Met up with The Canine Cologne of Pink Candles at Ridgemont High and The Cathy of Mmm-Yoso for lunch today. CC had just gotten back from a trip to Canada and had some gifts.(!)
To try a Japanese place was suggested so I picked Izakaya Sakura since I knew Cathy enjoyed them (and posted many times on including Kirk). Easiest explained, the place is like my Que Huong for Japanese. The food could range from great, to good to ok, but the special kudos they've always manage to earn from me is the fact how they make the effort to offer non-typical Japanese dishes for lunch (at least for So. Cal. standards). You'd be hard pressed to find the likes of Buri Daikon, Saba Miso-ni, or a Negi Maguro Natto-don as lunch options in Japanese eateries even in L.A.
Today I splurged and went for the Uni-Don (Sea Urchin Donburi, $18) since we were there a little later and Kazu-san the sushi chef was present. I also special requested an Ika-Somen, mostly for myself but to have CC and Cathy also try.
A really nice summer dish of raw squid sliced to resemble noodles and had with some mentsuyu. With the cold tsuyu, some grated ginger and green onions, the crucible sized appetizer always packs a delicious punch. Admittedly high for ~$5 but something difficult for me to resist especially on great weather days as today.
Cathy had the Spicy Fish Salad which I forgot to take a photo of (but can be found here on one of my older posts). CC got the grilled Sanma (Pacific Saury). One thing I know of CC is that she's always up for a challenge to try something unfamiliar which is great. :) The fish with distinctive smokiness favored by many Japanese can also be a technical hurdle for some with the small bones. I don't have it often but when I do get a Sanma craving, it's hard to be satiated with anything else.
And the gifts! Ketchup Pringles, dark chocolate Kit Kat, Nestle' Coffee Crisp and much much more. Thanks CC! The Coffee Crisp was gone before I got home (haha) and I'm finding the (powdered) Ketchup flavor Pringles strangely addicting as I work on this post.
Izakaya Sakura, 3904 Convoy St #121, San Diego, CA 92111
I'm really excited about a new coffee shop in my neighborhood called the Coffee & Tea Collective. (Tumblr, Facebook, YouTube) Off El Cajon Blvd opposite side of Rudford's Diner, I think they're occupying the old ABC Piano spot if I remember right.
It's a lot more spacious inside than how it may look from out. Awesome minimalist but warm vibe. If you're in the area, please show your support. The coffee is great.
Coffee & Tea Collective, 2911 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA
Dinner a few nights ago at Tacos El Gordo (No. 3).
Stewed Suadero was nice and tender but the Al Pastor the day was off the hook good. Lots of marinated flavor with that nice tasty citrus note. Not too dry with also a little of that great charred crunchy bits about. Went back for seconds. I noticed they now take charge. At $1.80 each, they can add up.
My post on Ten-don specialist Kaneko Hannosuke (in Mitsuwa Santa Monica food court) will have to wait until next month as it's the last day of June so soon. The stop was earlier the same weekend day as my dinner Costa Mesa Ramen Jinya visit.
It wasn't bad per se but at $14 for the Edomae bowl with Anago (sea eel), let's just say there's ample room for improvement.
Random Santouka Ramen photo of the month. Shio Chashu (regular size). Their main Salt flavor with extra pork. The green onion rice bowl, Negi Meshi has been a must for me with.
Which reminds me reader Junichi had given me a heads up of Mitsuwa's next fair which is Kyushu and Okinawa themed (July 19th~22nd). As for our special ramen visitors, Tatsunoya will be at the Torrance store serving up some delicious Kyushu Tonkotsu.
While the soup is also delectable, De-with it or how do yo say De-Groovy? I especially remember the house made noodles that were firm wiry straight and great.
[Tatsunoya @ Mitsuwa 2010]
Tanaka Shoten will be at the Costa Mesa store the same days with their Hakata Nagahama take and it'll be hard for me to miss either. Also Foremost Blue Seal Okinawa will be there with some regional purple yam soft serve. I remember my exciting grade school field trip to the factory like it was yesterday! Natsukashii...