Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Marianne googles 7.5 on her Blackberry.

As I'm lounging around the house on Hermosa, I receive a text telling me that we're meeting at Wurstkuche in downtown Los Angeles. Hop into the car and it's a quick shot up the 110 freeway to downtown L.A. where I've been promised to find sausage delight.

Hmmm, not quite sure how that one came off...

Wurstkuche is simply a brat haus. A place for grilled sausages and beer. The girls went for the simple green chiles and cilantro sausage with white truffle fries. I went a little more exotic with the Filipino style longanisa and the duck and bacon with jalapeno pepper sausages. I got my fries plain.

Sandra with the Filipino Maharlika and Duck & Bacon Jalapeno sausages.

The Filipino Maharlika was decent. Sweet with a little spice, just like a regular longanisa should taste but the thick crust on the bun started to interfere with not just the texture but also threatening to overwhelm the palate with bun instead of sausage.

The duck and bacon sausage, on the other hand, demonstrated a little more bold. Sweet, spicy and with hints of bacon, it seemed to be the winner of the group. Add a side of fries, some curry ketchup and chipotle ketchup as your condiments and it's tasty eating all the way around.

800 East 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013

On Call: Westside

Tick, tock, tick, tock, tick, tock...

With running multiple locations, I'm finding myself fielding a lot more phone calls, queries, emails and more on an hourly basis. This issue needs addressing. That vendor needs to be paid. The pastries are late. The hot water tower isn't working at optimum. The POS needs to be scrubbed - even though I'm thousands of miles away, there's still work to be done.

However, I'm finding that the calls and issues typically end just after 6pm western time, which is right after the last shop closes down for the evening. By seven, the phone and email accounts are silent. No more rings or text messages. I can now party and drink all night long without necessarily having to deal with issues.

Of course, the opposite side of the coin is that the calls can start around 4am, as the first shop begins it's operating day. Which leaves me a ten hour window of opportunity to get crazy wild.

Tea Station

Polly, Lucy and my Tung Ting Oolong.

Taro Milk Drink with Vanilla Pudding

Sweet Butter Toast

Facing Future

Boba Milk Tea for the road

Tea Station
1610 West Redondo Beach Blvd
Gardena, CA 90247

Santouka Ramen

Polly awaits the arrival of order 73.

My friends know that I really like ramen. Sadly, living in Baltimore means that one lives without ramen - unless you're the kind of person that actually likes the freeze dried Cup O Noodles type of ramen that you buy at the grocery store for fifty cents. I'm not one of those people.

Give me real, Japanese style ramen. Succulent Sapporo noodles floating in a glimmering bath of secret ingredient broth. While I prefer shoyu ramen, butter ramen will do and shiro ramen will suffice. As long as it's ramen and Japanese and hot, I'm pretty much good to go.

Shoyu Ramen with Pork Cheeks.

In the Torrance Mitsuwa hides Santouka Ramen. I've been here before. Polly and Al love the ramen here and it's quite good. Damn good, even. The Shoyu broth is rich and flavorful. The braised pork cheeks are succulent and fatty pork perfection. It has all the components for stellar ramen.

Until you get to the noodles.

The Pork Cheeks, braised.

I don't know what it is but the noodles just aren't to my liking. I like Sapporo noodles with their yeasty soft goodness. Santouka's noodles are bit more toothy and al dente in character, like thick saimin noodles instead of slightly fluffy ramen noodles.

That's not to say that the noodles take away from the experience. It's just not the kind of noodle that I prefer.

Suffice it to say that with broth and pork cheeks this good, I'll always come back.


Noodles and company

Santouka Ramen
21515 Western Avenue
Torrance, CA 90501

Hermosa Breakfast

Andante Minuet goats cheese, sopressata and Three Girls Serena with baguette.

Zoom, Zoom, Zoom - L.A.

Rocketing home on the 110 South at 85mph.