My Besh friend alerted me to the awesomeness of Yama Seafood in her recent write up, “Yama Seafood L.A. Fish Market is a Godsend for the Sushi Addict” on L.A. Weekly’s Squid Ink blog.
While The Astronomer was away for an out-of-town wedding this past weekend, I made elaborate plans to finally watch Jiro Dreams of Sushi while indulging in pristine sashimi from Yama. What better way to spend a lazy Sunday, right?
Yama ain’t much to look at from the outside, or the inside for that matter, but the people who run the three-decade-old market are super-sweet, and the fishes are as fresh as billed.
I made my way to the fish counter upon arriving at Yama. Three people were ahead of me in line, and it took a solid 20 minutes before I was served because the sashimi here is sliced and assembled to order.
There’s no menu, little signage, and just a bit of English spoken at the market, so I gestured and nodded to indicate the type and size of fish that I desired. I was only buying sushi for one, so two small fillets of salmon and yellowtail were more than enough to satisfy.
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Ever since Chengdu Taste came into my life a few weeks ago and the idea of sampling every dish on the 100+ item menu took hold, I’ve been returning to the restaurant anytime anyone requests a Chinese food outing. Or at least I try to.
On a recent Saturday afternoon, The Astronomer and I veered from our spicy standby due to a standing lunch date with Sichuan-averse friends. Instead, we headed to Tasty Noodle House, a highly respected Dalian spot famous for its clean flavors and cooking finesse.
The dining room is tiny, bright, and modern, while service comes with a smile. My last two restaurant outings in the neighborhood have boasted notable hospitality and atmospheres. I’m sensing a sea change in the San Gabriel Valley, so we’ll see if this streak continues.
To start, we shared a platter of sliced jellyfish head marinated in chili and black vinegar ($6.99). Chilled, snappy, and balanced just so, this starter was outstanding.
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Big Ass Dumpling—that was the email subject line that our friend Mike fittingly employed to coordinate our outing to San Gabriel’s Wang Xing Ji.
Famous for its enormous dumplings, Wang Xing Ji is “the first American branch of a popular dumpling house in Wuxi,” according to Jonathan Gold in his review of the restaurant. “Actually, Wang Xing Ji is the dumpling house in Wuxi, almost a century old, the one restaurant every guidebook seems to mention.”
What’s most interesting about Wuxi-style cuisine is its intrinsic sweetness. According to Wikipedia, “the [region's] common cooking method is characterized by the addition of sugar and soy sauce to many savory dishes, often in the form of hongshao (literally ‘red braised’). This often results in a fragrant, caramelized flavor. In addition, Wuxi cuisine often has sweeter versions of dishes found in its neighboring regions.”
On Wang Xing Ji’s menu, the rare unsweetened dishes are denoted with a star. The sweet, signature dishes are given a thumbs up icon. We stuck to the “recommendation” offerings this evening.
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For three years running, The Astronomer and I have returned to the site of our wedding banquet to celebrate our anniversary. These happily ever after years are flying by so darn quickly, so it’s always nice to sit back, relax, feast, and reminisce.
This year, we were a bit nervous about returning to the fourth floor of the Focus Jewelry Center because our beloved restaurant had undergone a name change—New Capital Seafood now goes by Five Star Seafood Restaurant.
We were relieved to find things virtually unchanged since our last visit. The menu still offered our old standbys, the staff still had difficulty understanding us, and the decor still struck a gaudy note.
Even the ridiculously priced lobster special, 99 cents per pound with every $30 purchase, was still intact. All was right with the world.
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