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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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

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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

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Fishbar (Manhattan Beach, CA)

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Fishbar is a cozy restaurant that’s a quick stroll from the beach and offers an excellent happy hour menu.  There’s convenient meter parking and a parking lot across the street as well.  Majority of the dishes will run you from $10-$30, however, the happy hour offers a good selection of affordable dishes and drinks.

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The lobster mac and cheese ($6.99), garlic fries ($2.50), and oysters ($1.75) are happy hour gems.  On a recent trip, I got myself the grilled lobster.  Split, seasoned, and grilled to perfection.  They also offer king crab, clams, and other shellfish. It isn’t the best seafood around town, but it’s a great spot for a date or a few drinks and critters with friends.

3801 Highland Ave
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
(310) 796-0200

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Cali Comfort BBQ (San Diego, CA)

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BBQ combo; tritip, 1/2 rack pork ribs, cornbread, beans, and fries. ($20.99)

Since Phil’s BBQ is already so well reviewed I decided to hit up Cali Comfort BBQ for some ribs and fights. UFC 190 was going down and I felt like having some USA chants while destroying some ribs with my bare hands like a savage. They charge a $5 cover for the fights and the crowd seems a bit more sketchy than I’m used to but I had no problems.

Parking was insane because of UFC 190, but the staff got us a spot in no time. The tritip was beautiful.  Smokey, juicy, delicious, and tender.  Everything a smoked tritip should be.  The ribs, however, were a bit disappointing. It fell off the bone nicely and was not dry, but the BBQ sauce was lacking and the flavor didn’t amaze.  For the value, you get a lot of food and a good atmosphere to enjoy with friends.  Although, it’s not the best BBQ in the city.  3.5/5

8910 Troy St
San Diego, CA 91977
(619) 337-0670

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The Chowder Barge (Wilmington, CA)

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32 oz Captain’s Mug ($6)

There’s no other place I’d rather be than at The Chowder Barge on a Sunday afternoon slamming down a huge mug of beer and devouring the best fish and chips around.  This has been a local secret for a while and I’m almost hesitant to share this gem, but they deserve the attention.

Their specialty is their clam chowder (get it with the fried clams) and it doesn’t disappoint, but I come here for the fish and chips, view, and beer.  It’s setup on a dock in the random industrial area of Wilmington.  It can be somewhat hard to find at first, but once you get there it’s like knowing a secret hideout.  The beers range from $4-$8 and the food ranges from $8 to $12.

The quaint scenery make this an optimal spot to grub, drink, and fade the night away watching the various animals and boats roaming around.

611 N Henry Ford Ave
Wilmington, CA 90744
(310) 830-7937

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Asian Garden Night Market (Westminster, CA)

s5uzo7Craving South East Asian street food?  Look no farther than the Asian Garden Night market.
Night markets seem to be on the trend now a days and for good reason. (626, OC, Ktown night markets) Maybe it’s due to the increase of late at night munchies (thanks marijuana decriminalization) or the fact Asian countries have been doing this for centuries, regardless, it’s awesome to know I can get some balut at 10:00pm on a Sunday.

One thing to note, almost all of these “Night markets” have a shit load of generic food trucks.
Sorry, but in my opinion these have no place in an Asian night market.  Legit food vendors here, no bullshit Grilled Cheese trucks in sight. I prefer my food vendors to look like my elderly asian grandmother rather than some bearded hipster telling me about bulgogi.   Also, unlike the other night markets, I can try everything for under $25 and be out in an hour.  Small lines, no entrance or parking fee.
Please don’t fuck this up by crowding it up with all of your hipster friends.  If you can’t hang with Duck fetus’ and chicken guts, move along!

I had all kinds of shit to turn my ass into a volcano of devastation.
Crawfish, balut, avocado shake, bbq pork sticks, chicken hearts and liver were on the menu.  Don’t come too late, as they usually stop “cooking” food around 10-10:30.  Nothing worse than eating up reheated seafood 0_o
The Crawfish and balut were on point and delicious.  Would come back for those alone.  Open from Friday, Saturday & Sunday 7PM – 11PM.  June 19 – September 6, 2015.

9200 Bolsa Ave
Westminster, CA 92683

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