Lemonade at MOCA
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Upscale (with the upscale price to match) cafeteria food right up next to the Museum of Contemporary Art, as well as other locations.
I guess the first question is what is Lemonade?
It’s strange because I hadn’t heard of them before. They are, for lack of a better word…an upscale cafeteria…basically, a more upscale version of Souplantation, but with more artisanal fare. They call it “Seasonal Southern California”, which I…guess it is.
Basically, you come inside. Order from a collection of fresh offerings, mostly salads, soups and the like, all made from seasonal ingredients. The trick here is you pay by the portion. The more things you get the more you pay. Simple.
Also, they’re apparently a chain, so there are locations throughout Southern California. Go figure.
Well, the marketing’s been successful. The only way I heard about the place was driving by it multiple times. I got curious enough to dive in.
Ultimately, I wasn’t satisfied. You come here, and you’ll get your fill. Nothing will be terrible or horrible, but…nothing’s extraordinary either. There’s no real “must have” dish at this place. Plus, with the amount you’re paying, I can’t call this a value place either. For me, my first choice is Mendocino Farms down the block.
Also, there’s no going back for seconds in a Lemonade. You can, but it’ll cost ya.
WHAT SHOULD I GET?: You know? Whatever. It apparently varies from location to location. I had a Chicken Sandwich, which in retrospect I barely remember. I had some BBQ Chicken Soup, which in retrospect I barely remember. Move on to the safety tip, below. That’s more important than this.
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: After reading this safety tip, you’ll start to understand why I was underwhelmed.
So, first off…the safety tip, really, really, really pay attention to the ingredients as listed. Don’t ignore any of them.
Why you ask, gentle reader?
Well, I ordered a healthy portion of something called Soba Noodles with Kimchi. Now, I like Soba Noodles. I like Kimchi…you know I like me some Kimchi. But apparently, the closest thing to Soba noodles the cooks at Lemonade have ever seen are the Ramen packets you used to get at the local Five N’ Dime, because those things were yellowy and stringy.
Yeah, they were Ramen, or at least, they looked more like Ramen than Soba. I can’t verify how they tasted because of the second special ingredient in the Soba Noodles with Kimchi.
That’s right, the other bane of my existence, the most common food allergy on the planet…these idiots added Peanuts to the mix.
I’m telling you this so you’ll have a better time than I did at the place, but please, please, read the ingredient labels carefully.
Also, the MOCA location is microscopically tiny…at least compared to the Pasadena Location.
PARKING: Good luck. This is Downtown L.A., aka that nest of Vipers and Thieves. Parking is going to be a problem, so I’d suggest keeping some perspective.
You’re going to be able to find parking scattered up and down Grand Avenue, but those lots will be expensive. All I suggest is that you not make Lemonade your only stop for the day. Go to the Museum of Contemporary Art, or the Disney Center, then stop off and have lunch.
Disney Hall has a garage, but they may be using it for prospective Jurors to the Stanley Mosk Courthouse across the street, and you can try the lot next door to the Stanley Most Courhouse as well. If you want street parking, you’ll be walking a bit…and sometimes up and down hill.
MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles)
250 South Grand Avenue (At The Main Museum Entrance)
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 628-0200
Fax: (213) 628-0220
Monday & Friday 9am – 5:30pm
Tuesday & Wednesday 9am – 3:30pm
Thursday 9am – 8:30pm
Saturday & Sunday 11am – 6:30pm