Category Archives: Foods

Hurry Curry of Tokyo / ハリーカレートーキョー (Japanese Curry)

April 23, 2015

Exterior of Hurry Curry of Tokyo

Exterior of Hurry Curry of Tokyo

By Malcolm Johnson*

We’re here at Hurry Curry of Tokyo celebrating their anniversary.  Twenty-five years in operation.  One of the oldest continuing businesses in Sawtelle Japantown.

So I’m sure you’re looking at the name of the restaurant, Hurry Curry of Tokyo, and I’m sure some of you are saying to yourself…Curry…Japan?  Really?

Well, believe it or not, Curry is one of the most popular dishes in Japan.  According to Wikipedia:

Curry was introduced to Japan during the Meiji era (1868–1912) by the British, at a time when India was under their administration. The dish became popular and available for purchase in supermarkets and restaurants in the late 1960s. It has been adapted since its introduction to Japan, and is so widely consumed that it can be called a national dish.

So needless to say, the adaptations have made Japanese Curry taste differently than what you’d expect from Indian Curry, and that’s okay. Some adaptations work, and some don’t, and what I’ve had of Japanese Curry works.

Interior of Hurry Curry of Tokyo

Interior of Hurry Curry of Tokyo

The restaurant itself, Hurry Curry of Tokyo, is pretty causal all things considered.  Aside from some nice wall art, you could be forgiven for thinking you’ve wanted into a nice Pizza joint.  But atmosphere and decor are not what you’re here for.  You’re here for some good ol’ fashioned Japanese comfort food, and good ol’ fashioned Japanese comfort food is what you’ll get.

The Waitstaff are friendly and energetic.  If you’re wandering in for the first time, curious about Japanese Curry, they’re available to help, but for me, I’d say don’t be afraid to dive in.  You know the components, good Pork Cutlets, Chicken, and Spaghetti.  You may just not used to seeing them in this configuration.

WHAT SHOULD I GET?: There’s a lot of good stuff I’d like to try here, but I saw the words “Pork” and “Cutlet” and that was pretty much that.

Tofu Salad "Hiyayakko" at Hurry Curry of Tokyo.

Tofu Salad “Hiyayakko” at Hurry Curry of Tokyo.

But to start, we also got the Tofu Salad “Hiyayakko”, which is sliced firm Tofu sprinkled with a mixture of diced bell pepper, onion and radish, garnished with daikon sprouts and drizzled with special sweet soy vinaigrette.  This was a nice light kick off to the meal.

The Beef Croquettes at Hurry Curry of Tokyo.

The Beef Croquettes at Hurry Curry of Tokyo.

After that, my Classic Croquettes arrive.  These are two patties of mashed Russet Potatoes, diced onions, and lean Ground Beef, encrusted with a crunchy Panko coating and quickly fried. served piping hot with Tonkastu sauce.  These were lovely, though huge.  The Croquettes reminded me of Cuban ones, but these were much bigger, Hamburger Patty sized big.  The Croquettes plus the Tonkastu is fabulous, but fills you up faster than you think.

The House Salad at Hurry Curry of Tokyo.

The House Salad at Hurry Curry of Tokyo.

Right after that, a small snack-sized salad arrived with the House Vinaigrette dressing.

Needless to say, I had trouble finishing off my Pork Cutler Curry because…man this is a lot of food.

Pork Katsu Curry

Pork Katsu Curry

The Pork Cutlet Curry is a tender hand trimmed pork loin breaded in panko bread crumbs and fried till it’s golden brown.  And of course, it’s served a sweet plum curry, which is…you know…kind of the whole point.  The Pork Cutlet was tasty, and the Curry made it more so.  Still, for the uninitiated (of which I’m a member), the sensations send your brain scrambling in a bunch of different directions.  You think Curry, and start to expect that savory, spicy taste on your tongue and get plum and sweet instead.

So let’s make this clear, Hurry Curry of Tokyo is doing it’s job right.  You, Food Blogger man (that’d be me), need to sample more Japanese Curry so you can get good at this.

Disclosure: Hurry Curry provided the meal gratis, however, the opinion is my own.

* Contributing blog writer Malcolm Johnson is the publisher of the food blog Is It Any Good?

ハリーカレートーキョー

ソーテルジャパンタウンでビジネスを長い間継続しているハリーカレーの25周年記念があり 私たちも参加した。ハリーカレートーキョーという名前を見てカレーと日本が結びつかない方もいらしゃるでしょう。

ウイキペディアによるとカレーは日本で最も人気のあるお食事のひとつと記されている。

明治時代(1868-1912)インドが英国の植民地時代に英国から紹介され日本で 食されるようになった。1960年代にはカレーがスーパーマーケットでも売られレストランでも出された。国中に広がり愛され国民食の一つとなった。

言うまでもなく日本版カレーはインドのものとは異なるので好き好きがありますが 私は美味しいと思う。

ハリーカレージャパンはカジュアルな店で 素敵な壁のアートをのぞけば質の良いピザパーラーにいる感じもするがここには純日本式心暖まるお食事がある。

スタッフは活動的でこの店の初心者にも親切だ。でも心配せず美味しいトンカツ、チキン、スパゲッティを思い切り食べてください。こういう形状に慣れていないだけなので。

美味しそうなものがメニューは沢山あるがポークとカツレツという字を見た途端心が決まった。はじめに冷奴というパプリカ、オニオン、カイワレダイコンが甘酸っぱいドレシングで和えられた豆腐サラダをオーダーした。軽い味でさわやかだった。

次にはマッシュポテトポテトにオニオン、ひき肉で作られたアツアツコロッケがトンカツソースとともに運ばれた。キューバのものを思い浮かべた。しかしハンバーガーのような大きさはここだけだ。トンカツプラスコロッケは美味しいが満腹になった。

その後小さなサラダが出てきた。言うまでもなくトンカツカレーは食べきれなかった。すごいりょうだ。

カツカレーはパン粉をつけ揚げたポークカツを甘めのプラム色のカレーソースと食べる。色々な美味しさが口一杯広がる。スパイシーで塩味がピリッときいたものとは違う。

ハリーカレーは良い仕事をしている。ブロガーである私はもっと日本式カレーを試食しこの件に詳しくなる必要がある。

公表 食事はハリーカレートーキョーより無料で提供されたが上記の記事は私の意見だ。

Japanese style spaghetti is also available

Japanese style spaghetti is also available

Hurry Curry of Tokyo is located at:

2131 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

Yaki Onigiri (Grilled Rice Balls) / 焼きおにぎり

April 2, 2015

Yaki Onigiri

Yaki Onigiri

As a busy working mom, I am always looking for quick and easy snack options for my children.  The grilled rice balls by Nissui are my go-to snack which the kids love.  The rice balls have a soy sauce flavoring and come 6 to a pack.  It’s very easy to make – you just put one in the microwave for 2 minutes and then it’s done. You can find them in the frozen aisle at Nijiya Japanese Food Market and the rice balls sell for $5.99 which means each rice ball is roughly $1.   Sometimes, the rice balls go on sale for $3.99 and that is when I stock up!  You can eat with or without nori (seaweed).

Back of Package

Back of Package

6 to a Pack

6 to a Pack

焼きおにぎり

子供の為に手軽なスナック代わりになる食べ物を探す忙しく働くママです。ニッスイの冷凍焼きおにぎりは子供たちも大好きでとても助かる品です。6個入りでしょうゆ味付、1個2分チンするだけの手軽さです。ニジヤマーケットの冷凍売場に$5.99でおいてあります。1個約$1です。セールになると$3.99なので買いだめします。海苔を漬けても良いです。

Eat with or without Nori (Seaweed)

Eat with or without Nori (Seaweed)

For more information on Nissui, go to their corporate website.

Nijiya Japanese Food Market is located at:

2130 Sawtelle Blvd., #105, Los Angeles, CA 90025 (in the Sawtelle Place strip mall)

Tatsu Ramen / タツ ラーメン

March 30, 2015

Outside of Tatsu Ramen

Outside of Tatsu Ramen

By Malcolm Johnson*

I don’t know why, but the iPads along the wall didn’t surprise me.

No, we’re not talking some kind of restaurant “Spidey Sense”, but it seemed inevitable that one of these days our little Tablets were going to replace Menus, and…maybe Waitresses themselves.

It does give Tastu Ramen a slightly different feel.  A little more modern, a little more L.A.

iPad Ordering Stations

iPad Ordering Stations

Tatsu Ramen is one of the newer Ramen Joints that have opened up in the ever-growing, ever expanding Sawtelle District in West L.A.  With Tsujita L.A. literally across the street, you do have to do something to distinguish yourself.  So why not walk in, and before you’ve done anything else, place your order and pay for your meal with one of the iPads stationed along the wall.

Anyone familiar with a Tablet will get how it works.  Just go through the menu of options.  They’ll all be there.  Pick what kind of broth you like, what kind of extras you want, and what you’d like to drink.  Take your receipt, show it to the hostess, and let her find you a seat.  The very Multi-cultural (thus, very L.A. Kitchen staff gets to work making your food.)

After that food and drinks just start…arriving.

How they know where and who you are, I don’t know.  But they know.  It could be a quick check of the receipt with your order number on top and in bold.  But I prefer to think it’s that restaurant “Spidey Sense”.

Just let me go with it, okay?

Funny thing, I’m visiting Tatsu Ramen on a day (in early March) when it’s ninety-five friggin’ degrees.  Stepping inside the crowded restaurant, taking a seat at the counter near the stoves where they’re actually making the ramen, doesn’t make it much cooler.

But you know?  I’m totally having fun anyway.

Yeah, the Waitstaff is nice.  The other customers are friendly as well.  Now, granted, everyone is really into their Ramen, but it’s a good vibe all around.

Bold Ramen

Bold Ramen

WHAT SHOULD I GET?: Bold Ramen.

You heard me.  Bold Ramen.

It’s their version of Tonkotsu (Pork bone based) broth with 11 “bold” ingredients.  (Their words, not mine).  It’s not as rich or milky as I’ve come to expect from other Tonkotsu broths I’ve had in the past, but the spices inside make up a lot of difference.  This broth has a lot of flavor, as well as a lot of kick to it.  The good news is that the spiciness level is not a full on assault on your taste-buds (like say at Pa-Ord Noodle), but it will sneak up on you.  The good news if you don’t like pain and pleasure in the same meal, is that your tongue will not be feeling those chilis for hours afterwards.

Like with Pa-Ord Noodle.  Damn, that stuff was hot.

Pork Bao Bun

Pork Bao Bun

Along that, I went and got a Pork Bao Bun, which was not bad.  It was sweet and creamy (thank you dollop of mayo) and a nice complement to the meal.  I probably should have gotten just the one, but when I see Steamed Bread, I usually lose my head.

And just go in knowing that the place is really, really popular.  Expect a crowd.

* Contributing blog writer Malcolm Johnson is the publisher of the food blog Is It Any Good?

Outside Seating at Tatsu Ramen

Outside Seating at Tatsu Ramen

 タツ ラーメン

日増しに発展しているソーテルの辻田のお向かい辺りにipadで注文するたつラーメンができ。入店するとまずiPadのメニュー(すべての料理、飲み物 サイドオーダー、やスープのオプション)で注文し支払はプリントアウトする。もちろんキャシュも可。ホステス嬢にそれを見せ席に案内してもらうと食べ物飲み物が次々と運ばれてくる。

店のスタッフは感じ良くお客も楽しんでいるようで雰囲気は良い。

お勧めはボールドラーメン(Bold Ramen)でしつこくない豚骨スープに11種のものが入っているそうだ。つゆはとても味が出ていてピリ辛ではあるが後味に残る物ではない。肉まんも美味しい。あんがクリーミーだ。このレストランへは中々の人気店なので混むことがある。

Tatsu Ramen is located at (next to Kitchen Story):

2123 Sawtelle Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90025
(310) 684-2889

www.tatsuramen.com

Hours of Operation:

Sun – Wed: 11am – 2am
Thu – Sat: 11am – 3am

 

Imuraya Castilla (Kasutera Sponge Cake)/ 井村屋 カステラ

March 24, 2015

Sample Table at Nijiya Japanese Food Market Featuring Imuraya's Castilla

Sample Table at Nijiya Japanese Food Market Featuring Imuraya’s Castilla

IMG_3742 (1)

One of the best things about shopping at Nijiya Japanese Food Market (Sawtelle location) on the weekends is that they offer samples of products.  I am the type of person who always tries samples, even if I am already familiar with the product.

A few weeks ago, the sample table featured Castilla (kasutera in Japanese) by Imuraya, a famous confectionery manufacturer originating in Japan.  This Japanese style sponge cake is made out of flour, eggs, starch syrup, and sugar and is fluffier, moister and lighter than its Western pound cake counterpart.  Imuraya offers original, “cheese” (cheesecake) and green teen flavors with 10 pre-cut slices in each package.  At Nijiya, the Castilla sponge cake sells for $5.99.  My favorite is the green tea flavor as it has just the right hint of green tea flavoing in the cake.

井村屋 カステラ

週末 ニジヤマーケッでお買い物する時の一つの楽しみは 沢山の試食品テーブルが有ることです。私はすでに製品を知っていても試食してみます。先日試食テーブルに日本の有名菓子メーカー井村屋のカステラを見つけました。この日本式パウンドケーキはアメリカの品より軽くホワホワでしっとりしていて粉、卵、シロップと砂糖から作られています。オロジナル、チーズケーキ, グリーンテイー味を提供しています。一本は10切れに切り分けられ食べやすくニジヤマーケットでは$5.99で販売されています。

10 pre-cut slices per package

10 pre-cut slices per package

 

Take off paper at bottom prior to eating

Take off paper at bottom prior to eating

Green Tea Flavor

Green Tea Flavor

For more information on Imuraya, go to their corporate website www.imuraya-usa.com.

Nijiya Japanese Food Market is located at:

2130 Sawtelle Blvd., #105, Los Angeles, CA 90025 (in the Sawtelle Place strip mall)

 

Kitchen Story / キッチン ストーリー

March 21, 2015

 

Dishes from Kitchen Story

Dishes from Kitchen Story

By Kristie Hang*

Los Angeles natives know that West L.A. has never been known to be the ‘it’ place to go for authentic Korean food. But the newly opened Kitchen Story is serving to change that stigma with delicious and affordable Korean cuisine right in the heart of Sawtelle Japantown. From cheese-laced ramen and abalone porridge to Korean-style fried chicken, there’s something for everyone.

The most popular dishes are Kitchen Story’s fried chicken and beef kimchi fried rice. Korean fried chicken has been quite the foodie trend in recent years, mostly due to the popularity of the snack being frequently featured in popular Korean soap operas. This restaurant most definitely does the dish justice.

The Popular Fried Chicken

The Popular Fried Chicken

Korean-style fried chicken is very different from the typical American-style friend chicken we are accustomed to. Rather than a thick, batter-laced crust, the Korean style is ultra thin and crispy with a juicy meat interior. The fried chicken packs a crunch and is less greasy than the American kind due to it being fried twice. Kitchen Story’s fried mini drumsticks are served with a side of sweet and sour and mustard sauces. They also have a sweet and sour drumstick version where the drumlets, as they call them, are marinated in the sauce and fried.

Kimchee Fried Rice with Egg

Kimchee Fried Rice with Egg

Another specialty on the menu is the beef kimchi fried rice, which arrives tableside on a sizzling cast iron plate with a raw egg. In fun, mix-it-yourself fashion, the egg has to be mixed on the spot to cook with the rice. For those that enjoy a spicy kick, this is a must-order.

Side Dishes

Side Dishes

Each meal comes with complimentary Korean side dishes (banchan) such as kimchi daikon, sesame glass noodles, and seaweed, which are refilled throughout the meal. And the best part? You can eat well without burning a hole in your wallet. Expect to make it out for less than $10 a person.

* Contributing blog writer Kristie Hang is a globetrotting tv host, journalist, and food writer based in Los Angeles.

キッチン ストーリー

 ロスの住民はウエストLAを韓国料理を 食べに行く場所だとは思っていません。新しくオープンしたキッチンストーリーではチーズがレースのようにかかったラーメンからアワビのおかゆ、韓国風フライドチキンまで万人が喜ぶおいしくてお財布にやさしい店を開店しました。

かんこく風フライドチキン、ビーフキムチチキンが一番人気です。韓国風フライドチキンは近年食通の間で話題となっています。それは韓国ソープオペラの影響もあると思われています。

韓国風フライドチキンは二度上げされている為衣が薄く中身がジューシーで衣の厚いアメリカのフライドチキンとはちがいます。この店のドラムネットには甘酢、サワークリーム、マスタードソースが有り、それらに漬け込まれたドラムスチックもあります。もう一つはビーフキムチチャーハンで鉄皿の上にアツアツで生卵とともに出されその場で混ぜ仕上げます。スパイシー好きにはかかせません。

Kitchen Story is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Kitchen Story is located at 2129 Sawtelle Boulevard in Los Angeles, CA

Telephone: (310) 444-9955

Lemonade is Opening March 28th! / Lemonade Sawtelle Japantown店3月28日オープン!

March 20, 2015

 

Outside of Lemonade on Sawtelle

Outside of Lemonade on Sawtelle

Lemonade is Opening March 26th!

You may have noticed the Lemonade sign where the old Clusi Batisi Pizzeria used to be.  The Restaurant which serves “Seasonal Southern California Comfort Food” created by Owner/Chef Alan Jackson will be opening its doors on March 28, 2015.  This chain restaurant has 13 locations in Southern California (with 5 more coming soon).

We asked Ian Olsen, Chief Operating Officer for Lemonade Restaurant Group how they decided on Sawtelle as a location and he responded as follows:

“While we continue to expand the Lemonade brand, we want each location to feel like it is an integral part of the neighborhood and surrounding community. The Sawtelle neighborhood is walkable, friendly, and diverse and Lemonade fits in with this dynamic perfectly with outdoor seating right on the sidewalk.  It’s a smaller, more intimate space at 950 square-feet.”

Stay tuned for food reviews of Lemonade on Sawtelle once it officially opens.

 Lemonade Sawtelle Japantown店 3月28日オープン!

ピザ屋 Clusi Batisiのあった場所に Lemonadeの看板が出ているのに気がつかれましたか? 南カリフォルニアに13チェーンレストラン(5店近日オープン)を持つ オーナーシェフAlan Jacksonによる季節感一杯の南カリフォルニア心癒され料理店 Lemonadeが そこに2015年3月28日開店します。COO Ian Olsenに出店に至る経路を伺いました。Lemonadeブランドが拡大するにあたり 当社は各々の場所がその土地や周りのコミュニティーに交わることを望んでいます。 ソーテルは 歩き回れとてもフレンドリーで多様な人々が住む街で サイドウオークに面しアウトドアーでのお食事も可能です。Lemonadeが出店するにはぴったりな場所と思いました。 950スクエアーの店内は小ぶりですが親しみの持てる空間です。

正式にオープンした際には お食事の評判をお届けしますので お楽しみに!

Lemonade on Sawtelle is located at:

2047 Sawtelle Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90025

www.lemonadela.com