Santouka Ramen in Mitsuwa Marketplace, Torrance

Miso Ramen at Santouka Ramen

Torrance, CA is home of a big Japanese population.  The city is located east of Redondo Beach, CA and Toyoya’s headquarter is located there.  Perhaps that explains the big Japanese population in Torrance.  Toyota announced its plan to move its headquarter from Torrance, CA to Texas, which is a more friendly venue to corporations.  3,000 jobs will move out of Torrance and when that happens, I don’t know what will happen to the big Japanese community and businesses here.  Not surprisingly, Torrance does have a lot of great Japanese restaurants.  I was particularly excited about Santouka Ramen moving into the food court area in Mitsuwa Marketplace.  Mitsuwa Marketplace is a big Japanese market, which is more than a grocery store.  In there, there are a lot of small Japanese businesses that attract customers at Mitsuwa.
My buddy John lives in Torrance.  He’s a Japanese guy and wanted to treat me… Read the rest

Redondo Pier and restaurants, Redondo Beach

Redondo Beach Pier

Redondo Beach is one of the beach cities in Southern California south of Manhattan Beach that is a perfect place for families to spend a peaceful weekend day together.  Redondo Pier is one of my favorite places to visit on weekends try some fresh seafood dining options, do some fishing or just for a peaceful walk around the pier.  The pier offers so many dining options including Quality Seafood (Seafood market restaurant), Redondo Beach Crab House (Korean seafood), Kincaid’s Bay House (Seafood & steakhouse), Tony’s On the Pier (Seafood), Naja’s Place (Burgers), Oriental Breeze (Sushi), Mini Chinese Food (self-explanatory), Kegs (American bar), Gambrinus(Russian Pub), Fun Fish Market & Restaurant (Cajun), The Shrimp Lover (Cajun) and more.  My favorite dining here is definitely Quality Seafood.  It’s a seafood market similar to a type you normally see at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco and they will cook for you.  Their seafood is… Read the rest

Walking down on Lombard Street, Russian Hill

Lombard Street

Lombard Street in Russian Hill north of downtown San Francisco is a famous tourist destination for its sharp windy roads that wiggles down the otherwise steep hill located between Hyde and Leavenworth Streets.  It’s also full of beautiful lush garden alongside the roads so that when you look at it from a distance, all you is the red colored roads and the greens.  This street was built in 1922 in order to reduce the danger and risks associated with driving down the steep 27% grade hill, which invited fast driving and accidents for pedestrians.  Well, the design worked.  Now it’s probably one of the slowest moving streets in the world.
That’s why I choose to park nearby and just walk down the hill.  I don’t have too much patience behind the wheel.  I did drive down the hill once and it was a nightmare.  I had to wait in this… Read the rest

Manhattan Beach beachfront

Manhattan Beach beachfront

When you imagine a perfectly fun beach town in Southern California with shops, restaurants, and everyone being active on the beach playing volleyball, bicycling, surfing, running and just having a great time, Manhattan Beach is a top contender.  Manhattan Beach is an affluent beach city north of Hermosa Beach and south of El Segundo.  Every August, the city hosts the Manhattan Beach Open Volleyball Tournament and the International Surf Festival.
Manhattan Beach offers a lot of fun dining options including The Izaka-ya by Katsu-ya, Fishbar Seafood Restaurant, Rock’N Fish Restaurant, Manhattan Beach Post, and the Strand House.  It’s a perfect place to bring a date for some fun dining and enjoying the ocean.  Street parking can be very difficult to find especially on weekends as lots of people visit this place and park near the downtown area.  If you do get lucky and find a parking spot or if you… Read the rest

Oscar’s Mexican Seafood

Oscar's Mexican Seafood

San Diego, California is known for fish tacos.  Fish tacos weren’t invented in San Diego as they originated in Ensenada after the deep fried fish was inspired by temporas, a Japanese deep fried dishes.  However, San Diego fish tacos add a touch of healthy ingredients and creamy sauce.  I stopped by at Oscar’s Mexican Seafood, a fish taco shack in San Diego and experienced true San Diego fish tacos.  The taco joint serves a variety of fish and seafood tacos.  The service is very casual with some outside seats against a wall of mural displaying the ocean and fish, which spell San Diego all over basically.  The place attracts a lot of young people and I hope I didn’t run into an overrated hipster joint but their tacos were actually really good.
I ordered three different tacos: a fish taco with deep fried white fish, a shrimp taco, and a… Read the rest

Fine dining and relaxation in downtown Napa

Downtown Napa

Downtown Napa faced a devastating earthquake in September 2014 and suffered millions of dollars in damages.  Buildings had extensive damages, wine bottles and barrels fell and cracked and to general tourism shortly after that.  Napa is fixing itself up in a rapid pace to once its glorious form that is a tourist destination to wine lovers and fine dining patrons.  Napa offers a great number of fine dining options including La Toque, Morimoto, Ristorante Allegria and Uva Trattoria Italiana and Étoile, Auberge du Soleil, The French Laundry, Redd, and Press in Yountville right up the street from Napa.  This town is not for kids, however, as many of great amenities serve adults with good tastes.
I happened to visit Napa a month before the earthquake for a relaxing afternoon.  A nice walk through downtown and along the river followed by some wine and dining.  If you’re in the Bay Area… Read the rest

View from Point Loma, San Diego

From Point Loma San Diego

San Diego’s north peninsula of San Diego Bay lies the most beautiful place called Point Loma, home of brave soldiers who gave their life for the United States.  This place wraps the head of Coronado Beach and its access is cut off from the other peninsula because the adjacent tips of is reserved for San Diego Naval Supply Center NIA with the US Navy a few miles below from it.  I can’t imagine this peaceful city being a center of navy actions if a war happens but the area is probably strategically the best location for sending out navy ships since the US being in the northern hemisphere, the southwestern tip of the continent would result in the most efficient traveling to a rondezvous anywhere in the world whether northern or southern hemisphere.  In addition with enough islands in Southern California designated as military zones, it makes a perfect headquarter.  … Read the rest

Seaport Village & Embarcadero Marina Park North, San Diego

Seaport Village & Embarcadero Marina Park North

I find San Diego to be a place of dream with a beautiful city, livelihood, a ton of entertainment, amazing weather, and a plenty of beaches and water activities.  It explains why it’s a pricey place to live but I don’t find it overrated.  It’s not overloaded with mirage and glamour of the 1%, but it’s actually a very livable place for most people.  I even recall all my colleagues who lived in San Diego for school talking about how it was just a great place to be with a dreamy blank stare thinking about their life in San Diego.
This popular tourist destination, which is also a place for locals to hang out on weekends says all about what a great life you can enjoy living in San Diego.  Peaceful but lively would be how I describe about this place, which sort of resonates with the rest of the… Read the rest

Tacos El Compita, Los Angeles

Tacos El Compita, Los Angeles

If you’re still thinking tacos are defined by Taco Bell and you live in LA, shame on you.  It’s time to get out of your comfort zone.  LA is a mecca for amazing and authentic tacos in the US.  Taco joints that have not made LA’s top 10 best tacos on our list still rock your taste buds like loco.  I was driving down the street and saw this little taco joint called Tacos El Compita.  I went in and ordered some al pastor and carne asada tacos for a quick snack.  Ok maybe it was for lunch since I had four tacos.  This place turned out to be another hidden taco gem in LA.
Located on Pico and near Crenshaw, Tacos El Compita is quickly gaining recognition as another great taco joint.  There is another location, which I have not been to near Fashion District in downtown LA next… Read the rest

Moby Dick Restaurant, Santa Barbara during a Non-stormy Season

Moby Dick Restaurant, Santa Barbara

This lovely seafood restaurant on Sterns Wharf in Santa Barbara has always been a go-to restaurant for me and my wife whenever we visit Santa Barbara beachfront areas or on our way up or down to LA on 101.  One evening I saw that this place got somewhat destroyed by a huge wave during a stormy season as shown in the video.  When I visited the place and took these pictures, apparently the water was not anywhere near the pier deck.  The storm must have been a nasty one and the wave that crashed into the window of the restaurant must have been at least 20 feet high.  What a thrill though to be eating by the window side when these giant waves come crashing down on the side of the building.
Contrary to what was seen in the video, this place is really peaceful.  The pier is really peaceful… Read the rest