The most visually stunning jello in town!

I feel like Downey is probably one of the unsung corners of Los Angeles county.  It is chock full of modest awesomeness:  there are those apartment buildings that used to belong to the Carpenters; there’s the world’s oldest McDonald’s (please note that I am not advocating eating at the world’s oldest McDonald’s – but it’s worth a stop for the retro signage and for the surprisingly humble and ramshackle McDonald’s museum that’s attached for it); there’s the absolutely gorgeous, restored, award-winning Bob’s Big Boy; and there’s Porto’s, where all your Cuban baked good-related dreams can come true.  And, at 7420 Florence Avenue, there is Amapola Market, where all of my jello-related dreams recently came true.

Still life with tulips, robot, jello

Amapola is a Mexican grocery store and deli, and they have an amazing deli counter full of delicious carnitas and tamales, and a bakery that makes scrumptious pan dulce.  But, given my personal predilection for food that a) is kind of weird and b) looks like it comes from outer space,  I am most drawn to their absolutely beautiful jello molds, which are sparkling, jewel-like creations that put the jellied salads of 1950s housewives to shame.  Just look at this!  This is not just dessert.  This, my friends, is art.  Also, this was only $9.95, which, frankly, is an extremely small price to pay for the amount of joy it brought into my life.  They will also take special orders, making it easy to coordinate the colors of one’s jello mold with the colors of one’s outfit.

There are two more Amapola locations, in Compton and in Paramount, but I haven’t been so I don’t know if they also do jello.  If you’ve been to either, feel free to report in in the comments!

 

Johnie’s Broiler > Bob’s Big Boy

Johnie’s Broiler Neon

(But we’ll take what we can get)

Downey has a few cultural landmarks–funnily enough, all of them related to fast food. Oldest McDonalds? Yep. First Taco Bell? Yep.

But our pride and joy has always been Johnie’s Broiler, a 1950s Googie-style diner located at 7447 Firestone Blvd.

Having grown up in Downey, Johnie’s has been a fixture in my life since as far back as I can remember. Every time it appeared in movies (License to Drive! Heat!), it was a cue to go get a milkshake.

When The Broiler’s illegal demolition began back in 2007, residents and preservationists called police and halted the bulldozers. Since then, The Broiler’s future has been uncertain.

Car-hoppers rejoice! Hot rodders, start your engines! According to Downey’s local paper, Johnie’s current owner and reps from Bob’s Big Boy have reached a tentative lease agreement. Under the agreement, the architecture will be restored, the diner will be fully-functional, and the weekend car-hops will continue.

Photo by Wiki user Astroluxe under a CC license.