Growing up in Los Angeles, my family and I would drive down to Little Tokyo pretty regularly as part of our usual routines. I took my first Odori dance lesson there, had my first round bowl haircut there, had Japanese bento lunches with my grandmother there, fed the koi fish there in the Pacific Square when they had a pond, and watched with delight and anticipation as the Imagawayakis were freshly made behind the store front window of Mitsuru Cafe.
Don't mind the "B" rating on the window that's in this picture taken with my Motorola camera phone. The little buns of sweetness make it all worth while!
So what exactly is an Imagawayaki? Well, let me tell you! They're a cross between a pancake and a waffle, but with a sweet filling of an [red bean paste] inside. Usually sold at carnivals, festivals, and other fun places, these treats are generally made with a set of cast iron or cast aluminum pans over direct heat. Sometimes it gets so hot in the front of this little restaurant, that steam from the cooking pans rise up and fog up all the windows.
The last time I went to Little Tokyo with my family, we picked up a foil lined bag of Imagawayakis. Kept warm, the beans were soft and moist. Mmm...mmm...what a treat!
Street: 117 Japanese Village in Little Tokyo
T:1.213.613.1028 | closed on Mondays