Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Westside Evening

Last Saturday Larry and I decided to take a mini-field trip to the Sawtelle neighborhood of West Los Angeles. We've always called this area Sawtelle, between Olympic and Santa Monica Boulevards. A few years ago there was a community effort to call this area Little Osaka to differentiate it from downtown's Little Tokyo. The L.A. City Council decided that this area should be called Sawtelle Japantown.   Well, O.K. I can still call it by the shorter name of Sawtelle.
1947. Photo from L.A. Public Library Archives

This area has always been known for it's Japanese nurseries, Mom and Pop shops and restaurants. When I was a kid, we always went to certain restaurants on Sawtelle for Japanese dinners. I used to love to browse in the Japanese "department" stores. You could find everything from Tatami sandals to little dolls and beautiful dishware. Many of the old stores from the 1950s-1970s are gone, replaced by high-end boutiques, curios shops, bookstores, multi-use buildings and restaurants, but the street still retains its Asian identity. 
Crowds waiting in line to eat on Saturday night!

Sawtelle is a scene on Saturday nights, filled with college-age kids. It is just a few bus-stops away from UCLA. Parking can be a nightmare on Sawtelle and the surrounding streets, so we parked at the free, multi-level One Westside Shopping Center  on Sawtelle just south of Olympic Blvd. We walked up the street to one of our favorite ramen places in L.A., Tsujita L.A. Artisan Noodle Annex.  We had to wait about 30 minutes for a table, but it was pleasant sitting in their outside area watching the parade go by. 

The Kitchen at Tsujita Annex

The original Tsujita Restaurant (they also serve ramen, among other things) is across the street. We LOVE the thicker noodles at the Annex. The ramen broth is extremely rich though, so a small bowl is plenty. We each ordered a special drink. I had the green matcha iced tea and Larry ordered a peach drink. So colorful!
Ramen with Seasoned Soft-Boiled Egg, Char-Su, Cabbage and Thick Noodles

After our delicious dinner, we walked up and down Sawtelle, visiting both of the Giant Robot stores, some curio shops and book stores. We resisted going to Beard Papa for a cream puff!

CROCHET at Giant Robot!

Giant Unicorn Head/Mask at Black Market
We LOVED walking up and down this vibrant street in West Los Angeles, even though we were the oldest people on the boulevard! There are many more places to explore. We shall return!

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