A lot changed in Downtown LA while I was gone for two years. The Arts District, which is adjacent to Little Tokyo, had already had a bit of a resurgence that has kinda blown up. On top of that, Chef Neal Fraser, who is behind BLD, has popped out a couple new spots. When you combine these, you get Fritzi, which is like an affordably upscale fast-casual concept (yeah, I said it).
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.
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.
Sometimes a restaurant sounds incredible, but is in a difficult part of town to get to. It lingers on your to-eat list for what seems like ages until a golden opportunity comes around to seize it. For me, this restaurant was The Lazy Ox Canteen and the opportunity was twofold. First, the Expo Line from Culver City to Downtown LA was finally opening opening and second, Blackboard Eats sent me a 30% off coupon for the place. It was the perfect storm and I rode the newly opened Metro train to Little Tokyo for a piece of The Lazy Ox.
Apparently some place called The Lazy Ox downtown is a big deal or something. I wouldn’t know because I haven’t been, but supposedly the guy behind it,Â Michael Cardenas, is also a big deal. Such a big deal, in fact, that he took it upon himself to open another restaurant, called Fat Spoon. The new place is down in Little Tokyo and is conceptually a Japanese curry house. As a man with a fair amount of Japanese curry experience, I definitely wanted to check the place out, and it didn’t hurt that I had one of those Blackboard Eats 30% off printouts either.
A month or so ago, Thrillist Rewards made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. For $29, it included one half-pound burger, unlimited wasabi fries, unlimited wings and two flights of delicious beers at a place called Far Bar in Little Tokyo. A few of us capitalized on this deal and finally made our way there to indulge. But finding it wasn’t exactly easy, as it required a walk through a strange alley. In fact, I walked into the restaurant next door by accident, but a guy there walked me over to the actual bar. Upon arrival, my friends who had gotten there first thrust a basket of fries and wings in my face and I knew I was home.
I had been hearing about a glorious and semi-new restaurant in downtown LA for months and finally I gathered up the strength to make the trek down the 10 and check it out. This new restaurant is called Wurstkuche and although there are multiple fun and interesting pronunciations for such a place, the one thing that is certain is that it means “sausage kitchen” in some Germanic language.
Arriving on a Sunday night, I expected the place to be packed, but was happy to find a relatively short line at the counter that gave me just enough time to decide what I wanted. The menu is limited to a wide variety of sausages and french fries. Although this seems kind of limiting, there is a sausage in their extensive list for everyone (even those dastardly vegetarians and vegans). The most intriguing part for me was the exotic sausages.