Tita’s Kitchenette (San Diego, CA)

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BBQ chicken, pancit, and rice combo. ($7.50)

Talk about bang for your buck.  On a recent trip to San Diego, a buddy of mine recommended Tita’s for some legit Filipino food.  Upon arriving, it seems like your typical turo-turo style restaurant, nothing fancy or visually stimulating. However, it became the game changer once I took my first bite.  The BBQ chicken and pork here is absolutely phenomenal.  It’s lathered in the delicious marinate, skewered, grilled, and charred to perfection. Easily some of the best BBQ you can get around. I’ll be daydreaming about these BBQ sticks when I’m back home in LA. Their pork adobo was also an absolute winner. The perfect tenderness of the pork and the ubiquitous adobo sauce slathered over white rice is something special.  Amazing flavors for even the uninitiated.

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Pork adobo combo ($6.50)

For $7.50 you get a 2 item combo, and at most places that’s usually enough for myself.  At Tita’s, a 2 item combo is enough for 2 people and you’ll have left overs. In other words, they hook it up FAT.  I ended up coming back here the next day for food for the trip back. They also cater for big parties and even do the whole roast pig.  Definitely check out Tita’s for some cheap delicious food that will hit you right in the dick.  And no, they aren’t family of some kind. wpid-wp-1438536303346.jpg

2720 E Plaza Blvd
National City, CA 91950
(619) 434-3879

4stars1

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Ramen Spott (Torrance, CA)

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Tonkotsu Black Garlic ($8.50)

A wild ramen spot has appeared! Another contestant to the large growing list of ramen joints in the South Bay.   This “ramen spott” is located in the Rolling Hills Plaza and seats maybe about 12-15 people max.

The first thing I noticed is the interesting menu.  They provide sushi rolls along with their ramen.  They also have a varied selection of ramen choices ranging from $8 to $11 per bowl.  Rolls were around $5 and were decent for the price.

I decided to give their Tonkotsu Black Garlic ramen a shot since it looked so appealing.  This bowl definitely passes the broth inspection.  A bit salty but porky, smooth, and garlicky as all hell.  The 168ad5jramen noodles were thin but cooked al dente like how it should be.  Toppings included red ginger, mushroom, green onion, and two THIN slices of pork. Unfortunately, they only have non-alcoholic beer here.   After clearing my bowl, I realized there’s another ramen spot to consider when craving noodles in the South Bay.  Open until 11:00pm, this will definitely be a contender when craving some garlic and noodles.

25412 Crenshaw Blvd
Torrance, CA 90505
(310) 530-3900

4stars1

EMC Seafood & Raw bar (Koreatown, Los Angeles, CA)

11755680_10206511441118616_2155209651326565950_nOh, Koreatown how I love your late night foodie spots.  EMC is located in the middle of Ktown inside a mini mall, which means easy parking. Awesome sauce!  Inside, it’s loud, crowded, and usually has a wait.  No reservations accepted.

Now on to the food: It’s alright.  For $95, you get the colossal EMC tower.  Our server told us it would be more than enough for 2 people.  After clearing the tower, I’d say it’s more for 1.5 people.  It came with 6 oysters (chefs choice), 6 mussels, 6 clams, 5 shrimp, 2 lobsters, and some uni.   Sounds like a lot of food, but I’d say 70% of it is shell.

The lobsters were steamed, cut in half, then served chilled on ice.  For me, this method takes out a lot of flavor.  The lobster meat was cold and flavorless.  Had to butter that shit up to even swallow the bug meat.  The rest of the tower was pretty good but I have a hard time justifying $100 and still bei5nkhteng hungry.

Overall, the happy hour (4pm – 7pm  or 10pm – close) they have is legit.  $1 oysters, cheap beer, and some other fried crap to fill the belly.  However, the EMC tower was a tad disappointing and the wait time wasn’t worth it.  Cool atmosphere and location though.

3500 W 6th St
Los Angeles, CA 90020
(213) 351-9988

3-star

Gen Korean BBQ (Torrance, CA)

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Cajun shrimp, sirloin, kalbi

I came in expecting mediocre, frozen, typical all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ but ended up pleasantly surprised.   The interior is well designed and stylish. Very cool blue lights to trip out on, man.

While the quality of meat wasn’t 5/5 stars, for $19.99 and 30 different AYCE dishes, you really can’t complain.  I actually think they could eliminate some of the items to make it easier to order as some of the items are just straight nasty.
Usually, I would have to drive over to Gardena to get some decent AYCE KBBQ, but no longer! (acronyms FTW)

The service was pretty slow, but they were loaded with people.  Can’t really fault our server as he was busting his ass in overdrive and looked to be dehydrated. Expect quite a bit of a wait for groups over 3 people as I’ve never seen this place empty.  Definitely call to avoid the wait, looks to be the new spot in town.

24301 Crenshaw Blvd
Torrance, CA 90505
(424) 328-0388

4stars1

Kettlebar Steam Cooking (Anaheim, CA)

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Kettlebar pan roast

After failing to make it to the famous Oyster Bar in Vegas, I decided to trek to Anaheim to try and satisfy my pan roast craving.
Kettlebar is located inside a food plaza/court called Anaheim Packing District.  It’s easily one of the most beautifully designed food courts I’ve ever seen.  Parking was a pain in the ass, but valet was only $3 so that made me happy.
The pan roast itself was so freaking good.  The creamy tomato broth combined with the white rice and loads of seafood make this a must have dish.

The Kettlebar pan roast had lobster, shrimp, snow crab, and chicken.  All of which were cooked perfectly.  I did notice majority of the lobster was claw meat and a lack of crab, but no big deal.  For $23 I figured it would enough for one person.  It turned out to be enough for two people, given you get an extra bowl of rice.  Service was excellent and everything was filled up without noticing.

If you missed out on the Oyster Bar in Vegas, this is the next best thing.

440 S Anaheim Blvd
Anaheim, CA 92805
(714) 408-7378

4stars1