Last year my family and I took a trip to Tokyo that further solidified for us our love of all things Tokyo or Tokyo inspired (like Tokidoki). Luckily for us, LA is teeming with businesses, restaurants, and brands from Tokyo. You can simply spend a day on Sawtelle visiting Daiso, Nijiya Market, Tokyo Japanese Outlet, Marugame Udon, or many of the other shops or restaurants to get into the Tokyo vibe. You can also head downtown to Little Tokyo where you can do a walking tour of the area that includes the Japanese Gardens at the Doubletree by Hilton, the Japanese American National Museum, and lots of great restaurants and shops. There’s a Japanese Garden out in Van Nuys and last year Japanhouse opened in Los Angeles – part museum part Japanese culture experience its a truly unique place. There’s also countless Japanese inspired ice cream shops like Bae Little Tokyo on 2nd Street, Cauldron Ice Cream in Irvine, The Dolly Llama in DTLA and K-Town, The Moo Gelato in Huntington Beach, and Cold Rolled Ice Cream on Melrose.
Melrose? Turns out there’s a number of Japanese inspired businesses on Melrose Avenue, so we decided to create our own “Tokyo Day on Melrose Avenue”…starting at Crumbs & Whiskers Cat Cafe. Oh the joy of being a cat. Sleek and sublime, sleepy yet in control, these frisky felines had us charmed as we visited with them at the ultimate foster home, a cat cafe. Cat cafes are all the rage in Tokyo…well cat cafes, pug cafes, hedgehog cafes, and even otter cafes. And this cat cafe helps kittens and cats find furever homes. You can read all about their mission and their founder on their site. See more cat pics on my Instagram feed!
Then we headed to Tatsu Ramen for lunch followed by a trip to Milk Bar, the brainchild of Christina Tosi founder of the dessert program at Momofuku. You know I love female founders, so here’s a little about Christina… “The culinary trendsetter and sugar genius, called “one of the most creative people” by Fast Company, is a two-time James Beard award winner, was named one of Fortune Magazine’s 40 Under 40, and is the author of three cookbooks, Momofuku Milk Bar, Milk Bar Life, and most recently, All About Cake (October 2018).” Best known for their Crack Pie, Milk Bar is s super fun stop in a day outing and a great place to pick up dessert for a dinner party.
The day ended at Cold Rolled Ice Cream where we got to watch the ice cream artisans create unique flavors and experiences for clientele. “Each ice cream order is customized to the customer’s personal preference and prepared on a chilled stainless-steel plate cooled to -15 degrees Fahrenheit where the ice cream is formed right in front of your eyes through a skilled aeration process utilizing specialized tools, ingredients – and a little muscle.”
The day ended with a mini shopping trip to Japan LA where we picked up a few Tokidoki items! “JapanLA is a unique retail shop that caters to adults who love “kawaii” or “cute” character goods. We carry toys, gifts, apparel, accessories, art, and more, all inspired by Japanese and Los Angeles Pop Culture. Jamie Rivadeneira started the store, in 2006. Many items are imported from Japan!”