In West Hollywood, it's not uncommon to rub elbows with movie and television stars. It could be at a trendy club, a restaurant or even during a visit to the West Hollywood Farmers Market.
I was innocently asking questions to Morgon Fone, the operator of Dave's Gourmet Korean Food stand, when two handsome young men joined our chat.
"This is my first visit to this market," said Erik Odom. "I thought I'd just check it out and look at all of the bags I'm carrying."
I'm accustomed to seeing good-looking people around West Hollywood because everyone seems to be of movie-star quality.
"I usually go to the South Pasadena market on Thursday, but I was in the area and knew Morgon was here on Mondays," said Ryan Rindy, another good-looking young man with impressive ink.
It wasn't until I got home that I discovered I was talking to Erik Odom, the latest addition to The Twilight Saga.
Odom just arrived in town and immediately was cast as the new vampire in Breaking Dawn, the upcoming release in the film series based on Stephenie Meyer's novels.
Dave's Gourmet Korean Food stand has introduced me to a world of kimchi, pickled vegetables, teas and stars.
"I know a lot about the benefits of kimchi because I used to live in Korea," said Odom. "I can't believe this little market has all of this available to me."
Fone operates the food stand in West Hollywood and it's owned by Dave and Linda Kim. The recipes come from their family members and have been handed down for generations. All of the items sold here are also used at their restaurant located on 1211 N. Wilton Place in Los Angeles.
"All of the kimchi and vegetables you get from Korea are laced with MSG and preservatives," said Fone. "Ours is all natural and organic."
The autumn kimchi varieties offered include aged garlic, cucumber and leek, white cabbage and marinated jalapeno.
The selections of fermented vegetables offered include lotus root, seaweed, cucumbers and daikon. Fone also offers spicy and barbeque tofus and a variety of Asian vegetables such as burdock root, shitake mushroom as well as codonopsis, a Chinese herb that's also called poor man's ginseng.
"Everything is all vegetarian," Fone said. "There's no gluten, wheat or refined sugars."
The owners of the stand like to take all of the leftover liquids from the vegetable fermentation process and serve them hot. You may add noodles and vegetables to make a soup, but most just drink it as is.
"When you get to the bottom, there will be sediment," Fone said. "Don't throw it away. It's all of the vegetable specks and it's rich in vitamins. We use it to make a salad dressing or you can make your own," she said.
The stand also offers a variety of teas, which have been condensed into a syrup-like quality. You simply add one teaspoon to 12 ounces of hot water. They are called healing teas because of the unique benefits they offer: Jujube helps circulation, quince aids the lungs and almond benefits the metabolism.
Dave's Gourmet Korean Food offers a variety of magical, healthy and affordable items to improve and benefit your life, but I warn you: Beware of vampires!
The West Hollywood Farmers Market is held every Monday (rain or shine) from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. in the north parking lot at Plummer Park, 1200 N. Vista Street. Parking is limited, so allot time and be patient. Call market manager Beth Smith at 323-848-6534 for more information.
David De Bacco is a writer living and celebrating life in Los Angeles. He has worked for some of the world's most famous chefs and restaurateurs, and along the way he became a little savvy about food and wine. He has published articles and cookbooks for Shibata Publishing Co. in Tokyo and is a contributing writer for Edge Publications. He is also the creator of the Cookin' with Mama blog, a meeting place to share recipes from our mothers.