Little Tokyo

Chinatown in LA

The morning I got back from Sacramento, I went to my niece’s and nephew’s birthday party without coffee. For some odd reason, I was pretty much feeling strong and awake even though I only got four or five hours of sleep. After the party, I tried to rest at home but was eager to just go out. I realized the travel bug was in me and it was real. It was so real that I had to go somewhere to explore.

With a few friends, we grabbed dinner at In-N-Out and then we were off to a spontaneous trip to LA! I’ve been wanting to check out Chinatown in LA to see the Chinese lanterns lit up and simply to explore the area since I always drive by it whenever I’m in the area.

When my friends and I got there, it was pretty dead. It was nice to have the whole town to ourselves!

Chinatown can easily be explored in less than 30 minutes but we took our time taking pictures and enjoying the bright neon lights. Next time, I’m going to have come here in the afternoon when it’s busy and have some dim sum!

Thanks Chinatown for temporarily curing my travel bug!

Since we were near Little Tokyo, we decided to grab some milk tea from one of my favorite boba shops! I got my usual Brown Sugar Milk Tea which was perfect as always!

We hung out at Ozero for a little bit before heading out to our last adventure!

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Jogasaki Sushi Burrito

Josephine somehow found this food truck called Jogasaki Sushi Burrito. She was telling me and a few other friends how we have to go check it out. Stacy checked Yelp to see what it was all about and after Yelping for about a second, she fell in love. It was probably love at first sight for both Stacy and Josephine.

I on the other hand was not in love nor excited as much as they were because I’m actually not a huge fan of sushi compared to them or anyone else in general. I just started eating spicy tuna about a month ago. I do have to say that spicy tuna is pretty awesome blossom.

So Yelp showed some good numbers and reviews about Jogasaki Sushi Burrito. It currently has 4 out of 5 stars with more than 250+ reviews. Downside about this sushi burrito truck is that they only serve around the LA area. For all Orange County residents that means one hour drive for some 4 star sushi burrito.

That one hour drive wasn’t going to stop us from getting some sushi burrito. So spontaneously one night, Stacy said “Let’s go!” Just like that, we went.

Jogasaki Sushi Burrito truck was located on Palm and Sepulveda which is part of West LA. It’s on the side where there’s CVS, Trader Joe’s, and Beard Papa’s. Luckily, there was no crowd when we got there. It seems that the sushi burrito was popular at one point but not so much anymore.

L to R: Josephine, Stacy, and Me

L to R: Josephine, Stacy, and Me

The three of us shared the Spicy Tuna Nacho. It’s a $6 Doritos Nacho Cheese chips topped with spicy tuna, avocado, and eel sauce. What? Doritos chips and spicy tuna together? Yeah, it was a weird combination but it worked. The cheese was subtle to the whole nacho experience.

Would I get this again? Probably not. For the price we paid, we weren’t expecting Doritos. Also, it was just not worth the $6 because they didn’t give us enough spicy tuna for all the chips we had left. Though it was creative to use Doritos Nacho Cheese chips, we felt that it wasn’t good enough to want more.

Fortunately, the sushi burrito turned out a lot better than the Spicy Tuna Nacho. I ordered their popular Jogasaki Burrito 2A for $12. This had crab meat, spicy tuna, avocado, cucumber, and shrimp tempura wrapped with soy paper.

At first, I didn’t think the burrito was going to fill me up because it was skinny. It’s not thick like a Chipotle burrito. Surprisingly, it was well stuffed with the crab meat and spicy tuna. A $12 burrito is quite expensive but it’s a sushi burrito so it’s almost reasonable that it’s $12. I’d have to say that they give you more in this sushi burrito compared to what you get at a restaurant with regular sushi. You might be paying a little more at a restaurant because of tip and tax than at Jogsaski Sushi Burrito Truck, but of course it all depends on how fancy and pricey the sushi restaurant is.

I definitely would get this again and wouldn’t mind trying anything else on the menu. Though I felt stuffed, I felt pretty healthy! Josephine and Stacy felt healthy also! Josephine said that if Jogasaki was in Orange County, she would probably eat a sushi burrito once a week because it’s that good. Hopefully they’ll stop by Orange County one day.

Since we were feeling pretty healthy, we thought we should even out the healthiness with dessert. So we headed to Little Tokyo for some Cafe Dulce. I got my Dulce Latte and some rotis for the family. Stacy got a hot Hong Kong style milk tea which she wasn’t too happy about. She said it was too rich and heavy in flavor. She thinks that it might better to get it cold next time.

After getting our sweets, we were ready to head back home. As we were driving down the 5 freeway, we realized that we were going to drive by Anaheim. And you know what’s in Anaheim? There’s M&M Donuts! We decided to be spontaneous again for the night and hit up M&M Donuts for some duffins. I haven’t used the word duffins in a long time. If you don’t remember what a duffin is, it’s what Briana and I call blueberry donuts that taste similar to the form of a muffin. If you haven’t heard of M&M Donuts still, then shame on you! Just kidding. Check out Yelp for their reviews.

By the time we got there it was about 9:30PM. I knew we were going to be there for awhile since we got there late. We waited for about an hour to get our blueberry donuts. I forgot how painful the wait can be but we made it through. Remember, the drive-thru is always better and faster than standing in line. Once we got our blueberry donuts, I had two bites of it and then I was done for the night. I didn’t want to overeat since it was pretty late. It was enough YOLO for the night.

Stacy and Josephine, I can’t believe we did all of that within the span of 5 or 6 hours. Let’s not do it again…I ate too much that night but it was definitely fun hanging out with you both! Ok, maybe we’ll do it again because it was fun.

Fun in Little Tokyo

I’ve been to Little Tokyo in LA many, many times that it’s not as exciting as the first few times I went unless you’re with some awesome friends. There aren’t a lot of things to do in Little Tokyo but to eat, eat some more, walk around, and check out some stores. You can get a quick tour of it within a few hours but like I said, if you’re with some awesome friends you might be there a lot longer because they make life so much more fun! No sarcasm intended if that sounded sarcastic.

I recently went to Little Tokyo and it was one of the most memorable hang outs and it was mainly thanks to the friends I was with.

So I texted Sarah if she wanted to hang out in LA since she’s always down to play with me! The day we wanted to meet up, we both found out that our favorite local band was performing in Little Tokyo! Remember Monsters Calling Home? Well, they’re now called Run River North. I wrote a post on them when I saw them perform live in Fullerton back in 2012.

There was a free showing of Run River North hosted by Cafe Dulce in Little Tokyo! So we had to go see them since we’re both huge fans of them. We decided to make an adventure out of this. We first met up at Spitz which is one of Sarah’s favorite places to eat in LA. It’s a pretty hip Mediterranean restaurant located just a little outside of  Little Tokyo. If you’ve never tried Mediterranean food before, check out Spitz in LA. They’re known as “Home of Doner Kebab”. They have 4 out of 5 stars with 800+ reviews on Yelp.

Street Car Doner wrap

Street Cart Doner wrap

This was my second time trying out Spitz and both experiences have been good! I’ve ordered the same thing the two times that I have been there before. I ordered their most popular item which was the Street Cart Doner wrap. It’s the beef and lamb combo doner with pepperoncinis, romaine, onion, green pepper, cucumber, and tomato. The tzatziki sauce and chili sauce brings the flavor of the whole wrap together. The meat and the sauce together simply makes this a winner on the menu and in my belly.

We shared the Street Cart Fries, another popular item on the menu. It was topped with garlice aioli, feta, onion, green pepper, tomato, olives, and pepperoncinis, and chili sauce. I have to tell you that those fries were so addicting.

Of course, you know me (hopefully) that after dinner, I need my dessert fix. We walked a little further outside of Little Tokyo to hit up Pie Hole. I’ve been wanting to go here for so long and finally that day I was able to experience the amazingness of Pie Hole!

It’s a very simple, cute, and hipster setting. It reminds me more of a calm version of Chipotle or Pieology but for dessert. We ordered two huge slices of pie and shared them between the three of us.

Me & Sarah with our pies!

Me & Sarah with our pies!

There was the Angel City pie which was quite an interesting one. It was a chocolate pie infused with beer from a local brewery located down a block from Pie Hole. I say that it was interesting because the flavor of the beer was definitely there. I think there was too much of it that I wasn’t much of a fan of it. There were some nuts and caramel but my favorite part of the pie was the the pretzel crust. The beer and the pretzel crust definitely made this pie interesting.

Then there was the Early Grey pie. I would definitely pick this over the Angel City pie. The early grey wasn’t too strong or too light in flavor. There was a perfect amount of early grey flavor to it that I could not stop eating it. Oh geez, I just made it seem like I have a problem. I’m just saying that it was really good that I ate more of it compared to the Angel City pie!

Next time I’m at Pie Hole, I’m trying the Mexican Chocolate pie. That’s a popular pick according to Yelp and friends!

Around 7:30PM we headed back to Little Tokyo to watch Run River North perform. We  didn’t watch them immediately. We actually got more sweets. I know  you’re probably thinking, “What more sweets?” Yeah, we just had too. We went over to Cafe Dulce and got Dulce Latte which is their signature drink. It’s a latte that has an even amount of expresso and milk! It was a perfect drink to keep us warm before watching Run River North.

Used the tall person's shirt in front of me as a background.

The person in front of me was tall so I used his stripy shirt as a background for this picture.

We bumped into Elaine in Little Tokyo so we ended up watching Run River North together!

L to R: Me, Sarah, & Elaine

L to R: Me, Sarah, & Elaine

Watching Run River North perform live made me realize once again how musically talented they are! It was fun to sing along to their songs with Sarah and Elaine!
IMG_4470

Of course, they ended their show with everyone’s favorite song “Fight To Keep”. This is the song that made them go even bigger in fame. Check out their YouTube video on this song:

I thoroughly enjoyed their performance and can’t wait to see more of them on Youtube and in concert!

After the show, we met up with a few more people! Spontaneously Hannah, Andrew, and Pastor Sam stopped by for a little bit. Since the three of them have never been to Little Tokyo, Sarah and I immediately took them to Cafe Dulce. Our go to stop for first timers.

We gave them a brief tour of Little Tokyo and then sat outside for an hour or so to hang out and catch up. For the 6 of us to hang out like this was such a rare occasion! We all live so far apart from San Jose down to Bakersfield to Los Angeles to Orange County! It worked out perfectly that we were able to meet up like this. We laughed a lot and shared a lot of good encouragement to each other.

Thank you all, Sarah, Daniel, Elaine, Hannah, Andrew, and Pastor Sam for making this a fun night! Hope this spontaneous meet up can happen again!

Diabetes Hang Out

After work, my plan was to go to UCLA to see an old friend perform his cello solo. Due to heavy traffic, I never made it sadly. To turn that sadness around, I decided to explore Little Tokyo. For a small little area, there’s quite a lot of places to eat! My friends and I started out at Weiland Brewery which is across the street literally from Little Tokyo’s main plaza. It’s an American food kind of restaurant where you can customize your burger. So there, I made my own cheeseburger. Well the only main special thing about it was that I added egg to it!
Cheeseburger with egg.

Nope, it was not a breakfast burger. It was a cheeseburger with egg for dinner! Adding egg to a burger brought a homey feel to it. I think egg with anything is good. Kind of like spam. Spam solves so many problems. The burger was so big that I got lost. Lost as in, I didn’t know where I had taken my first bite. So I ended up eating on the opposite end of my first bite. I almost thought I was going crazy since I couldn’t find that first bite.
Two bites on opposite ends.

I was so hungry that I was able to finish the whole cheeseburger! I mean, it took awhile though to finish. Slow and steady wins the race!

Because I have a major sweet tooth, we had to get dessert. Also, it was a Friday night and we were in Little Tokyo! So it was basically gave us many good good reasons to get some kind of dessert. We first went to Cafe Dulce, a little coffee and bakery shop that is mainly known for their green tea donut. We got the green tea donut, blueberry roti bun, and a bacon donut.
Three donuts.

The green tea donut was good as always. The green tea flavor is actually pretty light that you can barely taste it. The filling in the donut had a vanilla pudding flavor that wasn’t too strong. The green tea donut itself has a subtle taste to it.
Green tea donut.

I want to say that Roti Buns were originated from Northern California. I only say that because it was in San Jose area several years ago that my friends who live there introduced them to me. My experience with Roti Buns has never disappointed me ever! When they’re fresh, oh man. It’s game over. The warm crispy edges of the bread but the softness inside, and the slight sweetness of it makes you easily addicted to them Roti Buns. Ever since my last visit to San Jose, I was never able to find them here in Southern California for some odd reason.
Blueberry roti bun.

When I found out that Cafe Dulce had Roti Buns, I got extremely ecstatic. But. I was a little hesitant about the blueberry roti bun because I was afraid the blueberry was going to be overpowering. It was actually nowhere close to overpowering. It wasn’t too sweet or too sour. It was right in the middle. Cafe Dulce does a great job of keeping the flavor of the pastries well balanced out.

Now, the bacon donut. It was my first time ever trying a bacon donut. It really threw off my taste buds because it was sweet and salty. It’s a combination that does and doesn’t work. Would I recommend it to you? Eh, most likely not. I’d stick with the green tea donut and the blueberry roti bun.
Bacon donut.

After trying Cafe Dulce, I wanted to get some milk tea of course. Wherever I go, I’m always on the lookout to try milk tea at different places. We found Four Leaf. There we ordered honey green milk tea and Going Banana crepe that has vanilla ice cream, nutella, and banana.
Four Leaf.

Service there was unfortunately not the best, only because they forgot about making our order. It’s ok, the kids behind the counter were young. The honey green milk tea was flavorless. It was barely sweet. Probably more on the plain end. The crepe was messy but sweet. I think the sweetness from the crepe made up the lack of sweetness from the milk tea.

Since we tried 2 dessert places, we said to ourselves, “Hey, it’s Friday. Let’s try one more dessert place.” So we went over to Mikawaya and tried a mochi. With this Orange Gyuhi Mochi, I was hesitant again to try it because I was afraid it was going to be too tangy. Luckily, it wasn’t tangy at all. The mochi had a good balance of sweetness to it like the pastries from Cafe Dulce.

After dinner and trying 3 plates of dessert, we had to stop ourselves from getting one step closer to diabetes. So we called it quits after two to three hours of eating continuously. After so many intakes of sugar, we all had a sugar crash.

But it was all worth every bite because it was Friday!

Thanks Derek, John, and Irwan for the fun filled diabetes tour in Little Tokyo! Let’s not do it again… Special thanks to John for putting this fun video together!