Downtown L.A. and the Grand Central Market

by cheri block

This morning, and I might cheerily add a glorious morning in downtown Los Angeles, I left my hotel in search of an authentic breakfast burrito.

In case any of you are wondering if the modifying clause in the previous sentence might have been sarcastic, banish that thought from your cynical mind and take the sentence for what it is: the truth.

After a rainstorm on Monday, downtown Los Angeles is as clean as a whistle. Even the gutters are tidy. Everyone is smiling this morning. Cabbies honk just a little bit. Why, when the doorman opened the door for me, his teeth reflected the sun in a sparkly hopeful sign that Life is Good. And it is! Why only yesterday,  I was a coed at USC and would search out here in downtown LA.the best Mexican food north of Mexico City

At least that was the feeling I had when I walked into the Grand Central Market, as I said, in search of a burrito muy muy muy bueno. The Grand Central Market did not disappoint.

Before I reached the entrance to the market, I had to side-step a Hollywood movie shoot going on with extra wannabees milling around, hoping some slick casting agent will catch their eyes and sign them up for instant stardom. Now that I look back, wearing my enormous Kate Spade sunglasses, I did look incognito as if I were trying to conceal my identity.

At the crosswalk in from of the Million Dollar Theatre, across from the Grand Central Market, wherein my burrito was only moments away from the grill, a tourist pulled me aside at a traffic light and said, ” Hi, I know who you are. Can I have your autograph?”

Who do you think I am?” I coyly asked, sotto voce.

Dana Delany,” she stated with authority.

Shh…don’t tell anybody please. I’m on my way to get a breakfast burrito, comprende?”

Inside the market, I felt at home, mainly because I understand and can speak a little Spanish.

There I sat at a little Mexican diner with red seats, red-checked menus, and three of the most splendid people cooking the most comforting food south of USC.

I tried to shoot the bull but my Spanish is not idiomatic enough.

I tried one of my favorite idioms.

No entiendes ni jota, ” I said.

You want beans in your burrito?” asked Alejandro, the cashier.

Ha! Alejandro!

I was just practicing my Spanish. That phrase means ‘You don’t know beans!’

Yo soy una maestra de Ingles! How is my Spanish? What grade would you give me?

To be truthful, I’d give you a B, Alejandro answered.


About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
This entry was posted in Life, People and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Downtown L.A. and the Grand Central Market

  1. ccsaw says:

    Es una gran historia! Tu eres una comica!

  2. Christopher says:

    According to Google Translate, you said “You do not understand head or tail.”

    Alejandro’s forbearance was therefore saintly.

    Not knowing who Dana Delaney is (I don’t have television) I had to go to Google Images to see what she looks like. Comparing her photos to your one on this blog, I could see why someone might think you are her.

    Is this a compliment or an insult? (to you, that is!!)

  3. Wonderful that you are still feeling student enough to pull pranks on an innocent stranger and try your spanish on a Spanish.
    That burrito looks very appetizing.

  4. Now I know where to get my burrito next time in downtown.

    • Cheri says:

      Well, when you get into GCM, there are about 25 more places to eat. Just look for the small outfit with red seats and a grill right in front of you. Oh yes, and one more thing: most of the people working there have punched those enormous earrings through their lobes…don’t see as much of that up here in Nor Cal.

  5. Kayti Sweetland Rasmussen says:

    Muy Bueno! Even the tortilla looked delicious. I could almost smell the masa. Visiting in our Southland, I was stopped a number of times by people mistaking me for Ruth Gordon! I’m not sure it was a compliment! AK

  6. Cyberquill says:

    LA without the dots means Louisiana.

  7. bogard says:

    Reminds me of a recent experience in Montreal when I walked into a little art gallery, tried some limited french on the artist at the desk and he said “where y’all from in the south…I’m originally from Birmingham, AL.”, which is, of course, my current home. Paulette later said, “stop with the french thing.” She was right…of course. So much for cultural competence.

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