Foodie Adventures #1: Wildcraft, Open Sesame, and More

As you can tell from the title, this will be different from my other posts. “GASP but Michelle I thought this was a beauty blog.” Yes and no. I will still post up beauty product reviews and hauls but not as often as before cuz your gal is broke lol. Also the beauty products are currently piling up and it’s like Mt. Everest in my closet. It’ll take me at least a year to review everything so look forward to that. But anyways, I always wanted to start a blog about my food adventures because I’m a foodie at heart. I love exploring new places and trying out new food. Originally, I was going to make a separate food blog called Hangry Cat but unfortunately, my IG account of the same name is locked. I forgot my password and the email that I registered with doesn’t exist anymore LOL whoops. So I decided to start a new series where I record my foodie adventures biweekly. I’m actually super excited to start this series because I friggin love food. Like no joke, I always think about what I’m going to eat next even though I’m eating. So I hope you guys will give some love to this series! Thank you!

Just a little disclaimer before I start: I am in no way sponsored and all the reviews will be from my honest personal experience. I’m not a great photographer so no worries, no restaurant will approach me to review their food LOOOL. All of my reviews will always be in no particular order. I’m not going to do full review such as parking, restaurant interior, etc because it will only make the blog post super long. You can read my full reviews in Yelp LOL. I’ll be diving into the good stuff which is the food. All righty~ let’s get started!

WAWA DONKATSU | Garden Grove, CA

WAWA Donkatsu is a new Japanese/Korean restaurant that recently opened in Garden Grove. They are located in the Arirang Korean Supermarket plaza and I believe they are still in their soft opening. I found the place while doing my favorite hobby which is browsing through Yelp and what caught my attention was their Donpas (a word mash of Donkatsu + Pasta… I think). Donkatsu and pasta are two of my favorite foods and smash them together, it’s Heaven. So I decided to check the place out.

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Of course, I ordered the Donpas LOL. For side dishes, they give you kimchi and soy sauce marinated onion. Water is self serve. I didn’t have to wait long for my food. Took them about 15 minutes. The Donpas is definitely a heavy dish so get ready for that food coma. It comes with the standard pasta salad and shredded cabbage with thousand island sauce. For the pasta, they used linguine but unfortunately, it was a little undercooked so some parts of it was hard. Wish they used spaghetti instead since it would be cooked more evenly. The white was okay, it had a semi thick consistency.

The donkatsu was delicious. The meat was thick and the panko breading was crispy and crunchy. Their donkatsu sauce tasted very unique compared to the ones I’m used to. I’m not sure but it kind of tasted like there was some kind of wine in the sauce. Regardless, it was unique and delicious. Honestly, I wouldn’t get their Donpas again since their pasta didn’t impress me but if I’m ever in the area, I would order the original donkatsu instead of the fancy one like the Donpas. Their donkatsu quality is pretty solid.

MARUGAME UDON | Sawtelle, CA

Whenever I visit Little Tokyo, I see a huge line in front of the Marugame Udon Marugame Monzo store. (Okay, I thought it was Marugame Udon but apparently, I got it mixed up with Marugame Monzo… I only went here thinking it was the same store as the Little Tokyo one LOOOL fail). Okay, now that I know, let’s continue on with the review HAHAHA.

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I’m not really a fan of udon because most of the time when I get udon, it just tasted like water. There was no flavor at all and it was just really bland. But due to my stupid mistake thinking this place was Marugame Monzo, I went and decided to order the curry udon. I wasn’t expecting much thinking it would be the same experience I had with previous udons but surprisingly, it was good. The curry wasn’t too salty but it had the right amount of salt that enhanced the spice from the curry. The soup wasn’t thick but more on the runnier side and the udon noodles had a nice chew to them. I also got the regular shrimp and squid tempuras and a panko crusted shrimp. Except for the panko shrimp, the other two was subpar. The batter was not as crispy and it was soggy in some places. The squid wasn’t that chewy the way I would like it. Usually a great shrimp tempura would have a little bounce when you bite into it but with this one, my teeth just sunk in. Even though the curry udon was great, I wouldn’t come back here again now that I know this isn’t Marugame Monzo. I’ll just have to brace the line in Little Tokyo.

WILDCRAFT | Culver City, CA

I don’t really like eating in Culver City because honestly, the restaurants suck here. There’s not a lot of restaurants that stand out and from what I heard and noticed, the food scene in Culver City is dying. BUT if you look hard enough, there are still hidden gems in this restaurant cemetery and Wildcraft is one of them. I’m not really a pizza person. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy eating pizzas but I don’t crave them like I crave Pita Hot (which I will review later on). But I went here as a company outing and the restaurant is known for their pizza. And you know what they say, order the things that they are known for. Okay, it’s not actually a saying but more like common sense LOL.

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Since it was a company outing and I didn’t have to pay for the food, I got the most expensive pizza on the menu hehe. I ordered the Carnage which has pepperoni, pancetta, spicy sausage, provolone, smoked mozzarella, and pork belly. It’s a pizza that would make vegans faint LOL. And let me tell you, OH MY GOODNESS it was so damn good. I was debating if I should get Carnage or Carbonara but what turned me off was the soft egg. I don’t really like eggs because of the texture and it just gives me huge amount of gas lol.

The pizza was definitely on the saltier side so I had to drink a lot of water but flavors of the meats just exploded in my mouth. The pork belly was chewy and made the pizza more interesting to eat. The dough wasn’t too flat and it wasn’t too burnt either like some stone oven pizzas. I still dream of sinking my teeth into that pizza *cue drool*. I would drop $21 for this pizza. I think it’s worth it hundred times. It’s really the best pizza I ever had in my life. So if you’re a meat lover like me, get this because you won’t regret it.

OPEN SESAME | Long Beach, CA

Open Sesame was on my Yelp list for more than 7 years now. 7 years ago, I went kayaking with my church small group and we were originally going to eat at Open Sesame. Unfortunately, the line was super long so we went down the street to eat at Magic Lamp Lebanese Mediterranean Grill. I think I ordered the beef shawarma plate but personally, I didn’t like it. It was bland and I was spoiled from Pita Hot. So finally a day came when I had the chance to go to Open Sesame. I could finally cross it off on my Yelp list that contains more than 1,500 restaurants to try.

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I ordered the beef shawarma plate and sadly… it was bland also. Okay, I just think I have a really strong tastebud or I just need to stop eating really salty food. The prime top round beef was chewy and tender but it didn’t impress me. I didn’t like the wild pickle cucumber either because I’m not really a fan of cucumber. It’s sour but in a nasty way. The rice, salad, and the hummus was just okay. I mean honestly, I didn’t have high expectations because ever since eating at Pita Hot, all the other Mediterranean food tastes bland to me now. But I’m glad that I gave this place a try and now it’s crossed off on my Yelp list.

AZABU SABO | Culver City, CA

Whenever I go to malls, I tend to avoid the food court area. It’s always packed with chain restaurants like Sbarro, Panda Express, etc. It’s really rare for a mall to have a really great restaurant unless the mall is renovated to keep up with current times. A great example is Westfield Century City. They have Shake Shack, The Crack Shack, Eataly, and many more great restaurants to eat at. Well, Westfield Culver City is the opposite. The food court is filled with restaurants that have 3.5 stars or less on Yelp. But I noticed a small restaurant/cafe called Azabu Sabo that was squeezed in between the candy store and a shoe store. It was a Japanese restaurant that offered matcha ice cream and simple Japanese food. I wasn’t interested in the food portion but what caught my eye was their matcha ice cream. You guys know I love my matcha so this place was on my to go list. But I wasn’t able to find the right opportunity to check the place out so I always walked past it until this past week, I decided to finally eat there.

As you can tell from my photos, I went there twice. When I first came here, I wasn’t expecting much for the food. Their food offerings were really simple and basic like Japanese ramen and bento set. But I decided to give it a go and ordered the grilled beef with butter and wasabi. They offered three different kind of rice and I decided to go with the plum rice since I never had it before. When my food came out, I was confused. I saw french fries and Japanese restaurants don’t normally give you french fries. But hey, I’m not complaining because I’m a huge french fries fan so I was delighted to receive some LOL. My food set also came with a small miso soup and side dishes but honestly, they were too small. I wish they gave me some more but maybe I’m just being greedy. The plum rice was huge, it looked like it was 2 cups of rice.

The beef was tender and a little salty with the butter mixed in. There was also broccoli, cherry tomatoes, and roasted sweet potatoes with the beef dish. The plum rice had a nice pink color and the rice was fluffy but it was on the sour side. The miso soup had a salty flavor but it’s better than tasting like water. After I finished my lunch, I ordered their most popular dessert on the menu, matcha ice cream with warabi mochi. It came with one scoop of matcha ice cream, some brown warabi mochi, white circle mochi, and underneath everything was vanilla soft serve ice cream. Honestly, their matcha ice cream is weak and I didn’t like the texture of the warabi mochi. It’s more of a jelly consistency compared to a chewy mochi. The dessert was disappointing so when I went the second time, I just passed on ordering desserts. I honestly think this place is a hidden gem in the Westfield Culver City mall. In a place infested with subpar restaurants, Azabu Sabo shines through.

 

 

 

 

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