Healthy Fast Food Wins Us Over Everytime

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We have become completely aligned with the new fast food model, embracing the ease, abundant variety, freshness and speed through which our meal is assembled. PokiNometry falls squarely into this genre, with a thin sliver of a space at Hollywood and Highland that we saunter through before receiving our self-designed poke bowl.

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The third floor of the entertainment center houses the outdoor food court called The Deck, and those tables or booths provide customers of PokiNometry a space to chow down. Bad weather means we have to pack food to go, fortunately LA has mostly sunny, mild days.

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The protocol is simple. First chose your bowl size and your base. We opted for a large bowl with half and half, brown rice and deep greens.

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Then come the add ons which are unlimited and included in the price, except for the faux crab meat and avocado which after the first scoop are $1.50 for each additional helping.

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We found the scoops included to be just the right amount, but we can’t slight anyone for wanting more avocado.

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Next we chose our fish. The large bowl incorporates 5 scoops of any combination of seafood desired.

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After asking about the freshest available that day, we opted for tuna, albacore, yellow tail and two scoops of mashed tuna. The cooked shrimp adds a different consistency so we kept the bowl strictly raw to retain a uniformity of texture.

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At Station 4 we got to choose our sauces and since we like it hot we let them know.

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Sauces can be added directly to the bowl or served in to go cups for those wanting to add as they consume. We requested the spicy, original Nometry sauce and a couple of cups of spicy mayo and miso just in case.

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The last decisions to be made are about the toppings, again unlimited. We went heavy on the green onion and ginger plus requested extra cups of pickled ginger because we adore the flavor.

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Our alluring bowl was delivered to us exactly how we like it, quickly, efficiently and by a staff that couldn’t have been nicer.

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Drinks and miso soup are also on the menu for an additional charge.

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We found the bowls to be vibrant and enjoyable, with the large containing too much for one lunch, and they happily packed up the left overs to go. Validation at the visitor center kept parking at $2.00 for two hours, giving us a chance to browse a bit after lunch. When in Hollywood looking for a quick, easy and healthy meal, PokiNometry fits the bill swimmingly.

PokiNometry,
6801 Hollywood Boulevard, Suite 316, Los Angeles, CA 90028
Phone – 323-645-7730           web site –PokiNometry.com

Inexpensive Sushi Stop

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As sushi fans we are always looking for good sushi at affordable prices. We have been long time customers of Sushi Stop from back in the day when they had only one tiny outlet on Sawtelle.

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They now have six, four of them on Sawtelle, one in Hollywood and another in Pasadena. We attribute their success to quality seafood and a $2.95 price point for most rolls.

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A rich miso soup, at $1.60 a bowl, does not skimp on the miso. It’s a soothing, warm, velvety, healthy broth dotted with scallions, seaweed and a few tofu squares.

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While the crunchy seaweed salad pops with the delightful essence of the ocean.

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Besides the menu, there are specials listed on the wall with slightly higher prices.

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A pen and order form list the offerings and we simply place check marks or the number of orders we want next to chosen dishes.

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The seared peppered tuna is super fresh and meaty, seared at the very edge only.  We roll them up, capturing the onion and sesame seeds, then consume the little ponzu marinated packages.

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Specialty rolls also come in at $2.95 per plate and we definitely have our favorites.

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The dynamite roll conceals a California roll under baby scallops in a rich sauce  quickly broiled and presented still bubbling. The hot, creamy topping is a memorable contrast to the cool inside out crab and avocado roll underneath.

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A shrimp tempura roll pairs crisp, batter encased shrimp with cucumber and avocado, then drizzles everything in sweet eel sauce.

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Under the appetizer section are spicy albacore tartare, fried wonton skins with spicy tuna, avocado, onion slivers, sesame seeds and a serious splattering of spicy Sriracha mayo for one crunchy, smooth, spicy bite.

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The Las Vegas roll is artistically playful, with eel and cucumber beneath spicy tuna and architecturally stunning fried lotus root wheels, smeared with eel sauce.  Another attractive and flavor packed combination.

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Desserts also fall under the $2.95 price point making them a no brainer.

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Being near UCLA, there is usually a wait at peak meal times, but we were seated immediately at 5 PM on Saturday night. Be aware that it is a cash only establishment, but with these prices the bill is usually manageable, plus there is an ATM on the premises. For affordable sushi in a lively environment, Sushi Stop is a great choice that we frequent when the mood strikes.

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SushiStop, 2222 Sawtelle Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90064
Phone – 310-479-1222           web site – sushistopusa.com

or

SushiStop, 2053 Sawtelle Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90025
Phone – 310-473-3999

or

SushiStop Izakaya, 2218 Sawtelle Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90064
Phone – 310-479-1001

or

New Japan by SushiStop, 11283 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90025
Phone – 310-477-0557

or

SushiStop, 5917 Franklin Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90028
Phone – 323-468-2496

or

SushiStop, 58 East Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena, CA 91101
Phone – 626-405-1518

We’re Addicted to Poki

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The poki/poke craze has hit hard and we think the more fresh sashimi bowls the better.

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This miraculous dish of sushi rice, raw fish chunks, vegetables and seasoning sauces are a hybrid of Hawaiian, Japanese and American influences that meld into one delicious and filling meal.

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There are four steps at Pokiholic. First decide how many scoops of fish are needed, chose a base from rice to salad to nachos or any combination that pleases. Step two involves choosing the seafood from eleven raw and cooked offerings. Step three is spice level from hot to not. And the final step four entails a yea or nay to a wide array of toppings and sides added to your bowl at no extra charge.

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The assembly line of ingredients are all refrigerated and the process moves faster than one would guess for such a detailed endeavor.

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Yes, we would like a sushi rice and lettuce mix, with 5 scoops of fish. Spicy tuna (two scoops), yellowtail, ahi and seared garlic albacore please. Spicy! Avocado, cilantro, white onion, cucumber, jalapeño, green onion, seaweed salad, sesame seeds, spicy mayo, wasabi and ginger, thank you.

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The ingredients are cold from the refrigerated case and shine with super freshness. Tossing the “salad” creates a creamy, spicy, chunky, ocean kissed, textural extravaganza that was big enough to serve two. Hot Sriracha found on the table can be added if it’s still not picante enough.

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For high quality poke/poki bowls made with super fresh sashimi and a huge array of free add ons, all crafted to customers preferences, we strongly recommend a visit to Pokiholic to get your raw fish fix.

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Pokiholic, 2201 South Atlantic Boulevard, Monterey Park, CA 91754
Phone – 323-268-5988

Savoring Fresh, Organic, Slow Food At Slow Fish

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We recently had the pleasure of savoring slow food during our dining experience at Slow Fish.  We throughly enjoyed their commitment to uber-fresh, organic, blended Japanese, Korean and Italian cuisine.

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The playfully elegant dining room is a relaxing setting to snuggle into for a tranquil and healthy meal.

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Check out the board near the sushi bar for a list of daily special in addition to the extensive menu.

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We began our Slow Fish repast with a sweet blue crab salad pairing the snap and fresh ocean taste of seaweed salad with not only blue crab, but also firm tofu squares drizzled in goma dressing.

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The Slow Fish well rounded sushi menu, offers sushi and rolls that can be made with the super food, black rice or forbidden rice. This nutty flavored delicacy is lower in sugar and higher in fiber, antioxidants and mineral content than both white and brown rice, adding beauty and health benefits to our meal.

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We dove into their meaty seared ahi tuna carpaccio. The fish is enhanced by a blanket of sour onion and sweet pickled lotus root and radish, adding a crunch to the tender, succulent red slices marinating in a lemon juice spiked dressing.

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The Korean halibut carpaccio starts with a sharp, radish sprout bite, then pickled capers add tang to the slight spicy dance on the tongue before being calmed by parmesan shavings.

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We can’t say enough good things about the salmon with sweet, cool, juicy mango and creamy avocado.  It’s finished with a sprinkling of sea salt kicking the fruit and bright pink sashimi into the highest levels of pleasure and enjoyment.

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Thick slices of albacore are first seared before being doused in a citrus and mustard ponzu and then topped with radish sprouts and sliced green onion, creating a sweet tart experience with the melt in your mouth fish slabs.

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The gangster wrap is tuna and cucumber stuffed into a soy paper wrapper with no rice, so nothing takes away from the freshness delivered. A dip in the small side dish of spicy sauce and a squeeze of lemon juice, serves to enhance and highlight the roll even further.  This is one tasty gangster wrap.

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The menu is loaded with small plates of salad, vegetable and fish dishes to share.

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Besides being a beautiful architectural structure, the fat avo is also mouthwatering seasoned albacore tuna in a woven avocado embrace, atop a sweet, sticky puddle of unagi sauce and a goma character of smooth sesame richness.

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The tuna tostada starts with crispy fried wonton skins and tops them with a refreshing salad of aji tuna and juicy tomato chunks tossed in a spicy dressing. We could eat this tuna salad all day long in a myriad of ways and be exceptionally happy campers.

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Slow Fish has an eclectic lunch menu to entice the foodie in all of us at prices that satisfy our wallets as much as our palates.

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We couldn’t leave without a solid helping of black rice under miso cream sauce concealing mushrooms and a delicate filet of halibut. The saltiness of the miso is balanced by the rich creamy Japanese/Italian melding that all soaks into the forbidden rice and is impossible to stop eating. Small bundles of pickled jalapeño and onion cut through the richness and add a jolt of tartness and heat to the mix.  An explosion of flavors, textures and temperatures all add up to one remarkable entree.

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For an immersion into fresh, organic, healthy Asian fusion, Slow Fish brings a variety of tastes that are unique and exciting in their presentation and flavor profile, which makes us wonder why we would ever eat anything but slow food.

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Slow Fish, 5406 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Phone – 323-930-0170          web site – slowfishusa.com

or

Slow Fish, 16051 Bolsa Chica Street, Huntington Beach, CA 92649
Phone – 714-846-6951

Japanese That’s As Good For Us As It is The Planet

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Always on the lookout for fantastic flavors in healthy cuisine, we have been seduced by Fresh In The Box, bento box that is, Japanese Restaurant.

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The clean, airy space invites calm contemplation of the health oriented menu that promotes brown rice sushi, naturally raised chicken and pork, and organic salads.

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The warm satisfying ramen is a working class dish that made the leap from China to Japan a few hundred years ago. At Fresh In The Box it is available small or large, depending on your appetite and the savory bowls come in miso (our favorite), pork or soy based broth. The al dente noodles and soup contain no msg, preservatives, or artificial colors or flavors.

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Sushi’s origins date back over a thousand years, while the sushi we eat today is more closely related to the “fast food” version adapted in the early 1800’s. Fresh In The Box takes sushi to its latest incarnation, as an “Organic” Japanese restaurant created with the concept of helping serve others and the environment with quality and respect.

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We savored the spicy albacore roll, which is a buttery soft, fresh melding of tuna and spicy sauce, wrapped in a blanket of seaweed and brown rice before being rolled in toasted sesame seeds. This pure luxury is complemented with pickled ginger, wasabi and edamame.

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We also have a soft spot for tofu salad and have been comparing them all over the city.  Here we have the option of a full or half salad, allowing us to try more dishes, which we love.  The firm tofu and dark organic greens are dressed with a traditional Japanese salad dressing that always leaves us hungry to put Japanese dressing on all our salads.

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Be sure to check the days specials board for some off menu items that may tickle your fancy.  It’s great to know that not only are we getting the tastiest, high quality fish and vegetables, we are also doing good for our bodies and our planet. What more could you ask from a great lunch or dinner?

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Fresh In The Box, 13354 West Washington Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90066
Phone – 310-301-9100           web site – freshintheboxla.com

Old School Westside Japanese

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Aki Restaurant is a cozy, family-owned, neighborhood, Japanese restaurant that makes us feel like we’re dining in Japan. A small sushi bar at the back has a few seats or guests can choose a booth or table in one of three quaint dining rooms.

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The daily board lists Aki’s special fish and sake offerings.

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They start everyone off with a small serving of pickled cabbage that reminds of our first days eating Japanese cuisine on Sawtelle in the 70’s, when the same crunchy greens were served.

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A miso soup bowl comes with all combination lunch and dinners and satisfies with its warm, soothing broth.

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The tempura has a light, crisp, crunchy batter over sweet shrimp, pumpkin, yam, broccoli, green beans and carrot. It is served with a tangy tempura sauce that can also be poured over rice.

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Aki’s California roll is made with real crab meat, something we haven’t seen in far too long. The flavor of fresh, flaked crab is enhanced by the creamy, smooth textured avocado. The disputed origins of this local invention, does not diminish the joy the original recipe continues to bring to customers.

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Our favorite is the crispy rice with spicy tuna. The golden brown, fried rice cake provides a sturdy platform for the deep red tuna, that is further enhanced by the addition of jalapeño slices, pickled carrot and a fan of avocado slices. Pickled ginger also ups the enjoyment factor on these bundles of spicy bliss.

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The tuna sashimi continues the commitment to freshness with meaty, blood red slices atop a bed of shredded radish.

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Unagi sauce is a sweet, slightly salty, thick brush of flavor over the cooked eel and avocado rolls.  We judge most restaurants by the quality and smoothness of their eel which we expect to melt in the mouth.

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They have a number of combination plates and lunch specials and we find the cooked and raw fish dishes to be especially satisfying in this wonderful blast from the past ambiance.

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Aki Restaurant, 11513 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90025
Phone – 310-479-8406

 

 

 

 

 

A Taste Of Japan in Mar Vista

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We love ethnic markets and at the corner of Centinela and Venice is one of our favorites, Mitsuwa Marketplace.  The food court rocks with Santouka serving some of the westsides best ramen and Hannosuke plating wonderful tempura bowls.  We tend to sit down for a meal here before we shop.

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Back in the store the produce section offers beautiful fruit and vegetables.

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Including some exotics such as dragon fruit and horned melon.

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They also have a small organic section for those who prefer that choice.

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Traditional Japanese foods abound, from a wide variety of tofu to pickled plums and Asian snacks.

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Stunning cuts of meat and fish entice customers with their bright, fresh sheen.  You won’t find tired looking anything in this store.

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Packaging is important to the Japanese and most products come beautifully labeled and wrapped, making these imports all the more special. We recycle Japanese wrappers and paper in all kinds of decorative ways including as gift wrap and in art projects.

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Large displays of Japan’s favorite mayonnaise, Kewpie, showcase the famous condiment that has now become a staple of local chefs for its use of strictly egg yolks, making it a creamier and richer version that American brands.

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Quail eggs are always an option at Mitsuwa and can be prepared just like chicken eggs, except they are much cuter and make the perfect sized picked egg popper.

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A wide selection of soju and sake are available in charming bottles that we rescue and reuse as vases, for single or a small smattering of flowering stems.

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Rice of every type makes shopping for exactly what you need in Asian recipes a snap.

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Our favorite section, is the prepared foods which go on sale in the evenings.  We were at Mitsuwa Marketplace around 8 PM and found an abundance of discounted Japanese bowls and dishes.

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Tofu, octopus balls, fried fish and dumplings are some of the appetizers and meals that can be scored on sale in the evenings.

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Unique deserts, are part of the array of exciting Asian sweets laid out and an easy way to sample Japanese delicacies at reasonable prices.

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We noticed that the sushi and raw fish bowls were not on sale, but we think some gracious inquiring and offering to take the “needs to be eaten immediately” raw fish off their hands, will most likely lead to discounts. Although the prices for the quantity and quality presented are quite good.

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For an exploration into Japanese culture and cuisine, a trip to Mitsuwa Marketplace is an inexpensive way to visit a Japanese market that may inspire a flight to Japan to see the real deal.

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Mitsuwa Marketplace, 3760 South Centinela Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90066
Phone – 310-398-2113          web site – mitsuwa.com

Sushi Hidden in Plain Sight Since 1983

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Since 1983 Noshi Sushi has been hiding in plain sight on Beverly Boulevard between Western and Normandie.  This unassuming Japanese sushi house has been consistently laying out high quality, well priced seafood in a charming traditional setting that feels exceptionally comfortable and welcoming.

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Guests have a choice of red booths or sushi bar seating, whichever strikes their fancy.

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The menu focuses on what they do best, a limited number of Japanese salads, appetizers, sushi, sashimi, tempura, teriyaki and rolls.

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Complementary bowls of miso soup are delivered after ordering.  The subtly robust, umami full-flavored miso warms the palate and the stomach for the dishes to come.

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We began with the seaweed wakame salad, whose pop under the teeth releases a serene ocean essence followed by the slight sweet lull of sesame oil.  The salad is invigorating in taste and in sensation, leaving us with the feeling that this was a good choice for our health and wellness.

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Appetizers are listed on the menu as well as hand-color illustrated sheets posted on the wall or handed to customers.

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We couldn’t resist a new special of jumbo scallop sashimi with yuzu dressing and pink himalayan salt. The mild sweet scallop flavor hits the palate first and gently blossoms as it melts away on the tongue. It is a subtle, sublime flavor and texture that we felt was better when we scraped off the red roe, which we found attractive but unnecessarily distracting from the shellfish.

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Our favorite appetizer on the menu is the bluefin tuna with fried garlic, chili oil, avocado and zuke sauce, on top of a cucumber slice.  The meaty, blood red, super fresh tuna comes in a hearty chunk that is smooth as it dissolves from its perfect cut and interacts beautifully against the crunch of sweet browned garlic nubs, hit of spice, creamy avocado, and cool hydration from the cucumber.  An epic mix of textures and flavors that we feel is a most delightful package.  We could eat these all day and night.

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But there is more on the menu to explore.

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The baked ebi mayo roll takes baked shrimp and rice, wrapping them in a sesame flecked soy paper and tops it with a nice salty hit of red roe and mayonnaise.  These little bites are warm and comforting, similar to a creamy dynamite and made with super sweet plump shrimp that make this a top dish for us that we always order.

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We also love the classics and can’t miss an opportunity to try the spicy tuna and eel and avocado.  The spicy tuna here is much talked about for many reasons, some people love it, some hate it.  We found it not spicy but instead a creamy, well blended tuna that was overpowered by a dip in soy sauce but perfectly complemented by a slide through the chili oil and ponzu from our bluefin tuna plate.  While the warm eel, slightly sweet with its brush of unagi sauce is a great match for the smooth and creamy avocado.

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Noshi Sushi has been a consistent, reasonably priced, regular stop on our sushi circuit.  After reading all the health benefits of the ingredients, we feel we love this sushi, and it’s also loving us back. It doesn’t get much better than that in our book.

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Noshi Sushi, 4430 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90004
Phone – 323-469-3458          web site – noshisushila.com

 

 

Exploration 101

Some of the greatest joys in life come from embracing and sharing ones passion.  My most vibrant and fulfilling experiences are a result of the sensory bombardment I get exploring culture and cuisine.  The thrill of throwing open curtains and exposing that first glimpse of the Nile,  sipping the sweet nectar from a machete cracked coconut on the beach, being invited to participate in a temple celebration of dance, costume, incense and devotion, happened upon while wandering the crooked tiny streets of Old Hanoi.  There is something about new places, new people, new ways of thinking and living that are an enormous gift to the uninitiated.  Every novel taste, smell, vision, experience, philosophy and person offers a fresh way to look at, embrace, enjoy and celebrate life.  One need not travel half way around the world to enjoy this phenomenon, it flourishes all around us, especially in major cities such as Los Angeles where I reside.

Today I embark on a year-long journey of daily sharing of the “hidden” abundance I have found right here in my own backyard.   I continue to be astonished by the breadth of ethnic restaurants, markets, cultural centers, health and wellness facilities, goods and services that most are unaware of simply because they are outside our everyday knowledge, lurking in unexplored cultures, homelands and traditions.   If you will allow me, I will be thrilled to guide you through these oh so affordable and delightful “assets” available to all of us.

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Today I indulge in one of my favorite Korean dishes, Hwe Dup Bap or Sashimi rice salad which was introduced to me by my dear friend, Sun Lee Bullied who has been exploring and sharing with me for 20 years.

Located inside the north-west corner of Hannam Chain Market at 2740 Olympic Blvd,  Los Angeles, CA is Yanausa Sushi.  They present a delightful rendition called fish rice aka number 13 on the menu.

Rice and greens line the bottom of the bowl and are generously topped with sushi grade tuna, salmon and yellow tail.  Sesame oil, shredded radish, sprouts, sesame seeds, cucumber and a hefty dollop of red roe crown the artful creation.

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The magic happens when you toss this beautiful salad with the spicy red sauce in the ketchup bottle located on your table.  When packing this order to go they give you a container filled with about 1/4 cup of the spicy condiment and I use all of it because I love it hot and spicy.  If you’re not into setting your taste buds on fire this may not be the dish for you.  But if you are a chili-head like me, use your chopsticks and the spoon provided to blend all the ingredients together, smearing the sauce throughout.  What it looses in visual artistic value it more than gains in texture, taste and satisfaction of the tongues desires for spicy, creamy, savory refreshment.  I request a side of pickled ginger which perfectly accents this melding of freshly prepared components.

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The four tabled, tiny sushi bar establishment caters to the local Korean community who almost always have Fish Rice or Udon in front of them.  If the environment is not to your liking they wrap the dish in separate containers so you can mix the parts together when you get home and experience the same freshness it has at the shop.  The bowl is generously filled and comes with a large side of miso soup,  sliced pickled radish and a spicy sauced shredded radish dish and will set you back $10.50 including tax.  You will most likely bring half home unless you share it with a friend.  I have yet to finish a bowl and am happy to report that the left overs are just as good the next day.   As it is raw fish, I strongly recommend its consumption as soon as possible either the day of purchase or the next day at the latest.

Finally, since you’re in the market, on aisle 10 right next to the fruit and vegetables they sell the Korean secret weapon, body scrubbing mittens.   For $1.99 plus tax you walk away with two pairs of scrubbing squares which you take into the shower, wet your body, slide your hands into the mitts, rub mittens over your favorite soap and use to scrub all the dead skin away.  This is the path to the softest skin and I perform this ritual once a week with fantastic results.  Use with caution on delicate areas.  I wash these mitts periodically in the washing machine and air dry.  They come out fresh and clean and seem to last forever.

Below is a photo of the product so you can identify it as there is little English on the packaging.

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Happy eating and scrubbing and a big thank you to the Korean people for sharing your abundance with Los Angeles.

Yanusa Sushi – Inside Hannam Chain Market –  2740 West Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90006 (213) 383-1991   9 AM to 9 PM