Recently, after completing our shopping at Marukai Market for osechi ryori ingredients, we’d typically have lunch at Rutt’s, a restaurant inside the market near the southern entrance. This was the branch of Rutt’s doing business in Culver City. For some reason, it shut down operation since I was here last December and has been replaced by Ten Ten, a Japanese restaurant.
It took us a little while to adjust to the look of the new place. The dearth of food pictures, which were plentiful when the spot was Rutt’s, didn’t help us decide if we wanted to stay. What few pictures were displayed seemed to suggest that their specialty was donburi, bowls of rice with various savory toppings. As it turned out, it was probably more for marketing purposes because the menu leans more toward sandwiches (with Japanese fillings) and curry rice.
So after overcoming our initial hesitation, we figured we’d give this place a shot. Continue reading
Mizuna for soup (ozoni)
Kamaboko (fish cakes)
Katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes) for making dash (soup broth)
Mikan (Satsuma tangerines)
Not only is the shrimp big but so is its head
Every year, our family celebrates the New Year by preparing osechi-ryori, the traditional holiday food served in Japan and continued here in America by Japanese immigrants. My mother used to spend two whole days before the new year to make all the goodies, as did my wife’s family. There are certain dishes that have come to characterize osechi over the years. Being third generation Japanese-Americans, we no longer make some either because of their effort to make or because we’ve long since lost an appetite for them. Still, we are trying to make a few that we remember eating when we were much younger, thanks to cookbooks and the internet, a sort of mini-revival, you might say. Then, there are other dishes that are not traditional at all, crossovers as a consequence of living in a cultural melting pot, that sort of mirror our own contemporary family that extends beyond our Japanese roots. Foods like teriyaki chicken, char siu, Chinese salad, wontons and tamales are more of a reflection of where we grew up than where we came from.