Archive for January, 2009

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mugaboka (lomita)

January 24, 2009

mugaboka
2271 lomita blvd.
lomita, ca 90717
(310) 325-3557

this is where we usually go to for k-bbq when we’re in the torrance/gardena/lomita/south bay area. last weekend, after a long and productive day, we went to mugaboka for dinner to celebrate. :)

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they have a la carte menu, but we usually go there for the “all you can eat” (ayce) bbq. i remember how the price used to be $14.99 when we first ate there few years ago, and it’s now $20.99 per person!! >_< you get to choose the usual variety of meat, such as the pork belly, brisket, beef tripe, spicy pork, calamari, beef tongue (my favorite!), rib, etc…

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i love their salad!  it comes with the all-you-can-eat order, and you can ask for more if you want.  i usually eat my salad with the meat instead of rice.

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there are usually about seven dishes of pan-chan, and the steamed egg.  (sometimes, they ‘forget’ to bring it out, so make sure you ask for it cuz it’s included with your ayce meal!)

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our ‘standard orders’ are beef tongue, brisket, and pork belly, then something else if we feel abit more adventurous. :D  the meats are abit inconsistent sometimes, but overall, it’s still pretty good. :)
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here’s adding an extra bonus photo taken from previous visit of my little tokidoki dunny enjoying her spicy kimchi! :)

since their prices went up, we haven’t eaten here as often as we used to (whenever we were in the area), but we really like this place and the ‘outdoor’ seatings, though expect your clothes and hair to smell like bbq after you’re done! ;p  they do have their own parking lot, but we can usually find a street parking with no problem when the lot is full.  though the restaurant might be pretty packed sometimes, but there has never been a time when we needed to wait for a table.  they’re very friendly, but at times it does feel like they’re a tad more attentive to koreans than non-koreans. :p  overall, we always enjoy dining here, and i really love the rice tea they serve at the end of the meal. :)

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mitsuwa marketplace (little tokyo)

January 24, 2009

mitsuwa marketplace (closed)

(in little tokyo)
333 s. alameda st
los angeles, ca 90013
(213) 687-6699
www.mitsuwa.com/english

i’m sure, like me, many people are saddened by the closing of this mitsuwa marketplace inside the little tokyo shopping mall. the mall has not been well managed for the recent years, with stores closing one after another and left empty for awhile. it’s finally been bought out by a korean company, and will now be managed by a team of asian-american investors. upon the closing of mitsuwa, a new supermarket that will carries both asian and american food, will take over and reopen on feb 15, 2009. this mitsuwa has brought many great fond memories to many of us over the years. though we couldn’t go during their steep “everything must go sales”, but we just had to make time to drop by today to bid our goodbyes, before they closes their door for good on monday… *sniff sniff* :”'(

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horizen gourmet (west hollywood)

January 21, 2009

horizen gourmet
8385 beverly blvd
los angeles, ca 90048
(323) 653-0470
www.hirozen.com

few years ago, my cousin and i stumbled upon this little treasure hidden inside a mall complex at the corner of orlando and beverly, and to this day, it is still my favorite sushi place to go.

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on this particular visit, these are what we ordered (yup, we skipped breakfast to have a satisfying ‘branch/lunch’ :)

ankimo (monkfish liver) – yummily good, if you like the texture :)
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toro & foie gras tower (layered grilled foie gras, toro & banana with black bean sauce) – this is good, and who wouldn’t love foie gras! although after learning how foie gras was produced, i no longer allow myself to indulge in such cruelty since four years ago :(
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nasa soboro (eggplant, minced chicken with snow peas) – my cousin didn’t really like this one, but i love eggplants, though the minced chicken with snow peas tasted like a homemade dish i’ve had. this was probably our least favorite that day
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uni (sea urchin), ikura okizuke (smelt eggs), and kobashira (scallop) – omg, just look at those uni and tell me you’ve had plumber ones! d best uni i’ve ever had! thinking about it and looking at the pics made me drool all over again :D the kobashira are so fresh! this is my favorite ‘combo’! :)
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variety roll (tuna, salmon and white fish) – pretty good :)
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apple sushi – very creative… it’s the first time i’ve ever had an apple sushi, so it was an interesting surprise :)
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purple yam pudding – yam-mily good but nothing new
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sauteed banana – they’re good, but i’ve had better ones :)
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green tea
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the owners are very nice and knowledgeable. (they do consulting work, too!) i’m so bad with names and i feel so embarrassed about forgeting the name of the lovely lady who came by and chatted with us. she was first curious on why i was snapping food shots each time a dish was served to us, and probably thought we might be ‘spies’ :p but she was very gracious knowing that taking food shots has been a ‘hobby’ of mine, and even after learning that my cousin’s family is in the restaurant business. :)  all in all, i heart hirozen….lots!!! :) all the staffs are super friendly and attentive. and their wide variety of small dishes on the menu never ease to gastronomically surprise and satisfy any picky palette. :) ingredients are fresh, the flavors of the dishes are well balanced, and beautifully presented. a lovely small dining place, so don’t forget to make reservations, and i wouldn’t recommend it for large groups. if you wanna save on valet parking, find a street parking instead. :) hmm hmm hirozen-licious! :)

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ben & jerry’s (century city)

January 20, 2009

ben & jerry’s century city
10250 santa monica blvd
century city, ca 90067
(310) 788-9682

i’ve wanted to check out this special inauguration “yes pecan” flavor since i heard it on the news.  so yesterday, after dinner at century city’s westfield mall, we dropped by the ben & jerry’s there to have a little taste test. :p  hmm, i tried a little spoonful of it and unfortunately, it was just way too buttery for me.  :p  i like their “yes pecan!” poster though! :)

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…and, congratulations to our 44th president, barack h. obama!! it’s a great day for us all!! :)

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pho show (culver city)

January 16, 2009

pho show
4349 sepulveda boulevard
culver city, ca 90230
(310) 398-5200
(310) 398-5205 (delivery)
12pm-12 am
7-11am for breakfast (starting in february)

(sorry for all the blurry shots on this post. all photos taken with my iphone)
my friend picked me up after work to check out the culver city aaron brother’s “buy one get second for one cent” promotion event, where i got pretty good deals for canvases, and scored a few nice 75% off photo frames. :) he had passed by pho show once recently and suggested we should check it out. throughout all these years living in marina del rey, i was surprised that there hasn’t been any pho place in the area (the closest one i’ve had was at national/sawtelle alley, which i should blog about it some time later), so this is quite exciting (though i just found out that they have been here since last summer!) :)

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it wasn’t hard to spot them on sepulveda with the huge neon “pho show” sign hanging vertically at the ‘store front’. at 6:50pm, we easily found a street parking spot couple store units away from them. they have an outdoor seating area, but since it’s so close to the street, we preferred to enjoy our dinner indoor. there were only two other tables of customers when we arrived (not a good sign, but it was still early, so i was hopeful ;) ), and we were seated with our menus almost immediately with water served shortly after.

looking through the menu, they have quite a good variety of dishes compared to the usual pho places. nice selection of cha gio (egg rolls), cha cuon (spring rolls), salads, pho (rice noodle soup) dishes, bun (vermicelli) dishes, com (steamed rice) dishes, com chien (fried rice) dishes, “indochine” dishes, and pan fried noodles dishes. we went for #1 “cha gio” (pork egg rolls with fish sauce), priced at $4.50, and #101 “pho show dac biet” (rice noodles with rare steak, brisket, tendon, tripe, beef balls), priced at $7.95. the bean sprouts came without the usual sliced jalapeno chili pepper, so i asked for it (it’s a must have for me for pho! :p) which the friendly server fetched some from the ktichen right away. :)

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when the egg rolls arrived, we were surprised by the portion of the order. the three pieces of egg rolls were alot smaller than what we are used to. these look more like the egg rolls you get from dim sum restaurants. i was told that authentic vietnamese egg rolls would use rice paper, but pho show uses regular chinese style egg rolls wrappers. the fish sauce is abit blended. it was alright for me, but my friend wasn’t impressed at all.

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it didn’t take too long for the pho to be served. the soup was a tad bit more salty, peppery, and ‘licorice-y’, but after a few slips, i got used to it and thought it was still okay. there were about four pieces of the meat, couple ‘strand’ of tripe, a small piece of tendon, and half of a meat ball (we couldn’t believe they wouldn’t even include one whole piece of meat ball…it was a fairly small one, too! :p) in the noodle soup.

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we are probably spoiled by those authentic pho places in the south bay and in the east side, that this bowl of pho felt abit ‘ripped off’. i still enjoy it though (i always have mine with all the sliced jalapeno chili peppers and chili sauce in the soup) and am happy that there’s finally a pho place nearby! :) and it sure doesn’t hurt that all the staff there are very friendly and attentive, which is always a plus if you’re in the food&service industry regardless of how big or small a business you are. the interior decor is simple and clean, but we hope they won’t keep playing techno music though. :p

when the check came, i asked for their to-go menu, and asked about delivery. they do charge an additional $1.50 for delivery around culver city and neighborhood areas that only take about 5 min drive to get there, or $3.50 for delivery to santa monica or the like area. that’s pretty good actually, considering they’re practically the only pho in the vicinity, if you’re having one of those days when you don’t feel like going out and really have an urge for some pho or other vietnamese dishes. :) starting in february, they’ll also be opened earlier and serve breakfast from 7-11am! and despite the food quality, they actually get pretty good customer traffic. throughout the time we were there, there were new customers coming in consistently. i will definitely go back to try their other dishes as well. :)

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nonfat blueberries yogurt with fresh blackberries and organic flax (home kitchen)

January 12, 2009

ikitchen
marina del rey, ca 90295
yumyuminthetumtum’s home kitchen

i don’t usually eat breakfast, unless i’m back home (where breakfast was always nicely prepared every morning), but i love breakfast menu (it’s probably my favorite meal!) and today, i had the urge to make myself some healthy a.m. yummy! :) my favorite nonfat blueberries yogurt, with some fresh blackberries (can you tell i love berries?!! :p) and some ground organic flaxseed. hmm hmm creamily delicious to start the day with! :)

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spicy catfish with brown rice (home kitchen – take out)

January 4, 2009

ikitchen
marina del rey, ca 90295
yumyuminthetumtum’s home kitchen

as promised on my previous post, here’s the to-go spicy catfish from indra thai restaurant. i homecooked some brown rice, microwaves the to-go dish, and here i have a delicious dish! :) even though it had been overnight, the catfish was really good, yummily flavorful, and evenly spiced. this is probably my favorite dish from indra thai along side their fried banana so far. :) bon appetit! :)

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indra thai restaurant (glendale)

January 3, 2009

indra thai restaurant
517 south verdugo road
glendale, ca 91205
(818 ) 247-3176

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i love thai food, and having read some of the four stars reviews on yelp, i had added it to my to-try list some time ago. my friend and i had passed by it a couple times when we were in the glendale area. but tonight, after dropping by a gallery in the area to pick up my painting, and hanging out abit at the americana, we decided to check out indra thai for dinner. we arrived shortly after 5pm. parking is easily available within the complex lot. through the window, it doesn’t look quite attractive, but there were already about five table full of customers enjoying an early dinner, and that usually is a fairly good sign. we headed in. the first thing we noticed is the over-the-counter thai snack available as take-out (much like food court, panda express counter setup). there were fried bananas, fried spicy chicken, fried fish with spicy sauce, curries dishes, and couple of thai snacks. they all look pretty good, so i was happy and looking forward to our dinner. :)

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after about 30 seconds standing at the entrance area, we were greeted and escorted to our table with the menus. skimming through the entire menu, we noticed there are alot of noodle dishes, and not many of my favorite thai dishes are available. the dishes are fairly priced, but the fish dishes i was interested in were marked as “m.p.” (market price), the server, who speaks pretty fluent english (contrary to few of the reviews i read about them not speaking english), was very friendly and explained that it would depend on the size of the fish, but should be about $15. so, i chose #52 on the menu, which is stated as “fried fish w/kra pow sauce, whole fish deep fried until golden & topped w/spicy kra pow sauce prepared w/mint leaves & minced garlic”. my friend chose #75 which is “pad see eew, flat noodles, broccoli, scrambled egg, & choice of chicken, beef, pork stir fried in soy bean sauce” priced at $6.95. he asked for pork. he also ordered #6, the “satay, marinated in spicy curry & skewed on the stick, this indonesian cuisine has been modified w/a thai twist. served w/ peanut sauce & cucumber salad. choice of chicken or beef”. my friend asked if we could have it half chicken and half beef (which many restaurants would’ve accommodated this request), but the server said no, they can’t do “since all the satay were pre-packaged and prepared already”, whatever that means. with a tad bit of disappointment, he went with the chicken satay. she offered if we would like a bowl of rice and naturally we said yes (but thought to ourselves that the steamed jasmine white rice was supposed to come with the fish dish as stated on the menu?) anyway, i have a habit of ordering a glass of thai ice tea the first time i dine in any thai restaurant, so no difference this time. they called theirs “indra thai ice tea” priced at $1.50. ;) overloaded with the usual crushed ice which makes the taste abit diluted, but i like that the milk is not overwhelming which is nice and not too sweet.

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satay as appetizer came first. the chicken meat was nicely done (no burnt corners), the peanut sauce is abit too diluted but still flavorful, and the cucumber salad was sweetly good. :)
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next, the pad see eew was an instant disappointment for my friend. the flat noodle was quite dry and not ‘chewy’ but with a ‘soggy’ texture. i don’t think they served us broccoli, but the veggie was overcooked and ‘old’, and the scrambled egg had a weird texture to it.
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our fish dish arrived in two ‘small’ pieces. i feel so bad saying this, but again, abit of a disappointment. the pompano wasn’t deep fried long enough, texture of abit ‘lumpy’, and it was kinda barely warm when served to us. the kra pow sauce was very blended, but since i really love fish, we did finish this dish.
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the best part of the meal ought to be the fried bananas. an order came with six pieces, and it was yummily crunchy. :)
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when the check came, we noticed they charged an extra $1.25 for the one-person bowl of rice they served us with.  the menu, however, did state that the fish entree is “served w/ steamed jasmine white rice”.  somehow we forgot to ask them about it and paid that puzzling extra $1.25?  before we left, i stopped by the counter for a to-go order of the spicy sliced fried catfish priced at $7.95 (i’ll blog about it on a separate entry.)  though it’s a very friendly and cozy environment, and the food wasn’t all that bad, my friend isn’t too keen to come back again, but with the steady traffic of customers coming in and leaving happy (and with all the other positive yelp reviews), i would want to come back to try the other dishes. :)