I love Koreatown in the springtime…

Wherein I blog about all things Korean in Los Angeles

Red Mango (Miracle Mile branch) March 4, 2008

Filed under: bakeries, cafes, & fro-yo — Raven @ 11:43 pm
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This post is really overdue because I actually tried Red Mango back in January, if I recall correctly. So yeah, overdue. First off, I have to report that Red Mango is not really a Korean fro-yo shop, at least not the kind you’d find in K-town. There are no signs in Korean, and they don’t sell any version of bing soo that I noticed. Instead they’re aiming squarely at Pinkberry’s target market, which I guess is only fair.


Service was great and so was the yogurt (I currently prefer tart fro-yo to sweet). Yes, those are mandarin oranges, which I love, and the mini chocolate chips are Ghirardelli dark. It was an excellent combo, much better than the mandarin oranges/coconut I originally intended to get. I don’t remember how many flavors they offer, but I know I got the original.

For those of you who want to know the nutrition information, it’s on their website at www.redmangousa.com (still as Flash-intensive as ever). For more info about Red Mango in LA, see my original announcement here (complete with original gripe about Flash-intensive website).

Red Mango
5115 Wilshire Blvd, Unit C
Los Angeles, CA 90036


Red Mango Arrives in Miracle Mile December 29, 2007

Filed under: bakeries, cafes, & fro-yo — Raven @ 3:52 pm
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It’s true. Red Mango continues to expand across the Los Angeles area. They’re already in Westwood (land of really bad parking) and Northridge (incredibly far away). Now they’ve finally made it to a location I’ll actually go to. I noticed the new shop the other day as I was driving by on Wilshire. I haven’t been there yet (I’ll go soon), but I’m delighted to have them so close. They’re open 11am-10pm daily.

It’s beyond me why they didn’t choose to open in K-town first (a K-town shop opens in 2008), but maybe they figured they’d try to make inroads with the Pinkberry crowd before invading an area already full of Korean-style fro-yo shops.

Red Mango USA has a website here. Be warned, it’s incredibly Flash-intensive. Seriously, guys (by “guys” I mean the programmers who designed the site and – perhaps more importantly – the execs who paid for it), it may be pretty but it’s not user-friendly.

Red Mango
5115 Wilshire Blvd, Unit C
Los Angeles, CA 90036


Choco bing soo September 28, 2007

Filed under: bakeries, cafes, & fro-yo — Raven @ 10:23 pm
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There can be no doubt about it: chocolate bing soo (초코빙수) is the ultimate flavor (and I don’t say that just because I’m female). My previous fave was the green tea version, but after last Sunday’s trip to Ice Kiss where we got the chocolate, I’m a convert.

Ordinarily I probably wouldn’t have ordered the chocolate, considering it a little too untraditional (not that I think there’s really anything traditional about the stuff that gets added to bing soo, not at this point). But on Sunday I just had a taste for it, and apparently so did Bon V., so we gave it a shot. The verdict was that it’s a winner.


Ice Kiss’s choco bing soo includes a sprinkling of Count Chocula cereal (this is what I mean about nothing traditional).

They also serve their medium size in an honest-to-goodness dog bowl. We knew this before we went, so we made sure to order that size. Despite how huge the serving looks (and it is quite huge), and despite having filled up on KBBQ beforehand, we managed to eat every ounce of our choco bing soo, which p1010095.JPGwas awesomely delicious. Well, okay, we left some of the ice at the bottom. I’ve never been a fan of things like snow cones, but when it’s bing soo, you can eat all the yummy goodness off the top along with some of the ice, and then you can just leave the rest of the ice in the bowl (for the dog, I presume). This wouldn’t work so well with some other Asian shaved ice desserts, where I gather the ice goes on top instead of on the bottom. I’ll stick with the Korean version.

The thing about bing soo is that, unlike plain ordinary ice cream, it’s lighter (because of the shaved ice to ice cream ratio), and it has fruit, which allows eaters to pretend bing soo is good for you. You’re also liable to find almost anything in it (witness the Count Chocula). It’s more interesting than ice cream, and it probably is better for you. Well, okay, it might not be. But it does have fruit!

Here’s what was left of our choco bing soo when we were done: basically chocolate syrup (used on the chocolate version instead of condensed milk) and melting ice.


Ice Kiss
3407 W. 6th Street
(about half a block east of Kenmore)
Los Angeles, CA 90020


The “Not Pinkberry” Phenomenon July 19, 2007

I don’t like fads. I never have, to the point where I refused to see Titanic because EVERYBODY was seeing it (I still haven’t seen it). But I admit I’m a little bit curious about Pinkberry, “the name that launched a thousand parking tickets,” as they say in their ads (or at least in the ads they show at the Grove before the movie starts). I can live without the parking tickets, though.

I did walk into a Pinkberry once with the intention of trying it. But I looked at the line and the price and left again. However, I’m told Pinkberry offers the same delicious vaguely sour Korean-style frozen yogurt I’m familiar with. Except that, since it’s a fad, it’s more expensive and there’s less variety than you’d find in, say, your average frozen yogurt shop in Koreatown.

Because there are a lot of those shops. And they don’t all have knock-off names like Roseberry, either. I went to a good one, the name of which I do not know, located at Vermont & 7th (northeast corner, in the strip mall). There’s another one on the southwest corner (also in a strip mall). In fact, they’re everywhere. I don’t know if it’s because they’re all cashing in on the Pinkberry phenomenon or whether they all existed before Pinkberry came along, but I guess my point is you can get the same stuff (or better) for cheaper, with more variety and a shorter line, all over K-town.

And, fads being evil by their very nature, why wouldn’t we all go for that?


J’Aimerais y aller Tous les Jours July 17, 2007

Filed under: bakeries, cafes, & fro-yo — Raven @ 1:34 pm
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I have a thing for bakeries. Maybe part of the problem is I just love carbs too much (noodles, anyone? how about rice?). But I also love the smell of baking pies, cakes, all those delicious things that are baked at bakeries. So even though I might walk into a bakery with the best of intentions, I rarely walk out empty-handed.

When I paid a visit to the Korean French bakery Tous Les Jours (뚜레쥬르) I honestly tried. I exerted all my willpower, but I just didn’t have quite enough. I still found myself walking out with two pastries. One was a tart type thing filled with jam and heavy cream (yum) and the other was a twist pastry with some kind of banana cream crumbs on the outside (it works, trust me on this). The fact that I paid a total of $2.50 for both of them might have something to do with my deciding it was okay to indulge. I don’t know what the fat content was, and I probably don’t want to know.

I was initially expecting the filled pastry to be cake-like, which I think it would have been if it were produced by an American bakery. But we’re talking Korean French here, so it was more bread-like. After the initial surprise, I actually preferred the bread-like consistency because it meant the pastry wasn’t overwhelmingly sweet. Some baked goods can be so sweet they become cloying after the first few bites. I don’t recall the consistency of the twist pastry (I devoured them both shortly after I got home since, you know, they might not be as good the second day), but the crumbs on the outside were delicious. And again, not overpoweringly sweet.

Tous Les Jours also offers beautifully decorated cakes and has just added frozen yogurt to their repertoire.

Now, how does Tous Les Jours stack up against my other fave Korean French bakery, Paris Baguette? The answer is that it’s hard to answer that. You can’t really compare unless you sample the same items both places, and I didn’t. Tous Les Jours wasn’t as crowded, but they both offer beautiful cakes and a variety of pastries. Price-wise they were about comparable, I think: both very reasonable. Tous Les Jours offers frozen yogurt and frozen pops, which Paris Baguette doesn’t, but on the other hand at Tous Les Jours I didn’t spot the hot sandwiches and other hot savory pastries that Paris Baguette sells. I think Paris Baguette has a more streamlined sales procedure (you grab a box, fill it with the pastries you want, and at the register they just put the top on, whereas at Tous Les Jours you use a basket and at the register they wrap each pastry individually for you, which takes longer). But it’s possible that Tous Les Jours’ method will keep the pastries fresh longer, since each pastry ends up in its own plastic packet.

Tous Les Jours
2736 W. Olympic Blvd
(about 1 block west of Vermont)
Los Angeles, CA 90006


I have the honor… June 6, 2007

…of being guest blogger on Bon V.’s blog this week. Head over there and check out my review of the Korean bakery Paris Baguette.

While you’re there, take a look at the rest of the blog and the many great reviews there. I’m tellin’ ya, the photos make me hungry every time.

My Culinary Adventures