Monthly Archives: February 2013

Ichimi Ann Bamboo Garden

1618 Cravens Ave
Torrance, CA 90510

(310) 328-1323

http://www.ichimiann.com

http://www.yelp.com/biz/ichimi-ann-bamboo-garden-torrance

 

I’ve heard lots of good things about Ichimi Ann – it’s one of the few places in LA which makes and serves fresh soba and udon.  According to Ichimi Ann’s website, the buckwheat and flour for the noodles are imported from Japan, and the noodles are made daily.  Ichimi Ann is a fairly small restaurant, with only a few tables.  Thankfully, service is fast so the wait for a table is not long.  It’s easy to find street parking in the area.  Ichimi Ann is CASH ONLY though, so make sure you come prepared!

 

From the restaurant’s official website, it looks like they also have a location in Rolling Hills, which specializes in tempura.  So I’ll give that a try soon!

 

There is no English sign for the restaurant, so here’s the signage to help you out  🙂

 

The menu – prices include tax.  Besides soba and udon noodles, Ichimi Ann also has different rice bowls (curry, unagi, chicken, etc).  Place and pay for your order first, before seating.  The server will then bring your order to your seat.

 

Besides table seating, there is also counter seating along the sides.  Condiments include soy sauce and shichimi seasoning (7-spices).  Water, ice barley tea and extra soba sauce are all self-serve near the cash register.

 

The una-toro soba (#20).  Soba noodles in hot broth, topped with grilled eel (unagi) and grated mountain yam.  The texture was really interesting – the soft soba noodles combined eaten with a bite of the rich unagi… and the mountain yam kind of melds the flavors together.  So good!  For those of you who have not tried mountain yam before, it’s a bit gooey and bland.  Ichimi Ann’s soba is lighter in color, compared to the soba that you buy at the stores.  The soba broth is light but has enough flavor.  Just a note – portion wise, it’s a bit small, so consider one of the rice dishes along with this!  $11.40

 

Kakiage soba (#11) – soba noodles in hot broth, topped with a fried shrimp, onions, seaweed and scallions.  I heard this was also pretty good, but again, portion size is a bit small.  $8.75

 

The noodles are served with red pickled cucumber.  It’s crunchy and a bit salty, typical of Japanese pickled vegetables.

 

Loved the soba noodles here.  Will be back to try the udon and rice dishes next!

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The Standing Room

144 N Catalina Ave
Redondo Beach, CA 90277

(310) 374-7545

 

http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-standing-room-redondo-beach-4

http://www.letseat.at/standingroom/menu

 

This place serves one of the best burgers in LA, in my opinion.  And it’s not even a full restaurant!  The Standing Room is actually hidden in a corner, INSIDE a liquor store, just blocks from the beach.  The liquor store has a small parking lot, but your best bet would be street parking.  Also, if you’re lucky, you can grab a seat at one of the 3 tables outside.  Otherwise, grab your order and head to the beach for a picnic!

First order from the counter, then pay for the order at the liquor store cash register.  After that, take the receipt and ticket stub to claim your order.  Generally takes 10-15 minutes to cook the burgers/ sandwiches.  Burger patties are cooked medium – perfectly pink in the middle.

 

The Standing Room literally is at a corner in the liquor store.  You can watch the sports on TV while you wait.  🙂

 

There’s also a special menu on the side, just in case you can’t choose from the regular menu.  Burgers from the regular menu range from $7 to $14.50.  Sandwiches are $6 to $9.50.  Pretty reasonably priced for the quality and quantity that you get.

 

This behemoth is known as the Napoleon burger.  It’s 1/2 pound of patty, bacon, smoked gouda, cheddar, caramelized onion, spring mix topped with braised short rib, fried egg… all on top a bed of truffle parmesan fries.  It’s like a meat lover’s dream.  A knife and fork is literally needed to eat this burger… it’s that tall!  Easily enough for 2.  $14.50

 

I love these truffle parmesan fries!!!  Tossed in truffle oil and grated parmesan cheese, The Standing Room version also has seaweed flakes (I think they must use furikake) which gives it such an unique flavor!  The fries are fresh and crunchy.  Nom nom nom… this is one order and it’s more than enough for 2-3 people.  $4.50

 

The Dressed Burger – 1/2 pound patty, bacon, caramelized onion, spring mix, bleu, smoked gouda, fried egg, tomato jam and Korean aioli.  I’m told this is also one of their most popular burgers.  The tomato jam gives it a sweet and savory taste, but couldn’t really taste the Korean aioli.  Loved the fried egg and gouda on the burger.  $8.50

 

The Standing Room also does really great sweet potato fries and the portion is also generous.  $4.50

Torihei

1757 W Carson St
Ste A
Torrance, CA 90501

Hours:  Mon-Sun 5:30 pm – 12 am

(310) 781-9407

 

Torihei is a really great yakitori/izakaya restaurant in Torrance.  Izakaya restaurants are Japanese beer houses, featuring small dishes.  Yakitori is basically meat or vegetable on skewers.  Torihei is only open for dinner, and since the restaurant is on the small/medium side, reservations are highly recommended to avoid a long wait!  Torihei is located in the same center as Musha and Nozomi – so parking is a breeze.

My last visit here was New Years Eve, which is one of the very few times that Torihei does not accept reservations.  Even so, the wait wasn’t too bad – it was about 45 minutes.  When you sit down, you’ll have a few different order forms!  One for the yakitori items, 1 for the oden items, and 1 for the yakitori.  Don’t be daunted!  Take a look at what other people have ordered… and also take a look at what we ordered:

 

Started off with some apple shoju.    Shoju is basically flavored sake.  Torihei uses chilled small apples to be served as shot glasses for the shoju.  So cute and ingenious!  This is the regular size at $8.99.  You can also order a large for $12.99.  The apple shoju is a little sweet but wonderful flavor!  I could hardly taste the alcohol…  mmm….

 

This is one of Torihei’s most popular dishes: chopped cucumber with sesame oil.  The cucumber is wonderfully seasoned with the sesame oil, and mixed with the tomato.  It’s both crunchy and refreshing!  $5.95

 

The cabbage salad is also one of the most ordered items.  It’s a simple cabbage salad tossed with scallions, in sesame dressing.  It’s also light and refreshing, especially to balance out the yakitori meats!  $5.95

 

This is also one of Torihei’s specialties:  half-done egg.  The eggs are immersed in the oden broth, while covered with salmon roe.  For people who love runny eggs, this is a must order!  $1.95

 

Grilled squid!  The WHOLE squid is grilled, then lightly brushed with yakitori sauce and is served with a side of mayo.  The squid is juicy and tender, and you can really taste the squid’s natural flavor!  $5.95

 

Chicken wing – the skin is crispy while the meat is juicy inside.  It’s just seasoned with salt,  simple yet so tasty!  $2.50

 

Asparagus with pork – it’s literally pork-wrapped asparagus.  The pork is a little crispy, and drizzled with a curry sauce.  Yum!  $3.95 for an order of 2.

 

Bacon-wrapped okra – perfect blend of meat and vegetable.  This is also seasoned with just salt, but so delicious!  $2.50

 

I love the “robata” rice balls at Torihei!  The rice balls are lightly covered with soy sauce, then grilled, so that the rice is crispy with a slightly burnt taste.  Just a warning – this make take up to 30 minutes to prepare, so make sure to order them during the first round!  Comes with the yellow pickled radish, and pickled mustard.  The rice balls are pretty sizable so 1 per person is more than enough.  $2.20 per rice ball.

 

Grilled shrimp!  It’s seasoned with salt and served with a dollop of mayo.  I didn’t try this but my friend said it was really good.

 

The Korean short-ribs.  We did not expect the plate to be so generous!  This is just 1 order.  The meat tastes a little sweeter than the traditional Korean version, but nonetheless, it was very soft and tender!   I think it was $5.95 or $6.95

 

Torihei’s chicken meatballs are also really tasty.  The meatballs are a good size, are lightly grilled with a yakitori sauce, and yet so juicy!  $1.80 per skewer

 

Torihei’s chicken meatballs are so good, but covered in cheese, they’re even better!  $2.50 per skewer

 

Chicken breast skewers!  You can select from 3 different sauces – spicy cod roe (the bottom 2), plum sauce (the middle) or with wasabi (the top two).  I liked the spicy roe version the best!  $1.80 per skewer

 

This is the fried pumpkin with cornflakes.  Little did we know it’d be a dessert sort of item.  The pumpkin is actually kabocha squash.  Dip the fried pumpkin in the accompanied vanilla ice cream, and you get the best of both worlds (hot and cold!).  YUM!  $5.95