Sorry, doing two in a row wasn't my first plan. Was supposed to have a buffer in-between but it's how things turned out this week.
Well, as I was super bummed to learn that my recent favorite B-kyu Gurume drama series - Meshibana Keiji Tachibana had actually stealthily ended the last episode I had watched, I found out that Kodoku no Gurume Season 3 had just started. SWEEEET.
I briefly mention about it and comic book turned drama series character Inogashira Goro in my first Ichimi-An post. Realized I've yet to share my list of current favorite food-centric Japanese television shows but hope to do so soon.
Another quick television related update. My friend Ginger-san of Shogayaki.com had mentioned that Eat Napo-san of Naporitan x Naporitan will be on Matsuko no Shiranai Sekai.
I absolutely love that show! And really great for him even though it's probably at least his third appearance on a nation wide Japanese program. But as I had predicted, there's a big Naporitan comeback boom going on. Can't wait to see the episode. [Update: Blog post on the episode here.]
So on to an actual Japanese Spaghetti Naporitan had in April below. This was from Mitsuwa Torrance food court's Italian Tomato which is curiously re-bannered currently as Hamada-ya Bread Bar & Coffee. I'm not sure what the extent of the change will be but so far not much seemed to have to the original menu which I'm sort of glad of.
A quick comment that Naporitans should be cheap. Like this one. The entire set meal shown was $6.95 and in the spirit of the humble Napo. Many I've had in the states were fancied, and/or served during dinner at a premium, which quite frankly misses the whole point. The version had here while the bell peppers could've been sliced thinner was pretty close to spot on for my tastes. A dryer katayaki style that I also prefer.
Below, Curry Ketchup purchased at Sausages & More in Lakeside. It's quite sweet and not sure it would be a good base for a home Napo, but I enjoyed it with my meal the day (post coming soon).
I mentioned about Costa Mesa's Don Don Tei's katsudon that was a bust last. I debated whether to save it for a longer series of my recent katsudons but compiling the list of mostly forgettable bowls didn't inspire me this week.
However the pretty wax sample behind the glass did and I gave this a try. It had the typical downfalls of a sleepy rendition. A weak don-tsuyu sauce, katsu pieces that didn't seem to have come moments from the fryer and eggs that were cooked stiff. Of course Mugimaru's chikuwa-ten saved the day.
Too bad it's a $1.50 or I'd make a meal out of them. Their giant chicken karaage is $0.90.
Noticed our Kayaba serving Chicken Katsu a few weeks ago. (Yes, that is tonkatsu sauce on my potato salad...) I'm not the biggest fan of their panko crust which is thick and batter-ey. For me the experience of Japanese furai-mono relies much to this outer layer and katsus are no different. I'm looking forward to my trip to Japan this Winter for some fresh nama-panko, spiny crisp roof-of-mouth-piercing, deep fried in sweet lard, miniature awesometown in my mouth tonkatsu done proper.
Done with food court meals (for now), spotted while randomly trekking around side streets of Torrance was a really cool beer-with-burger sign. The text and illustration were actually raised, and what lovely patina.
Did you know the Rubios off of Clairemont Mesa is the company's flagship Test Kitchen? I've eaten here many times and the bold letters that spell "Test Kitchen" out is a big giveaway but I somehow only discovered the fact earlier this year.
Their pretty hot Diablo Sauce can only be found here, and while you'll also see recipe tweaked things like pepped up citrus rice and garlic beans, I've had limited time special burritos and such. If I remember right they were one of the first locations to serve with real plates and utensils as well.
A couple of pizzas. Above is from Luigi's in North Park, taking advantage of their $6 for 2-slice and drink deal. Below a slice of thin crust sausage and a Maxwell Street Polish Dog from Lefty's in Mission Hills. I forgot how much fries they gave with hot dog orders and the pizza wasn't really necessary.
Couple of ramens. Had been some time visiting Ramen Zetton in Costa Mesa since my consecutive lunch tries at IKKO but had ordered a Shoyu with extra Nori not too long ago.
Their Shio or Shoyu would be my best bet here and the day's was still a better pleasantly greasier chicken-based torigara bowl with wa-fu character in the area (this includes SD of course). I feel they're on the verge of being much better, I hope they keep the passion and continue experimenting, iron out inconsistencies. The Japanese gyozas were fried well the day but the fillings were quite stiff.
Yamadaya Costa Mesa's Premium Shio had better days. As with their Premium Shoyu I really enjoy the stronger bonito flavor in the soup. This bowl somewhat satiated my gyokai-kei craving but barely. Where's the aromatic negi oil (koumi-abura) and what's up with that hard boiled egg? The fried rice was just as heavy handed. *sigh*
Last, a reminder that Monday, July 22nd is Doyou no Ushinohi, or Japan's National Eel Day of sorts. So get your grilled Unagi appetites on to better endure the heat wave of the coming months. And if you miss, there's another this year on August 8th according to Wiki.