Three Bowls of Soup in LA

Trump is President, it’s cold for us California babies, and everyone I know is sick. We need soup, y’all. Here are three places to get a bowl of soup in the Culver City/Palms area in LA.

Sunny Blue

sunny blue culver city
For a quick healthy-ish snack in the neighborhood Sunny Blue is my go-to. The staple here is the omusubi, rice balls with different fillings wrapped in nori. Balls run $3 to $4, are made to order and can be made with over ten different fillings, plus specials. I like the spicy salmon (cured salmon and spices), eggplant chilli miso, and the shiso ume (japanese pickled plum with shiso leaves). This is a quirky place (their homepage greets visitors with “This Little Place Has Balls”), but the food is interesting and consistent, which makes it all the more lovable. The menu depicts omusubsi as cartoon rice balls with eyes and personalities, while the rest of the whimsical orange chalkboard menu can be overwhelming. Apart from omusubsi, the menu is full of inexpensive sides: noodles, fresh salads, pickled veggies, kimchi and— one I couldn’t stop eating other day— fried burdock roots.

The pork curry udon comes in a small bowl for $5, less weighty than a typical bowl of udon, and more like what I would imagine is a quick street food meal on some corner of the earth. The curry flavors are bright, the broth glimmers with golden spices and fat, and the pork piles like a little tower of bacon on top of bouncy udon noodles. Don’t miss the outside seating and complimentary cold barley tea.

Phorage

phorageLA
This casual spot in Palms offers mostly standard pho joint fare with a twist: produce is sourced locally and proteins are sustainable. The chef here worked at the Slanted Door, so not surprisingly the food is solid. We had the pho with Washugyu beef brisket and the eggplant claypot, a bowl of peppery, caramelized eggplant and onions over broken rice. A big communal table is the focal point of the restaurant, with friendly hanging plants everywhere. There are rice plates, vermicelli, banh mi, and rolls. I hear the oxtail pho is the way to go. Prices run a little more than average pho (which makes perfect sense considering the ingredients).

Ramen Yamadaya

This ramen chain advertises its tonkotsu broth as being cooked for 20 hours, and after tasting it I would believe it. A ten hour boil extracts all the good stuff from the bones, resulting in a milky, thick broth that is as mouth to brain tingling as a bite of pork belly. There are several types of ramen here, most building off the basic pork broth base and adding spice, black garlic oil, soy, or super sized toppings including a thick, dangerous-looking slab of the tender kakuni pork belly. And while the broth is boiled forever, the chashu is not, retaining flavor and texture. The thin little egg noodles, bamboo, and half an egg are fine supporting actors. The broth here is the star.