July 11, 2013

Road Trip to LA!

by yoko

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Everytime I go to LA, I like it more than the last time. I didn’t really like LA as a teenager… maybe it was because I would have rather been blasting Head Like A Hole in my bedroom with the curtains drawn all day. The friendly people and cute palm trees were probably too cheery for my industrial rock lifestyle.

But now as a thirty-something, I crave a change of pace and the urge to get out into the sun. Meeting our extended Umami Mart family in LA was simply FUN.

As we drove onto the I-5, Kayoko turned to me and said, “Is it ridiculous that we JUST launched U-MART and are now taking off to LA?” It probably was crazy given that it hadn’t even been a week since our big launch. But leaving town for a few days was totally necessary for our sanity and it was too late to turn back anyway — we were in our summer dresses (Anders in his shorts) listening to Ander’s Euro-tune themed iPhone ditties in a Prius V, quickly blazing through Fresno. What a life!

We stayed at our lovely friend Sara’s house in Silverlake. I had no idea we’d be staying at a place with such a gorgeous view overlooking the Silver Lake Reservoir.

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After a good night’s rest, our first stop was to meet Ms. Kuishinbo at Sun of a Gun for lunch. Unfortunately, my lens was too preoccupied by the food that I didn’t take any pictures of us. Oops.

This smoked cod dip was amazing. I wish I could recreate it at home. The celery ribbons were pretty to look at and so satisfyingly crispy.

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A few of us at the table got this chicken sandwich. Eerily reminiscent of Bakesale Betty‘s sandwich here in Oakland, although a little more saturated with sauce. They do admit it is “inspired by” Betty.

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Kayoko and Anders shared this octopus salad which I had the pleasure of sneaking a bite off of. The octopus was fresh and perfectly cooked (tender and juicy). I am usually not a huge fan of whole garbanzo beans, but I think I liked these because they weren’t canned.

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Our next stop was Bar & Garden in Culver City for our sake tasting.

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This was our first time at Bar & Garden, which just opened earlier this year.

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Owners Marissa and Lauren integrate wine, liquor and plants for a rustic, retro, LA vibe.

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I really liked the way all the bottles were displayed. It was a liquor store that you felt like hanging out in. The freshness of the plants was inviting and their selection of wines and liquor was impressive.

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Our tasting started at 5pm and ended around 8:30pm. Old friends, new friends and family showed up! It’s kind of cheesy, but I felt like it was a really heartwarming event.

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People were into the sake and very inquisitive about the different types. It made me think about the original Umami Mart tag line, “Everybody eats! Let’s talk about it!”

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Me, Kayoko and Marissa of Bar & Garden.

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The next morning, we met up with the Ramen Shaman for lunch at Silverlake Ramen.

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Looks like he spotted us first.

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Most of us got the tonkotsu ramen. It was very good, although everyone had different opinions about the chashu.

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The Ramen Shaman got the tsukemen.

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Kayoko got the shoyu ramen.

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These celebs didn’t even have the time to look into my camera, even though I was calling out their names. ”Sara over here! Mei: Blow us a kiss! Kayoko, can we get a smile?”

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Bye bye LA!

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We’ll be planning another sake tasting at Bar & Garden soon so see you in the fall!

SON OF A GUN
8370 W. 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90048
T: 323.782.9033

BAR & GARDEN
6142 Washington Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232
T: 310.876.0759

SILVERLAKE RAMEN
2927 W. Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
T: 323.660.8100

3 Comments

  • Posted July 11, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    Looks like you guys had an amazing trip. And such beautiful photos, Yoko!

  • yoko
    Posted July 11, 2013 at 7:45 pm

    Thanks for reading! Nikon DSLRs forever!!!

  • Kayoko
    Posted July 16, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    This trip was definitely much-needed. LA is always a breath of fresh, and polluted, air. Meeting all those people at the sake tasting was awesome!

    The shoyu ramen and gyoza at Silverlake Ramen was very good. A plate of gyoza sauce ended on my lap, but hey, been there, done that.

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