The Japanese Village Plaza in Little Tokyo is such a fitting name for that place. Take away the busy sounds of the city and the tall buildings, and you are left with an actual Japanese village. Central to the plaza is a small eatery called Mitsuru Cafe. Though they serve full on meals from curry rice to katsu, they are mostly known for the imagawayaki – an azuki bean filled pancake. Traditionally eaten for dessert, you can enjoy these any time. Mitsuru Cafe is the place to get these filled pancake goodies
It is no wonder why this place is so popular. The outer pancake is a bit soft, yet firm. After biting into it, the recently cooked pucks are warm inside and out. The center is a bit gooey and soft, and the bread part is a bit dense. Eating the somewhat bland exterior with the sweet azuki bean interior makes for a great flavor profile. Biting into something so warm and sweet fills your mouth and you are instantly happy. Naturally, I usually get more than one, and at $1.25 a pop, it is well worth it.
Walking through the plaza, you can view the people at Mitsuru busily making these things from a copper mold. Think waffle iron, but rows of them. They fill the molds with their batter, fill it with the sweet bean mixture, and nicely toasted hockey pucks of imagawayaki are formed. If not dinner, get the imagawayaki here. They are also known for their squid balls, but I am not a fan. Mitsuru Cafe. Imagawayaki. That is all.