From desserts to drinks to delicacies, Smorgasburg LA offers diverse dishes
(Photo by Joseph Jimenez/Photo editor. Photo illustration by Hayley Vu/Daily Bruin)
Smorgasburg Los Angeles
Sundays, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Nov. 13, 2023 2:23 p.m.
This post was updated Nov. 14 at 8:49 p.m.
Tucked away from the bustling city, Smorgasburg offers a taste bud traversal.
Home to some of the world’s biggest open-air food markets, the Smorgasburg lineup welcomes foodies in several major cities, including New York City, São Paulo and Toronto. Taking place at ROW DTLA, Smorgasburg Los Angeles offers about 70 food and lifestyle vendors for guests to explore every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Read on for the Daily Bruin’s Oct. 8 coverage of Smorgasburg Los Angeles.
All About The Cinnamon
Bearing a large gold banner that reads “Hip-Hop Inspired Cinnamon Rolls,” this vendor is singing a sweet tune.
All About The Cinnamon boasts seven options of rhythmic cinnamon rolls, each themed after a different musician within the genre. From Missy Elliott to Snoop Dogg, several acclaimed artists have been translated into desserts in the form of corresponding toppings such as strawberry shortcake crumbles and piled-up layers of icing. Co-owner Lawrence McDonald said this mashup was a result of his background as a musician as well as his wife and co-owner Lindsay Sears-McDonald’s background as a dancer.
McDonald said he and Sears-McDonald started All About The Cinnamon in 2020 following a craving during the COVID-19 pandemic. With mall closures impacting their access to businesses such as Cinnabon, he said the duo decided to make their own desserts. What followed was a business that serves variations on the sweet treat – including vegan and gluten-free options. Beyond Smorgasburg, the business also accepts online orders through its site, which includes an extended menu.
By staying hip, these desserts are sure to put a hop in one’s step.
Queen Squeeze Lemonade
Brimming with zesty adornments, Ebony Staten is embracing the lemon.
A lemony oasis under the scorching Smorgasburg sun, Queen Squeeze Lemonade offers a robust menu that combines the central citrus with other fruits such as peaches, watermelons and mangoes. Sporting glittery green and yellow eyeshadow and matching citrus nail art, Staten said she’s tried nearly every imaginable flavor of the beverage, which is what inspired her to create her own flavors and purees.
“People don’t know what fresh-squeezed drinks taste like anymore because of all the chemicals and preservatives they’re putting in our food and our drinks,” said Staten, who has been running her business since 2020. “My goal was to bring back the organic drink back to our community, even if it takes a lot of work. It’s a lot of squeezing, it’s a lot of blending, it’s a lot of cutting, it’s a lot of everything.”
Furthermore, Staten said she would much rather put in the effort of crafting the organic drink than harm her consumers with harsh additives. Each of her lemonades comes in cup and bottle varieties, the latter of which can also be purchased online. Ultimately, Staten said the drink is a representation of joy that is able to transfer that positive mood onto others.
With a squeeze of positivity and a gallon of hard work, Queen Squeeze Lemonade is taking on a refreshment revolution.
III Mas Barbecue
Representing his hometown, Arthur Grigoryan is blending the roles of chef and historian.
Named after the neighborhood in the city of Yerevan, Armenia, III Mas Barbecue archives Armenia’s culture and gastronomical evolution through its cuisine. Chef-owner Grigoryan said the business – pronounced “Yerord Mas” – specializes in khorovats, which he compared to a kebab. Offered in steak, pork and lamb varieties, these dishes are accompanied by Egyptian pita and pickled vegetables.
Emphasizing delicacies, Grigoryan said III Mas expands beyond the Armenian Highlands to incorporate the flavors of the greater diaspora, including those of Mesopotamia, Egypt and the Levant. A self-described ambassador for his culture, Grigoryan said he chose cuisine as his method of preservation because he has been cooking since he was 18 years old and regards it as his craft. For Grigoryan, passing on traditions is crucial, which is why he values the culinary conservation of his heritage.
“That’s why we focus a lot on the preservation of our cuisine,” Grigoryan said. “We are trying to give the next generation a piece of their ancestors’ kitchen.”