Being a California native I always have explored new cities and towns in the state. When I was little my parents would take me on weekend road trips up and down the state a couple times a month. Now as an adult I still do that but I forget to explore the cities around LA but I decided to change that. I spent the weekend in Torrance which is a beach side community that has the charm of an old town.
I checked into the Bluestem Hotel that is a really cute and centrally located boutique hotel. It has a coastal vibe with cute fire pits on the patio. A living wall in the lobby and a really great staff. The service at the hotel was so great. The rooms are bright and modern. I love how comfy the bed was and the room felt really cozy which made not want to leave the room. I just wanted to lay in bed all day and eat snacks and watch movies. The hotel also has amazing amenities like all day coffee and yoga classes. I will definitely go back.
I started my first day off exploring Torrance with trying one of their very many ramen shops. I was recommended to go to Hakata Ikkousha Ramen and it did not disappoint. I have been craving the ramen there and will make a trip out there to go back. They make their noodles fresh everyday and they are perfection.
They are known for their Black Tonkotsu Ramen which is made with their signature IKKOUSHA original tonkotsu broth. It also has their special fried garlic paste topped with thin noodles, tender pork cha-shu, fungus and spring onions. It is amazing. The flavor is rich and satisfying. There are also things that they have you can add in if you want but when I try things for the first time I like to try them without altering the dish.
The other ramen I ordered is the God Fire Ramen. I eat very spicy but the photo made me worried that I only ordered level 3 not 4 (four being the hottest). I would go back and try level 4 because I love it super spicy. The God Fire Ramen is made with their IKKOUSHA original tonkotsu broth. It also has their Ikkousha’s secret brand of “Spicy Fire” thin noodles, tender pork chashu, fungus, spring onions and seaweed. If you are a ramen lover you need to go here.
After ramen we walked over to Mitsuwa Marketplace which is a really great Japanese supermarket. They have a huge selection of Japanese foods and snacks. They also have a really great food court and each location has different restaurants in it. I went to pick up some snacks for the room. It is a must visit if you want to find a variety of different drinks or hard to find snacks like matcha kit kats. I always buy senbei that has soybeans in them and other Japanese goodies.
A great way to spend the afternoon is exploring the South Coast Botanical Garden. The garden right now has a pumpkin hunt which is fun to do while you walk around. They have hidden a pumpkins everywhere in the garden and you have to find them and mark them off on your map. I love how many sitting areas are in the garden so you can take your time and really enjoy your time there. They also have art work throughout the garden and change it periodically. Wear comfy shoes because you will do a lot of walking if you explore the whole thing.
If you love to shop you have to go to Del Amo Fashion Mall. It has been newly remodeled, I love how much light there is in the mall. There are really great places to eat in the mall too like Din Tai Fung which I didn’t go to this time because I wanted to try things that and that are unique to Torrance. You can find anything you need here at the mall. A fun fact about the mall is that it is the largest mall in the Western U.S. with 2.7 million square feet of shopping.
Old Torrance is great because there are blocks and blocks of stores and restaurants. Torrance also has a lot of local breweries so if you love beer then you have a lot of choices in Torrance. It still has that old town charm and the people are friendly like if you are visiting a really small town. I really loved that about Torrance. Everyone I met was lovely and really nice.
When you are in Old Torrance you have to eat at Madre for dinner. It’s an Oaxacan Restaurant that specializes in mole and mezcale. I have never been a fan of mole until I tried it at Madre. I now love it. The enchiladas with mole is a great way to try the different ones. The dish that won my heart that night is the Chicken Pozole. I wish I could order a large tub of it and keep it in my freezer. If you haven’t had chicken pozole it is a soup that is very hearty. This hands down is the best pozole I have ever eaten. I was full half way through but finished it because I couldn’t waste it. We also had a dish that I have never heard of which could be described as a pizza but its on a crispy corn crisp topped with veggies and different meats. This is a shareable dish because it’s really big.
Their cocktail menu is really fun and have really cute names. Make sure to go on the weekend because they have live music. They also have a huge mezcal menu so you can taste a variety of them. If you are on the adventurous side you can order a bowl of crickets to eat with your mezcal. I didn’t do it this time but I have had it in the past. Madre is a great place to go for a date, celebration or just to have a great meal.
If you love farmer’s markets you need to go to the Torrance one. It is on Saturday mornings and starts really early. I had a lot of people tell me I had to check it out. I am so happy I did it’s one of the best farmer’s market’s I have ever been to. It’s located at Wilson Park and I recommend getting there early because of parking. Bring your bags because you will buy a lot of fruits and veggies. Also, the prices aren’t like in LA they are really reasonable. Some stands had huge varieties of fruit like the plums they brought over 13 different types of plums and all of them were so sweet that they tasted like summer.
They have plants, flowers, breads, cheeses, and so much more to taste and buy. It is a great way to spend a morning. It is worth the drive to the farmer’s market because it’s a hidden gem. Next time I go I will be bringing a lot of bags with me to buy all my fruits and veggies.
I stopped by Los Arboles Park because I wanted to see the view and the historic Rocket Ship Slide. If you want to check out the best views of the city you can go up there. You can see the ocean and all the way to Downtown LA. It’s pretty epic. I also climbed up the rocket ship and went down the slide, you should to.
I also stopped by Andes Florist which is a family owned florist and it is run by a mother and daughter team. I got myself a single hot pink everlasting rose. They have so many colors to choose from and come in a variety of different boxes. You’ll be able to find these cute flowers around the holidays at the Del Amo Mall. I love that Andes has a signature when they deliver flowers. They put a little rhinestone on a flower so you know it is from them. It’s a really cute touch.
I love food and will travel for food. I went to SHIOK! Asian Street Food and they were having their soft opening while I was there so now they are fully open. You have to go. They have amazing bowls, and small plates to share. I loved everything that I tried and I will tell you I tried almost everything. Some of my highlights are the Asian Street Bowl, the Hot Chicken Bao and the Crispy Golden Bao.
You can customize your bowls and choose your protein, sauce and make it your own. It’s the perfect place for lunch. There are so many other things on the menu that I want to try that I am going to go back.
While you are in Torrance you need to visit the beaches. I love how you can see the cliffs. We just sat on the beach and watched all the surfers. If you go on the weekend like I did I recommend you get there in the late morning for good parking, there are lots you can pay to park but if you get there early enough you can find street parking. Walking along the beach is so relaxing that it is the perfect place to escape the busy city life.
If you don’t know, Torrance is home to the iconic King Hawaiian Bakery. I didn’t even know that they had a restaurant until I got to Torrance. You can buy all of their dinner rolls there, eat in the restaurant but I recommend you make a reservation because it is really busy. I didn’t get a chance to eat in the restaurant so now I have something to look forward to next time I’m in Torrance but I did buy some pastries. They are known for their rainbow cake which is so pretty. I got their mochi donuts, if you haven’t had one you need to run there and get one. I don’t want another donut now that I have had one from here. Thank me later.
Red Car Brewery is a really cute brewery located in Old Torrance. It is in a historical building which use to be the home of the Pacific Telephone and Telegraph company from 1928-1953. When you enter the brewery it has that old time feel because their theme is after Torrance’s historic Red Car trolley system. If you love beer this is a great place to stop by.
I couldn’t leave Torrance without stopping by the Torrance Bakery. Everyone I met kept asking me if I had been there yet. It is located in Old Torrance and you’ll spot it right away because it will have a line coming out the door. While you are waiting in line you can smell how good the bakery is. It use to be just one small store now it is almost half of the block. They have a space for wedding cakes, a sandwich shop and more. They have a really good buttermilk bar and I really loved how they decorate their birthday cupcakes with a giant marshmallow candle.
They have such a great selection of different pastries and desserts. You will be in heaven when you visit. They also have sidewalk seating if you want to sit and relax and enjoy all your desserts!
If you live in the LA area it’s a really short drive to Torrance and it makes for a great getaway. If you are a foodie like me then you will have a lot of places to try and enjoy. I can’t wait for my next visit to Torrance!