Last Saturday I scheduled a Six Taste food tour of Little Tokyo as part of the Georgetown University Alumni group of Los Angeles.
Of course planned months in advance, no one could have predicted that just days before this tour, would provide us with one of the most devastating disasters in Japanese history.
Before I begin my recap, I would like to encourage anyone who has not already or even those who have, to donate anything they can to those in peril in Japan. It can be something as simple as a thought or prayer or something monetary if you have it to give, Red Cross.
I have always wanted to join Six Taste on one of their many tours throughout the LA area. I will do my best to keep this edited down to a reasonable length as the tour itself was very extensive.
Starting at 11:30, we met at the entrance to the Japanese American Museum, which if you have never been you must go. It’s one of my favorite museums in LA. They had a Noguchi exhibit when I was back in art school several years ago and it knocked my socks off. But I digress, outside the museum is where we had our first tasting, they don’t mess around, a pastry from Yamasaki Bakery called Nikuman, essentially Japanese empanadas. They were delicious, little white balls of steamed dough filled with pork and veggies. Yum! Definitely off to a great start.
Off on our walking tour, we stopped first at the Fugetsu-Do Sweet Shop. If you like Mochi, this is your place. Around for over 100 years, this confectionery offers all different types of mochi and other traditional Japanese sweets. I took home the “Peanut butter and jelly” mochi, strawberry flavored mochi filled with crunchy peanut butter. Heaven!
Next we were off to the Curry House for Curry Pan, otherwise known as the Japanese doughnut. This might have stolen the show for me. It was a piping hot savory doughnut, fried Panko breadcrumbs covering a delicate soft dough and a vegetarian curry filling. Deliciousness. At this point it’s safe to assume, we are not counting calories, right?
Next we made our way over to the Japanese Village Plaza for a few stops. The first was at the famous Mikawaya Mochi, I say famous because most people don’t realize they know who they are, they are the reason Trader Joe’s carries Mochi Ice Cream! Yep, that’s them. So, You can imagine their deliciousness. I tried the creme brulee and pistachio. No clear winner here. They were both A-mazing!
We made our way across the walkway to Mitsuru Cafe for two of the more interesting bites: octopus balls (not quite as vulgar as it sounds, but rather a fried glutenous ball with bits of octopus meat in it) and Imagawa Yaki (a savory-like pancake). Neither of which were on the top of my list, but interesting nonetheless.
Our last stop took us next door to a place called Oiwake. It was here, two hour after the start of our tour where we finally got to sit down and eat something, though I can’t say I was too hungry. By this time I was on sensory overload, I forgot to write all that was served to us, but for those that will someday do the Little Tokyo Six Taste food tour, this is not a normal part of it, it was purely for the Georgetown Alumni group with the added treat of hearing Professor Tony Arend speak afterward on the topic of Internet and freedom.
All and all a wonderful day, full of great new tastes, sights and a bit of history.
And to all of those affected by the tragedies in Japan, you are in my head and heart.