Monday, May 6, 2013

Last Night in LA and an Epic Night of Eating

The title of this blog post pretty sums up our last night, with the exception of dancing into the wee-hours at the insanely gorgeous Zanzibar Nightclub in Santa Monica. After visiting the Griffith Observatory we drove down to Little Tokyo, to what we thought would be our last meal, but the draw of all the yummy goodness Little Tokyo and Koreatown had to offer made for an epic and delicious end to our vacation in Los Angeles. Initially we planned to dine at Malaysian inspired restaurant The Spice Table and end the night at Zanzibar, but as we were looking for parking in the Little-Tokyo area, where the restaurant was, we immediately spotted the much loved Japanese noodle and rice bowl house Daikokuya, which made us alter our dining plan for the night. First up was The Spice Table.

Spice Table

After the only Malaysian Restaurant in Portland closed we have been on the lookout for any restaurant that offers up Malaysian/Singaporian cuisine, and The Spice Table had everything we were hoping for. We reluctantly decided to share one drink, one appetizer and one entree since we were going to walk up the street to have ramen for dessert. 

Tiger Beer

We had already reviewed the menu online before arriving and was really hoping the two dishes we decided on would be hits and they totally were. We started with an order of the kaya toast ($8). A beautiful concoction of coconut jam, buttered toast, served with a poached egg, soy sauce and white pepper. We cracked the poached egg into the small bowl, mixed the soy sauce and white pepper together and dipped the sweet toast into the egg mixture. Pure heaven. This was so simple and so good.

Us at The Spice TableKaya Toast

We were tempted to try so many dishes such as the duck rice and the char kway teow (Malaysian style fried noodles), but we stuck to the plan and ordered the beef rendang ($16). A short rib curry, served with steamed rice, sambal, kaffir lime and peanuts. This dish was fantastic. What made it was the flash fried peanuts and anchovies. When the waitress asked us how was the dish, we beamed about the addition of the peanuts and anchovies and was told they serve them as snacks in the bar; forcing us to make the mental note to return for happy hour next time we were in town. The addition of coconut milk added the punch of sweetness to the light, yet rich beef curry. Truly wonderful.

Beef Randang

As we were looking for parking for The Spice Table we realized we were in the heart of Little Tokyo and immediately spotted Daikokuya, a ramen noodle/rice bowl house we were told served the best ramen in the city. The line out front made spotting the restaurant easy.

Daikoku Ramen HouseAnne in front of Ramen House

The traditional Japanese restaurant had a long counter butted up to the long narrow kitchen and was packed! We waited about 20 minutes before being seated at the end of the counter.


The menu was extensive, but interestingly there was only two kinds of ramen available, the Daikoku ramen ($8.95), a traditional brothy ramen and the tsukemen, a dry ramen with broth served on the side. We ordered the Daikoku Ramen with a tonkotsu (pork bone) soup base, tea and an Asahi beer to share.

Daikoku Ramen BowlDaikoku RamenDaikokuya Beverages

When the huge bowl of ramen showed up we weren't sure we would be able to finish it, but the absolutely delicious soup and lively atmosphere had us slurping up every last bit.

Mike eating ramen

As we walked back to the car we realized we had parked in front of the Little Tokyo Pinkberry. We thought this may be the only chance we have to try this frozen yogurt shop people seem to be completely ga-ga for, so we gave it a shot and shared a small bowl of their plain frozen yogurt. We are not ice cream fans, so we weren't expecting much, but wow was this Pinkberry stuff terrific. We were told Pinkberry was tart like yogurt and we eat yogurt daily, so we were curious. We were immediate converts! It was tart and super creamy deliciousness. We spent the later part of the next morning hoping to hit a Pinkberry before getting on the airplane and we succeeded! Thank you Long Beach!

Anne Enjoying Pinkberry

After the dancing the next few hours away at the terrific Zanzibar club, we specifically left at 1am in order to give us ample time to seek out a Koreatown back alley pub called Dwit Gol Mok or DGM (Korean for back alley). Located on Wilshire Boulevard, we were completely impressed by Koreatown. The sheer number of Korean owned businesses was terrific. Wilshire Boulevard is a mix of strip malls, medium sized office buildings, churches and various businesses. Armed with the address we knew it may take a second to find the back entrance. What we didn't expect was how amazingly cool this place was. We were most interested in checking out the scene really because there is absolutely nothing like this in Portland and wow, what a gem!

Situated in the courtyard of what looked like a standard office building, we found the entrance in the back and was so happy we made it! This place was awesome. Looking like an underground bar you would find in a demilitarized zone, we stepped down into the place and found makeshift rooms sprawled with graffiti, young hip Koreans tucked in corner tables, loud music and wonderful smelling food. Of course I started snappy photos immediately and was told - NO PHOTOS! The first and only time the whole trip.

DGM EntranceInside DGM

We were then seated and a bowl of popcorn, a tin kettle filled with water and a tin bowl with daikon soup was placed on the table. Yes, we are officially in love. Wooden boards already on the table sprawled with Korean writing was the menu. We were in absolute heaven.

DGM Menu Board

We had no idea what to order and the look of utter confusion must have prompted someone to give us an English menu, but that didn't help much at all. The descriptions were totally hilarious. So we relied on our prior research and ordered a plate of terrific Korean fried chicken ($16) and rabukkee, a Korean spicy rice dumpling and ramen noodle dish ($16). Both these dishes were ridiculously good and ridiculously huge. At this point we wished all our friends were with us to experience such an awesome place and help us with the food. And yes, I had to sneak in a few photos.

Korean Fried ChickenRabukkeeMike ready to eat

We had already fallen head over heels for Los Angeles with all the food we ate and the experiences we had, but this last night made thinking about returning home a difficult reality. These places, along with every place we visited, made us realize Los Angeles deserves the reputation it has for being the top city on the West Coast and possibly the only other US city we would consider living in. And with this meal be our last meal out, we were officially in love with Los Angeles.

The Spice Table
114 S. Central Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90012

Daikokuya Little Tokyo
327 E. 1st Street
Los Angeles, California 90012

Pinkberry - locations all over California

Dwit Gol Mok (DGM)
3275 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angelese, California 90010

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