Archive for the 'Torrance' Category

Ichimi Ann Bamboo Garden – Los Angeles (Torrance)

Ichimi Ann Bamboo Garden - Torrance

While braised meats are often reserved for colder months and smoothies for warmer ones, soba slurping is a special sport that knows no meteorological bounds.

At Ichimi An Bamboo Garden, soba noodles are made from scratch each morning using buckwheat flour shipped straight from Japan. These wonderfully firm strands with a distinctly earthy essence are served either chilled with a dipping sauce or in hot broth as a noodle soup. Regardless of what the weather man predicts, the conditions are always ripe for soba.

Ichimi Ann Bamboo Garden - Torrance

The Astronomer and I were greeted with a line snaking through the restaurant when we arrived on Saturday afternoon. We placed our order at the cash register and hoped that seats would open up by the time our lunch arrived. Sure enough, the kitchen’s rhythm synched with the pace of diners and a table freed just in time.

Ichimi Ann Bamboo Garden - Torrance

Hot soba may have its devotees, but here in balmy Los Angeles the cold stuff always hits the spot. My order was served on a sieve-like bamboo tray called a zaru and garnished with dried seaweed.

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{swoon} Tonkatsu Pork Cutlet at Kagura

Kagura - Torrance

The Old Torrance neighborhood in which Kagura is situated isn’t much of a looker, but step into the restaurant and the mood instantly switches from gritty to Zen. Clean lines, dark woods, and cozy cubbies create a real sense of calm. Here at this convivial Japanese oasis, Tokyo native Kentaro Masuda prepares the city’s best tonkatsu, a masterfully deep-fried pork cutlet that is evenly golden on the outside and juicy throughout.

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Torihei – Los Angeles (Torrance)

Torihei - Torrance

I should go ahead and declare February Japanese Food Appreciation month. From budget sushi to high-end fishes, not to mention spicy ramen and modern Japanese fare, it seems that the bulk of my meals these past 25 days have hailed from the Land of the Rising Sun.

Continuing on my streak of delicious Japanese cuisine, I traveled to Torrance for a feast of yakitori and oden at Torihei. I was joined by a band of merry eaters including The Astronomer, Remil, Danny, Amy, and Dennis (Amy’s fiance). Torihei is Danny’s favorite spot for skewered and grilled goodness in the South Bay.

Torihei - Torrance

Torihei is the collaborative effort of chefs Masataka Hirai and Masakazu Sasaki. Chef Hirai heads up the yakitori portion of the menu, while Chef Sasaki is an expert in Kyoto-style oden dishes. [To learn more about the histories of both chefs and their specialties, I recommend reading Exile Kiss’ thorough write up.]

Danny spearheaded the ordering effort, sticking mostly to the yakitori side of the menu. However, I heard from a trusty source that the oden dishes are equally superb.

Torihei - Torrance

Every table is outfitted with wooden boxes filled with shichimi togarashi (Japanese spice blend) and sansho (Sichuan pepper powder). Both are used as dipping condiments for the grilled items. The numbing sensation of the Sichuan pepper powder paired marvelously with the skewered odds and ends that graced our table this evening.

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Mitsuwa Marketplace – Los Angeles (Torrance)

Back in November, gas•tron•o•my reader Anh tipped me off to Mitsuwa Markeplace after I whined about the frozen deconstructed sushi I endured at Mako Bowl in Pasadena. “Go to Mitsuwa Marketplace, Cathy!” encouraged Anh. “They’ve probably got the most decent grocery store sushi I’ve ever seen.”

When the running gods cursed me recently with a shoddy pair of running shoes that needed returning in Torrance,  the food gods smiled down and reminded me of Mitsuwa nearby. Hip, hip, hooray.

Mitsuwa Marktplace is part grocery store and part food court—The Astronomer and I explored both on our afternoon visit. After scanning the available eating options, we began our feast at Mifune.

The life-like plastic food displays along each of the vendors’ kiosks were very helpful in determining where and what to eat. For a measly $6.50 we received a bowl of pork katsu curry and a hot bowl of wakame udon.

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