Tag Archives: West Los Angeles

Kogi Truck / コギ

April 29, 2015

By Jay Terauchi*

It all began here . . .

If you’re a follower of gourmet food trucks, I’m sure you’ve heard of Chef Roy Choi and the Kogi Truck. The gourmet food truck trend and social media phenomenon began with the Kogi truck. Not only did they create a new food category, but also a new menu items not seen before.

Chef Roy Choi said that his food tastes like If you think about creating menu items that represent Los Angeles and it’s food culture, Chef Roy hit it right on the head.  A taco which has a Korean short-rib filling and served with a Mexican/Asian sauce.

Photo by Jay Terauchi

Photo by Jay Terauchi

They began with one truck and Twitter back in 2008.  Today, there are 4 Kogi trucks servicing Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

Photo by SawtelleJapantown.com

Photo by SawtelleJapantown.com

So, how do you know when the Kogi truck is in Sawtelle Japantown?

kogi4Check the Kogi Truck website for days and times for service at Sawtelle.


Usually, Thursday evenings 10pm – 11 pm on Sawtelle Blvd at Mississippi Ave. (Check website for actual schedule)

Just look for the line…

Kogi Truck Menu Not your typical taco truck cuisine. Photo by Jay Terauchi

Kogi Truck Menu
Not your typical taco truck cuisine.
Photo by Jay Terauchi

Now, what to order?

Photo by Jay Terauchi

Photo by Jay Terauchi

A chicken taco and short-rib taco (signature taco). The chicken is marinated in a ginger soy marinate before being grilled.  The short-rib is a double caramelized Korean barbecue short-rib, with a salsa roja (made from Korean and Mexican chillies).  Both taco are served with their cilantro-onion-lime relish and chili soy Kogi slaw, served over two corn tortillas.

The Short-Rib taco which started it all!

kogi8Short-Rib Burrito with the same short-rib as in their tacos, shredded cheese, chopped onions, cilantro, chopped romaine, and cabbage lettuce tossed in their Korean chili-soy vinaigrette. This is a personal favorite of mine. When I think of food trucks in the morning, I think of breakfast burritos.

Kogi doesn’t make a breakfast burrito, but they sure make a great short-rib one.

Photo by Jay Terauchi

Photo by Jay Terauchi

Kogi Kimchi Quesadilla with Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses and caramelized, buttered kimchi.

The quesadilla is topped with their classic salsa roja and sesame seeds.

When I first saw this on the menu,

I thought “what?”

After I tried it, I really enjoyed it. It does have a kick, so if you’re not into spicy, you may want to avoid this one.

Photo by Jay Terauchi

Photo by Jay Terauchi

Kogi Sliders

(two per order)

with short-rib, sesame mayo, cheese, salsa rona and a cabbage-ramaine slaw tossed in a chili soy vinaigrette on toasted buns.

This is just like their tacos but on a bun.

Photo by Jay Terauchi

Photo by Jay Terauchi

Blackjack Quesadilla with caramelized onions and spicy pork together with melting cheddar and jack cheeses and topped with a citrus-jalapeno-roasted-garlic salsa verde.

I liked this one over the kimchi quesadilla. Maybe because of the spicy pork and onions.  The kimchi one is spicier, but I like citrus so maybe the reason why Iliked this one better.  Either way,you can’t go wrong.

My first visit to the Kogi truck was back in 2008,I waited with 100 other people.  The truck was late, I checked Twitter and saw that they were stuck in traffic. By the time we got our food, we had waited about 2 hours, but the food was different (in a good way).

Still today, the short-rib burrito is my favorite item. The Kogi Truck, it’s something you need to do at least once.  Just look for the line…

* Contributing writer Jay Terauchi is a chef and marketing wiz.   Jay publishes the food blog jayeats.com.


グルメフードトラックの愛用者ならシェフロイチョイ(Roy Choi) のコギ(Kogi)トラックをご存知でしょう。コギフードトラックからグルメトラックとソーシャルメディア現象のトレンドがはじまった。.



2008年に一台のトラックで初め今では四台でロスアンジェルスとオレンジ郡を回っている。コギトラックがソーテルジャパンタウン近くに来る日と時間はwww.kogibbq.comで調べてください。だいたい木曜日 10pm-11pmソーテルブルバードとミシシッピーーアベニューの角(ウエブサイトで調べたほうが確か)注文は何?


チキンはグリルする前に生姜醤油に付け込まれグリルされる。ショートリブは韓国風 バーベキューソースに付け込まれてグりルされる。サルサベルデ(メキシコと韓国の唐辛子)添え。両方のタコスには二枚のコーンタコスとパクチー、玉ねぎ、ライムのレリッシュと辛子 しょうゆ味のスローがつく。











1854 Sawtelle Boulevard: Mixed Use Development / 住居

April 14, 2015

There seems to be a lot of empty lots with activities of new building construction happening in Sawtelle Japantown.  One of these construction sites is 1854 Sawtelle Boulevard (corner of Sawtelle and Missouri).

Site of New Mixed Use Development

Site of New Mixed Use Development

050According to a Los Angeles City Planning filing, there is a plan to construct a 5 story, mixed use building with 23 apartments and 2 live-work units.  4 at grade and 2 subterranean parking levels on the site.  We will be periodically checking in on the site to see what develops.

ロスアンジェルス都市計画書によると 5階建て23軒の住居、2住居兼店舗と地上4、地下2階のパーキングエリアを作る事が登録されている。

Site location:

1854 Sawtelle Boulevard.  Los Angeles, CA 90025

Black Market LA / ブラック マーケット LA

April 13, 2015

Exterior of Black Market LA

Exterior of Black Market LA

Funky Totes

Funky Totes

Located on Sawtelle Boulevard, Black Market LA has become quite popular to local UCLA students and Generation Y.  In operation since 2000, the shop has evolved from being a high-end vintage shop to what it has become today – street wear that has a strong following in the LA marketplace.  It transformed in the way that it has in order to better reflect current customer demands and style trends in the area.  In addition, the market has been able to build up its store inventory.  Today it proudly carries several hundred coveted fashionable brands.  The market boasts for offering an incredible selection of kawaii that includes everything from limited edition T-shirts, household novelty items to adorable Snoopy collection.  A huge draw to the shop of course are the trendy clothing for both men and women that fill the racks beside funky jewelry and lifestyle shoes from modern brands such as Tom’s and Dolce Vita.

Tom's Shoes

Tom’s Shoes

Snoopy Collectibles

Snoopy Collectibles

Owner Jisook Lee has been able to take full advantage of having her shop in the Sawtelle neighborhood.  Lee has easily been able to mix art with fashion.  In addition, it is evident that the shop is heavily influenced by the current Asian trendy styles.  The shop carefully designs its window displays and this would most certainly impress the most seasoned art curator.  They are a must see.  In essence, the shop really has gotten it right, offering its clientele a unique perspective on what a lifestyle boutique should be.

100 (428x640)

Graphic Tees

Graphic Tees

ブラック マーケット 

ソーテルブルバードにあるBlack Market LAはUCLAやGeneration Yの人々に人気のある店です。2000年に今やLA 市場では人気根強いストリートファッションとなっている高級ビンテージ衣服屋(古着屋としてはじめられためられた。客の要望で 店の在庫も増え続け現在は数百の女性、男性、子供用大人気フアッションブランドの製品を持つに至った。中には沢山のリミテッドエディションT シャツもある。店の一番人気商品は女性、男性用のトレンド感のある服でフアンキーなジュエリーや Tom’sDolce Vita の靴も置かれている。

Gift Items

Gift Items

088 (640x428) アジアの影響

オーナーはJisook Leeさんで店がソーテルに在るためアートとファションを合わせることが可能となりそこにはアジアの今のトレンドファションの影響が強く出されている。店のショーウインドウはアートキュレーターからも賞賛されそうな出来で一見必察。この店は客にLAのライフスタイル の有り方を見通させてくれる 本当の意味でのライフスタイルブチックと言える。



Black Market LA is located at:

2023 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

Phone: (310) 966-1555

Hours of Operation:

Sunday-Friday: 10:30am to 9pm

Saturday: 10:30am to 10pm


Daiso: The Japanese 99 Cent Store / ダイソー

April 5, 2015

Daiso Japan located in Sawtelle Place

Daiso Japan located in the Sawtelle Place Strip Mall

An Aisle at Daiso

An Aisle at Daiso

Daiso is the Japanese version of the 99 cent store. It’s fun browsing around the aisles and picking up things that can actually be very useful.   They have all kinds of items like kitchenware, stationery, kids’ items, beauty supplies, snacks, and craft supplies.  They also have seasonal items (e.g., Santa hats during Christmas and plastic eggs during Easter).  With most items priced at $1.50, it’s hard not to leave the store without picking up several items.  The checkout area is narrow and can be difficult to move around if there are people waiting in line.  Remember to bring your own bag as Daiso charges 10 cents a bag.  In future posts, we will feature “finds” at Daiso.

FullSizeRender (7)

Sewing Supplies

Sewing and Knitting Supplies


ダイソーは日本版99セントストアーです。お店をぶらつき便利な品物を見つけたり’することは楽しいです。台所用品、文房具、子供向け用品美容品、クラフトの材料等色々な品がそろっています。他にも季節限定品(クリスマス時にはサンタの帽子、イースターには卵等)が揃えられ来店する度にどうしても必要な品が見つかります。ほとんどの品は$1.50で数点の良いものはすぐ見つかります。お会計をする場所がたいへん狭くお客様が列になり並んでいる場合には 周辺の方たちは動きずらい場合もあります。マイバッグは必需品。お店の袋使用には 10セントかかります。



Craft Supplies

Craft Supplies

FullSizeRender (9)

Daiso Interior

Daiso Interior

2130 Sawtelle Blvd. Ste. 112 Los Angeles, CA 90025 (in the Sawtelle Place strip mall) www.daisojapan.com

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


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。


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


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)


Hashimoto Nursery / 橋本植木屋

March 22, 2015

Outside of Hashimoto Nursery

Outside of Hashimoto Nursery

Large Selection of Flowers, Plants, Moss, and Trees

Large Selection of Flowers, Plants, Moss, and Trees

Hashimoto Nursery

Walk into Hashimoto Nursery and you are immediately transported into a state of Zen.  A wave of calmness will overcome you as realize that you have found a hidden gem in Sawtelle Japantown.

021 (640x428)



In addition to carrying typical Japanese plants, the nursery has an amazing selection of plants.  They range from flowers, mosses, vegetables, fruit trees, herbs and all types of succulents.  Not to mention gardening supplies, and a plethora of beautiful pots.  The nursery is organized in a way that makes it really easy to navigate throughout the space.  But the true draw to the nursery is its rich history, and its Japanese and Asian plants.

Colorful Pots

Colorful Pots

Japanese Maple Tree

Japanese Maple Tree

History of Hashimoto

Hashimoto Nursery was the retail business idea of four Japanese brothers.  One of the brothers settled in the Sawtelle area around 1928, which was then a burgeoning Japanese community.  Realizing an opportunity, he summoned his other three brothers to join him and together they opened the O.K. Nursery.  Years later, the name was changed to Hashimoto Nursery.

The nursery in located in Sawtelle Japantown.  80 years and 3 generations later, Hashimoto Nursery is still family owned and operated, providing quality plants and friendly service to the Westside.

Herbs and Lettuce

Herbs and Lettuce



Hashimoto Nursery       橋本植木屋

ウエストサイド真ん中の歴史的な街Sawtelle Japantownにある植木屋さん橋本はいちばん古くて大きな植物の小売店です。お店に足を入れると禅の世界へ吸い込まれるようです。静けさとともにSawtelle Japantownで隠れたお庭を見つけた事に気ずくでしょう。



橋本植木屋は4人兄弟のアイデアで出来た小売店です。1928年頃兄弟の一人がSawtelle に定住しました。当時Sawtelleは丁度日本人コミュニティの芽が出始めていました。他の3人兄弟に来てもらい協力してOKナーサリーを開店。後に橋本ナーサリーと改名し80年間三世代ウエストロスアンジェルスでファミリービジネスとして現在も質の良い植木とフレンドリーなサービスをウエストサイドに提供しています。

Hashimoto has Its Own Parking Lot

Hashimoto has Its Own Parking Lot

More photos of Hashimoto Nursery can be found on our Facebook Page.

Hashimoto Nursery is located at:

1935 Sawtelle Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90025

(310) 473-6232


Hours of Operations:

Monday – Saturday: 7:30am – 4:30pm
Sunday: 8:00am – 4:30pm


Sawtelle Japantown Sign Unveiling and Community Celebration on March 29th/ 3月29日 Sawtelle Japantown 除幕式

March 20, 2015



Invitation from the 11th District

Invitation from Mike Bonin, the LA City Council’s  11th District Representative

With the new name Sawtelle Japantown, there will be 2 Sawtelle Japantown signs on Sawtelle Blvd. at Olympic and Santa Monica Boulevards.  A sign unveiling ceremony and community celebration organized by Mike Bonin, the LA City Council’s 11th District Representative has been planned. Event details are as follows:

March 29, 2015 at 12pm – 1:30pm
Unveiling: Corner of Sawtelle Blvd. and Olympic Blvd.
Reception:  2110 Cornith Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90025 (Japanese Institute of Sawtelle)

しくSawtelle Japantown の呼び名が決まり Sawtelle Japantown の標識が2ヶ所Sawtelle Blvd上 OlympicとSanta Monicaに設置されます。11区Los Angeles 市議員 Mike Bonin氏による 除幕式が下記の予定で行われます。

時時 2015年 3月29日 12pm ~ 1: 30pm

場所 除幕式 Sawtelle Blvd Olympic 交差点

レセプション会場 2110Comith Ave., Los Angeles CA 90025 (Japanese Institute of Sawtelle)

 Map of Reception Site