Foodstory : Okonomiyaki 101

By Tsz on October 24, 2012

Gastrophoria is a scaldingly hot Okonomiyaki fresh from the stove at Foodstory.

I haven’t had many run-ins with this specialty pancake from Osaka due to geography and a lack of knowledge. The only Okonomiyaki I’ve had was a sad, frumpy, specimen bloated with too much flour from a stand in New York years back. Since then, I’ve steered clear of Okonomiyakis.

Fortunately, Yoko Isassi from Foodstory changed my perception. Housed in the historical Rowan building at the Financial District in downtown, Yoko teaches hands-on cooking classes on Japanese cuisine—from ramen making to sweets and everything in between.

The class I attended was on Okonomiyaki, an Osaka favorite that literally means “as you like.” Under Yoko’s tutelage, we got to transform the lowly cabbage into a decadent pancake, much like how the fairy godmother got Cinderella ball-ready.

Each attendee was equipped with cooking utensils and tasks so the class collaborates on creating the dish together. From chopping the cabbage, deveining the shrimp, mixing the batter to frying each cabbage cake, everyone got to create their portion the way they preferred—all under the calm guidance of Yoko. Being a fan of pork, I loaded mine up with pork belly… also shrimp, mochi and cheese—I couldn’t help myself!

After a much-too-long wait pan frying the Okonomiyaki, we lacquered on our pancakes with a sweet and savory sauce, Kewpie mayo, seaweed and bonito flakes that seems to dance along with the steam.

The best part of the class was the eating portion. Paired with a simple but flavorful miso soup with garden vegetables and an homemade orange jello with castella cake, it was a satisfying meal. Thank you Yoko for showing me the light!

Food Story
460 S. Spring street, Suite 609
Los Angeles, CA 90013 


Fat Spoon : Tasty Campfire Memories

By Tsz on October 10, 2012

Gastrophoria is a baked sweet potato at Fat Spoon.

It may not be the most photogenic dessert with its misshapen and charred exterior, but one bite has the ability to transport you headfirst to your most beloved campfire memory. It’s a twice baked sweet potato, with its innards mixed with rich cream and butter and roasted till they’re all caramelized—much like a s’more. Except a simple s’more can never compare as this has a bonus addition of vanilla ice cream and bittersweet caramel (cue body-roll)! The hot-and-cold sensation of the baked potato with the ice cream is just divine.

Oh, if you’re hungry for more than just dessert, their creamy, molten crab croquettes are not to be missed. Especially when smother in house-made curry sauce. This is no diet food to be sure, but you can lessen the guilt with a side of nutty brown rice.

One dish that should come with a cautionary note is the black squid ink pasta with clams. Warning—your teeth and mouth will be dyed black. Make sure your dining companion has a sense of humor before ordering.

Fat Spoon
329 East First Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 621–7890


Iota : Coffee Tasting in Ktown

By Tsz on October 1, 2012

Gastrophoria is a faultless mug of latte from Iota. 

Normally, I would defer to the Italians or the French for my cup of joe, being as it’s ingrained in their culture. Case in point—they have roasts named after them! Korean coffee? No so much. However, I was pleasantly blown away by Iota during their recent coffee demonstration.

Seated in their back patio that featured a 90s styled manga mural, we learned about the care that goes into a cup of coffee. It starts out with the beans, which are sourced based on the desired flavor profile and roasted daily in small batches. 

Extraction is next. For those who like it unadorned—there’s the drip and Kyoto method. For gadget (or steampunk) lovers, lighted siphons are in abundance. It’s a treat for the eyes to see it in action and the resulting brew is surprisingly delicate—almost tea like.

However, my favorite is a good old fashion mug of latte. Creamy and smooth, it reminds me of hot chocolate but updated for adults. Even better when paired with a slice of their housemade crepe cake (16 layers—I counted) and Psy’s Gangnam Style playing in the background. Only in Ktown!

Maybe we’ll see a Korean Roast soon.

Iota Coffee & Bakery
528 S Western Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90020
Phone: (213) 568–3700