Osawa Shabu Shabu + Sushi – Pasadena

OSAWA Shabu Shabu - Pasadena

Osawa Shabu Shabu + Sushi

Osawa Shabu Shabu + Sushi is one of those places I used to walk by frequently, as I used to play trivia at Slater’s 50/50, their neighbors on the corner of Union and Raymond Avenue in Old Town Pasadena. For whatever reason or another, however, be it time, money or forgetfulness, I’ve never managed to go in. I’ve dined on shabu shabu a handful of times in the past, but found I’ve preferred Chinese Hot Pot to its austere, albeit delicious, Japanese cousin. However, Osawa Shabu Shabu offers more than this upscale hot pot, including other traditional Japanese cuisine, flavors and components using preeminent ingredients and techniques.

Owner Sayuri Tachibe employs Omotenashi, the Japanese art of hospitality, where customers are honored guests and eating at Osawa Shabu Shabu + Sushi becomes more than just a meal, but an an elevated experience in traditional Japanese dining.

Last week I was invited to sample the dinner menu at Osawa Shabu Shabu and I took my friend and fellow food fiend, Evan, who would be having his first experience with shabu shabu.

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Fickle – Downtown L.A. (Vlog)

My friend and fellow food adventurer, Evan, had prompted me to suss out some new places for us to try. We like to keep it fairly local, and without too much trouble, I narrowed it down toThe Boiling Crab and Fickle. I put it to Evan, and The Boiling Crab won out for its proximity to our area. We fell in love with TBC, but that is another story for another day. Fickle had been weighing on his mind, and we wound up giving it a go once our schedules aligned. Though I’m wearing exactly zero make-up, my hair was cute and the lighting was amazing so I felt the inspiration to film another Tastemade episode. Enjoy!

Here are a couple of snaps I posted on Instagram:

Buffalo Cauliflower

The buffalo cauliflower is an item on their special happy hour menu only. On the weekends and after 7pm weekdays, it’s unavailable. It’s made with “tapatio buffalo sauce”, which Evan enjoyed but I thought tasted more like Tapatio rather than a buttery buffalo sauce (like Frank’s or Duff’s). It’s still good, especially with those generous blue cheese crumbles. Mmmmm!

Roasted Bone Marrow
Ginger Soy Lacquer | Citrus Basil Gremolata | Pickled Daikon Salad

My favorite bite of the night, hands down. Though anyone who knows me well enough is not surprised in the least, because I have been writing sonnets about my love for sucking the literal marrow out of life for quite possibly forever and a day. The gremolata added a layer of flavor and texture I never knew I was missing before, but now need to incorporate the next time I decide to roast some bone marrow at home. The daikon salad was refreshing and just the juxtapose to round out the dish.

Bacon Wrapped Quail
Mushroom Risotto Filling | Spinach | Pine Nuts | Cranberry Demi Jus

Evan and I zeroed in on that quail as soon as our eyes fell on the mains portion of the menu. Quail is not something I’ve attempted to cook yet, but not for lack of interest on my part, just a touch of nervousness I have when dealing with poultry. Also, I don’t really remember that I want to work with it until I am wandering the butchery at Bristol Farms, but then I have no idea what to do with it and you know what? Stop hounding me. I’ll get to it eventually; for now let me enjoy the occasional quail dish. Yeesh. This dish had everything going for it: a bed of greens, my favorite nut in the nuthouse, a savory delicious sauce to sop up the meat and spinach with and stunning risotto. My one quibble? The bacon was a touch salty for my palate. Otherwise, a damn tasty dish.

Though Fickle didn’t completely blow our minds, Evan and I were overall impressed and know we have another spot to check out when the seasons (and therefore the menu) changes. Best of all, Fickle is located just one short block away from the Metro Gold Line!

362 East 1st Street
Los Angeles CA 90012
Tel: 213.628.1888
Happy Hour: Monday-Friday, 5p-7p

Dining With: Tastemade Party

Last Thursday evening the Doubletree Hotel in Little Tokyo (Downtown Los Angeles) played host to soiree thrown by Tastemade, my go-to app for one-minute video reviews of my favorite places to dine at. I almost didn’t make it, as I was bone tired from a full morning and sweltering early afternoon at the Los Angeles Zoo (for my Beastly Ball media sneak peek!)

Here are some close ups of my favorite dishes:

Crab, Scallop & Shrimp Ceviche by Ayara Thai

Orecchiette with Truffle Sauce & Peas by Artisan House L.A.

Wachoes by The Lobos Truck

Bold Ramen by Tatsu Ramen

Pork with cabbage, rhubarb puree & crispy Brussels sprouts by Local Table

Thanks again for the fabulous evening, Tastemade! So happy to be part of this great and ever-growing community. Now I have all of these delicious restaurants to add to my “To Eat” list!

Sneak Peek: 44th Annual Beastly Ball at the Los Angeles Zoo

LA Zoo Beastly Ball 2014 Media Preview
Carolyn Hennessy speaks at the Beastly Ball media preview

You are cordially invited to channel your inner wild thing and come out in full L.A. primal, animalistic glory for the 44th Annual Beastly Ball!

WHAT: 44th Annual Beastly Ball – Guests are invited to dress in casual or safari attire, stroll through the Zoo after hours observing its inhabitants, watching animal feedings, chatting with keepers, viewing small animals up close, enjoying entertainment by Central and South American music groups, dancing, and dining on bountiful fare provided by some of L.A.’s most popular restaurants. Also featured are silent and live auctions comprised of hundreds of remarkable items and one-of-a-kind opportunities, with comedian Jimmy Pardo serving as MC and auctioneer.

WHEN: Saturday, June 14th 2014 6:00pm

WHERE: Los Angeles Zoo – 5333 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles 90027

WHO: Presented by the private, non-profit Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA). Over five decades, GLAZA has funded exhibits, plant and animal species conservation, capital projects, and education and community outreach programs at the Los Angeles Zoo, an international leader in the preservation of endangered species and a conservation center for the care and study of wildlife.

HONOREES: Heather Mycoskie (TOMS Shoes) in recognition for the “TOMS Animal Initiative”, which partners non-profit animal conservation organizations to drive awareness and funding for global animal protection. Entertainment attorney Ken Ziffren will be awarded the Tom Mankiewicz Leadership Award,which honors entertainment industry professionals in recognition of outstanding leadership in local or global wildlife and environmental conservation or for the efforts to promote civic pride and harmony in our multi-culture community. ALSO present will be the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature).

PARTICIPATING RESTAURANTS: Sam’s by the Beach, Canelé, Celestino Ristorante, El Cholo L.A., El Coyote Mexican Café, The Federal Bar, Maison Akira, Hard Rock Cafe, Georgetown Cupcakes LA, Jersey Mike’s, Maison Akira, Pink’s Hot Dogs, Taix French Restaurant, Villa Sorriso and Yummy Cupcakes.

TICKETS: $1,000 per person – individual and corporate sponsorship opportunities at higher levels are also available.

FOR MORE INFO: (323) 644-4753 | www.lazoo.org

SNEAK PEEK: Here is a sneak peek at some of the delicious food to be served next Saturday:

LA Zoo Beastly Ball 2014 Media Preview
Macaroni & Cheese “Otter Pops” – The Federal Bar

LA Zoo Beastly Ball 2014 Media Preview
Homemade Duck Pate on cristillion toast – Maison Akira

LA Zoo Beastly Ball 2014 Media Preview
Cupcake Truffles – Yummy Cupcakes

LA Zoo Beastly Ball 2014 Media Preview
Crab & Cream Cheese “Snake Heads” – El Cholo

LA Zoo Beastly Ball 2014 Media Preview
Ravioli alla Quattro Stagione con Mascarpone saliva – Celestino Ristorante

LA Zoo Beastly Ball 2014 Media Preview
Oero Cheesecake – Hard Rock Cafe

You’ll have to wait for the Beastly Ball to see more! See you there!

Street Food Cinema Schedule + GIVEAWAY

Street Food Cinema

I will never want for entertainment in the city of Angels, especially during the summer when the season of outdoor summer movie screenings are in full bloom. One such an event is STREET FOOD CINEMA, combining film, music and food under the southern California sky every weekend from now through September. Check out the full schedule and details for my GIVEAWAY for a pair of VIP tickets!

Exposition Park: (700 Exposition Park Dr. Los Angeles, CA 90037)

June 7th: ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW – with live shadow cast Sins O’ the Flesh
July 19th PRETTY IN PINK/WEIRD SCIENCE “80s Double Feature!”
September 13th GARDEN STATE
September 20th ALIENS
September 27th BEETLEJUICE

Glendale Central Park: (201 E Colorado St Glendale, CA 91205)

July 5th ET
August 2nd GOONIES
August 23rd CLUELESS

Additional Dates:/Screenings:
June 14th PULP FICTION Pomona Fairplex (NO Dogs permitted!)
June 14th BRING IT ON Culver City
June 21st MEAN GIRLS Pasadena/Rose Bowl Adjacent
June 28th PITCH PERFECT West Hollywood/Poinsettia Park
July 19th LABYRINTH Pasadena/Rose Bowl Adjacent
August 30th CASABLANCA Pasadena/Rose Bowl Adjacent

Pomona: 1101 W McKinley Ave, Pomona, CA 91768

Culver City: Veterans Memorial Park, 4117 Overland Ave, Culver City, CA 90230

Pasadena/Rose Bowl Adjacent: Brookside Park Rose Bowl Dr., Pasadena, CA 91103

West Hollywood: Poinsettia Recreation Center 7341 Willoughby Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90046

Ticket fees include access to food trucks, “The Market,” entertainment, park amenities and movie.
• General Admission – $12
• Reserved Seating – $17 (Reserved Tickets allow you to arrive at any time and have a guaranteed space in the front.)
• Children 6-12 – $6
• Children 5 and under free
• Group rates are available at info@tilpr.com


  • Outside food and beverage are permitted (please see www.streetfoodcinema.com for details)
  • Live bands (up-and-coming music artists) perform before each screening. 
  • Special giveaways and audience participation movie-themed competitions each night prior to screening.
  • “Fido Friendly, Fido Approved.” Dogs are permitted – except where noted! Bring your pooch and check out the hydration and potty area!
  • No picnic tables; bring your own blanket.
  • Due to popular demand blankets will be sold while supplies last and a limited number of lawn chairs will be available for rent at each screening. All first come, first serve.
  • Street Food Cinema guarantees ALL screenings are “always on the grass” to help people transition from a picnic and concert in the park to a comfortable movie-going experience.
  • Movies are presented with cinema quality sound and projection on a large screen with an image more than 40 feet wide by 22 feet high!


    This weekend is obviously out, but enter to win 2 VIP (Reserved Seating) tickets to ANY single screening of your choice.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Shiki – Beverly Hills

    SHIKI - Beverly Hills

    Shiki Beverly Hills

    Last month, I was invited to the premiere of what promises to be one of the optimum sushi restaurants in all of Los Angeles.

    Located in the space formerly occupied by Enoteca Drago, Shiki Beverly Hills, prepares authentic Washoku cuisine using time-honored, traditional Japanese cooking methods and techniques, bringing out the natural essence of the freshest, wildest, most seasonal flavors sourced locally and from Japan. Washoku respects the natural beauty of the changing seasons by highlighting seasonable wild ingredients. At the helm of Shiki is Tokyo educated Chef Shigenori Fujimoto, previously of Matsuhisa and two Michelin Star Asanebo.

    I cannot even begin to explain what an utter joy attending the Shiki premiere night was. It goes without saying that the food is incomparable; I cannot even properly “review” it because everything, from the sake to the fresh ginger to every little sushi piece was utterly perfection. Shiki is the kind of place one patronizes when one yearns for a luxurious, authentic Japanese dining experience.

    Enough waxing poetic, though, and on with the fishes!

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    Visiting Bhanu’s Indian Grocery & Cuisine

    There are moments when I toy with the idea of moving away from Los Angeles, but when I stumble on San Gabriel Valley gems like Bhanu’s Indian Grocery & Cuisine I have second thoughts. My friend Nani and I are obsessed with Indian cuisine, and during a house-sitting excursion earlier this month, I made my first go of butter chicken:

    Butter Chicken (Makhani)
    Not too shabby, eh?

    However, my kitchen lacked a few key ingredients, namely fenugreek leaves/seeds. I MacGuyver’ed the situation and the dish came out nicely (it’s that vivid color due to all of the fire red peppers I utilized at Nani’s request for heat) but I’ll want to tackle it again in the near future. Properly. I’d known about Bhanu’s for a number of years, seeing as I pass it on the regular, and even popped my head in just to check it out within the last five years. However, until my pal Melissa said with the fervor of a fellow Indian cuisine lover, “GO! GO!” I’d no pressing urgency to visit.

    As I was in need of both Indian staples and some much needed fuel, I finally decided to have a mini adventure – Nani, being the Chicken Makhani bon vivant she is, joined me to sample Bhanu’s fare. Here is the video I took using my Tastemade app:

    Here is a closer look at our meals:

    Non-Vegetarian Thali

    Butter Chicken Entree

    I also ordered butter chicken with my thali, but Nani went straight up for the full entree. The chicken makhani is incomparable by all others I’ve tasted in California, as with the butter dripping garlic naan and garbanzo beans. I normally never eat chickpeas, but I gobbled those right up and saved the yoghurt and lentils for my mother. The vegetarian samosas (not pictured, but filmed) were nice, but my instinct tells me they’re third party frozen kind.

    For its size, the grocery area of Bhanu manages to have a substantial range of the basics – from condiments, to spices, tea, candy, produce, frozen foods and bath & beauty products.

    My one quibble was our server, whose familiarity was unsettling; asking us where we lived and even sitting himself down at our table expectantly. Sad to say, but I’d only return to eat if I’m with a group of people or ordering take away. Otherwise, everyone else was great and the food was outstanding – definitely one of the very few Indian cuisines in Los Angeles I would recommend.

    Bhanu’s Indian Grocery & Cuisine
    7246 Rosemead Blvd
    San Gabriel CA, 91775

    Bhanu on Instagram
    Bhanu Indian Grocery and Cuisine on Urbanspoon