This past weekend my bf and I took a trip..."food tour" if you will...haha. We hit up Los Angeles, CA and Nashville, TN. Random, eh?? hahaha. We had a purpose to our madness... One, to get him more miles to make executive platinum status on AA (which he's going to get! Woot!). Two, to eat at new places! And three, to see my awesome friends in LA!
I have a lot to post so I'm going to do it in 3 parts. Parts I & II will be the 2 days in LA and part III will be Nashville.
I flew in earlier on Friday and my friend took me to eat lunch at this awesome Japanese supermarket food court. Japanese food in CA is pretty bad ass!
21515 Western Ave
Torrance, CA 90501
My friend got #9. Toroniku (special pork) Salt Ramen Large $10.99~ at the Santouka Ramen counter.
This was the ramen he kept telling me about. And he's been looking forward to going there with me cuz he hasn't had it in a while. I've never had Salt Ramen before, the broth looked almost creamy... and the special pork on the side was a finer cut of meat than usual pork slices in ramen. OMG!! Sooo freaking delicious!!! If I had the choice I will never order the regular kinds of ramen again. The broth was rich and full of flavor. The noodles were cooked PERFECTLY! And the pork was definitely better...soo worth the additional cost! If you love ramen...you need to go there!
I wanted to sample some other counters too so I went to Mifune (I think?) and ordered the Chashu Ramen & Unagi Donburi Combo $7.25~ What a killer deal! Sooo much food for cheap! The bowl of ramen was pretty huge. Chashu ramen is pretty generic...the flavor was normal as most ramen I've had. But again, the noodles were cooked perfectly! :) The unagi was overcooked, but for that price, I'll take it! haha.
Quality of Food:
We finished most of our food... Sooo FULL!! But couldn't resist the cake counter at Italian Tomato. We ended up getting a few cakes and dessert:
- Strawberry Cake $4-5~ - Strawberry Gateau $4-5~ - Green Tea Tiramisu $4-5~ - Black Sesame Pudding $3~ The Green Tea Tiramisu was my favorite. The green tea powder had a hint of bitterness that almost reminded me of cocoa powder. My friend didn't care for it so it was ALL mine!! Muahaha! My next favorite was the Gateau. It was a little hard to cut into but I liked all the different layers. One layer was like a puff pastry and added a buttery-ness to it all. The strawberry cake was my friend's favorite. It was super fluffy and light. I prefer denser cakes so it was too light for me. The black sesame pudding was interesting. It almost had a savory quality to it...maybe too much egg? But I feel like it needed wayyy more black sesame.
Inside the Supermarket, I also got:
- Milk Baumkuchen $5.99~ This was sooo cool. It was like thin sponge cake spun into a roll. So basically it was like a denser sponge cake. Slightly sweet...would pair great with tea or coffee!
Quality of Food:
As if the lunch and cakes weren't enough... We went to another Asian bakery for more stuff!
2370 Crenshaw Blvd
Torrance, CA 90501
This is a bakery chain I believe. Walking in, it just reminded me of Asia, and going into the bakeries there. That's what heaven must smell like! YUMMERS! We got an assortment of stuff... (from top left, clockwise)
- Hokkaido Butter Toast $2.75~
- Corn & Jerky Bread $1.15~
- Tarot Bread with Dry Buttermilk $1.30~
- Hot Dog Bread $1.20~
- Pineapple Bun with Dry Buttermilk $1.20~ - Strawberry Mochi Cake $2.85~ each...
The Strawberry Mochi Cake was a must try recommended by my friend. And he was right! OMG...never had it before. I wish we had it here in Dallas. It's like a soft creamy pillowy cloud wrapped in a thin layer of mochi. Pure deliciousness. The texture was so light. The mochi was the right thickness so it wasn't too chewy and the whipped cream and fluffy cake inside was so delicate. :D I also had the pineapple bun...not as good as the ones I have in Asia, but its pretty close. The Hokkaido Butter Toast was pretty amazing too. Hokkaido (in Japan) is known for their dairy, so their butter toast must be hella good!! Super fluffy and buttery. You don't need to put anything on the toast and the flavor is good already.
Quality of Food:
For dinner I selected a restaurant in Hollywood.
435 N Fairfax Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90048
I saw this restaurant on Food Network's "Best Thing I Ever Ate." They featured the Bacon Chocolate Crunch Bar on the show. The menu seemed interesting. It had more exotic things such as veal brains, oxtail, pigs ears, etc. Being Asian...those things are not as exotic to me, but it was cool to see a Western restaurant feature them. They also use local/organic ingredients/produce, so I thought that was cool. The restaurant is really small...about 45 seats total so a reservation is a must!! It's also hard to find, because there's no sign in the front?? Weird!
For a party of 2, we were only able to get a reservation for 9PM. DANG! But my bf's flight didn't get in until after 7PM, so it all worked out. The place was packed when we arrived! And people continued to come in throughout the night. Service was pretty slow. The waiter was nice enough but wasn't too attentive.
We ordered the following...
Baby Kale (pecorino, lemon chili vinaigrette, crouton) $9~
I needed some greens after my day of carbs...haha. It was pretty expensive for a plate of greens but I really liked this dish. A little too much vinaigrette but the lemon really added a pop of flavor to the kale. Kale is a tougher green and I liked the texture of it, you had to chew it a bit more. Very fresh...just what I needed.
Barbeque Pork Belly Sandwiches (brioche and slaw) $12~ Love me some pork belly! This dish was extremely popular on yelp, plus its got one of my favorite meats so of course we had to order it. The pork belly was cooked nicely...fatty and tender. The brioche was nicely toasted and buttery. The slaw added a nice crunch to the sliders. The only complaint is there was too much bbq sauce, but overall I liked the flavors. I felt like the more I ate, the more I liked it. Expensive for 2 sliders, but I enjoyed it.
Poutine (oxtail gravy, cheddar) $15~ We decided on this last dish mainly because everything else we wanted was either tiny portions or wayy too expensive. Plus the waiter made it sound pretty good when he described it. It was basically fries topped with cheese and oxtail. A gourmet chili cheese fries if you will. hahaha. It was good though. The oxtail was super tender and even though the fries were smothered in the gravy, cheese, and oxtail, it stayed somewhat crispy and firm. That was pretty impressive. However, the gravy and cheese combo was pretty salty, so the more we ate the saltier it became. :( Not good... By the end of the meal I had a headache from all the sodium.
One thing I didn't like about this place was that they served everything separately...almost like they are different courses. So by the end with the Poutine, we had nothing to eat with it...to cut the salt. :( Plus the high prices and not so great service, I'm not too impressed with the place. We also opted not to get dessert because I saw another table with them and they were tiny...and expensive. Plus the reviews on yelp say the bacon chocolate crunch wasn't that great.
The ambiance was pretty cool, but I would say don't go out of your way to go there... LA has wayyy too many other options.
Quality of Food:
Day 1 is over...sooo much food! But it continues the next day!! hahaha
~~ CHOMP CHOMP ~~