124 Japanese Village Plaza Mall
Los Angeles, CA 90012
We started out our journey to Lake Havasu City, Arizona by running an errand in Little Tokyo. Our road trips are always characterized by junk food, candy, In n' Out or Chik Fil A, and being this close to all things Japanese inspired me to look elsewhere for food prior to hitting the road. I strolled through the village and straight into the deli at Nijiya Market in the Japanese Village Plaza Mall. Road trip front seat picnic, Japanese style!
As I walked through the market with a basket, I grabbed anything that looked appealing. Prices are low and I was staring down the barrel of a 5 hour drive through the desert. Naturally, I picked up some Diet Coke.
Wasabi roasted peas are de rigeur when shopping Japan style.
And I never met an onigiri I didn't like. I picked a couple of these up in salmon and a couple made with tuna.
Unwrapping the nori and rewrapping while riding up a freeway on-ramp is a little like folding origami in an earthquake. Both the tuna and salmon gave just a slight nod to some cooked protein inside, but the rice was decent quality and very tasty.
I was thrilled with my main course for lunch. Beef donburi. The entire dish was less than 4 bones. The meat was light and fluffy, mixed with sauteed yellow onions and fresh green onions over more lovely rice slightly saturated with sweet and salty sauce from the beef. The flavors in this were very pleasing.
Just to entertain myself, I grabbed a dish of fried calamari with lemon wedges. This was very lightly fried, hardly crispy and the squid itself was not too chewy. Being one who loves the tentacles, I was not put off by the lack of rings. With a juicy squeeze of lemon this was perfect picnic food. A happy replacement for fried chicken. DH wanted cocktail sauce. Maybe I should keep a bottle in my handbag.
D was thrilled with the macaroni salad. Pasta was cooked al dente and the flavors were very light despite the thick looking creamy texture. I am not a huge fan of macaroni salads in general, but what summer picnic is complete without it (or potato salad, natch).
D's main course was a tempura don. Shrimps, eggplant, green peas, asparagus and one slice of squash tempura'd and served with teriyaki sauce over a generous portion of rice. He nommed.
He has a sweet tooth as big as the sun, so I picked up Botan Rice Candy for dessert. Dessert in the desert, no less.
Pit stop in Ludlow afforded me a Starbucks Double Shot Light Espresso and Cream. I could taste the aspartame, sadly. But it was cold and sweet.
Diet Coke Zero tastes so much like a real Coke that D has to be in the mood for something sugary for him to enjoy.
My driver has also taken to knocking back 5-Hour Energy drinks during long road trips. These are mostly vitamin B, and he claims they do give him a boost.
Ludlow has a Dairy Queen, and it was about 110 outside. After getting gas he deserved an ice cream. Tell me that doesn't look tempting. I dare you.