Theatre Sunday

Kevin and I got away for a few hours to enjoy the theatre over the weekend. We went to watch the matinee showing of Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder at Ahmanson Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles.  I can totally see how this show won the 2014 Tony Award for the Best Musical — it’s dark but painfully hilarious, and if you’re a fan of Book of Mormon and other shows that’s not afraid to, you know, “go” there, you’ll probably enjoy this one too.

Before the show, we stopped at Pinot Grill, a restaurant that sits just outside Ahmanson, for a quick bite.  Kevin had the soup of the day (potato and celery soup which was delicious), along with quiche and I had a good old burger.


We love the threatre and although LA is not the West End or the Broadway, we are thankful that a good show like this one eventually makes its way to the West Coast.  We are limited to what we can watch (I wish I can just to go the Theatre District and watch something new ever night) but this will definitely do.

Double the Fun: New Year’s Day 2013


Happy New Year, everyone!

What’s so wonderful about being married to the most amazing guy in the world is joining the most amazing family. And with that comes an introduction to a cool new tradition.


The first morning of the year was spent at a Japanese temple in Downtown LA to receive the New Year’s blessings!  Hatsumode, or the first shrine / temple visit of the year, was so refreshing as I haven’t done this since I was living in Japan! Visiting a temple on special days (like the New Year, and when people turn 20, etc.) is more of a cultural thing for us Japanese than a religious ritual.


Little Tokyo was packed with people, hoping for a fresh start of the year! After we gave the offerings (throwing money in a wooden box), we bought some Omamori for ourselves and the family, to protect us for another year.

shabu shabu

After the temple, we all got together at the parents’ house for shabu shabu lunch. I think I ate too much too fast, because by the time we were done, I needed to head straight to the couch to lay down! I have to remember that my stomach is not as big as it once was before Pon Pon occupied the space, and I need to eat much slower to avoid this kind of situation! redface

After taking a nap for a good 30 minutes or so, Kevin and I left to head over to my parent’s house for Party #2! We weren’t able to join them for dinner (we were still way too full) but my mother packed a bunch of delicious traditional food for us to enjoy later.  It was so wonderful to see them on the New Year’s day. It was a little strange to not be spending an entire day with with my folks like I did all my life, but there’s definitely a way to squeeze in double the fun, if there’s a will.

I am very excited for 2013. I know that this is going to be the best year yet.

Friday Date Night


Kevin and I are incredibly disappointed to learn that our favorite curry place in Downtown LA, Fat Spoon, has recently closed its door. 😦 I wish I had known so I could have enjoyed the amazing curry one last time. I almost cried when I saw the closure notice posted on the wall. I really loved this place and I’m going to miss it so much.

We were going to see a show at Ahmanson Theatre that night and needed to find a place real quick, so we went to a nearby TOT (short for Teishokuya of Tokyo) for dinner. Man, I wish we picked a different place because both the food and the service were less than ideal, and everything were overpriced!

I ordered the Tofu Steak with ginger sauce, with French fries, broccoli, and corn on the side. I was so bummed when tofu and corn came out cold (corn tasted like it just came out of a freezer) and the fries were soggy. I was hoping that the food would come out sizzling on the teppan grill but no. Fried squid were okay but nothing special. Kevin said that his Chicken Nanban Bowl Combo was mediocre and not worth the whopping $14.50.


The service at the restaurant was slow but we made it to the theatre in time to enjoy the show, Anything Goes. I watched this with Maya in New York last year and had a blast, so I was really excited to watch it again here in Los Angeles! I thought the cast was great (Rachel York was amazing as Reno Sweeney), and although I didn’t think it was as good as the Broadway version, this production was still incredibly lively and entertaining! Pon Pon was responding to the music, especially during the amazing tap dance sequence in the song “Anything Goes,” by kicking my stomach! 🙂

I must to admit that it’s getting tougher and tougher to sit in a seat over a long period of time. I didn’t feel uncomfortable when I was here to watch Seminar a few months back, but I guess my body is slowing but surely changing, as I enter the third trimester of pregnancy! I’m so thankful for the seats we have for our annual membership here. They are in the nosebleed section but we have two corner seats so we can stretch our legs a little, without landing an accidental roundhouse kick on the people in front of us.

Happy Friday night, everyone!

The Best Coffee in LA: Cafe Dolce

I’m no coffee expert but I know when I taste a delicious cup of coffee … and for me, a cup at Café Dolce in Little Tokyo is the best in town. The best. Who knew that there’s a quality coffee house in the Japanese Village, surrounded by Japanese supermarket, and shabu shabu and sushi restaurants!

Kevin and I make sure that we stop by there for a cup of coffee (my favorite is the ice coffee) during our Japanese grocery shopping runs on the weekend.  I tried Mocha Roti (round sweet bread) for the first time today and it didn’t disappoint either!

Here’s the beautiful Cafe Latte I ordered.  I hope you all have a wonderful July 4th!

Café Dolce
134 Japanese Village Plaza, Building E, Los Angeles, CA 90012

The Stanley Cup Parade and Rally!

In 2001, a friend took me to my first hockey game at Staple Center and I fell absolutely in love with the sport and the team! It wasn’t all roses for many years when there were way more losses than wins. There were so many empty promises and disappointments throughout the years, but the young core players started developing and we started to see the glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel, especially when we finally began making the push for playoffs.

I knew this year’s team was a true contender but I never, in my wildest dream, thought that we will be hoisting the Stanley Cup in June.eek But what do I know — we bulldozed over all the opponents we faced in the playoffs and broke a bunch of records along the way!  Talk about winning in style!

After watching the winning moments over and over again, reading about it on papers, watching the players appear on nightly talk shows (here, here, and here), and even cheering at the victory parade, I still feel like I’m dreaming. I think this feeling will last for a very long time.

You can see Bailey with the flag!


Even Magic sported the Black and White!

Inside the rally at Staple Center!

We were so happy to witness history!

Kerry, Carmela, and I took the metro from North Hollywood to Staple Center (while Kevin walked from his office).  We initially met up at the Universal City station but there were absolutely no places to park, so we drove 2 miles to the nearest NoHo stop.  There were no spaces there either but we got lucky and found spaces on the streets.  It was great to see a bunch of energetic Kings fan on the way, to start the celebration early!

I feel so lucky that my time off request was granted … I bet you 249,999 people that were at the parade this afternoon all played hooky from work!  lol

You can watch the entire footage of the rally here!

And special thanks to Carmela for finding us in the crowd (at around 36 minutes and 10 seconds into the video, during Brownie’s speech)! We got on TV, baby!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Tiffany, Shannon, Raf, Roya, Kevin, and I, along with other wonderful friends, celebrated St. Patrick’s Day at Villain Tavern in Downtown Los Angeles.  We got there at 2:00 p.m. for an early celebration.  This was also Tiffany and Roya’s farewell bash.cry I didn’t drink alcohol but had one of the most amazing freshly-squeezed orange juices I’ve ever had.  I picked on cabbage, carrots, and potatoes from Kevin’s Corn Beef and Cabbage, while I nibbled on my No Kill Burger (veggie patty, tomato, lettuce, and spicy mayo), with a side of fries.  I only ate half of the burger, and few fries.

Afterward, we stopped by Little Tokyo for Imagawayaki.  We also enjoyed this amazing cup of coffee from Café Dulce, with Spirulina Chewy Bun.  I don’t really know much about spirulina but apparently it’s made out of algea (like seaweed) and is the latest health food trend.  The bun was pretty good – not your typical bread and has an acquired taste and texture but I really liked it.  I only had a sip but I can tell that its coffee is made out of quality beans.

I hope you all had a wonderful St. Patty’s Day!

Say Yes to the Dress

Lunch (11:00 a.m.): Early lunch at Fat Spoon in Little Tokyo with Tiffany and Shannon, before wedding dress shopping. We started out with an order of Fat Spoon Salad, followed by its famous corn dogs. I had beef curry for the main dish.

Dress Shopping: We visited the Simple Bridal showroom in Downtown. Simple Bridal is an online bridal dress shop that has a several by-appointments-only showrooms around the country. We visited the LA showroom near Staple Center, in a building overlooking the entire Downtown LA.  It was breathtaking!

The experience was absolutely amazing. The showroom staff was knowledgeable and extremely helpful, and made me feel so comfortable. I was really dreading this process before arriving here but they made it completely pain-free for me. I actually ended up having a wonderful time playing dress up.

We even got to enjoy a few glasses of complimentary mimosas!biggrin

I was bummed that Saori (she wasn’t feeling well) and Maya (she lives out of town) couldn’t join in, but big thanks to Tiffany and Shannon for the much-needed moral support and honest feedback. Saori gave me her comments and feedback virtually via our iPhones after I sent her photos with options!

I’m happy to report that I found the perfect dress. And what people say is true – when you find the one, you just know. I knew immediately when I put on it on that this was the dress that I was going to walk down the aisle in!

I tried on a few more, just in case, but nothing came close to the feeling I had when I put on the winning dress.

Dinner (4:30 p.m.): After dressing shopping, we headed over to Daikokuya for an early dinner. I ordered Tsukemen, a deconstructed version of a regular ramen bowl.  We walked over to the nearby Pinkberry for a small pomegranate- and original-flavor frozen yogurt with strawberries, kiwis, and chocolate crisps, for dessert.

Late-Night Snack (8:40 p.m.): Imagawayaki from Mitsuru Cafe in Little Tokyo.  I ate way too much today.  Juice detox to commence next week.

This was a wonderful productive Sunday! Thank you, girls, for everything!

The Best Wafu Curry: Fat Spoon

My lazy scale was at its highest point today. I just didn’t want to do anything and stubbornly refused to leave the warm and cozy bed. I read a few pages of 1Q84 and fell asleep, and repeated that in bed until about noon. I finally peeled myself off from the comforter and ate the osekihan that my mother packed for me last night with some gyoza and squid kimchi. I was so lazy that I didn’t even bother to take pictures.

Kevin came over at night and we went to Fat Spoon in Little Tokyo for dinner. It’s a new restaurant that opened right next to Daikokuya that serves Japanese style pasta, curry, and salad. Kevin discovered this place when it first opened in August 2011 and have been wanting to take me for a few months. He rarely raves about a restaurant but this one is an exception. He seems to like this place a whole lot and I don’t blame him. This place was amazing – the best Wafu curry I’ve ever had outside of Japan.  There, I said it.  It’s that delicious.  I suggest that you check this place out real soon before it becomes so popular, with people lined up out the door like its ramen neighbor!

I had an unsweetened green tea and Fat Spoon salad to start. The salad was so delicious with soy ginger dressing and crispy radish slices.

Here’s the Katsu Curry that I had. If you’re used to Curry House or elsewhere, you’ll be surprised at the depth of the flavors from the curry here. You can tell that the roux is made with flour and butter the old fashioned way and there are gazillion spices to create the flavors that pop. I’m not a curry addict and only crave it once in a while, but I have a feeling that I’ll be dreaming about this one for some time.  In fact, I’m going crazy right now just thinking about it.

Kevin ordered the Pasta Bolognese. It’s a total “Itameshi” (“ita” is shortened for Italian and “meshi” means “food” in Japanese), the Japanese interpretation of Italian dishes. No offense to authentic Italian restaurants, but Japanese-style Italian is my absolute favorite.

And there’s nothing better than end the day with some frozen yorgurt with fresh fruits.  There are both Yogurtland and Pinkberry a walking distance from Fat Spoon.  We brought it back home and ate it while watching some silly Japanese TV shows.

I’m so happy that there is no work tomorrow! Yipee!biggrin

Fat Spoon

329 East First Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Pre-Game Dinner: Honda Ya

My boyfriend and I love to go to Staple Center to cheer for our favorite team, Los Angeles Kings. (It’s especially fun now because the boys are having a pretty good season!) Hockey is, hands down, the best sport in the world to watch, with great speed, intensity, and energy, but it’s unfortunate that the fun doesn’t translate well on television. I always encourage people to go watch a game live to really understand the beauty of the sport. I wasn’t even a fan either, until I went to my first game about seven years ago … and the rest is history!

Before the game, if time permits, we like to make a trip to a nearby Little Tokyo to grab something to eat. Granted the food at Staple Center is fairly decent (especially the pasta place), but why pass up great Japanese eats when they are just a couple blocks away (where the glass of wine doesn’t cost $12)? Our latest pre-game outing was Honda Ya, located on the third floor of Little Tokyo Mall, a former home of Mitsuwa (aka Yaohan) Supermarket in Downtown. It’s always very depressing to walk through the mall, knowing how alive it once were back in mid-80s to the mid-90s, when Japan’s economy was well and there were lots of Japanese people living in Los Angeles. The good thing is that this izakaya, the younger brother of the original Orange County location, has been gaining some buzz, bringing in much-needed traffic to this ghost town.

The interior of the restaurant reminded me a little bit of Musha in Torrance, but larger and slightly less modern. The wooden tables and paper lamps dangling from the ceiling added a sense of comfort and authenticity to the place. My boyfriend, along with several of my friends, have been here and liked it, so I was really excited to be able to check it out myself!

We started out by sharing the order of Sashimi Salad, mix green topped with pieces of tuna, yellowtail, and other sashimi, and avocado slices, smothered in spicy mayonnaise. There was nothing too special about the salad but I liked taking a bite out of the shell made out of deep frying a spring roll wrapper. It was so much fun to eat!

Ebi-furai, Japanese version of fried shrimp (breaded with crispy panko and deep fried in vegetable oil), is a favorite for many Japanese. Most of us Japanese grew up loving this dish as kids, especially because of the tartar sauce that accompanies them! These shrimps were plump and delicious, and brought back the sweet memories of childhood! 🙂

Because Honda Ya is known for its yakitori skewers, we had to try the basics: bacon-wrapped asparagus, sasami (white chicken meat), tebasaki (chicken wings), tukune (chicken meatballs brushed with sweet soy sauce) and negima (chicken and green onion). There is something so lovely about eating these yakotori with a nice glass of wine.  Perhaps the popular drinks of choice at a cozy place like this are sake and ice-cold Japaense draft beer, but I like to pair my skewers with a glass of red.

My favorite dish of the night was Hiyayakko, generous blocks of silky tofu enjoyed with aromatic yakumi (garnish) like grated ginger, green onion, katuobushi, paper-thin bonia flakes, and soy sauce. I also loved the presentation of the dish, with tofu arriving in a traditional Japanese “zaru,” usually used to serve cold soba (buckwheat noodle).

We finished the dinner with an order of Spicy Yellowtail Roll.

Although none of the dishes were earth shattering, I though everything I sampled were certainly above average and even better, very affordable. I will definitely come back here to try other dishes, like boxed sabazushi (mackerel sushi roll), Au gratin potatoes, and grilled black cod, that people are raving about. I can’t wait for our next hockey game and Honda Ya outing!

Honda Ya
333 S. Alameda, #314, Los Angeles, CA 90013

Heart Breaker: Daikokuya


I suppose I should not repeat the kinds of vocabularies that came of my month, but you can probably imagine the tantrum I threw after I saw this sign posted on the door of my favorite ramen joint, Daikokuya.  A flood of tears inevitably followed.


Until I can compose myself, I’m going to indulge in Keizo’s blog, Go Ramen!, and pretend that I was there slurping the ramen noodle swimming in flavorful pork broth.


327 E. First Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012