Friday, February 28, 2014

Gourmet Musubi Pop Up in Little Tokyo

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What's a Musubi?

A musubi or onigiri is pretty simple,
a Japanese rice ball wrapped in seaweed.

Some of the traditional filling include seaweed,
a sour plum, or salted salmon.

Sometimes they're dipped in furikake,
which is a Japanese condiment sprinkled over rice.
It includes chopped seaweed, sesame seeds,
dried fish, salt, etc.

You may have heard "musubi" associated with
SPAM, which is a staple in Hawaii.

Today, I'm with

My first visit to Mama Musubi was at 626 Night Market,
their 24-Hour Pork Belly caught my eye and taste buds,
I wasn't disappointed.
Read about my first visit to 626 Night Market.

I was introduced to the Mama Musubi sibling owners,
Carol and Phillip.  They invited me to a sneak peek of
the menu items for an upcoming pop up in Little Tokyo.

See What Jay Eats...

Gyu Niku Musubi
Angus Beef Ribeye and Caramelized Onions
in a sweet soy sauce.

It's like a mini beef bowl that you can eat 
on the go in 2-3 bites.

(L to R) Spicy Kombu, 24-Hour Pork Belly, and Mama's Special

Spicy Kombu:  Seasoned Kelp and House Taberu Chili Rayu
24-Hour Pork Belly:  Berkshire Pork Belly, Daikon, and Karashi Mustard
Mama's Special:  Oregon Bay Shrimp, Snow Crab, and Yuzu Aioli 

The Spicy Kombu (seaweed) was really good and I enjoyed it.
24-Hour Pork Belly was the one that I was introduced with and
still good today.  Mama's Special was a special treat, similar
to a California Roll, but with a nice yuzu flavor.
But then again, I love yuzu...

Negi Miso Yaki and Miso Chicken

Negi Miso Yaki:  Haccho Miso and Scallions on top
of a grilled rice ball.
Miso Chicken:  Jidori Chicken Thighs with House miso sauce

I usually don't order the Yaki Onigiri at a yakitori house,
it just a rice ball grilled with some yakitori sauce.  Crispy
on the outside and soft on the inside.  Mama Musubi puts
a miso sauce with scallions on top of the grilled rice ball.  
I enjoyed  the flavor and crunchy rice texture.  Also good 
was the Miso Chicken, with chunks of grilled Jidori chicken.

Wrap Up...
Each was good and something I would enjoy on it's own.
The 24-Hour Pork Belly was just as good as when I had it
at 626 Night Market during the summer of 2013.

My favorites were the Miso Chicken and the Spicy Kombu.
The Spicy Kombu was a really nice surprise,
not too spicy but had a nice kick to it.

With the Mama Musubi sibling owners, Carol and Phillip

Mama Musubi uses quality proteins like
Berkshire Pork, Angus Beef, and Jidori Chicken.
Anytime you start with good ingredients, you keep it
simple and let the natural flavor come through.
Mama Musubi does just that with a great combination
of ingredients and textures.

If you want to sample the above menu offerings,
Mama Musubi will have their first pop up
in Little Tokyo from March 7 - 15, 2014.

Mama Musubi Pop Up

(Next door to Lazy Ox)
243 S. San Pedro St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 621-9500
Closed on Sundays

Follow Mama Musubi for upcoming events and pop ups:

You can find them each Wednesday at the Altadena Farmers Market

Look for them at 626 Night Market 

Watch @BackyardBite's Tastemade video here

Thank You!
Carol Kwan
Phillip Kwan
Mama Musubi

My favorite musubi place in Honolulu
Click Here

Photos by Jay Terauchi
Jay Eats

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Sushi at Oomasa

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Sushi at Oomasa Restaurant in Little Tokyo
Met up with Mr. David Kudo of Sushi and Sake Magazine
to talk about an upcoming food event, details to follow.

 Something Good is about to Happen!

See What Jay Eats...

 Halibut Sushi
with salt and yuzukosho

Yuzukosho is a chili paste with yuzu peel (Japanese citrus)

 Sea Bass Sushi
 with salt and yuzukosho

I love eating white fish like this, with lemon and salt
or yuzukosho.

 Spanish Mackerel Sushi 
with ginger, green onions, and ponzu.

One of my all time favorites...

 Yellowtail Sushi

They have a great selection of fish and seafood

 Santa Barbara Prawns in miso soup.

The bonus when you order amaebi (sweet shrimp)
Sorry, no picture, it was gone in no time...

Santa Barbara Sea Urchin

It's all about eating local
and Santa Barbara has the best!

When I was in Japan, went to a friend's
restaurant and he served uni.  
I asked if it was from Hokkaido?  
He said, "No, from Santa Barbara" 

Oomasa is one of my favorite sushi places in Little Tokyo
If sushi isn't your thing, don't worry,
they have a full kitchen menu too.

Oomasa Restaurant
100 Japanese Village Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 623-9048
Closed on Tuesdays

Stay tuned for an upcoming 
food event
in Little Tokyo

Thank you Mr. Kudo!

Photos by Jay Terauchi
Jay Eats

Sunday, February 16, 2014

My Favorite Taquitos

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Here's some of my favorite taquitos in Southern California.
Just a few places.

See What Jay Eats...

 2 Beef Taquitos
with their secret avocado sauce
Celito Lindo

Their avocado sauce is more of a liquid sauce
but does have flavor.  Be sure to eat
over the plate, it can get all over you.

Combination #2
2 taquitos and 1 tamale
with beans and cheese 

E-23 Olvera Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Open Daily at 9 am

2 Beef Taquitos 
with fresh guacamole

Should have ordered some chips with my taquitos

Pepe's Mexican Food
Southern California Locations

2 Taquitos
Beef or Chicken
Tom's Tacos
with salsa and guacamole sauce

Anaheim location
3024 West Ball Road
Anaheim, CA 92804

Torrance location
5148 W 190th St
Torrance, CA 90503

3 Chicken Taquitos 
with guacamole, cheese, and lettuce.
Bachan's Takeout
3 pcs for $5

Strange for an Asian place to have good 
taquitos but enjoyed them here.
Just wished there was hot sauce.

Bachan's Takeout
1324 1/2 Potrero Grande Drive
Rosemead, CA 91770
Closed Sundays and Mondays

Chicken Taquitos
Josie's Place 

These aren't taquitos! 

Oops, this picture got mixed in with the wrong food pics.

815 W Las Tunas Dr
San Gabriel, CA 91776
Closed Wednesdays

2 Beef Taquitos
Rolled in hot sauce and served with guacamole

If you like spicy, order it with hot sauce

Taco Chabelita
2001 S Western Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90018

Would love to hear where 
you go for good taquitos...

Photos by Jay Terauchi
Jay Eats

Sunday, February 9, 2014

One of My Favorites in Little Tokyo

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I grew up not too far from Downtown Los Angeles and Little Tokyo, so we spent a good amount of time in the area.  Remembering the places my dad would take us for treats and the restaurants we'd go to, most are no longer around.  

Here's one of the memories, my sister and I were really young, we used to go with our mom to pick-up my dad when he had his office on 1st Street.  Sometimes we would wait for him by watching them make imagawayaki in the window at Mitsuru Cafe, before they moved to the Japanese Village Plaza.  Did I just show my age?  

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I sometimes stop
to pick up my favorite treat when I'm in Little Tokyo.

Imagawayaki is like two pancakes with sweet Azuki beans in the center.
They're about the size of a hockey puck, but not as thick.

 After all of these years, it still tastes the same as I remember.

 This is the same griddle that I used to watch
them make as a kid and continues to use today.

First the pancake type batter is placed in the griddle.
Once the batter starts to bubble, the Azuki beans are added.
The batter for the second side is started.
Once the second side starts to bubble, the side 
with the beans are added on top.
When completed, they're placed in the warmer near the window.

I didn't try any in Japan, because to me, these are the Original.

See What Jay Eats...

For me, it's more of a childhood memory
and treat when I visit Little Tokyo.

Usually on the weekends, just look for the line in front of the window.

I used to have a client Downtown and we would
meet on Mondays.  I would walk through Little Tokyo
to catch the Gold Line for the trip home,
but Mitsuru Cafe is closed on Mondays...

Mitsuru Cafe
117 Japanese Village Plaza Mall
(between 1st and 2nd Street)
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 613-1028
Closed on Mondays

BTW, Mitsuru Cafe has a Japanese cafe menu,
with noodles, rice bowls, and specials.

2014 is the 130th Anniversary of Little Tokyo
More to come...Stay Tuned

OR some places have them prepackaged.

@KristieHang tells me, they're also made at
the San Gabriel Superstore on 
San Gabriel Blvd and Valley Blvd.

Photos by Jay Terauchi
Jay Eats

Thursday, February 6, 2014

EggSlut at Grand Central Market

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If you're eating with me, you'll probably hear me say no egg.   Reason why, not many places know how to properly cook an egg.  When a place DOES know how to cook an egg, I'll order whatever with an egg and will be back.  With a name like EggSlut, I hope they know how to cook an egg.

I never got out to the EggSlut food truck, but heard good things about their menu.  I was reading a post on the revitalization of the Grand Central Market in Downtown Los Angeles and I knew one of the new vendors is EggSlut.  So on a warm January Sunday, I headed down to Grand Central Market and breakfast at EggSlut.

Eggslut is one of the first stalls you'll see when entering 
from the Broadway entrance.

See What Jay Eats...

 Sausage, Egg, and Cheese Sandwich
Sausage with an organic egg and cheddar on brioche

The egg was cooked perfectly,
I was worried the yolk would run all over,
but it was cooked just right.

 Egg Salad
Egg salad on a brioche

The Slut
(Takes about 15 minutes)

A coddled egg on top of a smooth potato puree, poached in 
a glass jar and served with toasty crostini

BTW, you can keep the jar.

They know how to cook an egg, so I'll definitely be back!

For my next visit, I want to get the burger (with egg) on a 
biscuit (you have to request it) 

Stay Tuned 

Grand Central Market
317 S. Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90013

8:00 am - 4:00 pm

Photos by Jay Terauchi
Jay Eats Worldwide

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Checking out the Hot Buns!

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Kicking off the Lunar New Year, a group of friends and I headed to checkout some hot buns. 

Might have to explain this one...

Let me try again, we went to try some bao buns filled with different kinds of proteins and fillings.  We headed over to The Bun House, you might be familiar with The Bun Truck, this is their brick and mortar location which just opened.

See What Jay Eats...

Each order comes with 2 buns and a side salad.
You can add a side of fries or sweet potato fries for $2.

Korean Marinated Beef, Tempura Fried Onions, and Aioli 

Spicy Pig 
Spicy Pork, Cucumber, Scallions, Tzaziki, and Sriracha

 Pork BBQ
Pork Belly, Cucumber, Citrus Slaw, and Spicy BBQ Sauce

Crispy Chicken, Cucumber, Citrus Slaw, and Spicy BBQ Sauce

All of the buns seemed to have the same flavor profile with a bit spicy at the finish.  I would've liked to have each one with a difference in flavor, but it is what it is.  All of the proteins were cooked well and the buns were really good.  I think my favorite was the Katsu, had some texture and I liked the citrus slaw.

We opted for a couple of sides...

 Shop Fries
with Garlic Rosemary Shoestring Fries with Ranch

I really liked these fries,  not sure if it's because
I've cut down on fried foods and haven't
had fries in awhile.

 Ba'Corn Cheese
with Bacon, Corn, and Mozzarella
served on a cast iron pan.

How could this not be good?
Three of my favorite things,
Bacon, Corn, and Mozzarella!

The not-to-miss dessert
Deep Fried Oreos
with Green Tea Ice Cream

A couple of reasons why you should order this.
I've had green tea ice cream and this one
was very creamy, probably made in-house.
The Oreos, fried just right!

Would order this one again,
cookies and deep fried,
how could this not be good? 

Overall, the buns were good, wished the seasoning on each 
was a bit different.  The Deep Fried Oreos is a not-to-miss menu item!
Would go back and try a few more and dessert, of course.

151 N. Western Ave 
(South of Beverly Blvd.)
Los Angeles, CA 90004
(323) 468-1031

Monday - Sunday
11:30 am - 10 pm

Photos by Jay Terauchi
Jay Eats