I have moved back and forth between Scottsdale and Southern California several times. The funny thing is, I do more fun stuff in California now that I live in Arizona. I know, that doesn’t make much sense–but I never said this blog would make any sense.
On my last trip to SoCal I was determined to “see the sights” in the greater Los Angeles area. As you may have already gathered, I like food, so a lot of my adventures involved the culinary arts. This being the case, what better place to visit on my Los Angeles excursion than the joint with the giant donut on the roof? I don’t think anyone can argue that Randy’s Donuts is more than just a fried dough factory–it’s a Southern California landmark. It has been a fixture in Inglewood, CA since 1953 and has been featured in a slew of movies, most recently of which was Iron Man 2.
Now I did want to go there so I could check out the historic local, but I was also curious to sample the doughy confections. And I don’t just mean, “Hell yeah, I’m up for some donuts.” I firmly believe that any business that measures its history in decades rather than years is doing something special, so I was truly curious to find out what Randy’s Donuts was all about.
Bottom line, I was right–Randy’s makes the best F’ing donuts I have ever eaten. Excuse my French, but they are seriously that good, and well worth the drive from The Valley of the Sun. I was fortunate enough to sample the maple bar and the apple fritter–oh how I love me some apple fritter.
Let me tell you, not all apple fritters are created equal. Even the best one I can find here in Arizona is over cooked, somewhat dry, and kinda crunchy. The first fritter I had at Randy’s Donuts was the best donut I have ever eaten in my life. It was soft, doughy and I have to say–juicy. I know that doesn’t sound appealing, but it’s just so wrong it’s right. I mean it has to be oil, but it doesn’t taste oily–it’s just sweet, soft goodness that melts in your mouth.
The maple bar is also spectacular–so soft, so fresh. I am not exaggerating when I say that Randy’s Donuts is the absolute best. I literally don’t eat donuts as much as I used to after eating Randy’s… I would rather wait until the next time I am in L.A.
Sure, it’s just a small, old donut stand–there isn’t even a place to eat inside. Frankly, I think that’s all part of the experience that is, Randy’s Donuts. Need I say it is worth your while to check this place out? Drive out of your way, fly into LAX, whatever it takes–put Randy’s on your bucket list.
Oh, and total disclosure–the shots in the post were taken with a Canon G9 point-n-shoot. I had taken these way before I had a decent cell phone camera and was taking pics of my food.
Japanese food doesn’t exactly conjure images of scotch steak, better known as ribeye, but after partaking in the ribeye and tempura special at Eastwind I don’t really care.
I had eaten asian food at the building where Eastwind presently resides, on the southeast corner of Tatum and Thunderbird in Scottsdale, AZ, back in the mid ’90s. Not sure what the place was called back then, but I remember getting fairly average rice bowls there. Around 2004 I moved back to Scottsdale and walked into what is now Eastwind and, to my surprise, found a much better Japanese eatery.
Although they offer a variety of food from rice bowls to sushi rolls and bento boxes, there are only three things I eat there–they are all so good I can’t bring myself to try anything else! They also serve Asian beer including Asahi and Kirin, which are favorites of mine.
The ribeye and tempura special is a dinner feast, to say the least. It starts off with miso soup and then you get perfectly steamed broccoli, incredible tempura shrimp, an ample portion of white rice and, of course, a nice ribeye. You will notice that there is fried rice in the picture, you pay a couple bucks extra for that and it’s worth every penny. That fried rice is made to order (not scooped out of a steamer tray) and is exactly like what you get from the expensive teppanyaki restaurants, it’s just not cooked right in front of you!
As for the white rice and broccoli, there’s not much to say other than it is done right and tastes great. The tempura shrimp is sweet and succulent with a perfect, light tempura coating–one I much prefer to breading.
As for the ribeye… I’m not gonna tell you this is the best steak you will ever have in your life. I mean, come on, this is an affordable Asian restaurant I’m talkin’ about here. It is a very good steak however. It’s fairly thin and has good flavor, especially with the accompanying ginger/soy sauce. Typically I order my steak rare. The steak in this shot, however, was ordered medium rare. Not bad by any means, but I will stick with rare from now on. By itself, this ribeye might be considered average. But combined with the sauce, and everything else on this plate, you are looking at one of my very favorite meals–period. The chefs at Eastwind have done a great job of combining a few simple things that work incredibly well together and make up a plate choc full ‘o flavor. Oh, and the price? A scant $13.95, plus $2 for the fried rice.
All I can say is, “Try it, you’ll like it!” And if not the ribeye and tempura special, then check out some of Eastwind’s other excellent offerings–I will share my other two favorite items in future posts.
Don’t forget to tell ‘em you saw it on Phone Phood!
I finally figured out what to do with this blog… and it was right there in front of me the whole time–FOOD! I had been toying with the idea of completely ripping off the venerable David Hobby of Strobist fame. No, I didn’t want to do yet another photography blog (and I don’t think anyone can improve on what David has done anyway). I was referring instead to Mr. Hobby’s other über-cool blog about the area he lives in, Howard County. That blog is called HoCo360 A visual journal of Howard County. Check it out. Basically it’s a place where DH can do some of what he did back when he was a full-time photojournalist, but now he has complete control over both the assignments and content. I really like the idea and thought this would be a great way for me to explore the area I live in, Scottsdale, Arizona, and to re-live my magazine glory days without all the wild parties and groupies. What? There were groupies. Okay one. Okay it was a guy, but still…
My only problem with producing a blog like HoCo360 is, well… producing a blog like HoCo360. There are a whole host of challenges to generating sufficient content that will keep the posts flowing. Not to mention it would take a good chunk if time out of my Call of Duty: Black Ops schedule. As I pondered the direction of my blog over a ribeye special and large Kirin at Eastwind it came to me–the bill. After paying I realized that I am pretty much always eating, and I like good food (I mean, look at the picture of me in my first post). In fact I like food so much that I have been taking pictures of just about everything I eat with my Droid X cell phone camera since I got it. As I looked back on all the content I already had, and knowing there will be plenty more where that came from, I decided I could bring my two loves together at last–food and photography. This really is a good way for me to write and photograph subject matter that I actually know something about. With any luck there are people out there who will get a kick out of what I plan to do, and maybe find “that place where the locals eat.”
With that I bring you: Phone Phood! This is going to be a blog about real eats ranging from fast food to spendy steak houses–basically whatever I find interesting enough to put in front of me. And by “real eats” I mean a burger and fries, char-grilled chicken with handmade tortillas or a bean rice and cheese burrito with hot sauce. There are a million blogs about mango chutney or cider-braised pheasant with new potatos–I mean, who eats this stuff? Not to say that food like that is bad, it just seems that most cook books, blogs and even TV shows are always trying to make food so different that they forget about the regular stuff people eat every day. Not me, not here.
So please, add me to your favorites and share this with your friends. Check back often as I will be having some fun with both my cell phone camera and my diet. And if you see me in a restaurant somewhere, don’t bother me–I’m eating, sheeesh. Just kidding, feel free to come up and say hi or suggest a place you think I should try!