Don't mean to turn this into some sort of food blog, but occasional actors do need to eat. So, I made some notes about the places I've been hittin', most of them with my girl of course.
Tani Restaurant in Old Town Pasadena just came on the radar recently. I noticed it listed among the restaurants in L.A. Restaurant Week, coming up around the end of January. As the name "restaurant week" does not imply, it is, like most other cities' restaurant weeks, not confined to one week but usually two.
Tani is listed, and I started to wonder why, since when me and the girl were last in New York, their restaurant week featured several of the town's best restaurants. So, does that mean Tani is potentially a great restaurant? Really don't know, even after trying it out on last Sunday afternoon around 4.
First off, I must recommend the Poky Salad, which has ample cubes of raw fish. An awesome choice, just as an entrée. Then there's the spicy scallop roll, which I've never tried before at any restaurant, although it does seem to make sense. The third thing I'd recommend is the Japanese mackerel sushi, something they amazingly serve for under market price.
Mackerel sushi is not for everyone, but when I order it, it either has to be Spanish mackerel or I'm not having it. But when they say they have Japanese mackerel, I always lighten up. Some folks use Spanish mackerel as bait for catching bigger fish. But Japanese mackerel at a discount price? That's like Wal-Mart selling toothpaste for below cost. Well, something like that.
The rest were pretty standard or even sub-standard. Don't order the uni until they get more traffic, because as one uni distributor told me and the gal at the Japanese Food Festival last October, uni should be yellow, not brown, and firm like a tongue, not mashy like, well, a tongue when you're kissin' your sweetheart.
Oh, for those who aren't familiar with uni, it's sea urchin, which is a small sea animal with spikes on the outside much like a porcupine's.
We also have been visiting this all-you-can-eat shabu shabu place in Weller Court in Little Tokyo, particularly on cold or rainy days. There's something about eating steaming meat and vegetables, and sharing a bottle of decent sake, on a day like that. I can't tell you the name of the place because I keep forgetting it, but it's on the 3rd floor, it's open 7 days a week and they apparently have an all-you-can-drink option as well. If you see a guy there who looks like the Asian nemesis in Robocop 3, it probably is. Bruce Locke is the one who told me about this place.
One last place I'll mention is Cafe Metropol, but the only way you're finding that place is to Google it or if you know where the restaurant R23 is. Metropol is just down the road from R23, and you actually can't miss driving by it when going through that little alleyway. Try the Sirloin burger and have a bottle of Chimay blue. You'll thank me later.
By the way, must mention that we went to Prince recently (the restaurant, not the singer) and had one of the politest servers we ever experienced. He even refilled our chips and salsa without asking. Something odd is happening at that place. White men are starting to dine there alone, at the bar, just like many Korean businessmen do. I mean, it's typical to see the occasional group of white folk there, but never alone, and rarely at the bar.
Another phenomenon we've been noticing while furniture shopping at some of the Korean furniture shops in L.A.: white customers not even noticing the loud, tacky Korean pop music playing loudly over the speakers. Okay, that's just weird.