Japanese

Humble Potato – Hambagas and Fries

by Franklin on May 3, 2014

Humble Potato has a simple concept. It puts a Japanese twist on American comfort food. This fast casual has an identity crisis. I initially thought they were a French fry shop– you know, kind of like a create your own French fry bar with your choice of toppings. I was surprised this place has no real emphasis on potatoes, but more on burgers. Good thing!

I ordered the Battle Royal– “Organized chaos!” Towered high is fresh Angus beef, “fried egg-splosive” egg sprinkled with seasoning salt, avocado, romaine, thick cut tomato, onion, Applewood smoked bacon, and HP spicy sauce. This burger was taller than it was wide. It was difficult to eat. Honestly, the burger gets an “A” for effort, but the is about it. The bun was off, and the beef was cooked all the way through. No medium rare or even medium here. The avocado gets lost in everything and all the ingredient come through individually. The burger fails to bring everything into one cohesive meld of things. It was an interesting burger.

The Shichimi & Garlic Parmesan Fries was quite the contrary to the burger. The potatoes themselves were fried to a crisp. It was the crunchiest and most solid French fry I ever had. The plastic fork had such a hard time poking at the fries. Think potato chips in the form of thick fries. This made for some awesome crunchtastic fries. The shichimi seasoning was a nice touch, and the Parmesan just created that extra depth. Of course, the garlic was welcome immensely, and everything came together quite nicely. I’m telling you, the crunch was insane and nothing like I ever had before.

The Humble Potato was an interesting experience. I getting he concept of Japanese American fusion, but I don’t quite understand the restaurant name. Nonetheless, the food was interesting. The burger, s let down, and the fries, an interesting surprise. Come here only slightly hungry. Get the fries — the hot dogs are next on my list.

Humble Potato on Urbanspoon

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Sushi Stop – Snack Time

by Franklin on April 9, 2014

You got to love the Sushi Stop for their logo. A spoof on the Game Stop stores, Sushi Stop’s signage really makes your do a double take. It looks like Game Stop, but it says sushi. Well the signage worked, and I did stop by for some sushi. The best part? Everything is $2.75. Score! I just stopped by to get a few cheap bites of sushi. I didn’t have much cash, as they are a cash only joint.

I ordered the spicy tuna roll, and yellowtail with truffle oil hand roll. Both were pretty decent for a quick and cheap sushi joint. The rice, the most important part of sushi in my opinion, was better than most. Still, it wasn’t the best tasting rice — it was a bit overcooked and had a sticky consistency. The fish was fresh and tasty though. Never have I ever had sushi with truffle oil. The yellow tail and hint of truffle taste was interesting. I didn’t necessarily think the flavors were needed, but interesting nonetheless. I did want to try mixing truffles and soy sauce. I think that will have an interesting body and taste. Something to consider for the future. If it starts getting popular, you heard it first here!

Sushi Stop was a fun experience. The food came out quickly, and the price was amazing. The little snack cost only about 6 bucks, cash only. Not bad at all. For a fast casual sushi joint, the quality of the fish was quite nice. Honestly, I tried this place only because the name intrigued me. I literally stopped for sushi, and it was good.

Sushi Stop on Urbanspoon

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It has been a while since I wrote a blog post on Orange County eats. Not that I don’t have love for the OC, its just not exciting to eat here anymore. All of the restaurants are too chain like. Except for a small few, all of the eateries are just average. To me, the most exciting thing is when restaurants far away make it close by to me. One such restaurant, a chain nonetheless is Santouka Ramen. With restaurants all around the world, I am happy to have them in LA and Orange County. I don’t have to travel to Japan to have good ramen.

The bowl of ramen was better than most. I appreciated the al dente noodles and the texture of the alkaline noodles at Santouka was perfect. It had a nice bounce and bite feel. The broth was a bit lukewarm, but still tasted amazing. My favorite of course was the char sui pork. It was fatty and deliciously tender. The vegetables were fresh and the bowl of ramen as a whole was balanced. This was a great bowl of ramen and competes with the best of them.

To some, ramen at a restaurant is foreign to them. All they know is the stuff that comes in a package or a cup. Ramen to me is comfort food. The warm broth and the fried noodles turned half pliable is all that I need on a cold winter night. Ramen broth and noodles is such a hard thing to perfect, especially from scratch. I wouldn’t know the first thing about creating the broth. Yes, having ramen from a bag or cup is quite satisfying and delicious. Just pop in a soft boiled egg and you are golden. Once you experience good ramen with legitimate broth, it makes all the difference.

Santouka Ramen on Urbanspoon

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Shin Sen Gumi is one of those places that I always pass by on the corner of Atlantic and Garvey, but never gave it a thought. It might be the location, or it might be the quite plain writing, but I never thought twice about it. I do remember passing by it often though. After hearing good things about the Little Tokyo property, I decided to jump on it.

We started off with the yakitori– pork belly of course. The taste was pure as can be. The taste of the pork was so clean. This was achieved by cooking this over hot coals. Pork, amongst other meats is great with that burnt charcoal taste. Something about it is so primal and delicious!

The bacon wrapped quail eggs was such a great idea. As a person who eats and loves eggs in general, this was definitely a treat. One of my favorite breakfast items is bacon and eggs. The salty bacon with the quite universal egg was a perfect match. The green onion was also a nice touch.

When I saw chicken skin on the menu, it was a must order. Though not as crispy as I’d like, the chicken skin was still tasty. It just isn’t the same if it wasn’t deep fried. That crunch is really lost, and really why we love chicken skin.

It was a cold day, so shabu shabu was in the mix. I didn’t really care for the vegetables, but the pork was fresh. The broth was the best part. It wasn’t too salty and had a very clean flavor.

To end our night, we ordered the green tea crème brûlée. Honestly, I could barely taste the green tea. It was more of a traditional crème brûlée with a green tea essence. As a true green tea fanatic, I wasn’t pleased with this. I like my green tea strong and very pronounced. (On a related note, next time you are at Starbucks, order the iced green tea, old school. (You will thank me later.)

Shin Sen Gumi was a great experience. Finally after all these years and passing by it all the time, it is off the list. If you like yakitori, this is a great stop. Unfortunately, I did not try their ramen, but I am not expecting anything amazing. I’ll possibly try it one of these days. It is getting colder by the day. Until then, the yakitori will do.

Shin Sen Gumi Yakitori & Shabu Shabu on Urbanspoon

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Kamon – Unfair Comparison

by Franklin on November 5, 2013

Excluding Newport Seafood, a handful of Chinese/Taiwanese cafes, and Boiling Crab, it’s slim pickings when it comes to eating out in the City of Industry. I was in the mood some some proper sushi, and besides Akasaka, I couldn’t find any. I heard some good things about Sushi Kamon, and wanted to give it a try. I wasn’t expecting much, and as a someone who was in the mood for some good quality sushi, I really should have looked elsewhere.

Edamame. Every sushi restaurants starts off with edamame. Let’s move on.

Once I saw agedashi tofu on the menu, I flipped. I spoiled myself, having had Raku’s awesome agedashi tofu. Kamon’s was more like fried tofu in a soy sauce based sauce/soup. It was good, but nothing can touch Raku’s version.

The best chirashi bowl in town has to be from Akasaka. I know I keep comparing stuff from Kamon from the best, but that is what I do. I mean, for the price, the chirashi bowl was kind of nice. It had a awesome array of different kinds of fish, and lucky, included uni. Though not as fresh, it had all the fish that I liked.

To finish things off, we got some spicy tuna rolls, because, come on, we always need to order spicy tuna rolls. The rolls were pretty standard, and spicier than most. Possibly to mask un-fresh fish? The rice though, was perfectly al dente, as I like my sushi rice to be. It was a good end to a substandard sushi meal.

Sushi Kamon was nothing special. I won’t go home thinking about it; I won’t count the days until I can have it again. Yes, I did compare the agedashi tofu to the best of the best, and I did compare the chirashi bowl to the best. Kamon just didn’t have that special quality. It didn’t have an old guy in the back cutting the freshest fish, nor was it busy. It just seemed like the restaurant lost it’s passion and is there just to serve mediocre fish. City of Industry, you have done it again.

Sushi Kamon on Urbanspoon

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