Category Archives: West LA

Jogasaki Sushi Burritos: Jumping The Food Truck Shark?

A Sushi Burrito: Jogasaki Special #1

     Has the whole LA food truck scene in LA jumped the shark? All signs seem to point to a resounding yes. Pan-Asian Caribbean Fusion Truck? Sure. Doughnut Burger Truck? Bring it on. Deep Fried Ice Cream Mobile? Hells yes. For every successful food truck venture such as Kogi or Nom Nom, a dozen imitators spring up, armed with only a twitter account, a gimmicky concept and a flashy paint job on a P.O.S. van. Can a city, even one as big as LA, really require five Indian food trucks? or four Filipino trucks? The firm laws of economics dictate that all this surplus food-truckery coupled with trickling demand will probably not end well for the both parties. But perhaps there is hope: a food truck so seemingly hair-brained that it succeeds by sheer hutzpah, reawakening the youthful possibility that lies in mobile food. Enter the Jogasaki Truck, home of the Sushi Burrito. Continue reading

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Bru’s Wiffle: A Waffle For All Seasons

Meatball Waffles... For Breakfast?!


      Is it really possible to dislike waffles, the most utilitarian of all breakfast staples? As the late, great Mitch Hedberg insightfully observed, “waffles are like pancakes with syrup traps.” Seeking to extend the waffle beyond it’s humble breakfast origins is the oddly-named Bru’s Wiffle in Santa Monica, which opened late last year. The quiet café wouldn’t be out of place in a spring Ikea catalogue: an open, airy space brightly decorated in pastel colors and simple oak furniture. Much in the same vein as it’s spunkier sister restaurant Bruxie’s Waffle in Orange, a former burger stand which has become an all-hours favorite amongst Chapman undergrads, Bru’s operates on the premise that waffle consumption is appropriate for both all hours and all tastes. Continue reading

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Sawtelle Tempura House: A Bento Unboxing

Tempura House Bento Box

     Along the length of Sawtelle boulevard home to West LA’s version of Little Tokyo, often dubbed “Little Osaka”, lies a take-out shop that doesn’t quite fit in with slick, modern restaurants that surround it. While others serve Kobe beef shabu-shabu and delicate soba noodles, Sawtelle Tempura House specializes in cranking out homemade bento boxes for a lunch crowd that runs the gambit from UCLA undergrads to Santa Monica executives.  Bento is Japan’s answer to the brown bag lunch, a combination of snack-able favorites that is often sent along as a simple meal for those headed to school or work. Continue reading

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Tokyo 7-7’s Last Meal: A Farewell to Omelettes

The Tokyo 7-7 Special

     As some of you may know, December 18th was the last day of business for one of Culver City’s most unique and beloved eateries. Much has been said about Tokyo 7-7, a small shop pigeoned-holed by parking structures and the burgeoning classier eateries of downtown Culver. It is an odd pastiche of a diner to say the least: serving both Japanese comfort foods as well as American greasy spoon mainstays at prices that echo a time when Members Only jackets were worn without a trace of irony. Tokyo 7-7’s other-worldy nostalgia lasted 27 years with compromising to the pressures of a changing world. Not bad for a place where the waitresses total checks on abacuses and sell packs of cigarettes from the behind the counter between slinging plates of spam and eggs.
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Simpang Asia: Mean Green Mung Bean

     Los Angeles’ Palms neighborhood is easy to miss. Stuck between the hubbub of Culver City and Beverly Hills, it consists mostly residential apartments and a few ethnic grocery stores. One highlight, though, is the small stretch of National Blvd. between Motor and Overland representing this neighborhood’s closest version of a Main St. In these couple blocks you’ve got a excellent selection of eateries including Roy Choi’s Chego, which in it’s short  8 month span has already become quite legendary. Yet, the restaurant in Palms that keeps me returning again and again out of sheer intrigue is the tiny Indonesian cafe/grocery, Simpang Asia. Indonesian cuisine is heavily influenced by India, the Middle East, China, as well as the various countries of Southeast Asia. This makes for a complex menu that seems both familiar and foreign at once. In my experience though, navigating the menu is not necessary as whatever you order will probably be A) delicious and B) improved by a few spoonfuls of chili paste. Continue reading

Ugly Roll: The Search for Cheap Non-Lethal Sushi


          There are three things that Los Angeles’ upper crust is always willing to fork out premium prices for: German autos, Italian fashions and Japanese sushi. It’s that last one that is often the most impressive in its mastery: dishes served at places like Urasawa or Sushi Zo boast some of the finest and freshest ingredients available, prepared by chefs so skilled they make brain surgeons look jittery. Of course, it comes at cost; go often enough and you may rack up the kind of debt usually reserved for recent college grads. The good news is that you can still find some decent sushi in LA for the same price as valet parking at Sugarfish. Continue reading

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George’s Coffee Shop: A Classic Diner with Seoul

     If some young indie director finds himself location scouting for his next mumblecore flick he could do a lot worse than George’s Coffee Shop, a cramped and unassuming Korean-American diner tucked away in a sleepy Culver City strip mall. With its weathered 1970’s sign and it’s outdated décor, George’s is the quintessential LA greasy spoon that has changed little but its prices (paced with inflation of course) since it first opened. Similar to its kindred sibling across town, Tokyo 7-7, George’s menu is filled with a few unique ethnic quirks that make it much more than the apparent sum of its parts. The diner is run by an older Korean couple, both of whom seem to have developed a harmony with the often hectic weekend breakfast crowd. They sling plates and clear tables with an efficiency and calmness that speaks to how long they’ve been at it for. Don’t take personal offense when the no-nonsense waitress/matriarch approaches your table holding her pen and note pad with a demeanor that suggests she may hail from somewhere north of the 38th parallel, that’s just the way it’s done at George’s. Continue reading

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