Marion Crepes – Pop-up Store @ Torrance Mitsuwa

21515 S Western Ave
Torrance, CA 90501
 

Marion Crepes, the famous patisserie from Harajuku in Tokyo, has a pop-up store inside the Torrance Mitsuwa for a limited time!!!  I chanced upon it while I lunched at the food court last week, and vowed to be back during the weekend when I had more time.  The pop-up store will run until 3/30/2014, and there’s a 30 minute break daily between 4pm -4:30pm.

The line was pretty long today.  We waited in line for about 15-20 minutes just to place our order.  Once our order was in, we waited another 5 minutes for the crepes to be made.  There are only 2 workers at the pop-up store, so expect a bit of a wait.

 

 

The display case with the model crepes.  There are so many choices!  It’s mostly dessert crepes, with 2 different savory tuna crepes.

 

There’s also the option of adding additional toppings.  Go for the green tea ice cream!

 

All of the crepes are made fresh-to-order.

 

We got the #16 – nutella with banana crepe, and added the green tea ice cream.  The nutella crepe is a warm crepe, so they left the crepe on the pan longer – the result is a wonderful crispy wafer cookie texture.  The green tea ice cream really complemented the crepe – it’s so rich and creamy!  The gooey warm nutella and banana are winning combinations with the crepe.  So yummy!  $7.09 including tax

 

For sure, will be back before the pop-up store closes, so that I can try the other flavors!  🙂

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Harry’s Chicken Cafe

1721 W Redondo Beach Blvd
Gardena, CA 90247
(310) 324-4231
 
http://www.harryschicken.com/
http://www.yelp.com/biz/harrys-cafe-gardena

 

This place was recommended to me by a co-worker.  It’s been around for many years, but was formerly known as Harry’s Aloha Chop Suey.  So as you can probably guess by its former name, Harry’s serves Hawaiian food.  Harry’s is located on Redondo Beach Blvd, in a tiny strip mall.  Parking is a bit sparse, but I think you should be able to park in the parking lots of the adjacent strip malls.

 

Besides the obvious Hawaiian-style fried chicken, there’s also Hawaiian favorites such as loco moco, saimin, chicken katsu, teriyaki chicken, spam musubi, etc. The fried chicken comes in regular and boneless versions.  The restaurant itself is a bit small, with only a few tables, which is why I think most people were ordering to-go.  Even though I ordered food to be eaten at the restaurant, they still served it to me in a to-go box, which worked out since portions are generous!

 

The store front

 

Menu is up on the board and there’s just a few tables inside the restaurant

 

I got the Harry’s Mixed Plate which comes with Harry’s Fried Chicken, char siu pork, spare ribs, fried wonton, macaroni salad and rice.  The fried chicken is coated in a sweet batter and was moist and flavorful.  My favorite was the spare ribs, which were fall-off-the-bones good, and drenched in a gravy.  The macaroni salad is actually a mix of a macaroni and potato salad, and pretty tasty.  The char siu (Chinese-style bbq pork) was also good.  The fried wontons were only ok for me.  Portions are pretty generous.  $8.95.

 

So far, this is one of my favorite Hawaiian joints in LA.  I’ll be back to try the loco moco!!!

[Recipe] Tomato-base Mussels

Ingredients:

1.  1lb of fresh mussels – I bought some from the Costco seafood stand, which were really great — comes in a 4lb bag at $2.99/lb

2.  1/4 stick of butter (either salted or unsalted is fine)

3.  4 tablespoons of crushed tomatoes

4.  1 chopped onion

5.  3 tablespoons or 4 cloves of garlic

6.  1/4 cup of white wine

7.  Salt

8. Sriracha sauce or any other hot sauce * optional

 

Directions:

1. Scrub clean the mussels, use either a vegetable brush or a clean toothbrush

2.  In a large pot, fill it about half-way with water and add some salt.  Bring to a boil.

3.  Add the mussels to the boiling pot.  It takes less than a minute for the mussels to start opening up. Once the mussels open, let it cook in the water for another 20-30 seconds.  Then drain.  This should get rid of additional gunk.

  

4. In a large sauce pan, on medium heat, sautee the garlic and onions in the butter.   Once the onions soften and begins to brown, add the crushed tomatoes.  Let the flavors meld for about 2-3 minutes.  Add the white wine and a pinch of salt.  If using salted butter, then use less salt.

5.  For those of you who like a little kick, you can add in Sriracha sauce or any other hot sauce to the mixture.  Let it cook for another 2-3 minutes, then add in the mussels.  Toss until the mussels are coated with the sauce, then serve immediately.

 

Note:  you can also make this dish without the crushed tomatoes.  It’ll just turn out to be a butter sauce.  Either way, the sauce is great with pasta, rice and bread! Bon appetite!

Monja TaiKer 艋舺台客

18558 E Gale Ave
Ste 108
Rowland Heights, CA 91748
 
monjaca.com
http://www.yelp.com/biz/monja-taiker-rowland-heights-2
 

Monja TaiKer has 2 locations.  I’ve only been to the Rowland Heights location, but supposedly there’s also a location in the SGV.  The Rowland Heights location is located in the mega-plex off of Gale,  which has boasts Half and Half TeaHouse, Music Box Karaoke, JJ Bakery Cafe, and the Magic Restroom Cafe.  Free parking is relatively easy to find, either the surface parking or the underground parking.  I’ve been to Monja twice, and haven’t had to wait for a table.  But the restaurant is medium-sized, so during peak times, I think it’d be about a 20-30 minute wait.

Monja TaiKer serves traditional Taiwanese food, ranging from small eats 小吃 like spicy wontons 紅油抄手 to assorted stewed goodies 滷味, to soups like four-flavor soup 四神湯 and pork chop noodles 排骨麵.  Portions are pretty generous and the taste is authentic.  Feels like you’re in Taiwan!

 

The assorted stew combination 攪和攪和.  There’s tofu slices, seaweed and stewed pig ear.  It’s a cold dish, but nicely flavored with a bit of a kick.  Mmmm…. $5.99

 

We had heard that Monja has really good beef noodle soup and they do!  This is the tomato sauce beef noodle soup 招牌茄汁牛肉麵.  The broth is light yet packed with flavor.  There’s lots of tender chunks of beef, with stalks of bok choy.  You can select either the thin or thick noodles.  We ordered the thick noodles, which has similar consistency to udon noodles.  Really good!  $7.50

 

We also ordered the house specialty – the Monja Red Grain Pork Noodle Soup 艋呷燒肉湯麵 with the thin noodles.  The Red Grain Pork is basically Taiwanese-style bbq pork 紅糟肉.  The Monja version is crispy on the outside yet juicy on the inside.  The pork comes on the side, and there’s both dark and white meat.  🙂  The noodles are in a pork broth, topped with stewed minced fatty pork and sprinkled with scallions.  Yummy!  Easily shared among 2 people.  $7.50

Churros Calientes

11521 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025
(424) 248-3890
 
churroscalientes.com
http://www.yelp.com/biz/churros-calientes-los-angeles
 

Ever since our Europe trip to Spain last year, my friends and I have been scouting for a Spanish-style churros place in LA.  So we were really excited to see that there’s a highly-reviewed one in West LA!!!  Churros Calientes is a very small place, easily missed if you’re driving along Santa Monica Blvd.  We went on a Sunday and it was pretty easy to find metered street parking in the area.  We went at the perfect time, because we snagged the last table — can’t imagine how crowded it must be normally; I think it fits 12-15 the most inside.  There are just a few tables, with a few bar seatings.

Besides churros, Churros Calientes also has a small menu of soups, salads and bocadillos (Spanish style small sandwiches).  As we came here after lunch, we didn’t get to try them.  Next time!

 

Look for the sign and the al fresco seating!

 

The bar seating area – as you can see, the place is pretty narrow….

 

We liked the handprints along the wall!

 

The churros con chocolat!  An order comes with 6 pieces of the churros with a small cup of the chocolate.  Very close to the ones at Chocolateria San Gines in Madrid, except the chocolate at Churros Calientes has a bit of almond flavor. The hot chocolate was rich and chocolatey, without being overly sweet.  The churros were light and crunchy.  We went for the original but you can also order filled/topped churros (chocolate, strawberry, guava, etc).  Yummy!  $6.75

 

The coffees at Churros Calientes are actually quite good as well!  The café con leche aka latte came in a large mug.  $4

 

Enjoy a leisurely afternoon, with some churros con chocolat, coffee and soothing flamenco music!

Quality Seafood

130 S International Boardwalk
Redondo Beach, CA 90277

(310) 372-6408

 

I’ve been coming to this place a few years now and every time I come, I discover and try something new!  Quality Seafood is a seafood market, located at the Redondo Beach pier.  It’s hidden in a corner, close by the docks and the old arcade.  Even though Quality Seafood is a seafood market, all the seafood that you see, can be prepared either steamed, grilled/broiled or fried for free!  There is a lot of live seafood, ranging from crabs and oysters, to sea urchin and clams.  In addition to live seafood, there’s also a wide assortment of fresh whole fish, cooked seafood, clam chowder, ceviche, etc.  During the month of September, when all of the lobster fests are happening around the beach cities, Quality Seafood also offers freshly steamed lobster meals for under $20!

Street parking can be a little hard to score, so park at one of the adjacent parking structures to be safe.  Dining at Quality Seafood is very casual… and you might be sharing your meal with a few sea gulls so dress accordingly.  During the weekends, if it’s crowded, it takes at least 30 minutes to have your food to be ready.  I saw on Yelp that sometimes people even bring their own condiments, which is a great idea — Quality Seafood just has the basics (salt, pepper, lemon, etc).  So come prepared… and get ready for a seafood feast!

 

The dining area – it’s mostly al fresco!  There are stacks of old newspapers by the bar (yes, there’s even a bar!), so get some and lay them out picnic style!  🙂

 

Different clam varieties

 

Looks like it’s crab season!  Quality Seafood is so thoughtful that they separate the male and female crabs into separate tanks – it makes it easier to pick them out, either for the crab meat, or for the roe.

 

I think it’s blue crab season too?

 

And for the sea urchin lovers, Quality Seafood is currently running a special on uni until Valentine’s Day at $7.50/lb!!!

 

The live uni – the spine was still moving just a little bit.  This was my first time having uni from the shell… it was a bit salty from the sea water, and covered with the veins.  Otherwise, it was good.  I was a little creeped out by the moving spines though, so I’ll stick with the restaurant versions from now on. :p   $17.50

 

We got half a pound each of the manila and the littlenecks neck clams, steamed with veggies for an extra $1.50.  The clams were soo good!  The veggies soaked up the clam juices, and the white wine sauce so they were delicious as well.  Steamed clams only took 6 minutes to cook.  $11.50 (including the veggies)

 

The wild Alaskan snapper was on sale for $4.98/lb so we got one too.  The one we picked was a huge one, at over 4 pounds.  I think that’s why it took longer to cook — about 20+ minutes.  We had it broiled, and it was so juicy and delicious!  Add your own seasoning (salt, pepper, lemons, etc) to taste.  🙂

Have fun at your own seafood picnic!

 

Atlantic Seafood & Dimsum Restaurant

500 N Atlantic Blvd
Ste 200
Monterey Park, CA 91754

(626) 872-0388

http://www.yelp.com/biz/atlantic-seafood-and-dim-sum-restaurant-monterey-park-2

atlanticsf.weebly.com

 

This is my favorite dimsum restaurant of late.  Atlantic Seafood is conveniently located in the large shopping center, on Atlantic, where the huge AMC Theater and wide range of restaurants are located.  Free parking is easy to find in the attached parking structure.  Finding the restaurant, however, is a bit tricky.  I almost couldn’t find it, when I went the first time.  So, make your way to the 24 Hour Fitness near the corner of Atlantic and Hellman, and you’ll see the restaurant located on the second floor.

Atlantic Seafood is a huge restaurant.  However, it gets very packed during the weekends.  If you want to avoid the crowd, go before 11:30am.  Otherwise, expect at least a 40 minutes wait.  Atlantic Seafood serves traditional dim sum, served in the rolling carts.  The carts circulate pretty often and if you don’t see what you want, just ask a waiter — they’ll usually bring it around to you. Service is pretty fast and friendly, although the dimsum cart ladies are a little pushy and will try to sell as much dimsum as they can!  😉  All of the dimsum that I’ve tried at Atlantic Seafood is very tasty.  Oh, and ALL the dimsum dishes are $1.88 each on the weekends (and only $1.58 on the weekdays)!  ^ ^

 

The meat-stuffed rice cakes.  Crispy on the outside, but soft and chewy on the inside.  Mmmm….

 

1. The shumai is excellent and is a little bigger than other dimsum places

2. The leaf-wrapped sticky rice (no-mai-gai) is also tasty

3.  Steamed custard buns seemed like they’ve been in the steamer for too long – the filling wasn’t runny anymore.  Maybe they would be good if they were freshly steamed?

 

Eggrolls – stuffed with bamboo inside.  Very crunchy and delicious.  Loved it!

 

Beef meatballs had pretty good flavor and texture.

 

The egg tarts were fresh and so good out of the oven!  The crust is flaky and the filling is full of yummy egg flavor.  Mmmm!

 

Other notable items that I forgot to photograph were shrimp dumplings (har-gow), tofu pudding (do-fu-hua) and the fried rice.  I can see why this place is packed during the weekends!  Give it a try if you’re in the area.  🙂