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Sep 18, 2006 11:48 PM

If you were driving south on the 405 from LA to John Wayne Airport...

Where would you get off the freeway and eat?

I'm looking for a casual lunch place not too far off the freeway, but driving from Century City all the way to Irvine (MacArthur exit).

Westminster for an exceptional bahn mi?

Torrance for a great lunch special on sushi?

I don't go south much; help me make the most of this errand!

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  1. Torrance, for shio ramen at Santouka in Mitsuwa Marketplace.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Das Ubergeek

      I'll second, third, and fourth that. GREAT.

      1. re: Das Ubergeek

        There is also a Mitsuwa Marketplace in Costa Mesa, and it also has a Santouka in it. The one in Costa Mesa is fairly close to the freeway offramp, within 1/2 mile.

        1. re: Das Ubergeek

          If you pay attention to such things, beware that most of the places in the food court in Mitsuwa Torrance are rated "C". I was there last Friday and was surprised to see that. It didn't stop my lunch plans, but thought I'd mention it, since some hounds take that into consideration.

          1. re: CynD

            C restaurants, along with alcohol and the occasional tobacco product, are things I'm unwilling to give up until if and when I intend to have a child. :) Thanks for all the suggestions, everyone!

        2. You got it...Westminster, Lee's Sandwiches--1 block from the 405 Freeway. Exit Beach Blvd. and head north and make a right on McFadden and a quick left into the drive way and you're at Lee'Sandwiches.

          1. Carne asada burrito at Albertos. Exit Brookhurst and go inland about two blocks. It'll be on your left hand side. Look for the red and yellow sign.

            Another mile or two insland, make a left on Bolsa and hit up Thanh Mi(it'll be on the right hand side two lights up in the big center). Good, solid vietnamese food.

            2 Replies
            1. re: MEalcentric

              You mean Alertos right? I would get the fish burrito there.

              Also: Memphis in Costa Mesa.

              1. re: Xericx

                Fish burrito for a lighter meal, carne asada burrito if you're hungry, and 1/2 order carne asada nachos if you're starving.

                In the same parking lot as the second Alertos (yes there are two on Brookhurst) on Brookhurts and McFadden, is Banh Mi Che Cali -- one of the best banh mis in Westminster...and one of the cheapest too!


                BANH MI CHE CALI:

            2. Shin Sen Gumi for hakata ramen. Exit Brookhurst South in Fountain Valley. Go about 3/4 mile and turn right into the lot where Rite Aid is located. SSG is in standalone building next to Corner Bakery. Lunch is served from 11am-2pm. I get the combo set with either spam musubi or the mini gyoza.

              6 Replies
              1. re: Professor Salt

                Yum! What is hakata ramen? I (shamefully) only know the basics: shio, miso, shoyu.

                1. re: Pei

                  The island of Kyushu is known for its ramen served in a milky white pork bone broth generally called tonkotsu (pork bone) soup. This broth is typically flavored with soy based seasoning. Some places use salt or miso, but it's the broth that defines Kyushu, or tonkotsu ramen.

                  Hakata is an ancient port city where the ramen noodles are specifically of a thin, stiff type, and the combination of tonkotsu soup & thin noodle is its namesake. At SSG, you can specify how firm the noodle's cooked, the amount of pork fat, and the strength of the shoyu based flavoring.

                  Some photos and blah blah blah on my blog:

                  Then you can hit Das Ubergeek's suggestion of Santouka for dinner, for compare & contrast and subsequent blog treatment!

                2. re: Professor Salt

                  Oh! That is my choice too!!! Although there is also one in Torrance! :)

                  It's great because the broth is SO flavorful and you have a choice of EVERYTHING... How hot it is, how the noodles are done, what EXACTLY goes into the Ramen. Because of the options it can get a little 'pricy' for Ramen, but it's SO good, the only one better that I've had is at Dakonkuya. But that is just Crack... in ramen form...


                  1. re: Dommy

                    Oh, but how to choose from all the choices? I am bad with variables...what do people like best (or should I start a Shin Sen Gumi post?)

                    1. re: Pei

                      Get the A lunch set, with gyoza. For first timers: order your ramen "nami" (meaning "regular": noodle firmness, seasoning strength, and pork fat amount). I like mine firm, strong & rich, but that's me.

                      1. re: Professor Salt

                        Actually I perfer firm noodles. It has the PERFECT bite and they do loose up with the HOT broth. I choose very littlle pork fat (i'm not into greasy soups), I add an egg and extra pork. I get medium because the spicy is SPICY!!!!!


                3. I would go to "S". A high-end Vietnemese near the Westminster Mall, Goldenwest exit.