Wednesday, July 19, 2017
Los Angeles's Best Eats...Eastside Edition - Part 2
See Part One here...
The Best of L.A. food lists seem to stop at downtown. We're trying to rectify that by building a "best of list" for the east side of things...
Southern California is teeming with food variety. It helps that we're such an assortment of the world's ethnicities. In fact, we documented all the ethnic food varieties we could find in the San Gabriel Valley a few years ago.
A lot of it is a vast collection of mediocre establishments but a few rise above the fray. In the eastern portion of the area, it helps to have a guide...and that's what we're here for.
In downtown Los Angeles, the Little Tokyo neighborhood is a warren of great, Japanese cuisine. To the east, it can be just as good...just a little more separated by distance.
Right now, our favorite Japanese establishment also has the confusing name of Little Tokyo. No, it's nowhere near downtown but in the for-now Western themed downtown of San Dimas. You remember San Dimas, don't you? Home of Bill and Ted, where the Circle K was actually a time portal and they had the excellent adventure with Rufus (George Carlin) and became the legendary Wyld Stalyns?
Yes, it really does exist. At least the town, not so sure about that time portal.
In a strip mall next to an Alberstons and a Dollar Tree...on the corner of San Dimas Avenue and Bonita...is where you'll find Little Tokyo, sitting in the shadow of a cell phone tower disguised as an old west water tower.
We've always been partial to the excellent and fresh sushi here. The list is daunting, lengthy, and creative. Fatty tuna, roe, eel, squid, yellowtail....it's all here and very fresh and tasty made by a Japanese sushi master.
My wife now raves about the poke bowl they've added, which is the best she's found in the entire L.A. area. Salmon and spicy tuna sit atop sushi rice and a bed of vegetables which is like a whole sushi entree.
Not being much of a fish eater, I'll go with their excellent beef teriyaki which, even in the a la carte mode, comes with a fresh salad with their exquisite sesame dressing and the best miso soup I've had.
The savoriness of that miso, the chewy and slightly gelatinous tofu, and seaweed combine for such a shot of comfort food flavor that I could easily sit here on a cold winter night eating nothing but that soup.
In El Monte, which is beginning to feel the Asian pressure on it's west side from the fine Vietnamese restaurants of neighboring Rosemead, Daikokuya feels a bit out of place between the Pho and Bahn Mi places marching ever eastward on Garvey and the long established Mexican restaurants that have forever been a fixture in this town.
This outpost of the original in Little Tokyo is new to this avenue of gangbangers, trailer parks, and hourly-rate motels but is a little oasis of great cuisine among the lovable riff-raff of my hometown.
While you can come here for sushi and such nuggets as shrimp lollypops and tofu nuggets, the real reason is ramen...that brothy, noodle soup perfected by the Japanese.
This is not the cheap, sustenance, instant ramen of your college dorm days. Here, exquisitely brewed soy-infused miso broth cradles medium boiled eggs (with the jellied yolks), floating pieces of kurobuta pork belly, bamboo shoots, and green onions all sitting on the perfectly textured ramen noodles. A large bowl is $11.00.
For an extra dollar we'll go with the spicy option, which adds very little spiciness actually, that uses three different kinds of miso that adds a deep, savory taste to the broth.
It is a very delicious, satisfying, and filling way to part with just a little over ten dollars.
We'll continue on this list another time, I've already made myself hungry enough today.
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