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Friday, October 14, 2022

get ya head in the (maru)game

instagram is always good for giving us ideas of places to go, things to see, and of course, delicious food to try. that's how we ended up heading out to little tokyo one day, on a quest to try some amazing-sounding udon at marugame monzo.  after looking at the map, i realized that it was pretty close to japanese village plaza and so that's where we parked.  we were about an hour early so we browsed through the shops there, starting with the sanrio store.

the bean was excited to go into the mokuyobi store, full of all kinds of colorful retro bags and clothing and accessories.

but not quite as excited as they were to pick out snacks at fugetsu-do, the mochi shop just down the street from the restaurant.  it's been there since 1903, and remains family-owned and operated.

i thought we'd killed enough time, but when we got to marugame monzo i realized that i'd looked at the wrong day for their hours and we had another half hour to hang out.  oops. although there were already a few others who had put their names on the list and were standing around waiting for them to open, so we added ours and didn't go far.  

there are markers on the ground in front of most of these establishments, noting what businesses used to be there and when they were in operation.  i always find it really interesting to read them and see how long the building has been in that same spot.

once the restaurant opened for business, we were seated pretty quickly.  the service was a little slow, but let me tell you - 100% worth the wait.  the miso carbonara udon was pretty much everything i hoped it would be - creamy, savory, chewy, amazing.

the old lady ordered the gratin udon - noodles covered in a chicken cream sauce topped with cheese and baked.  this was also delicious.

and for the bean, the beef udon with fluffy egg.  they were in seventh heaven with this bowl of goodness.

those plates were damn near licked clean.  and after all that rich food, we decided to head off on a walk - browsing through a few stores, doing some window shopping, and then we took a brief detour here:

because, of course, instagram told us to go and check this out.  

yelp had told us that there's a pretty little rooftop garden here that's worth a visit for a moment of peace and serenity in the middle of the city.  apparently it's meant for hotel guests and those attending a private event, so we just sashayed our happy asses in there and headed right to the elevators.  no one stopped us or even glanced our way, so we were good.  we pressed the "G" button - garden?  ground?  that doesn't make sense.  oh, whatever - and up we went.

while there was not a single soul anywhere around when we emerged, this sign was placed in front of the doors to the garden:

we went out there anyway.  such rebels.  and it was indeed pretty and peaceful up there, although we could see tables and chairs that were out there waiting to either be set up or taken down.  again, not a soul in sight.

afterwards, we headed into the shopping center just down the street and browsed around the japanese grocery store.  we have one close to home though, so we didn't go crazy with stocking up on snacks and things.

this was out in the courtyard on our way back to the car.

and then we made one last stop - i've followed milk + tea on instagram since we were on lockdown, even ordered boba kits from them once or twice.  but this was the first time we had a chance to visit their actual shop.  it was a great way to get a blast of caffeine before battling the traffic on the drive home.

i really want to go back for another bowl of that miso carbonara udon.  seriously, it's the stuff dreams are made of.  if you get the chance to visit, i HIGHLY recommend it.  

you're welcome.

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