Southern Food

Nope. There will be no talk about grits and fried catfish here. I’m talking about food I’ve found since we moved to the South Bay. Michelle and I are looking for a spot to call our local eating joint.

Although I’ve been here before, Ramen Yamadaya deserves another mention. This is easily is my top five ramen joints after just the one visit. The second time we went back, I decided to try some other things.

Curry and rice. Nothing to write home about. It’s barely even worth writing about here on my blog.

Their friend chicken is nicely done. It’s light and crispy.

Their pork chop did not have the same light texture as the chicken. This just felt heavy.

While their side dishes are hit or miss, the main attraction is always superb. Ramen is what they do best. I can’t wait to make a trip back here.

One of the first joints we checked out was Nelson’s at Terranea. We know people in the area are always stopping here for food and drinks. It’s a great location, right along the cliffside overlooking the ocean. Unfortunately the food and drinks are not cheap and mediocre as well.

This is their burger. It tastes like a cafeteria burger.

This is Michelle’s portobello mushroom sandwich. It’s a lot better than the burger, but it’s nothing special. Since it was Cinco de Mayo, she also ordered a margherita. It just tasted like nothing but mixer.

Nelson’s gets a big thumbs down from me. I won’t be coming back except to enjoy the view on a warm summer night.

Another place we checked out was Coco Ichibanya, a curry house in Torrance. I originally thought it was going to be just like the well known chain, Curry House. I was surprised by how many options they had for their curry dishes.

I decided to order the mushroom curry and went for a level 3 out of 10 for the spiciness. I was surprised about how much heat this dish had. Their menu notes that they won’t let you try level 6-10 unless you’ve eaten a whole plate of level 5 first. That’s probably a pretty good idea.

Since this was a first time for me at this restaurant, I decided to gorge myself and try another dish. I ordered the mini keema curry with naan. The naan was fluffy and light. It went well with the curry.

A newly opened joint, 1321 Downtown Taproom Bistro Restaurant, was my stop this weekend. I’ve been meaning to check this place out but with the move of my office, I’ve had zero time to do it. The place was busy when I showed up, always a good sign for a new restaurant. I took a seat at the bar to wait for my friends. The bar staff was very friendly. I was pleased with the wide selection of beers available, and for a double bonus the beers weren’t all priced at ten bucks a glass like some gastro pubs.

Meatball appetizer. Not sure what kind of meat they used. It seemed a bit spongy, almost the consistency of tofu. Other than the sauce, I was not into this dish.

Chicken and waffles, definitely not the traditional take on this dish. The waffle portion was a blue cornbread muffin, very donut-like. The chicken was perfectly fried and the crispness of the skin went well with the soft texture of the “waffles.” I did wish that the chicken would have been slightly saltier. It’s sweet with a hint of mustard in the taste, but coupled with the “waffle” portion of it, it was a bit too sweet.

Other dishes that we scarfed down but forgot to take pictures of include the Mod Burger, Turkey Burger, and Hot Link. Both burgers were solid. I opted for the turkey, because it said something about hot. I was in the mood for some heat. The heat on this burger was very minimal, but definitely enough to satisfy my craving. I normally don’t like sauerkraut, but the kraut they were serving with the hot link was not too sour, a great compliment to the wiener.

Last on our new discoveries of the South Bay was Inka Wasi, a casual Peruvian joint that is owned by the same guys as El Polla Inka. This storefront in the Peninsula Center in Rolling Hills Estates is aimed at people who want a quick bite or even something to take out. I figured we should try this since the local pho restaurant is across the plaza from this place and I’m sure I will have plenty of that in the future.

It’s pretty apparent this restaurant runs under the same group as El Pollo Inka with their chicken soup to start off the meal.

Michelle’s seafood dish. The noodles here were a bit overcooked, but overall the dish was pretty tasty.

Chicken Saltado. I remember this dish being very salty at El Pollo Inka, but it was good this time around.

Don’t mistake that compliment to mean that it stacks up to Mario’s in any way. Mario’s is the de facto standard to which I measure all Peruvian restaurants. Even the special green sauce here isn’t the same, probably not enough crack in it. I would come back to this place again, but mostly because I want something other than pho.

There you have it. We have exhausted all the restaurants in the South Bay. Kidding. While it doesn’t have the smorgasbord of choices that Los Angeles area has, I’m sure we will discover some more treats. If you have any recommendations, please share.