Pasadena isn’t exactly known for being at the forefront of the food world. Often a restaurant finds success elsewhere in LA and decides Pasadena is a good outpost for a sequel. You could say that is the case with Ramen Tatsunoya, which first found success in Japan, then as a popup in Torrance, but Pasadena was officially chosen as it’s first location for a long-term foray into the United States. The incessant hour-long line out the door proves that this wasn’t a bad idea.
What do you call a restaurant called Abricott? Do you pronounce it like apricot? Do you slow it down and enunciate everything? Or do you just refer to it as “that Asian place down on Lake”? I prefer the latter option, because at the end of the day that’s really what it is. Abricott is loaded with a variety of different Asian offerings, like Korean, Chinese, Thai, and all that jazz. On this day, though, it was the Thai that struck me.
What do you do in Pasadena when it’s 100 degrees outside? Surely not ramen in an un-air conditioned restaurant. Right? Wrong. You see, sometimes you just need ramen and sometimes that means going to Tamashii for it. Tamashii is a small izakaya-esque spot that has a surprising variety for such a small place, even within the ramen section.
It’s pretty well-known that Little Tokyo is now home to some of the best restaurants in LA. One of these is better-known for their spicy ramen challenge perhaps moreso than how good their ramen actually is. This place is Orochon Ramen, which can be found in one of Little Tokyo’s mini malls and I set out to try their non-crazy-spicy ramen to see how it held up.
By now I have made it pretty clear on this blog and in life that I have no need for sushi. Thus, life in Pittsburgh was good because A) there are very few “good” sushi places and B) my wife got deeply pregnant and could not eat it or convince me to eat it. Thusly, her first meal post-child turned out to be sushi at Sushi Fuku.
Remember a time when Benihana-esque teppanyaki places were just the coolest damn things ever? Yes, it seems like a long time ago, but that time was very real. Well, the excitement has certainly passed, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun to get a group together to hit up a teppanyaki place every few years. Well, we did just that in Pittsburgh’s South Side at spot called Nakama (which weirdly translates to “fellow”).
A great ramen is hard to find. Good ramen, not so much, but great yes. So when Slurping Turtle in Chicago got so big that they decided to open up an outpost in Ann Arbor, I assumed great things. So on my last visit to Michigan amidst weather worthy of ramen, I made sure to make a stop in Ann Arbor for some slurping.
EDIT: Grit & Grace is now a noodle bar, but I’m guessing it is just as delicious as before.
While some parts of the country might have Asian fusion around every corner, Pittsburgh has (most likely for the better) avoided much of this. There is, however, a spot downtown called Grit & Grace that has welcomed that sort of cuisine. It starts with a little something they call American Dim Sum. It’s nothing at all like actual dim sum aside from the fact that it is in small servings, but it is quite delicious. We had some of the Pork Belly Bites (with orange, chili, garlic and ginger) and Kimchi Balls (with rice and cheese). They were both incredible, and the balls surprisingly so because I have a rational hatred of kimchi and these tasted nothing like it.
One thing I miss greatly about life in LA is the great Chicken Katsu Curry. So when a friend suggested we meet in Little Tokyo for lunch, I was excited by the prospect of getting some of that which I love. She suggested Zip Sushi and Izakaya and while I usually hate the prospect of sushi, the izakaya part intrigued me. Plus the izakaya part included Chicken Katsu Curry.
In all my time living in LA I had one major failure. Well maybe more than one failure, but one of them is not making a trip to Daikokuya. Fortunately, that ramen spot set up an outpost over in Little Little Tokyo. It has a crazy wait, but when you step inside it feels like you’ve really stepped onto a street in Japan (as evidenced by that picture to the left inside the place).