Tag Archives: Japanese

May 1, 2010 – Shabu Shabu at Home

1 May

9:30 am

1 banana

1 pm

1 burger

1 chicken breast

side potato salad

side mac n’ cheese

side spinach salad


I’m writing a guest blog for my friend Muldo this week. I decided that this meal will be the basis for a 1,000-word post. You can read more about it later this week. This meal was for my friend Sherry and Rich’s co-ed baby shower. I didn’t think I ate a lot when I was there. Everything fit on one plate. But after typing it all out? Yeah, I’m a pig. Oh well.

7 pm

shabu shabu

2 cans of Asahi beer

1 glass of shochu

I’m not a huge fan of shabu shabu. Something about the thought of eating boiled meat that seems underwhelming to me. I’ve gone many times though, thanks to two of my friends who do like it and have taken me to various restaurants. But I heard that shabu shabu, if done properly, can be great. So I was curious when my friends Rob and Yuki decided to throw a shabu shabu dinner party. I visualized this to be like a Japanese-inflected 70’s fondue party, straight out of the “Ice Storm,” without the key bowl (thankfully). What awaited us was a massive array of meats, beef, pork slices, pork belly, chicken, shrimp and oysters, as well as leafy vegetables, carrots and shiitake mushrooms. This made for a much more interesting cooking broth, and it solved my main issue with shabu shabu, flavorless boiled meat. It takes high-quality ingredients and a deft touch (ie, not boiling your food to tasteless rubber) to enjoy it. Shabu shabu is the one-pot meal that keeps on feeding. After you cook the meats and vegetables in the boiling water, you then throw udon noodle in the broth for the next course. I ate too much at the end and enjoyed the experience.

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April 22, 2010 – Izakaya Haru Ulala

22 Apr

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1 pm


lots of crap

strawberry lemonade


Izakaya Haru Ulala

shared grilled whole squid

deep-fried tofu

pork kakuni (belly)

1 piece of fried oyster


1 large bottle of Sapporo beer

It was “lemon month” at Souplantation. I didn’t notice while eating there because I just shoved food in my mouth indiscriminately. All the salads tasted the same to me. Unfortunately, I did a little too much shoveling and ruined my appetite for dinner. But I was supposed to meet a friend I haven’t seen a while, so I decided on Izakaya Haru Ulala, where we could theoretically graze off small plates of food and use the act of eating as an excuse to talk. That’s not a slight on Haru Ulala, it’s one of the better izakayas in Los Angeles. But if we’re only going to nibble, we might as well eat something tasty. Ordering four small plates seemed like logical enough, but we completely misjudged the portion size. Everything was huge and we probably could’ve shared with two more people. The whole grilled squid was a foot long and stretched out in the center of the table. It was crusted with salt, charred crisp and completely addictive. My friend loved it. The pork kakuni was a huge hunk of pork and fat glazed with a soy reduction and braised to a soft, but still chewy consistency. It was also good, but too rich to eat a lot of. The tofu was nice and bland, but the oysters were heavily breaded and clumpy. The waitress highly recommended the braised cow tongue. I was a bit curious, but we stayed overly safe and stuck to more comforting fare. I guess you It was a good meal, and we didn’t even come close to finishing everything. Ah well. At least we grazed to our heart’s content.

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Jan. 17, 2010

17 Jan

10 am

3 eggs, scrambled

2 slices of wheat toasts

1 glass of water

2 pm

1 cream puff

2 wafer cookies

1 bottle of water

2:30 pm

1 orange

5 pm

1 bowl of rice

side of kimchee

1 bottle of water

6 pm

handful of Ruffles cheddar cheese n’ sour cream potato chips

3 cans of orange San Pellegrino soda

I spent all day Saturday gorging and watching football, so it was completely within my character to spend Sunday drinking an unhealthy amount of sodas and watching the Golden Globes. It was nice to see all the celebrities unite around a common cause; bashing NBC. Even the Governator got into the spirit of things. True, our state’s budget is hopelessly in the red. But at least he hasn’t, and I’ll quote a Robert Downey Jr. film, gone full retard like Jeff Zucker. I also don’t think Ricky Gervais, nor a lot of the other celebrities, gave a fuck about the festivities in general. Gervais, Sandra Bullock and Downey Jr. openly mocked the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, hinting at their propensity to award votes to big stars and whatever studio gives them the best free stuff. And they’re right too, the Golden Globes has no actual creative credibility. But they’re also the least stultifying of all the award shows and it’s the only one that allows guests to drink during the show. That alone guarantees a star-studded night.

9 pm

Honda Ya Izakaya

1 spicy chicken wing yakitori skewer

1 asparagus with bacon yakitori skewer

1 small plate of grilled squid

1 small plate of green onion pancake

1 cup of Diet Coke

Izakayas, or a type of Japanese pubs, are my favorite drinking food. The dishes are usually small, cheap and greasy enough to encourage a long, steady night of snacking and alcohol consumption. Except I didn’t drink any beers at Honda Ya on this night. Consuming 10 cheep beers in a drunken stupor the previous day kinda turned me against the whole idea of grain-based alcohol, and I was OK with that. We went here because neither my friend nor I were that hungry and we can eat idly to our heart’s content. The food at Honda Ya’s pretty good and I enjoyed all our dishes, although the bacon wrapped around the asparagus oddly fused with the vegetable into one entity. It also shares a mall with our regular karaoke spot, Max Karaoke, so this made for a very convenient dinner destination.

10 pm

Max Karaoke

1 small coffee

What was supposed to be a relatively quiet night of Golden Globes and dinner somehow led to two hours of karaoke. I have to say, the Little Tokyo outlet of Max Karaoke has the most varied selections of songs I know of in Los Angeles. They have Vampire Weekend album tracks and shit like that, although anyone who sings “A-Punk” deserves a punch to their horn-rimmed glasses. They will also make a karaoke version of any song you want if they don’t have it, with a few day’s notice. I plan on requesting Bone Thugs-n-Harmony’s “Tha Crossroads” for a future visit. For now, here are a couple of songs I sang on Sunday:

11:56 pm


tall nonfat vanilla latte

The Starbucks in Little Tokyo is opened until midnight and we managed to get there at 11:56 p.m. My friend has a daily latte habit and she was antsy from not getting her fix that day. So she got her coffee. Good for her. BUT WHY DID I GET ONE AS WELL?! I deserved my sleepless night until 4 a.m. Really, I have no one to blame but myself. DUMB ASS.

OK, here’s one more song. My friend is an incredible singer. She knocked this one out of the park.

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Jan. 6, 2010

6 Jan

9 am

1 bowl of Crunch Berries

When I was still young many years ago, Crunch Berries and Cinnamon Toast Crunch were my two favorite cereals. The day I willingly bought Chex instead of a sugary cereal with a cartoon mascot was one of the most depressing moments of my life. When did I get so old? This bowl of Crunch Berries is a desperate attempt to stay young and relevant. Crunch Berries at 30, a Harley at age 40 and a 26-year-old UCLA grad school blond at age 50. That’s the plan, at least.

1 pm

Shabu Shabu Ya

7 oz. beef shabu shabu

1/2 can Diet Coke

This is the second time I went with my friend Candace to Shabu Shabu Ya, and each time, she points out that they raised the price by $4 or so. So what was originally a $10-$12 lunch special is now 18 freaking dollars. Over the course of a year! If a restaurant is jacking up prices like a payday-advance lender, then they have issues. Candace is friendly with the owners here, so it’s too bad they have to resort to such shenanigans to stay afloat. And with that, the $18  lunch special was pretty good and had WAY too much food. We should’ve ordered the cheaper options or split one order. Maybe we should’ve done that instead of hurling McCarthy-like accusations of highway robbery. This is why proper journalists hate the internet.

2 pm


1 grande nonfat caffe mocha

7:30 pm


truffle burger

hot potato slices

1 large bottle of water

1/2 bottle of cava

It drives me crazy that whenever you try booking a reservation on Open Table, they usually only offer 6 or 9:30 time slots, reserving the prime 7-8 pm dining hours for God knows who. That’s exactly what happened when I tried to book a table at Cube on Tuesday night. I usually end up going the old-fashioned route and calling a restaurant to make a reservation. As much as I like the concept of Open Table, a live human being is always better to negotiate a better reservation time. I also made reservations for Ricardo Zarate’s Hatchi meal at Breadbar. Same deal, only 6 pm was offered on Open Table, but I called the restaurant and got an 8:15 reservation.

After our meal at Cube, we ducked into The Tar Pit, the new bar/restaurant by Campanile’s Mark Peel which is right next door, but the place is both tiny and packed and it was too much of a hassle for a quick drink. We did see Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villagairosa pulling up to the valet in his motorcade, pulling an illegal U-turn to do it. He was with his new news-anchor girlfriend, who is hot and also taller than him. He sure has a type, attractive news-anchors willing to disregard journalistic integrity to sleep with the mayor. Sexy!

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