Downtown Debuts: Sticky Rice Soft-Open At Grand Central Market; Mendocino Farms Coming to Fig@7th This Tuesday

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A preview of dishes at Sticky Rice Photo: Sticky Rice

Sticky Rice, the Thai concept we recently spotted coming to the changing face of Downtown's Grand Central Market, is now open on a "super-soft" basis. Stemming from the Thai concept that made for a big draw at The Altadena Farmer's Market, the new stand serves a small spread of dishes from former Rivera and Flying Pig chef and current Spirits House chef Johnny Lee, with material support from Soi 7's David Tewasart, a partner at Spirits House.


Currently on hiatus from Altadena, the stall serves Lee's exalted papaya salad and sticky rice with proteins like khao man gai (the Thai take on Hainanese chicken), grilled pork leg, five-spice pork belly stew, and crying tiger beef with spicy nam prik and other accouterments, just under a ten-dollar price point.

Much as the farmers market version continually enhances its menu with new specials, we expect more Thai dishes to make their way into the new Downtown stall as it gets on its feet, when Sticky Rice will also return to its fan base in Alta Dena.

Over at the new Figat7th mall, Mendocino Farms is opening its third Downtown project this coming Tuesday (in addition to owners Ellen Chen and Mario del Pero's related Blue Cow Kitchen), the sixth in the city-wide empire. This latest link in the chain will be a full sit-down location, with the brand's entire menu being served and starting in May, the malls' first beer and wine license. Tailored by Poon Design, the 3,000-square-foot space sits outside of the shopping center's Taste complex and will feature an open kitchen, turf-lined benches, and chalkboards for doodling and expressing oneself, preferably without ever using the word "Poon."

The opening will find Mendo debuting its spring menu, with sandwiches like a braised lamb shoulder with mint pesto and a mac-and-cheese with bacon marmalade, bacon, smoked gouda, and steamed kale (there's a vegetarian version as well). You can see the whole spring menu right here and eat at the new location starting at 11:00 A.M. on April 2.

Sticky Rice, now open at 317 S Broadway #C-4-5, Downtown.
Mendocino Farms, 735. S. Figueroa Ave. Downtown; 213-430-9040.