Posts

Showing posts from March, 2014

Los Angeles Ramen Yokocho 2014

Image
RAMEN!

March 29 - 30, 2014 Santa Anita Park Japan Cup and Japan Family Day

Watch the festival commercial HERE


March is National Noodle Month!
What a way to end the month...

Few will believe that there is actually a food festival for Ramen in the U.S.  This was the second year in Los Angeles and the largest ramen festival in the U.S.  14 ramen vendors from Japan, Las Vegas, San Diego, San Jose, and Los Angeles converged on Santa Anita Park in Arcadia on a sunny Saturday to begin this 2 day noodle fest.  I attended the 1st Los Angeles Ramen Yokocho in Torrance, IMO it was the wrong venue, but the ramen was good.
Santa Anita Park is a great location, not just for 626 Night Market, but the infield venue was larger than I thought.  Today it was filled with boiling pots of broths, some taking up to 20 hours to make, and lots of fresh noodles.  Growing up, I often think of the dried packages of noodles and in 45 seconds, ramen is ready.  Today, we have gourmet ramen vendors creating magic with pork …

Upcoming Ramen Festival - March 29-30, 2014

Image
March is National Noodle Month!
One of the things I wanted to do on my 2001 trip to Japan was to visit a typical ramen shop.  I knew I haven't really had good ramen and looking forward to what RAMEN really is or at least what I had heard.  Before we left on our 10+ hour flight to Tokyo, we stopped at Hakata Ramen in Gardena.  I usually have really good Mexican food before a trip, but was open for something really good before we got on the plane.  Oddly, Shin Sen Gumi is one of my "goto" places for simple ramen.  If you follow me on Instagram, you know I like extra ginger! (Now you know the background story)
After my trip to Japan, I realized that we didn't really have good ramen here at the time.  Fast forward to 2014, we have some pretty good ramen place in the Southern California area.  Add in some good places on the West Coast and a few from Japan and the 2014 Ramen Yokocho is the place to be to sample ramen from all over.
The Largest Ramen Show in the U.S. is Back! Ma…

Ichiban Ramen: Non-MSG Chicken Ramen

Image
There are a LOT of ramen places in Gardena and Torrance.  I don't get out to too many of the Japanese ramen places in the South Bay much, although I do have my favorites.  To me, most have very similar menus and as one of my friends from Japan would say, "same same."
A friend of mine, Jesse Hiraki, told me about a new ramen restaurant in Torrance, which happens to be owned by a friend of his.  After a dinner meeting, Jesse and I stopped in.  I noticed the wine menu on the wall as we walked in and another sign that said "Non-MSG Chicken Ramen."  I knew I needed to try the ramen, even though we had dinner already.  
On a second visit, a few friends and I decided to have dinner at Ichiban Ramen, I also invited a friend visiting from Hawaii and her now-mainland based friend to join us.  We ordered a bunch of menu items, here's some of what we ordered.
See What Jay Eats...
Kaarage Chicken (Japanese fried chicken)
Nice and crispy  and part of tonight's Happy Hour men…

Favorite Restaurant Series: Baco Mercat

Image
I'm always asked what's my favorite restaurant?  I really don't have a favorite, but this one is one of my favorite places.  This is the first of my Favorite Restaurant Series.    
The star of the show here is the "baco", which is a flatbread sandwich created by chef Josef Centeno.  There is a supporting star here, the "coca", which is a flatbread pizza.  The Mediterranean influenced menu has small plates which encourages sharing, so visit with a friend or two.
See What Jay Eats...
"The Toron" oxtail hash, cheddar tater, horseradish-yogurt "baco"

My favorite baco at Baco Mercat! If you like oxtail, you must order this one.

 "double mushroom" maitake, crimini, fontina
(with pork belly bacon sausage added) "coca"
If you likes mushrooms, this is really good,
especially with the pork belly bacon sausage.  
Worth the extra $5.


"shaved chicory salad" pecorino, walnuts, anchovy, butter crumbs
The anchovy gave it a nice balance

s…

That's What a Hamburger's All About

Image
Growing up in Southern California, we'd see TV commercials with Los Angeles Ram Jack Youngblood eating a Double-Double (LA Rams, yes it was a long time ago).  There wasn't the Internet to look up where to find an In-n-Out Burger location, just the phone book, remember those?  BUT, I was fortunate to attend a high school that had an In-n-Out Burger down the street.  I have to say, after all of these years, In-n-Out Burger still tastes the SAME!

The Original Replica of In-n-Out Burger in Baldwin Park, California (1954)
Actually this is the second location, the first location is where the freeway overpass is now located.

Having business in the area, I've driven by this Original location many times.  It was sad to see history torn down, but glad that they replaced it with a replica of the original 10 x 10 building.

In October 1948, the first "Drive-Thru" in California opened.
 Love the prices...

The buildings and signs may not look like this anymore, but the food and the quality …

Plan Check Kitchen Fairfax: A Stussy Event

Image
Like most Americans, I grew up on burgers and T-shirts.  Regardless if it was a burger at Original Tommy's on Rampart and Beverly or shopping for T-shirts at the Glendale Galleria, it was one of the things to do growing up in the center of Los Angeles.  
A couple of years ago I was fortunate to get invited to a Stussy event at Plan Check Kitchen on Sawtelle (see my post here).  I was glad to hear that Plan Check Kitchen opened a new location in the Fairfax area, it's a lot closer to home.  Recently, I was invited to a special Stussy event at the latest Plan Check Kitchen location on Fairfax.  More importantly, I was interested to see what Chef Ernesto Uchimura had in mind for this special Stussy menu.  I was NOT disappointed!

A Stussy Event with Great Food! 

See What Jay Eats...
Deluxe Soda luxardo cherry soda, remy vs cognac, and elderflower foam 

A great way to begin this Stussy event

Tonight's Special Stussy Menu 

 House-made Pickles
I would've been happy eating the pickles,