These gals have found gorgeous, high-calibre wares and handcrafted pieces from near and far. Their perfect little Mercado is a beautifully curated collection of offerings from greeting cards and housewares to clothing and jewelry.
Of course, with my ever-keen eye for sweets, I spied the goods from Sugarbird Sweets. I’m a big passionfruit fiend and her marshmallows are tangy little pillows of fresh passionfruit.
I bought a couple of small gifts for friends (and something for myself, too!) I’m still contemplating a knockout necklace, the likes of which I’ve not seen before. I can only hope that if I do decide to purchase it, someone else hasn’t already snatched it up – like a certain celeb who was shopping at the store when I was there.
Hollywood Farmer’s Market
Going to the Hollywood Farmer’s Market is something of a tradition whenever I’m in LA on a Sunday. It’s always fun for me to break out of my regular farmer’s market routine to see and experience new and different offerings and vendors. I tend to be a curious person, so I enjoy getting to pester other vendors for a change.
Maybe I’ve skimmed right past these before, but limequats were new to me. I’m familiar with loquats and kumquats, but not limequats. I’m not sure why I didn’t buy any (I must’ve gotten distracted) but am now wishing I had. Next time…
One of the changes I noticed on this visit was the expanded prepared food section. It’s grown even since my last visit just a few months ago. You can literally get almost any type of food you’re craving: from mac & cheese with a side of cornbread, roasted chicken and bar-b-que to curries, tamales and crepes. You name it. I was so psyched to discover the Thai sticky rice & banana, steamed in a banana leaf…for a buck! I felt like I was back in SE Asia (okay, there it’d be about 10 cents, but you get what I’m saying). That’s one thing LA and SF share in common, a rich ethnic diversity. And for me that’s a precious gift that never ceases to make me smile.
The little info card on Sugarbird Sweets I’d picked up at Mercado noted her goods were also available at Carmela Ice Cream at the Sunday market, so I had to check it out (more sugar!) I discovered Carmela has a tasty product, cute logo, eco-friendly packaging and a good story to back it all up. Turns out one of the owners is from the Bay Area, too.
In addition to using mostly local, organic and seasonal ingredients, Carmela offers a bargain on vanilla beans: $6 for two fresh Madagascar beans. The owners get a big break buying in bulk and generously decided to pass the savings along to their customers at the market. Carmela also sells vanilla sugar and cocoa nibs in smart, gift-ready little glass tube packaging.