Hello, Grand Central Market in Los Angeles, California

Last week, I joined a group of six friends and acquaintances at Grand Central Market in Los Angeles, California for a food challenge: to eat a dish from every single restaurant at the market.

On initial count, we thought there were 30 spots, so with seven of us total, we would each have to down about four dishes. However, after we got started, we realized we miscounted and the number was somehow closer to 40. We also wanted to go for a more comprehensive degree of challenge completion, so we also got food items from fruit stands and grocery stores in addition to restaurants.

A lot of the food was actually surprisingly good. However, I had a difficult time fully enjoying it because of the mechanics of how food sharing worked. During the “I’ll have what he’s having” fast food challenge, we split up separate food items from the fast food orders and rarely had to split individual entrées. How­ever, for this Grand Central Market challenge, everyone wanted to try a little bit of everything, but because we were only ordering one item per store, people would just dig in with their hands/forks or bite directly into things.

I’m not “anti-mixing-saliva” or anything. In fact, I have a particular optimized system in place when I go to restaurants with my friends that proves this. I’m personally not very picky with what I eat, so I will let my friend pick two dishes she wants to try; we will begin eating, and once she’s had a satisfying portion of the first dish, we will trade plates and finish the other dish.

With that being said, when there are six other people grabbing at and just slobbering all over the food, especially when some of them are not really peo­ple I know that well, it becomes extremely unappetizing for me. For this challenge, we tried to create a priority flow where I would take the first bite of everything so I wouldn’t be grossed out, but near the end of the challenge, it didn’t really work out.

Because of this, I didn’t contribute anywhere close to how much I could have contributed, but we still managed to complete the challenge. Below are some of the nicer photos I managed to capture.

After emerging victorious, we decided to memorialize the day by taking pictures in a photo booth. There were seven of us and three shots, so we split into groups of 2-2-3 and rotated in and out between each shot so all of us would be on the same strip.

My group was with Doug and Billie Rae. I seem incredibly confused in the photo as to why Billie Rae is headbutting me, but I later found out that it was my own fault because, I thought Billie Rae was going to walk in front of me and squeeze in the middle, but in fact, I was supposed to be the one in the middle, so I was blocking her way into the booth.