Beware You Might Be Eating Plastic Noodles

First, shoot the video the right way, although it did lead to two pictures side by side nicely. This handsome and photogenic gent, demonstrates how a plastic noodle and a real noodle light up differently. That’s how you tell which noodle is plastic. Pull out your lighters, pull out that old bag of noodles you’re not going to eat anyway, and light them up, but do be careful of your domicile.

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Reviews: Deltron 3030 at Fingerprints, Red Hare and Coliseum at The Satellite (plus eating out with Dirty Beaches and SISU)

After a 13-year-long hiatus, the Deltron 3030 super group has reunited for a full LP, some festival shows, and… a couple of free in-stores? Pretty damn cool that the heroic trio of Dan The Automator, Del The Funky Homosapien, and Kid Koala would play a Long Beach record shop. But after a long day of travel and press, they had to eat. Good thing Berlin is connected to Fingerprints.

Left to right: Dan The Automator, me, Kid Koala, and my pal Paul Kwon scarfing an early dinner at Berlin. How cool is it that there is a coffee house that serves high-end food connected to the record store? Brilliant and tasty, too. Del didn’t eat with us because he was busy practicing his ollies and had some cheese pizza coming to him. No artisan flatbread slices for Del. He’s a purist. (more…)

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Donut Friend by Mark Trombino (Drive Like Jehu) is open!

Just got back from Donut Friend, the long-awaited eatery from my friend Mark Trombino. He’s known by most for producing key albums for Blink 182 and Jimmy Eat World but also eternally loved by some others for his drumming with Drive Like Jehu and Night Soil Man. (Mark is on the right, and that’s my crew of Angelyn from Kumquat and Carlos from Music Friends on the left. They know him way better then me!)

Donut Friend is on York Blvd. in the Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, right next door to Scoops Ice Cream and between Gimme Gimme Records and Wombletown Records (way closer to the latter). Today was only its second day of operation, with soft launch hours of 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

When you walk in, you can’t miss the very yummy mural by another friend Saelee Oh. Mammals eating donuts, playing instruments made out of donuts… Wow. Then you turn around and see edible beauty in the form of baked treats that you get to trick out yourself.

Before and after. First, choose a donut to start with. I went with the glazed vegan. Then, select a filling, put stuff in it, and choose toppings. If you’re too hungry to think, there are suggested combinations all named after bands: Jets to Basil, Chocolate from the Crypt, Coconut of Conformity. Yes, there’s a Rites of Sprinkles T-shirt. Mine was the GBH (Greek yogurt, blueberry jam, and honey) with pistachio bits on top, and it was tasty.

You have to admire a guy like Mark, who has been in some rad bands and found success producing huge albums but chucked music altogether to follow his dream of opening the most awesome donut shop ever. Check it out at or and then pay a visit to the shop:

Donut Friend
5107 York Blvd.
Los Angeles, California 90042

Seeya there and please tell me if there’s crud on my mouth!

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Sushi Donuts? Mister Donuts

Not available just yet in Japan, Mister Donuts are making this happen in Thailand. Why there? Who knows, but I’d eat em. Sushi Do! (Huffington Post via Buzzfeed). It’s just icing thankfully.

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Long Beach: Work in Progress really happened

Holy crap! Long Beach: Work in Progress really happened. The scenario seemed too good to be true: Come up with panels to illustrate and demonstrate the underrated heritage and upside of a city that I’ve been digging since I was a teenager. Crashing culture, colliding communities, and the power of subcultures–I’m all over that. Above you can see Long Beach skaters/activists Chad Tim Tim, Justin Reynolds, Paul Kwon, Dallas Rockvam, and Levi Brown with Pulitzer Prize winning food writer Jonathan Gold.

The event took place in the historic Edison Theatre, which was built in 1917 as the Nippon Pool Room and went through phases as a sporting goods store, foot clinic, and beauty salon. Most recently it was home to CSULB’s theatre troupe but has been shuttered for five years until it was opened by the city just for Friday’s event. Keynote speaker John Jay (W+K Garage) spoke on the the creative crisis–how the need for creativity is at an all-time high in business, the arts, and society in general. His manifesto was followed by authors Cara Mullio and Jennifer Volland’s very cool study on local Case Study House architect Edward Killingsworth. (Yes, I bought a copy of their brand-new Hennessey+Ingalls book on Killingsworth and had them sign it.)

Jonathan Gold’s seemingly stream-of-consciousness-yet-completely-in-control ruminations on things he likes to eat in Long Beach (framed by recollections of sailors at The Pike, a roller-coaster decapitation, and bad metal shows at Fender’s) was so good it almost made me cry, and was followed by an otherworldly panel on Long Beach music moderated by my friend and member of The Vandals Joe Escalante. Somehow, he was able to balance the early hardcore punk stories of his longtime colleague Jack Grisham from T.S.O.L. with peeks into Little Cambodia via Dengue Fever’s Zac Holtzman and Chhom Nimol (who played an acoustic preview of a brand new song). Is that a mash-up of subcultures or what. The final panel was about the importance of skateboarding to Long Beach culture and its future with Justin, Chad, Ricki The Dude Bedenbaugh, and Paul. Of course, it ripped and generated a ton of responses.

The long day was capped by a round table discussion handled by jeffstaple and words from District 2 Councilperson Suja Lowenthal. Very legit to get seals of approval from a king of street culture and a city respresentative. And so awesome to witness my worlds colliding right in front of my eyes, with Jack and Joe (above, left) from years of going to punk shows to Tanya, Julia, and Renzei (above, right) from my current efforts to help the team build Long Beach (and everywhere else) through culture labs and backers in business.

Keep an eye out for more photos and even a video to be leaked in the near future… But until then I think the message of Long Beach: Work in Progress can be applied to anyone’s hometown. Look for what’s cool about it, and then seek to understand, grow, mix, and share it for the benefit of all.


Oh, Snap!


C’mon, Trader Joe’s People!

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McDonald’s China’s Sausage Double Beef Burger

“All the good stuff is in Asia”. We’ve heard it over and over and here’s yet another example. The legendary Sausage Double Beef Burger might be the way to control over-population. The bun looks great by the way and only $2.82!

(FoodBeast – McDonalds China Sausage Double Beef Burgers)

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Kid from OC Follows His Ramen Dreams – Film

Cool video of Keizo Shimamoto from Huntington Beach moves to Japan to follow is ramen passion.



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Spam Goes Glam in Japan

Spam, the kind you eat. It’s made it across! (Boston Globe – Spam)

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Jonathan Gold: Top 10 Ramen in LA

Ramen in LA. Below is a photo of Iroha. The “black as tar” ramen. It was set to be a pop up and it’s still there. (LA Times – Ramen)

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NPR: Cute Food in Japan

Cute food, but it doesn’t stop people from eating it. Cute lunches anyone? (NPR – Food)

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January First – New Years Day – Osechi

January First. Osechi. New Years Day. Family. Friends. Calm. I’ve written and written about it before. It’s just another a day. A fine one. Here’s 2012. 2010.

[nggallery id=New-Years-Day-2013-Osechi]

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C’mon KPCC: Mochi Isn’t About Reconnecting to Roots

Yes it’s a nice and cute story. “Pounding” mochi is a tradition for some, but do you really think pounding mochi is about reconnecting to roots? Mochi pounding is sort of once a year hobby (at best). It’s like watching the Rose Parade. But what kind of “roots” are we talking about? This is still a cute story. (SCPR – Mochi)

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Korean American Hotel to Appear in K Town!

The Line hotel will be the first of it’s kind. A hipster hotel in K-Town with a Korean American theme by the group who brought you Ace NY and NoMad will be behind the location at 3515 Wilshire Blvd. Hipsters in K-Town? Sure, that’s where people are moving thanks to the lower rent rates, lively living and plenty of food. Yes, Roy Choi will be involved in the food. ( – The Line)

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Wahoo’s Fish Tacos Founder Wing Lam Profiled in LA Times

Wing Lam profile in the LA Times. From surfing to 80 million dollars a year. This man is wealthy and eating well. For a low price, you can get tasty fish tacos that are grilled. Black beans as pictured? No way, get the spicy beans only which is pictured at bottom! It’s a hefty meal for under $7. Casual and easy, the place is always decent. Congrats to Wing Lam and his partners. In addition to the article, this man has supported Asian American film festivals, events, and more. (LA Times – Wing Lam)

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KFC Free on Japan Airlines Trips

Maybe this is a penalty for flying to Japan. You have to eat fried food created by the Colonel. (CNN – Japan Travel)

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Kobe Beef May Be Real Soon

We’ve reported more than once that when you see Wagyu or Kobe beef on a menu, it’s not real. It’s a fugazi. You’re eating nice meat, but it’s not Wagyu or Kobe but this is going to confuse things. The real meat will be imported soon, but it’s going to cost. So far, only two restaurant in San Francisco will get the meat.

“The overall production is small due to the restricted number of farmers and slaughterhouses designated to handle the cows. Only around 3,000 cows are sent to market each year, which translates to about 700-800 tons.” (WSJ – Kobe beef)

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Hot Lips Sriracha Lip Balm

This can’t be official… could it? Green top bottle, red sauce, and rooster… but either way, you’ll smell like you were eating Vietnamese food. (Villagevoice – Lip Balm)

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Whale Meat: Meh

In a poll of 1200 people: “nearly 90 percent said they had not bought whale meat in the last year. Five percent had done so once, and only 2 percent had done so more than twice.” Most don’t even support it although too many just don’t care. (Discovery – Whale Meat)

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R.O.C. Star or Kitchen “Soup Dumplings” on Sawtelle

Although I sit across the street and have wondered what was being put into the space, I’m still unsure of the restaurant name. A crowd formed instantly when the “soft launch” was happening in late October, into November. There’s still not a sign, but it’s open for business. I’ve already heard repeatedly, “there’s no need to go to San Gabriel Valley for Chinese food” or “finally, a good Chinese place on the Westside.” For those who have experienced “SGV” knows what “real” Chinese food can be and it’s far, at near 20+ miles from the Westside of Los Angeles. Yet this is different. R.O.C. isn’t Republic of China. It’s Republic of California, which should tell you that this might have hybrid elements.

Of course the caveat begins in an instant by many. “It’s not SGV prices.” and the answer: “Of course it’s not. The rents are also many times higher.” On the Westside, a “C” rating isn’t respectable or “legit” as it is in the SGV. Mopping the floors and keeping vermin away, doesn’t mean your edibles are better or worse. But long story short, this is the first of it’s kind perhaps in all of LA. If you want the venerable Din Tai Fung, prepare to drive nearly an hour just to get there, and then wait another length of time. If you want something else along with your xiao long bao at Din Tai Fung, forget it, you’re doomed. R.O.C. offers other dishes that are equally intriguing.

I’ve tried xiao long bao many times in Arcadia (Din Tai Fung), NYC (Joe Shanghai with David Choe – link) and even in China! (link) R.O.C. makes it decently and it’s still a work in progress. Could it have a little more “soup”? maybe, but the flavors are there and they’re still learning. I overheard the wait staff tell a group of diners, “if you don’t like it, we’ll take it back and not charge you for it.” Does this happen in the SGV?

2049 Sawtelle Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025
(310) 235-2089

Here’s a rundown of what I tried at R.O.C.

Fried Pork Dumpling. It’s stuck together. I’ve had it this way a few times including in Japan, and it’s fun to see it this way and taste great too. Presentation counts. It looks stunning.

Xio Long Bao – I tried it with just pork and also with crab and pork. It’s all under $10. I believe the pork is $8.



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