Hakata Ikkousha Ramen (Los Angeles, June 2022)


Here is a quick report on a quick meal on our Los Angeles trip in June. I’ve noted before that my mother-in-law’s move to Seal Beach a few years ago has meant a major adjustment to our Los Angeles life. We are no longer in the heart of Koreatown, no longer a short hop to Thai Town—and quite a bit further away from the San Gabriel Valley. There are, of course, compensations. These include proximity to the beautiful and numerous beaches of the South Bay; and from a food standpoint, we are now much closer to Artesia for Indian food and, above all, much closer to Torrance and Gardena for Japanese food. As a result, our Japanese food intake has risen sharply on recent trips. On our previous trip we enjoyed lunch at Jidaiya Ramen in Gardena; here now is an account of another ramen meal just a little further away on Western Ave. in Torrance. Continue reading

Kanpachi (Los Angeles, June 2022)


My meal reports from our trip to Los Angeles in June began with the first of two dim sum meals. Here now is my second report, on the first of two sushi meals. In my write-up of our dinner at Sushi Takeda in the winter I’d noted that on our next trip we were unlikely to go out to another expensive sushi dinner, given the escalating prices of omakases at the high end. And we stuck to that sort of resolution on this trip. For one thing, we only went out to sushi lunches, not dinners, and for another, we only ate the set lunch omakase specials at the places we went to. The first of these places is an unheralded restaurant in Gardena, the kind that does not show up on lists of the best sushi bars in Los Angeles: Kanpachi. It was a satisfying lunch anyway. Continue reading

Dim Sum 101 (Los Angeles, June 2022)


Alright, let’s get started on the meal reports from our 9 days in Los Angeles before we headed off to Hawaii. Unlike our two weeks in Hawaii, our time in Los Angeles was very food-focused—as it always is. We are not tourists in Los Angeles: all we do is hang out with family and friends, hang out at the beach and go out to eat. And one of the three categories of food we look forward to eating the most when in Southern California is dim sum (sushi and Korean are the two others). Usually, we head to one of our favourite places in the San Gabriel Valley for dim sum but on this trip we decided to stick closer to home, which is now in Seal Beach (which is not only not Los Angeles, it is not even in LA County). We ate dim sum twice on this trip—coincidentally for both our first and last meal out—and at two different ends of the spectrum. First up, a quick meal at Dim Sum 101 in Lomita, a relatively new operation. Continue reading

Garden Grove Korean x 2: Jong Ro + GamjaTang House (Los Angeles, Dec 2021)


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

Jidaiya Ramen (Los Angeles, December 2021)


With this report I come to the end of our first week of eating in Los Angeles. No, there wasn’t an entire second week of eating: only three more restaurant meals after this one. This, our seventh meal out, took us back to the scene of the first. Jidaiya Ramen is, you see, located in the same strip mall in Gardena as Shin-Sen-Gumi Yakitori. Indeed, while leaving Shin-Sen-Gumi after lunch that Monday we’d noticed people eating outside Jidaiya as well and that is a big reason why we picked it as the scene of an early lunch on our way to wander around the Manhattan Beach pier. Things didn’t go quite according to plan. Despite it being a bright, sunny day they told us they weren’t going to be setting the outside tables up as they were expecting to be too busy to be able to staff both the inside and the outside. But we’d got there right after opening and there was no one else there yet and so we decided to make a quick lunch of it indoors anyway even though they too were not checking vaccination confirmations. Continue reading

Mo Ran Gak (Los Angeles, December 2021)


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

Shin-Sen-Gumi Yakitori (Los Angeles, December 2021)


We got back from Los Angeles about 10 days ago. Given how maniacally we ate out while there, we’ve been taking a break from eating out since we go back. We’ll probably get back on the horse next weekend. Until then I’ll be posting more meal reports from the Los Angeles trip. Unlike from trips past—where I have posted reports 6 months to a year after the meals were eaten—I’m hoping that this time I’ll be done with all of them before we get too far into February. Here now is the 4th report of the 10 meals we ate out. It is, as it happens, an account of our very first restaurant meal on the trip: at Shin-Sen-Gumi Yakitori in Gardena. Continue reading

Sushi Nozomi II (Los Angeles, December 2021)


If dim sum is one of things we most look forward to eating in Los Angeles, so is sushi. My views on Minnesota sushi being just about as beloved as my views on Minnesota dim sum, I will say no more about that. I will instead only reiterate that it is very easy to find good sushi all over Los Angeles county—you don’t need to go to the temples of sushi in order to eat very good fish served atop very good rice. And if you’re in Torrance one of the best choices for that combination is Sushi Nozomi. I’ve previously reported on a meal eaten there six and a half years ago, a bit on the run on the way to the Long Beach Aquarium. We stopped in again on this trip—Torrance being much closer to our new base of operations in Seal Beach than to our previous in Koreatown—and this meal was even better. Herewith the details. Continue reading