Hakata Ikkousha Ramen (Torrance, CA)

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Torrance seems to be the mecca of ramen in So Cal.  There’s elite ramen like Santouka, Shin Sen Gumi, and Yamadaya just a few clicks from each other.  However, I’m not going to lie here, Hakata Ikkousha has quite possibly crafted the most delicious Tonkotsu broth my lips have ever touched. This broth is so thick, porky, rich, and creamy. The first sip I literally said, “Wow!”

Perfectly balanced with the flavored soft-boiled egg and al dente ramen. The pork chashu was much more lean than majority of its competitors.  I actually prefer a little fat for that melt in your mouth texture but there’s so much pork fatty goodness here it doesn’t really matter.  Awpid-wp-1446054711247.jpgt 1:30 pm on a Tuesday, this placed was at capacity with groups waiting outside. The plaza has plenty of parking but limited seating inside. I know this bowl of ramen won’t be for everyone, as it’s very fatty and salty. Blasphemy. In my opinion, you shouldn’t even be eating ramen if you don’t get down with salt and fat.

Hakata Ikkousha has earned its place among my list of go-to ramen joints.  Easily one of the best tonkotsu broths around.

21605 S Western Ave
Torrance, CA 90501
(424) 558-3953

9TzrMX8TE

Nouilles of 3rds (Lomita, CA)

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Locatwpid-wp-1445029109189.jpged in a quaint strip mall in Lomita, this spot has been sitting idle for quite sometime until today.
There were a lot of building issues that held up the opening, but now that’s all clear we’ve got a new local contender serving a combination of fusion Asian food with a splash of home-style cooking.  The owners were very friendly and explained their unique menu.  The amount of quality and care in their product in clearly noted as she explained their mantra of Asian fusion.

I was recommended the House Prime Beef noodles. It was basically a supped up version of Pho with it’s own twist. This is a dam good bowl of soup and noodles.  The first thing I noticed was how delicious and flavorful the meat was. A million times better than all of the other local options in the same genre.  The menu is expanding since they’ve just opened up, so there will be plenty of things to look forward to in the future.

2413 Pacific Coast Hwy
Lomita, CA 90717
(424) 347-7022

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Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles (Long Beach, CA)

wpid-wp-1443285914148.jpgRoscoe’s is an iconic Los Angeles restaurant that serves some of the most delicious fried chicken around and accompanies it with butter drenched waffles. Open until 2:30 am on weekends, this is the place to go for late night munchies or post drinking. The parking was kind of tricky at first, but we eventually found the right lot.  With a group of three at 10pm on a Friday, I expected some sort of wait.

Fortunately, we were in and out in less than an hour. Anything you get here will be filling and delicious. Most dishes range from $11 to $18. Don’t expect wpid-wp-1443285923313.jpgto be refreshed and energetic after this meal.  You’ll be in the hurt locker for a minute and asking yourself “WHY?!? WHY?!” but shit, it’s totally fucking worth the delicious crispy spices and batter over the juicy chicken. Add the hot sauce for some extra volcano ass.

730 E Broadway
Long Beach, CA 90802
(562) 437-8355

4stars1

Mrs A – Hanoi Pho (Torrance, CA)

Mrs A’s pho serves a Northern Vietnamese style of pho that’s completely different than the pho I’m used to.  It’s not really a bad thing, but it also doesn’t make me want to switch to the commi style of pho. The main differences between the two are the ingredients. While both north and south use a beef broth, the vegetables, noodles, and meat are different takes.

If you’re used to the southern style (basil, bean sprouts, onion, cilantro, etc.), the first thing you’ll notice is the lack of condiments or vegetables.  You’ll find no sriracha, hoisin, or basil here.  The bowl is served with a shit load of green onions, noodles, and beef.  The noodles are thicker than the southern style and the beef taste more like some sort of meatball or dumpling filling.

If you’ve never had pho before, this will be delicious.  It’s like a homemade beef noodle soup for when you’re feeling under the weather.  However, if you’re a southern pho expert, you’ll immediately know why communism didn’t last.

2531 Pacific Coast Hwy
Torrance, CA 90505
(310) 534-8889

2 stars

Shin-Sen-Gumi Yakitori (Gardena, CA)

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The first thing you will notice about Shin-Sen-Gumi is how freaking loud it is. A cacophony of loud Japanese, drunken patrons, and the slight crackle of the grill provide an atmosphere that’s uniquely it’s own. It’s almost so loud you can barely hear yourself talk. Shin-Sen-Gumi has various locations and each serve different types of Japanese food (ramen, yakitori, shabu-shabu). This particular location featured yakitori, The wait time on a Saturday at 9:00pm was around 30-40 minutes.  Parking lot is large but can filled when it’s busy.  Definitely avoid weekends or prime dining hours, as they don’t flip tables fast here.

You order your food on a piece of paper similar to a sushi bar. It comes out on tiny skewers containing 3-5 pieces of grilled protein. The flavors were excellent throughout, the grilled Kobe style beef and pork belly were the real winners. Although it was $wpid-20150828_220808_hdr.jpg10 for two tiny kobe skewers, it was well worth the delicious juiciness. Bill usually ends up around $60-$70 for two people without drinks.  It can get pretty expensive for anyone with a monster appetite.

18517 S Western Ave
Gardena, CA 90247
(310) 715-1588

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4stars1

Bombay Tandoori & Banquet (Torrance, CA)

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While Bombay Tandoori might not be the best Indian food around, it’s a nice place to have a dinner date while enjoying some decent curry. When it comes to Indian food, unless in Hollywood, you’re not going to get a fancy dining experience. Here you’ll get lap napkins, LED lights, and a comfortable dining setting. Located next to a Days Inn, the parking isn’t plentiful but it’s free.

Tandoori chicken and Vindaloo chicken were ordered with a side of rice and garlwpid-20150823_191825_hdr.jpgic naan. I ordered the Vindaloo specifically because South Park had an episode called Grounded Vindaloop, where Butters thinks he’s living in a virtual reality. The sauce was decent and the chicken was good, but it just didn’t hit me in the gut like I wanted it to. The Tandoori chicken was the saving grace of the meal.  It was charred, marinated, and juicy.  They also provide lunch buffets, which is the way to go in my opinion.

4111 Pacific Coast Hwy
Torrance, CA 90505
(310) 303-3185

3-star

Chinatown Summer Nights (Los Angeles, CA)

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Chinatown Summer Nights is an event I attended years ago and would normally pass on now because of the large crowds, rip off parking, food trucks, endless lines, and white people in straw rice hats.  I figured this year would be different.  I just assumed they would have figured it out and got things more organized, but unfortunately it’s more of the same.

The food here was dogshit.  Plain and simple.  Typical over priced food trucks galore.  Shitty B/C grade restaurants with an hour long wait and it’s dirty as fuck. Initially paid $20 for parking, then when I returned to my car they dropped it
down to $5.  Sounds like a hellish time, but the atmosphere alone made up for all wpid-20150822_210835_hdr.jpgthe negatives.  The live music, neon lights, constant confetti, and free Orange chicken from Panda Express made it worth the trip.  Don’t come expecting a religious food experience, but definitely light one up and enjoy the lights and music.

943 N Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 680-0243

3-star

Gyu Kaku (Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, CA)

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Gyu Kaku has the best happy hour on the block.  This Japanese yakiniku chain is all over Los Angeles and they all provide the same quality at all the locations. Every table is provided with a grill that you will cook on yourself. The specials, however, vary from each location so make sure to check your local specials. Having a shitty Monday? Or just hate Mondays? Solution: Happy hour all day at Gyu Kaku. $2 draft Sapporo in a frosty glass mug, specials on just about everything, and legit food.

On this trip, my buddy and myself ordered the garlic fried chicken, yaki-shabu, pork belly, and pork sausage.  My favorites being the pork belly and sausage.  The pork belly is marinated perfectly and doesn’t come out as a piece of frozen meat. Legit spot for groups to drink as well, plenty of sweet fufu drinks to straight sake. Unfortunately, when it’s not happy hour, they’re just mediocre.  Expect to spend $20-30 per person.

163 N La Cienega Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
(310) 659-5760

4stars1

Naja’s Place (Redondo Beach, CA)

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Love rare craft beers on tap?  Naja’s will be your heavenly beer sanctuary.  They have a massive menu, sometimes a hundred of different brews on tap available. Beer vendors will occasionally hold events that will have a line piling out the door and into the parking lot.

Naja’s is perfect for any type of sporting event as they have HDTV’s plastered wpid-img_20110809_162024.jpgall around the place.  If your a typical Bud light or Corona drinker, this might be a bit overwhelming.  There’s stouts, lagers, IPAs, porters, ambers, blondes, etc. Knowing your beer is like knowing your wine.  Some people only drink cabs, I only drink IPAs and Belgian ale.

154 International Boardwalk
Redondo Beach, CA 90277
(310) 376-9951

4stars1

 

Kanda Sushi (Thousand Oaks, CA)

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Kanda Sushi in Thousand Oaks provides authentic Japanese sushi but at a cost. Upon entering, you will notice the cleanliness and feng shui design.  The sushi bar seats 10-12 people, which is the preferred way to roll for any sushi pros.

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Uni ($10)

I ended up ordering the lunch special Kushiage for $11 and an order of uni for $10. The kushiage combo included miso soup, 6 piece California rolls and 2 BBQ chicken sticks. The California roll was nothing special (given) and the bbq sticks were decent but lacked flavor a regular yakitori stick would have. The uni was good, but they definitely skimped out on the urchin. After spending around $30 for lunch, I felt a little satisfied but wanted a bit more.  The quality and selection is there, but the price is about the same as high end sushi restaurants in DTLA that do everything better.

3637 E Thousand Oaks Blvd
Thousand Oaks, CA 91362
(805) 230-0101

3-star