October 2020 Rundown

@attran99 @A5KOBE wait is Los Toros in El Monte affiliated to El Toro carniceria in Santa Ana. The mascot looks the same.

The chips at Vallarta, though?

I don’t think they are related. The Los Toros is a straight up market and doesn’t really serve much cooked food like El Toro.

Was in the area, so we decided to get Kiriko for lunch. Got the sashimi plate and the daily bento. Unfortunately, it was probably one of the most disappointing meals of the pandemic. The sashimi (tuna, salmon, yellowtail, snapper, and albacore) was the most tasteless fish we’ve ever had. Even the powdered wasabi had no burn (?!). The bento wasn’t great either, wrinkly edamame, unevenly fried tempura, etc. My wife said that the best part of the meal was the white rice. Sorry to say, I prolly won’t be back again.

That is basically a word for word description of the lunch bento from Matsumoto on Beverly I had this week, except in place of bad tempura was unbelievably dry and gristly grilled beef. It was very disappointing from a place that has a reasonably good reputation (even if not a favorite on sites like this), and made me miss Raku even more than I already did!

Picked up another Detroit-style pizza from Dough Daddy for dinner last Wednesday. Really good. Love the crispy bottom and edges. You can order from his Instagram, he releases time slots a few times a week now.

I stumbled upon this by accident but Pine and Crane started doing a Taiwanese breakfast popup called “Today Starts Here” in Chinatown this weekend. I saw someone (either Pearl River Deli or another restaurant on Instagram, can’t remember) post something in their IG stories about it and I was definitely down to try.

So my only frame of reference for Taiwanese breakfast is I’ve eaten at Huge Tree Pastry in Monterey Park a few times, and my Taiwanese coworkers have brought in breakfast from some places in Arcadia or Monrovia (sorry, don’t remember the restaurant names). The price is a little higher than Huge Tree, but that doesn’t bother me.

Menu. I really appreciate that everything is labeled if it is vegetarian or vegan friendly.

Food at home. I got a vegetarian fan tuan, plain steamed bun (I loved eating these plain buns as a kid when my mom would make them), dan bing, and radish cakes. They gave a bunch of garlic soy sauce containers, some chili oil and chili paste. The dan bing was good but I have never been able to eat these without making a big mess…with chopsticks or with a fork. My husband ended up just eating it with his hands. It did get a little steamed/soggy in the takeout box by the time I got home though. Radish cakes were not as crispy as I expected but that may have been due to to the takeout containers steaming them. They still tasted pretty good. It’s rare for me to find radish/turnip cakes that are vegetarian friendly since a lot of the time they have shrimp in them.

Fan tuan. It’s smaller than the ones I’ve ordered at Huge Tree Pastry. Also I forgot to take a picture of the inside. It has you tiao, preserved veggies and a half of a soy egg on each end (perfect for when I cut it in half to share with my husband). Really flavorful. I know some people might quibble about how small it is compared to other places in SGV, but this was the perfect portion size for me.

Brown sugar boba. This was tasty but a bad idea to drink this on my way home because I ended up getting full on the boba and wasn’t able to finish my meal :sweat_smile:

Dou hua with red bean paste, tang yuan and a side of ginger syrup. The tofu was smooth and silky, red bean and tang yuan added great texture and some sweetness.

Unfortunately they were sold out of the scallion pancake (and I ordered around 9:30 am!) which I would have liked to try.

The popup is at 935 Gin Ling Way in Chinatown. I don’t know what restaurant space that used to be but there’s plenty of space to pull over and pick up your food. Just look for the line of youngish Asian people sipping boba while they wait for their food :smile: They’re doing this popup next weekend too, from 8 am - 3 pm.


Thanks for reporting back on your Taiwanese breakfast! I was curious about them!

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Ototo Aozora (Echo Park) now has a few tables out front, but alas they were taken when I went to go for my pick-up, so lunching in the Veyron it shall be… ;-D

Sake display, in case you were interested (paging @beefnoguy)…

Corn Cream Puff: Cookie crust with sweet corn filling… This is legit terrific, with zero gimmick. Delicious! The kettle corn on top truly made the whole bite not just a taste sensation, but also a textural delight!

Vanilla ‘Purin’ (Japanese Custard Pudding): Japanese-style creme caramel, made with Strauss Milk and Chino Valley Ranchers eggs… Solid. No major fireworks, but it’s exactly as advertised. This is for the flan lovers out there.

Ebidon (Fried Shrimp Donburi): Panko-fried New Caledonian blue prawns over rice, with house-cured salmon roe and tartar sauce. Fantastic! This is an ERTAT (eat right then and there) dish. The warm shrimp, perfectly tempura’ed prawn (inhale those crustacean heads!), fluffy rice, very sumptuous tartar sauce, and ikura all combine for a truly wonderful bowl.

Fruit Sando: Vanilla milk bread, Chino Farms Cavaillon melon, creme fraiche whipped cream… Confession: I’m not a fan of the fruit sando concept. I thought a deftly executed iteration of this concept (such as this sandwich by Ototo) would somehow change my mind and turn me onto fruit sandwiches, but alas this was not the case. As good as a fruit sando can get, I suppose…

Anmitsu (a Meiji era Japanese dessert): Mix of grape jellies, pomegranate mochi, red beans, orange, fresh pomegranate seeds from K and K Ranch. Like it, but didn’t love it. Texturally though, this dessert hits it out of the park.


Is it supposed to be like a Japanese swiss roll?

Nope, they’re sandwiches. In Japanese fruit parlors they typically contain more than one kind of fruit and are much prettier looking than this example.

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Waiting until the pandemic ends before upgrading to the Chiron?

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Yeah. The ones at Katsu Sando have more than one type of fruit. I love them, but it’s really a fruit sandwich…



Yeah I’ve had that before at Katsu Sando. I bought it towards the end of business hours that day - maybe that’s why I found their fruit sando to be on the soggy side. Before the pandemic, I’ve tried the fruit parlour version at Sembikiya Tokyo (Nihonbashi location) - and even then I wasn’t convinced on the concept. #It’sNotYouIt’sMe

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Ichijiku Sushi

Ichijiku is low key becoming a go to for Friday night sushi. It’s got great QPR and being relatively close makes it super easy to fall back on. The bite of this round was the negitoro roll–stuffed with fish and very crushable.


Maybe this shows I don’t get ceviche enough, but I haven’t had it this good in awhile. The fish was perfectly done, with a great marinade, and some killer chips, it would kick off the rest of the great meal.


It was my first time back at Gjusta in awhile and the new patio set up is actually quite chill. Instead of packing in like sardines and anxiously waiting to see if you’ll get a table after ordering, getting a table and having table service made it much easier and nice to catch up with friends. I doubled up with the anchovy toast and the baked eggs–both have always been winners.


As @J_L revealed, the corn cream puff slaps.

Fat + Flour

The mini lemon cream pie is killer. Key lime might be her signature right now, but I really liked this lemon version because it comes baked in Chef Rucker’s elite traditional pie crust.


The wife and I went to Shunji for her annual birthday dinner.
Sorry no pics again, cuz it was outside and there wasn’t any good lighting.
Food was awesome as usual
Highlights were the tempura fig with truffles, the wagyu beef, favorite nigiri was the aged swordfish. Make sure to get the Truffle Ice cream!
they have a really nice setup outside in their parking lot. socially distanced seating, servers and Shunji are masked up. Shunji comes around and talks to everyone, (always a gracious host)
A very good time, set menu at $150 per person. You can order extra nigiri before the handroll course.
please note that they wont have everything, they have limited items.

edit: also @chrishei came by and bought a bunch of truffle ice cream so if they don’t have any, blame him.


how was the mosquito sitch?


LOL, no mosquitoes, we would have definitely remembered cuz moscos love my wife.


That is the second most concern if we consider dining out. We took a coworker out for their last hurrah at Clearman’s Steak ‘N Stein and I came home with 4 new bites.

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What about the noise level? :rofl: