Here now is my last meal report from our trip to Southern California in December. It covers two meals eaten in the food court of the H Mart in Garden Grove: the first, family dinner on Christmas Sunday, and the second, a quick midweek lunch eaten by me and the boys. Fittingly, this report will post on the blog on the Sunday that will be my last full day in Seoul.
Why did we eat Christmas dinner at the H Mart food court? Partly because “why not?” and partly because we didn’t want to deal with the waits at regular Garden Grove Korean restaurants—as we’d have had to do before eating at Mo Ran Gak on Christmas in 2021 if there hadn’t been an outdoor tented area. (Now, of course, the tented seating is seemingly gone from everywhere.) The fact that there was a second meal a few days later should tell you we quite liked the food. Continue reading →
Here is my penultimate restaurant report from our trip to Southern California in December. It was not our penultimate meal—that, unfortunately, was our less-than-great sushi meal at Koi—but it was one of our better meals, even if it took us deeper into Orange County, to Costa Mesa. (I’m still in denial that on our trips to L.A we are now based in Orange County.) Izakaya Hachi does have a Torrance location as well but the Costa Mesa branch is an easier drive from Seal Beach on a week night. It was a rainy week night, as it happens and so we were in the mood for some good izakaya food when we arrived. Luckily, Hachi did not disappoint. Continue reading →
Only a few more reports to go from our Southern California trip in December. We ate sushi at Nozomi in Torrance the day after we arrived and we ate sushi at Koi in Seal Beach two days before we left. One meal was a little more expensive than the other and one meal was not as good as the other, by some distance. Alas, the more expensive meal was the less good meal and that meal was this dinner at Koi. It was not bad per se—and, again, it was far better than anything available in Minnesota—but we were left wishing we’d just gone back to Nozomi for one more meal. Continue reading →
Here, finally, is my last restaurant report from our time in Los Angeles in June. It is of our last meal eaten out, which coincidentally bookended the beginning of our eating out on that trip quite well. As you have doubtless memorized, our first meal was at 101 Dim Sum/Dim Sum 101 in Lomita. And this last also featured dim sum, at J Zhou in Tustin. Dim sum aside, the two restaurants are quite far apart in ambience and style. You could fit several 101 Dim Sums inside J Zhou and where the small restaurant is done up in a hipper, more contemporary style, J Zhou’s decor is in a more maximalist banquet restaurant style (unlike 101 Dim Sum, J Zhou becomes a Cantonese seafood restaurant in the evenings). Their menu too is much larger than 101 Dim Sum’s and contains a lot more than just the greatest hits/standards. But did it all add up to a better meal for us? Read on. Continue reading →
This is an account of our last restaurant meal in Los Angeles in December but it’s not my last meal report from the trip. That will come next weekend—a write-up of dinner at Sushi Takeda. This meal comprised Korean food picked up from two different restaurants in the Korean enclave of Garden Grove (where we went earlier for an excellent dinner at Mo Ran Gak). There were a number of things we wanted to eat: sullungtang (beef bone soup_, soondae (blood sausage), gamjatang (potato and pork neck stew) and also yeomsotang (black goat stew). Specialization being all, we decided to get the first two from Jong Ro and the latter two from GamjaTang House—both located on/off Garden Grove Boulevard. A short drive back to Seal Beach and we ate it all on my mother-in-law’s patio in the midst of late-December Southern California rain. 10/10, would do it again. Herewith, the details. Continue reading →
When my mother-in-law first told us in 2019 that she considering moving to Seal Beach we thought this was going to be a rather dramatic shift for her. This because she was leaving Koreatown where she had been based for 30 odd years, in the embrace of what is probably the most hardcore Korean enclave outside the two Koreas. It turned out, however, that the retirement community she moved to has a large population of Korean seniors; and that just 10-15 minutes down the freeway there is another Korean enclave in Garden Grove. Now this is not news to anyone in the South Bay but back when we lived in Los Angeles—or when we visited Koreatown every year—places south of the Orange County border weren’t really on our radar. But Garden Grove has a significant Korean population too, along with major grocery stores and lots of restaurants. It’s not Koreatown but there’s enough there to not make us mourn the loss of our Irolo/James M. Wood base too much either on our trips back. For example: Mo Ran Gak. Continue reading →