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Archive for the ‘California’ Category

Tatsu Ramen, Los Angeles

Greeted by 3 ipads on the wall at the entrance of the ramen joint that opened 23 May by Ryu Isobe, a recent USC graduate, who walks around the restaurant and chat with customers. On the walls of the restaurant, there was a photo of him and a short paragraph that gives a brief introduction about his life. From what I could remember, Tokyo, Japan, son of actor, Hiroshi Isobe, Hawaii, USC, best entrepreneur program in Los Angeles, wanted ramen in US to be like that of Tokyo, learned from pro Jap chefs, Tatsu = Dragon. Pretty sure I missed some stuff but I think I got most of the main parts.

Tatsu Ramen, Los Angeles

Naked Ramen and Tonkotsu Ramen

Anyway, the concept was pretty interesting with the ipads on the wall and ordering and payment was done right at the ipads. The app was clean with a white background and nice pictures. The ramen was fully customizable with only 2 types of ramen, tonkotsu ramen and naked ramen. Customization includes amount of garlic, green onions, spiciness, pork or chicken or tofu and egg (sweet corn, seaweed and garlic cloves are free). Apparently they have “holy water” for free too LOL. The ramen was kinda too oily for my liking but I have heard many mixed reviews from friends that visited. Suggestions to maybe include the amount of oil in ramen and strength of soup base like that of Shin Sen Gumi would be good. Other than that props for opening till the latest on Sawtelle.

Tatsu Ramen
2123 Sawtelle Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025
(310) 684-2889
Opening Hours:
Mon-Wed, Sun 11 am – 12 am
Thu-Sat 11 am – 3 am

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Bao Dim Sum House, Los Angeles

All day dimsum? almost unheard of. The interior decor looks totally like PF Chang. Typical of asian fusion restaurants. Dimsum was alright to satisfy craving near the West Hollywood area. Not having to travel all the way to San Gabriel Valley was a huge plus. They have a bar area and eating dimsum at the bar does sound pretty cool. Dimsum with alcohol? (read: interesting)

Bao Dim Sum House, Los Angeles

Front: Pork and Shrimp Shumai
Back: Crystal Shrimp Dumpling (Ha Gow)

Bao Dim Sum House, Los Angeles

Front: Juicy Pork Dumpling (Xiao Long Bao)
Back: Crystal Shrimp Dumpling (Ha Gow)

Bao Dim Sum House, Los Angeles

Front: Radish Cake w/ Chinese Sausage
Back: Pork and Shrimp Shumai

Bao Dim Sum House, Los Angeles

Front: Hainan Chicken
Back: Steamed BBQ Pork Bun

If you wanted something really authentic and legit, go SGV. Otherwise this will be enough to satisfy your dimsum craving for a couple more bucks. Definitely with much better service than anywhere in SGV. By the way, they had quite a big vase of lilies at the entrance which made the waiting area smell really good.

Bao Dim Sum House, Los Angeles

Front: Egg Custard Tart
Back: Sticky Rice wrapped in Lotus Leaf

Bao Dim Sum House also recently created a new site that lets customers order online on both desktop and also a mobileapp. With a prep time of 25 mins and a section where you can addon special instructions for each order. Pretty cool interface.

Photo 8-5-13 1 50 34 PM

Bao Dim Sum House
8256 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(323) 655-6556
Opening Hours:
Mon-Thu 11 am – 10 pm
Fri-Sat 11 am – 10:30 pm
Sun 10:30 am – 9:30 pm

Father’s Office, Los Angeles

An entry for burgers. People that know me probably knows I am not a big fan of burgers. So people around me have been telling me that this place is a must try before you leave LA… this place is so good… this place is better than Umami Burger… blah blah blah. So I decided to give in and gave it a shot.

Father's Office, Los Angeles

The Office Burgers
caramelized onion, bacon, gruyere, maytag blue, arugula and frites

The office burgers are alright, maybe cause I had higher expectations of it from everything that I have heard. The office burgers reminded me of banh mi, vietnamese sandwich. The string fries was good but its kinda weird they didn’t have ketchup. From what I heard, the Office Burgers are not customizable (you can’t order it with no cheese or no bacon) and served as is.

Father's Office, Los Angeles

Steak Frites
the bistro classic

If you can find yourself a seat… This place makes for a good friday night hangout spot with a wide selections of beer, decent choices of food and televisions on all walls broadcasting NFL and NBA. The beer selection is really impressive.

Father’s Office
3229 Helms Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90034
(310) 736-2224
Opening Hours:
Mon-Thu 5 pm – 1 am
Fri-Sat 12 pm – 2 am
Sun 12 pm – 12 am

Golden Gate Bakery, San Francisco

A chinese bakery located in the hearts of Chinatown in San Francisco. They are famous for their egg tarts and probably one of the better ones I had in the States. You can hardly miss this place if you walk by Grant Ave as there’s always a long line. Trust me. As long as they are open, the traffic never ends. However, they are frequently out on vacation or they are just not open. It doesn’t help that the service is like that of a classic asian place but what do you expect in Chinatown right?

Golden Gate Bakery, San Francisco

Egg Tarts

My first encounter with their egg tarts were when my aunt bought home a dozen of them. She refused to eat them unless she just got them at the bakery. They tasted pretty good even when its cold. So I had to make a trip down to Chinatown to check them out myself. Obviously it did taste better when it was freshly baked. Definitely get a dozen for 15 bucks when you happen to be in the area. Oh one last note, as usual Chinatown = Cash Only.

Golden Gate Bakery
1029 Grant Ave
(between Jackson St & Pacific Ave)
San Francisco, CA 94133
Tel: (415) 781-2627
Opening Hours:
Mon-Sun 8 am – 8 pm

Sabella & La Torre

January 17, 2012 Leave a comment

No one goes to the beautiful city of San Francisco, without visiting Fisherman’s Wharf!

It’s teeming with life, what with the street performers, squawking seagulls and jostling tourists! I first visited Fisherman’s Wharf in the summer of 2007, during my first trip to visit T, and we were bowled over by the wide range of fresh seafood there. Whatever crustacean/fish you crave for, you can find it there. As touristy as the place is, there is one thing you must do while you’re there. Forget about sitting down to have your clam chowder bread bowl and whatnot; Get your seafood fix from one of the crab stands there and just stand around to eat, making anyone who walks past you drool with curiosity. That’s what we did the first time, and last year, we revisited the experience when we were in the SF area. Some people are not keen on eating crab outside of home, because it’s troublesome and messy I guess. But for us, we definitely have no qualms about that because we are gluttons, and gluttons don’t care about keeping up appearances. So we ordered a crab (they boil it for you there), some snacks, like calamari and fries and voila, we had our lunch standing around. It’s about USD12 per pound of crab, and it’s worth the money because it’s quite an experience. You don’t get to stand around digging the meat out of a crab pincer in Singapore yeah. Also, we all know how the parking fees in SF could cost you a leg, but you could validate your parking when you dine there. Awesome!

Sabella & La Torre

There are a few crab stands there but we always go to Sabella & La Torre. They’ve got fresh stuff and great service. The crab we had was juicy and yummy. Maybe it’s the way we eat, attacking the crab like we’ve been starved for a while, but when we were there, quite a few people came up to us to ask about the crab. Or maybe we just look friendly and approachable. I would rather believe in the latter. Drop by if you’re in the area!

Sabella & La Torre
2809 Taylor St
(between Fishermans Wharf & Jefferson St) 
San Francisco, CA 94133
Tel: (415) 673-2824
Opening Hours:
Mon-Thu, Sun 10am-10:30pm
Fri-Sat 10am-12:30am

Shin-Sen-Gumi, Los Angeles

January 5, 2012 Leave a comment

You know how sometimes, you wish you could customize your ramen a little more than just the ho hum requests like, “no spring onion“, or “add a flavoured egg“, or “additional chasu“? Ok, so maybe you are not as fastidious as I am when it comes to eating, but never underestimate the power of choices! The concept at Shin-Sen-Gumi Little Tokyo fits finicky eaters like myself, and the health conscious like T, to a t! Over there, you get to tailor the ramen to your liking, and the choices go down to the smallest details, like firmness of noodles, strength of soup base and even the amount of oil. You order by filling up this matrix of choices that would overwhelm you at the onset, but once you got used to it, it’s a breeze. Just tick the choices of what you want and don’t want, and you’re good to go.

Shin-Sen-Gumi, Los Angeles

We ordered the half bowl, because we don’t eat that much, and added all the usual stuff like egg and bamboo. For mine, it’s sans the ginger, for sure. Oh and we had our noodles hard, with light amount of oil and strong soup base. We were lucky to get seats by the counter, where you can could watch the chefs whip up a storm, effortlessly. There is a guy who prepares the ramen with the soup and toppings, and I reckon his job is the toughest, because every order is unique. He has to dilute the soup, use different amounts of oil, cook the noodles to the various desired hardness.. it really takes some coordination man. And sitting there watching him do it, order after order, in seamless perfection, it is impressive. I wish I had his brain power. Heh.

Shin-Sen-Gumi, Los Angeles

We went to Shin-Sen-Gumi at Little Tokyo, the latest branch that just opened its doors in Sept 2011, and they specialise in Hakata ramen, the same type as Ippudo. The Hakata ramen broth is white and creamy, and Shin-Sen-Gumi uses top grade Berkshire pork and filtered water, simmered over 15 hours to make its delicious tonkotsu soup. The Japanese really do have lots of patience and tenacity, which undoubtedly translates into perfection. That’s what you get at Shin-Sen-Gumi; a perfectly assembled ramen, just for you, with great service to boot. The best part is, you don’t have to wait over an hour like at Daikokuya for great ramen. Sweet.

Shin-Sen-Gumi 
Hakata Ramen – Little Tokyo
132 S. Central Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 687-7108
Fax: (213) 687-8572
Restaurant Hours: Open 7 Days 11am – midnight

Espresso Profeta, Los Angeles

January 4, 2012 1 comment

I have lots of photos that are backlogged, but instead clearing them in a chronological fashion, I go against the current (pun unintended) and write on the current ones instead. Maybe this is what they mean by the recency effect? Or maybe it’s because the recent photos are all from my latest holiday, so I have fonder memories of them? Well, no matter. It’s all going to roll out, sooner or later!

Coffee junkie T and I have Starbucks every single day when I was over in the West Coast. Sometimes, we have it more than once a day. Be it Arizona, or Vegas, or Fremont, wherever we drove to, Lady Starbucks is with us, keeping our hands warm and our caffeine fix, fixed. Honestly, the Starbucks is so much better in US than SG. Alas. Well, but either way, it’s everywhere there, so getting our caffeine fix is easy, even though it’s over commercialized coffee. So on one of the mornings, T pulled over at Westwood to get coffee, presumably from Starbucks, right? No. I somehow found myself at Espresso Profeta, an indie coffee joint along the quiet stretch of Glendon Ave. It has a nice little courtyard, and just enough tables inside so one doesn’t feel claustrophobic reading a book and sipping their coffee. The walls have paintings that you can buy. The entire place just feels homely and inviting.

Espresso Profeta

They use coffee beans from Espresso Vivace (apparently a really awesome coffee place in Seattle), and I won’t spend time elaborating on the impressive resume of their barista, Mitch Hale (you can google him if interested), because I just want to say that I’ve had the best cappuccino in The States, at Espresso Profeta. Creamy and smooth, with no residual bitterness, the cappuccino reminds me of my all time fave one from Papa Palheta. Finally, a little piece of home for me. It’s a pity I only got to discover the place towards the end of my trip, but will definitely return for more when I visit LA again.

Espresso Profeta sure is a gem in Westwood, and I’m so jealous of the UCLA students who can just stroll over from school. Pfft. Oh, and Espresso Profeta apparently means “the prophet of coffee“. Whatever that means, their coffee sure is divine yeah.

Espresso Profeta
1129 Glendon Avenue (Westwood Village)
Los Angeles, California 90024 US
Phone: (310) 208-3375
Email: espressoprofeta@hotmail.com
Hours of operation:
7 am to 7pm every day