Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Salabration: A Week Of Salads - Fruit Salad @ Frutilandia

Day two. Sharing an Ensalada de Frutas from Frutilandia off University I had over the weekend, one of the older Fruterias off the strip.

Fruit Salad - Small with everything ($3.55) and also a small Papaya Smoothie ($2.59).

'With everything' gives you the granola, raisins, cottage cheese and honey.

The fruits I remember were Strawberries, Honeydew, Cantaloupe, Apples, Watermelon, Mango, Papaya, Bananas...

SO GOOD. I look forward to the summer months as some of the fruits will be more in season and sweeter yet. But with the toppings, especially drizzle of golden honey, it's an assured delicious treat year round.

Any of the fruits can be smoothie-fied. Not artificially sweetened and extremely refreshing.

They're right next to Super Cocina so maybe a nice post visit to offset their hearty guisados. :) Frutilandia wall menu here.

Frutilandia, 3647 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104

Monday, May 30, 2011

Salabration: A Week Of Salads - Tender Greens

Something new, a week of posting nothing but salads here at A Radiused Corner. I'm calling it a Sala-bration!

This is an honest to goodness seven day jubilee of eating quantity amounts of healthy fruits and vegetables. All right some may be generously topped with protein and even with a few guilty croutons... But definitely no Potato or Mac Salads playing up boundary extremities of the definition, no sir. Chicken, Tuna and Egg varieties will also remain sandwiched between slices of bread (where they belong). And I don't even need to mention the Taco Salad do I?

The commemorative inaugural goes to Tender Greens. They're located at the South East end of the Liberty Station complex.

This day on the aluminum tray with radiused corners that I find very attracted to, we have hot from the grill some quick seared sashimi grade Albacore Tuna laying seductively next to my choice of Caesar Salad like Cleopatra with herb brushed sultry eyeliner ($10.50).

Also had this day their Rustic Lemon Thyme Chicken Soup ($4), scratch made and very good.

Each salad tossed to order and their sandwiches aren't premade either. The place is popular and during lunch hour the rush seems to only get exacerbated with the High Tech High kids. But if you do see a line spilling a little out the door don't get too discouraged since it tends to move along at a steady pace. Yes you may find cheaper lunches, but I've personally never been disappointed with the freshness and flavors of meals here and find the occasional visit a nice treat.

Tender Greens, 2400 Historic Decatur Rd (Liberty Station), San Diego, CA 92106

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Dinner Yesterday

Give some love to The Concrete Project. Video via San Diego's truly RamenDays.com.

Great video Caleb!

Quickly posting dinner from last night at friends. That's me in the kettle reflection. I like it, makes me look thin.

Wow I can't believe my Lefty's Deep Dish post was a year ago to the month. Anyway dinner as usual involved a good amount of beeru. Mugs pre-chilled in the freezer. What great hosts.. ;)

Just a sampling since not all my photos turned out, but a Spinach Ohitashi..

Me pouring too much soy sauce on the Hiyayakko. Was delicious though. Tofu was from Meiji Tofu purchased from Nijiya. Great stuff.

I've never seen Snap Peas like this before but these were absolutely delicious raw. Had the texture of a pear and was sweet as corn.

The main Yakitori. Grilled indoors because outside would be too cold for adorable baby at the moment sleeping silently. Eringi mushrooms and asparagus also participating.

Was not a problem for the Viking and the new ventilation did wonders. I know people who built homes from the ground up in less time than it's taking me to redo my kitchen. I gotta get my shi*t together... Dang. :P

Takikomi Gohan with Salmon. Was so tasty with sesame seeds and julienned Shiso. The mister doesn't like fish so I didn't feel bad asking for seconds. BO-NUS.

And more Beeru. Was a great night. Thanks guys!

I start my week long post of salads tomorrow.(!) Hope everyone is enjoying the weekend.

Torrance Twosies - Ramen @ Kitahama Shoten (MUGF) And Horon

It's drizzling and it's cold and although that may make it perfect ramen weather I get the feeling I'm not going to make it up to Mitsuwa Costa Mesa today to try again Tatsunoya's great Tonkotsu (I've had them last year at another Mitsuwa's Explore Diverse Flavor of Japan Cuisine Fair). But if you happen to be around the area and are curious of trying out an extremely velvety smooth bowl of rich but refined tonkotsu (with properly cooked firm noodles) definitely worth checking in.

I did drop by Mitsuwa Torrance yesterday though and had a chance to sample Kitahama Shoten's white miso - Shiro Miso Ramen. These guys are from Hakodate, Hokkaido. ♫は〜るばる来たぜトーランス〜。。。

I sort of had mixed feelings because the lighter unobtrusive Shiro Miso is often used in miso ramens of mom and pop shops scattered all around So. Cal. and I personally always prefered the more sharp and tangy variety blended with some red Aka Miso.

But knowing these guys were from Hokkaido it was guaranteed to be a much heartier bowl and I was right. The creamy bowl was mellow but very pleasantly naturally sweet, just greasy enough and not over the top with the use of lard.

Noodles a paler yellow, Chu-buto yaya chijire... (中部とややちじれ: medium thick, only slightly wavy). Perfectly cooked and springy.

At one point I almost forgot I was having a miso ramen how mild the miso was and it seemed to have a lot of tonkotsu traits (though I'm not sure what animal base the soup was made with).

It was a very well executed Miso Ramen where if I encountered it anywhere in California I'd be an extremely happy guy. But I thought it lacked a little impact for being a showcase at the Umaimono Gourmet Fair. To me the highlight of the bowl could've been the delicious fall apart pork Chashu. Delicious. They also served a Hakodate Shio Ramen which I was curious to try as well but passed this time around. I had to save my appetite for another bowl elsewhere.

I came really early and had some time before 10:30AM when they'd start serving ramen so I sampled Utsunomiya Gyoza Tenou's seafood Japanese gyozas ($6.50).

Without saying they'd be best eaten right after frying and these were warm but not exactly piping or crispy. It had a nice chewy skin but the fillings weren't particularly memorable despite me eating three at a time (haha). I think these are done better justice purchasing frozen and cooked at home.

And since I was also curious of the Egg Salad Donut at Hamada-ya (Mitsuwa's in-house bakery) that I mentioned last week, here it is...

I'm not sure if the mayo evaporates in the baking process but it was rather dry inside.

It might be your cup of tea so don't want to discourage but next time I'm going for the Blue Cheese & Honey bread.

Mitsuwa Market (Torrance), 21515 Western Avenue, Torrance, CA 90501

Trying out Horon's lunch only Chou Noukou (uber rich) Tonkotsu Ramen has been on my to-try list for a while now. Kushiage Dining Horon I found was a cute and very cozy spot located in the strip along with Nijiya Torrance off 182nd Street. Lunch (11:30AM~2PM) is extremely casual where you walk up to a small table in the back set up with menu and paper box with change and pay the very friendly server like you would when purchasing girl scout cookies. Find a seat and your meal will come fairly quickly on a plastic tray (with radiused corners).

Horon is smart in naming it Horon Ramen where any pretense in authentically replicating a particular regional style would be gone. But the tonkotsu pork bone broth touted in being boiled for over 20-hrs, there is little that they are humble or meek about.

Toppings were marinated hard boiled egg, kikurage wood ear mushrooms, par-cooked moyashi bean sprouts that still had a nice crunch to them, cabbage, toasted sesame seeds, green onions, a delicious piece of pork Chashu that I'll get back to later, a very appreciated large sheet of nori, and even a Kumamoto inspired drizzle of roasty black Ma-yu oil.

I've had heftier bowls but for So. Cal standards this is as greasy as it gets rivaling Ramen Mottainai's Ie-Kei Yokohama Freakers. Suspended within the emulsified soup are tiny bits of translucent back fat. The cool sweet cabbage really ties things together and as much as I would prefer a soft boiled egg, the hard boiled yolks does seem to do a good job of cutting some of the richness with its sponge-like quality of lean protein. I really loved the pork Chashu here where it was not only melty tender but also marinated stronger, rather on the sweet side which also brought some additional character to the bowl along with the roasty flavors of the Kuro Ma-yu black char oil.

I do have to get into the subtle differences in definition of Noukou (濃厚, のうこう) vs. Kotteri (こってり) though because this isn't your clam chowder-esque bowl like the chicken/veggie creation of Tenka Ippin. Horon Ramen is more Kotteri than Noukou, but if you're in the mood for a bowl that will hit that spot in your belly like a plate of Canadian Bacon you won't have to look any further. And for only $6, a genuine bargain.

It's still not like they don't have some work cut out for them. The thicker slightly eggy noodles Horon chooses were fine by me but this day severely overcooked, and this was despite me specifically asking for Firm. Still the experience was good enough to want to come back and try their Tori Shio Ramen (Chicken/Salt) and also their Tsukemen.

I did get the Mentai Bowl for an extra two-bucks which I still easily consider a fantastic deal. And I'm all aware of what wonders a little Spicy Cod/Pollock Roe can do for a bowl of tonkotsu. But now knowing how tasty the Chasu is I may have to go for the side of Chashu Bowl next time.

I forgot to take a shot of their exterior, but here's a high res image of the lunch menu below...

See I'm not a complete food blogger failure.

Kushiage Dining Horon, 2143 182nd St, Torrance, CA 90504

And another time I'll share all the fun finds at Nijiya Torrance next door.

Like this Spaghetti (Napo) Pan! :)

Nijiya Market (Torrance), 2121 W 182nd St, Torrance, CA 90504

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Torrance Twosies - Curry Club And CoCo Ichibanya

I'd like to imagine one day being part of a Curry Club. A club where curry fans hang out, eat, and discuss curry from all parts of the world. We would be ambassadors to curry, I particularly to that of the British inspired Japanese Karee Raisu...

We may be critical of our curries, after all we have eaten many, but most hours are spent taking turns provocatively expressing our favorites. And of the ones we are less fans of we exercise expert constructive curry criticism. Because we are curry diplomats that want to spread the great word of how curry can make your life a better place.

A typical list of one's great curry experiences can be long. The comforting flavors of your mother's curry, school cafeteria curry, curry made over a campfire, curry in a classy Ginza or Asakusa Yoshoku restaurant, curry from a Kombini microwaved and eaten with a plastic spork, and even the sensation of pouring that favorite retort pack curry onto a mound of fresh steamed rice. All joyous occasions.

Of these my personal made up subcategorical description of Mitsuwa Torrance's Curry Club is what I call Retro Amusement Park Curry. A whole nostalgia inducing genre for Japanese curry fans on its own. Come take a seat with me along the counter for the full experience. Don't be shy, the stares you may feel are all imagined. I order the Curry Rice with Hamburg Steak.

Decisions, decisions.. I went for the jugular - Option B. Despite being previously made and reheated, the extra large Japanese Hamburg patty was actually quite good. A classic tender and flavorful Aibiki blend of Pork and Beef with fine minced sauteed onions, other small amount of fillers and spices. The curry is fairly straight forward but medium rich and surprisingly satisfying. I remember the price being around $8.50-ish but was a good sized serving. A Radiused Corner fully supports Curry Club in all their (unintentional or not) retro amusement park curry ways. In fact I deemed it worthy of a Warm Fuzzies label tag.

Curry Club (In Torrance Mitsuwa Market Food Court), 21515 Western Avenue, Torrance, CA 90501 [NOW CLOSED]

Oh, CoCo Ichibanya Torrance. Maybe I just expected too much of you.

While not seeing the special Chunou Sauce on the tables may not have been too much of a surprise, not offering Menchi Katsu on your infamous long list of curry toppings certainly was.

But the biggest deflating experience was how it didn't take a supertaster to notice that the curry rue lacked the deep savory koku and umami flavors of what is offered in Japan. In less fancy terms it tasted thinned out.

The chicken katsu was of skinless breast meat. But it was surprisingly much more moist and tender than many I've had. The $0.60 for additional heat I felt really wasn't worth it where it seemed it could've been easily achieved by sprinkling the free ground hot pepper blend on the tables.

Although nowhere near how Yoshinoya readjusted their concept to "American Tastes," I'm sad to report our first branch of CoCo-Ichi here in mainland U.S. is not exactly a true replica of Japan's. They're not bad, just not as great. I'll be rationing my retort packs of theirs from my last trip a little tighter.

We so could've been amazing BFFs mang!

CoCo Ichibanya, 2455 Sepulveda Blvd Ste C, Torrance, CA 90501