Category Archives: Torrance

I’m Gonna Git You Osaka


In Japan, there is a saying that people in Tokyo spend all their money on shoes, people in Kyoto spend all their money on clothes, and people in Osaka spend all their money on food. As I learned first-hand on a trip last summer, Osaka is full of foodies, and is the birthplace of several of the most interesting and amazing delicacies in The Land of the Rising Sun. One of these is Okonomiyaki (pictured above), a savory pancake made with flour, eggs, vegetables such as cabbage, green onion and sweet potato, and a variety of other ingredients including pork belly, octopus, shrimp, calamari and/or cheese. These hearty, mouth-watering treats are served piping hot and usually topped with bonito flakes, Japanese mayonnaise and a thick and sweet dark sauce.

My favorite LA spot for Okonomiyaki is Doya Doya. It’s located in Torrance, which is home to a substantial Japanese population. Doya Doya is a small and unpretensious strip mall joint; great for a quick lunch or grabbing a bite after a day of sunning at nearby Manhattan or Hermosa Beach. In addition to Okonomiyaki, Doya Doya serves another great Osakan specialty — Yakisoba, which are fried noodles cooked with your choice of seafood or Berkshire pork and topped on request with a sunny side up egg. if you have a sweet tooth like I do, make sure to order a homemade cream soda and/or a scoop of sesame ice cream drizzled with a homemade sesame sauce.

Doya Doya is located at 2140 Artesia Blvd. in Torrance.

Yakisoba

Yakisoba


Homemade Cream Soda

Homemade Cream Soda


Located in a strip mall in Torrance

Located in a strip mall in Torrance



Doya Doya on Urbanspoon

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Delmy You Love Me

Delmy Pupusas
Of the eighty or so weekly farmers markets in Los Angeles County, the biggest and best is the one that pops up every Sunday in Hollywood. Branching out in all directions from the intersection of Vine and Ivar, the Hollywood Farmers Market is the perfect place to spend an hour shopping for organic persimmons and sampling artisan goat cheese while listening to a heavily tatted hipster discuss fair trade co-ops with a dreadlocked neo-hippie. Musicians are scattered throughout, including a bluegrass band, a reggae drummer, a guy that makes music with rubber bands, and my favorite local hot jazz combo, The California Feetwarmers.

The prepared food section has a lot of great choices, but Delmy Pupusas is my favorite. Pupusas are a popular street food in El Salvador. They’re thick round corn cakes that are stuffed with a variety of fillings such as cheese, vegetables, beans, shrimp, chicken and chorizo, and cooked on a griddle until golden brown. Delmy serves these hot stuffed Salvadoran treats with homemade salasa, a spicy and vinegary cabbage relish called curtido, guacamole and some fresh crema. A couple pupusas make a nice hearty lunch and are best washed down with Delmy’s homemade horchata or agua fresca, which comes in several flavors including watermelon, strawberry, mango and raspberry. For dessert, I recommend an order of Delmy’s fried plantains served with a side of black beans and fresh crema. Muy delicioso!

Delmy Pupusas can be found at the Hollywood Farmers Market every Sunday morning and early afternoon and at several other farmers markets including Torrance, Downtown in Pershing Square, Atwater Village, Echo Park and Silverlake.

Fried Plantains with Black Beans and Crema

Fried Plantains with Black Beans and Crema


Aguas Frescas

Aguas Frescas


Every Sunday morning in the Hollywood Farmers Market

Every Sunday morning in the Hollywood Farmers Market


Delmy

Delmy


Enjoy your pupusas with some live music.

Enjoy your pupusas with some live music.


My favorite farmers market

My favorite farmers market

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Filed under Atwater Village, Downtown, Echo Park, Hollywood, Silverlake, Torrance

Welcome to the Club

Uni Bowl
Uni (aka Sea Urchin) is one of my favorite luxury ingredients, right up there with foie gras, truffles and lobster tail. So when I heard of Maruhide Uni Club, a new Japanese restaurant in Torrance where almost every dish is made with uni, it was hard to contain my enthusiasm. I was further excited by the fact that this restaurant calls itself a “club.” If Los Angeles had an uni fan club, I could envision myself running for president, or at least sergeant-at-arms. That’s how much I love uni. Naturally I made a beeline down to the South Bay to check it out.

Maruhide Uni Club is owned by a processing company and wholesaler of Santa Barbara uni. As a result, the uni at the restaurant is super fresh and the same quality you would get from a high end sushi restaurant. It’s creamy and tastes of the ocean (but not in a fishy way) with a slight sweetness and nuttiness. Dishes at Maruhide Uni Club include an Uni Rice Bowl, Uni Soup, Shrimp and Scallop Gratin with uni on top, Uni Croquettes, Tuna and Uni Carpaccio, Uni Omlette and a Marinated Uni and Squid Roll; basically everything except for Uni Ice Cream.

But while I love the concept of the restaurant and the food was surprisingly inexpensive for the generous amounts of uni in each dish, I didn’t love Maruhide Uni Club as much as I thought I would. Despite the use of one great ingredient, the dishes I had were, on the whole, disappointing. Also, the restaurant’s decor left a lot to be desired; it looks like it was decorated by Levitz and Lamps Plus. Service was not great either. Maybe I’ll bring these things up at the next club meeting…

Maruhide Uni Club is located at 2130 W. Redondo Beach Blvd., Torrance.

Scallop and Uni Carpaccio

Scallop and Uni Carpaccio


Marinated Sea Urchin with Squid Roll

Marinated Sea Urchin with Squid Roll


Sea Urchin Cream Pasta

Sea Urchin Cream Pasta


Uni to go

Uni to go


Looks like it was decorated by Levitz and Lamps Plus

Looks like it was decorated by Levitz and Lamps Plus



Maruhide Uni Club on Urbanspoon

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Jewish Soul Food — A Guide for Goyim

Delicatessen
Oy Gevalt! We’ve heard a lot lately about how Jewish delicatessens are a dying breed in New York. But here in LA, delis are holding their ground, and perhaps even thriving. Yes, iconic deli Junior’s in Westwood closed at the beginning of the year, but it was immediately replaced by Lenny’s Deli, which doesn’t seem that different.

While adventurous Angelenos love checking out restaurants that serve exotic cuisines they are not familiar with like Bolivian, Laotian and Napalese, many don’t realize that beyond the sandwiches and bowls of matzo ball soup, Jewish delis offer delectable Eastern European specialties unfamiliar to a lot of foodies, especially non-Jews. Below are some of my favorites.

As for the best places to consume these dishes, there are many divergent views in the LA Jewish community, which reminds me of the saying “With two Jews, you get three opinions.” Brent’s (in Northridge and Westlake Village) is my favorite Jewish deli in the city and has the best food overall. I also love Canter’s on Fairfax, especially because of its excellent bakery, its cool retro look and the fact that it’s open 24 hours for late night noshing and kibitzing. Langer’s (Downtown) ranks next on my list because of its amazing pastrami. My other favorites are Billy’s Deli (in Glendale and Torrance), Nate ‘n Al (in Beverly Hills) and Greenblatt’s (in West Hollywood). UPDATE: Billy’s Deli is closed. What a shonda (shame)!

Sweet and Sour Cabbage Soup

Sweet and Sour Cabbage Soup from Brent’s Deli


1. Sweet and Sour Cabbage Soup Every fresser and his brother orders Matzo Ball Soup at a deli, but I prefer this hearty soup instead. The best versions contain succulent pieces of braised short rib called “flanken.”

Kasha Varnishkes

Kasha Varnishkes from Langer’s Delicatessen-Restaurant


2. Kasha Varnishkes Like two inseparable Jewish friends from the old country, this dish is a classic combination of Kasha, a cereal usually made of buckwheat, and buttery bowtie pasta.

Cheese Blintzes

Cheese Blintzes from Brent’s Deli


3. Blintzes These are thin crepes wrapped around a filling, which is usually sweetened ricotta or farmer’s cheese, but can also be potato, blueberry or cherry. They’re topped with powdered sugar and served with sour cream and jam.

Bubbe made a kishka

Bubbe made a Kishka! But this one is from Brent’s Deli.


4. Kishka aka Stuffed Derma This was made with cow intestines back in the day, but now it has a sausage casing and is stuffed with a filling of flour, carrots, onions, celery and paprika. It tastes like stuffing and is usually served with gravy.

What am I?  Chopped Liver?

What am I? Chopped Liver? Yes, from Canter’s Deli.


5. Chopped Liver Schmear some on a slice of freshly baked rye bread and place a piece of raw onion on top and you’re in business. I also like to eat my chopped liver with hot and sweet mustard.

Fried Kreplach with Gravy from Brent's Deli

Fried Kreplach with Gravy from Brent’s Deli


6. Fried Kreplach A kreplach is a dense doughy dumpling filled with ground meat. It’s often served in a bowl of chicken soup instead of a matzo ball. Kreplachs are amazing fried up and topped with sauteed onions.

Beef Knish from Billy's Deli & Cafe

Beef Knish from Billy’s Deli & Cafe


7. Knish This is essentially a little baked hand pie made with a thin layer of dough surrounding a filling of either mashed potatoes, ground meat, kasha, sauerkraut, mashed sweet potatoes or cheese.

Stuffed Cabbage from Canter's Deli

Stuffed Cabbage from Canter’s Deli


8. Stuffed Cabbage aka Holishkes It can be described as meatloaf which has been wrapped in cabbage and cooked in a sweet and sour sauce. What’s not to like?

Black & White Cookie

Black & White Cookie from Brent’s Deli


9. Black & White Cookie Really more cake than cookie, this saucer-shaped treat has chocolate icing on one half and vanilla icing on the other half. Jerry Seinfeld referred to these cookies as “two races of flavor living side by side in harmony.”

Poppyseed Hamataschen from Brent's Deli

Poppyseed Hamataschen from Brent’s Deli


10. Hamantaschen My favorite Jewish bakery dessert is named after the triangular hat of a real life villain named Haman who tried to exterminate the Jews in ancient Persia. We celebrate his defeat by “eating his hat.” These cookies have fillings such as apricot, prune, cherry, chocolate or my favorite — poppyseed.

Halvah

Halvah

11. Halvah This dense and flakey confection made with sesame seeds is an acquired taste. You can usually find them at the deli cashier’s counter next to chocolate covered raspberry jelly candies.

Dr. Brown's Soda

Dr. Brown’s Soda


12. Dr. Brown’s Soda This is the drink of choice at a Jewish deli. The flavors are Black Cherry, Cream or Cel-Ray, an old school celery seed soda that was originally developed as a tonic to promote good health. L’Chayim!

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Brent's Deli on Urbanspoon
Canter's Deli on Urbanspoon
Brent's Deli on Urbanspoon
Langer's Deli on Urbanspoon
Greenblatt's Delicatessen on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Beverly Hills, Glendale, Mid-City, Northridge, Torrance, West Hollywood, Westwood

Christmas, Hawaiian Style


I love King’s Hawaiian Bread, especially their irresistibly sweet, soft and buttery rolls. I used them all summer as the buns for my signature barbecue sliders. So when I discovered that King’s has a Hawaiian retail bakery and restaurant in Torrance, I hightailed it down to the South Bay to check it out. The restaurant reminded me of places I’d been to in Hawaii. It was very large, diner-ish and somewhat kitschy (in a fun way); a great place to take kids. There is an aquarium, a giant pineapple and right now it’s totally decked out for Christmas.

While I’m not sure King’s would appeal to hardcore foodies, I thought most of what I ordered was really good, and some things were great. All lunches and dinners begin with a basket of King’s famous Hawaiian rolls with butter. Their extensive menu features all of the typical Hawaiian comfort foods including Poke (Hawaiian marinated sashimi, which is really good here), Spam Musubi (basically a sushi roll with slices of spam instead of fish), Kalua Nachos (tortilla chips topped with Kalua Pork, black beans, cheese and sour cream, and served with guacamole and spicy pineapple chutney), Portuguese Bean Soup, Grilled Mahi Mahi, Huli Huli Chicken, Kalbi Ribs and great fried rice. There are several holiday specials which are on the menu until the end of the month, including a really yummy pork chop stuffed with King’s Hawaiian bread and Portuguese sausage, drizzled with guava glaze and served with “Hawaiian mashed potatoes” (which have cabbage in them and are really good), baby bok choy and fried onion strings.

The best part of the meal were the desserts. King’s most celebrated baked good is its Hawaiian Paradise Cake, a colorful and delicious three layer (guava, passionfruit and lime) cake with a whipped cream frosting and a fruit glaze. It was thankfully not too sweet and totally lived up to the hype! They also have an awesome Macadamia Nut Cream Pie. Make sure to stop at the bakery on the way out for Hawaiian bread, malasadas (Hawaiian doughnuts), delicious cookies (I highly recommend the snowball cookies) and other sweet treats. The cakes (especially the Hawaiian Paradise Cake), pies and cookies make great holiday gifts. Just write on the card “Mele Kalikimaka” (Merry Christmas).

King’s Hawaiian Bakery and Restaurant is located at 2808 W. Sepulveda Blvd. in Torrance.

It's Poke, Mon!


Spam Spam Spam Spam


Sesame Chicken Wings


Kalua Nachos


Stuffed Pork Chop with Hawaiian mashed potatoes, baby bok choy and fried onion strings


Hawaiian Paradise Cake


Macadamia Nut Cream Pie


Big, kitschy and fun



King's Hawaiian on Urbanspoon

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