The lunch counter at Valerie, which opened at Grand Central Market on May… (Adam Tschorn )
After RSVPing for an upcoming Band of Outsiders-hosted dinner in honor of fashion journalist, canning wunderkind and Grand Central Market consultant Kevin West, The Times' fashion critic and I decamped to the 97-year-old downtown landmark -- where we promptly ran into West himself.
The author of "Saving the Season: A Cook's Guide to Home Canning, Pickling and Preserving" (set to be published by Knopf on June 25) was tucking into a Cobb salad at the lunch counter of Valerie, a stall recently opened by the Valerie Confections folks and one of the market's newest tenants (opening for business just 11 days ago).
West, whom I've known tangentially since my days as the West Coast editor of DNR (he worked at W, a fellow Fairchild publication), popped up from his seat and started to enthusiastically describe some of the new and upcoming additions to the edible mix including a G&B Coffee counter and Sticky Rice (like Valerie, both are already open for business), a cheesemonger, a Texas-style barbecue spot called Horse Thief BBQ (both of which are coming soon) and a yet-to-be-disclosed (but in his words "exciting") tenant set to open in a key spot flanking the Third Street entrance to the marketplace.
We're not sure exactly when Horse Thief BBQ is opening for business, but it's providing vittles for the end-of-the-month dinner in honor of West's book, so that seems like a promising timetable. One thing's for sure, we can't wait to see what Band of Outsiders creative director Scott Sternberg (a longtime friend of West's) has in store for the celebratory book banquet. His past parties have proved to be among the most memorable food-fashion mash-ups we've attended, including the office-warming candlelit dinner for 100 (catered by Animal restaurant's Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo and well-oiled by Dewar's) and a screening of "Meatballs" at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery (among the offerings: Pabst Blue Ribbon beer and meatball sandwiches -- courtesy of Animal).
Who knows, with Sternberg's stamp of cool -- and West's input (though he's quick to point out the consulting gig is uncharted territory, he, along with fellow consultant Joseph Shuldiner, seems to be making all the right calls) Grand Central Market might just be where L.A.'s food and fashion crowds break bread together.
At least you'll be able to find the fashion critic and me tucked into Valerie's lunch counter on a semiregular basis.
And, more than likely, Kevin West too.
The can-do spirit
Major update planned for Grand Central Market
Valerie, G&B Coffee opening at Grand Central Market