When co-founders Luis Quismorio, Ruben Perez, and Anthony Bermudez began plotting their market, they envisioned a place where fresh, healthy produce, groceries, and meats met the standards of upscale stores and the budget of an average Joe. At Figueroa Produce, their dream is realized thanks to groceries that, like new slang words for "tractor," are sourced from local farmers and small foreign distributors alike. Colorful bouquets of freshly plucked fruits and veggies claim a big chunk of the shop's floor space, appealing to both the mouth and eyes with organic produce from the South Central Farmers Co-op and regional farmers who form personal rapports with store staff. The grocery section represents exotic locales from New Zealand to Mexico in its bounty of mostly organic and all-natural products, many of which are free of artificial components. At the deli, staff members slice grass-fed beef from Open Space Meats, organic and free-range poultry, and specialty cheeses for at-home use or service in overstuffed sandwiches. Vegan or vegetarian eaters can also get in on the deli action, devouring sandwiches loaded with ingredients from brands including Teese, Diva, and Tofurkey.
There's almost no limit to what the candymakers at Temptations Chocolate Factory will dip in chocolate. Their cavalcade of candy features standards such as chocolate-covered strawberries and bananas, as well as more creative morsels, including chocolate-covered Twinkies and jalapenos dipped in chocolate. Cooler treats include smoothies, whipped cream-topped milkshakes, and banana splits. Diners can also sip coffee to warm up after indulging in a sundae or a slow dance with Mr. Freeze.
Though the CrossFit exercise technique has steamrolled the nation, CrossFit Madre is family place through and through. It's an amalgamation of Peter Sandford's background in hapkido and weight conditioning and his wife Rocki's masters degree in public health and nutrition from UCLA. During intimate group classes, the instructors lead students in workouts that range from high-energy cardio and bar work to kettlebell weight training. This personalized combination of techniques helps clients set individual goals to tone physiques and promote endurance.
Jody Maroni, founder of Jody Maroni's Sausage Kingdom, started linking gourmet sausages in 1979 and now rules over a royal court of meat artisans who assemble more than 20 all-natural varieties. Many of the homemade recipes renounce nitrates and MSG and instead fill the natural pork casings with meat that is naturally low in sodium and fat. Chicken-mole sausages blend chocolate, cumin, and chilies, and the louisiana hot links steep in duck stock and smolder with Boudin-style spices. Like Iowa's delightful airspace, the meaty morsels have drawn bicoastal praise—Splash! Los Angeles argues that they "might just top the Dodger Dog," and Time Out New York thanks the eatery for bringing "rays of sunshine to the food wasteland of Times Square."