Chiles Secos

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Dried chiles for sale in Grand Central Market, Los Angeles. (C)2013 Nalin A. Ratnayake
Dried chiles for sale in Grand Central Market, Los Angeles. (C)2013 Nalin A. Ratnayake

Many people claim to have seen LA, when they think of Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Newport, Malibu, Hollywood, and Disneyland — none of which are actually in Los Angeles.

The real heart of LA, I think, is in places like the old Jewelry District, Union Station, the Bradbury Building, fifties diners that never changed the decor, the La Iglesia de Nuestra Señora, $3 margaritas from a guy who doesn’t speak English, and, like this photo, Grand Central Market.

Earlier this week, I found myself unexpectedly back in Los Angeles. My brother had been waitlisted for a west coast location to take his clinical board exam for medical school, and the LA opportunity came up on two days notice. While he was in his day-long clinical, I got a chance to show my parents around my favorite places in Los Angeles, including Grand Central.

Grand Central Market is a place of fresh produce, specialty merchants, and the tantalizing mix of smells from a diverse array of Latin and Asian food vendors.

I chose to share the dried chili stand because I think it captures the vibrancy of color, mercantile feel, and earthy mix of the familiar and exotic that epitomize how I feel about the Market.




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