>> Gardena Bowl Coffee Shop | Eat the World LA

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Gardena Bowl Coffee Shop

USA 🇺🇸
HAWAI'I

Besides Gardena and surrounding areas being home to many Hawaiians in Los Angeles, the image of a yellow hibiscus is the only clue that the food inside the coffee shop will include some Hawaiian specials. This species is the state's official flower and used often around the islands as a source of pride.

Even if this cute diner inside of Gardena Bowl did not offer a loco moco or King's Hawaiian bread, it would still be a fun place to come for breakfast. In fact, most customers were sticking with greasy spoon favorites paired with their coffee. The interior of the diner is what you think it might look like based on the 70's imagery from the bowling alley's sign above, a place that probably maxes out at 30 people when at capacity with booths lining two sides of the room. A counter is popular with solo diners.


As might seem fitting for the southern part of Gardena, the majority of patrons seem to be made up of older Japanese people, but there was also Spanish and English spoken between customers and staff and a wide variety of faces. A few Hawaiian people were here as well in addition to our friendly server. For most of my life I have seemed to end up doing things older people do, and as two older Japanese men beside us shared stories about the Vietnam War together in unaccented English, we took a look through the diner fare and made our orders.

One stand out was the Hawaiian French toast ($7, below), made that way by the use of King's Hawaiian sweet round bread, a classic that has been baked in nearby Torrance since 1977. Usually a dish with the weight of a brick or other masonry, this French toast was light and airy, wonderful. Add syrup if desired, but the bread itself is already sweet and covered in powdered sugar.


And that most well-known, most derided Hawaiian food? They have that as well, in a couple varieties. The original loco moco ($11, below) is a beast, a simple hamburger patty on top of a mountain of rice the size of Kīlauea. This is topped by a fried egg and gravy, four components is all it takes.

This dish is of course not traditional to the indigenous people of the islands but rather an adopted love. Only about 70 years old and a fusion of different sensibilities. Invented in Hawai'i, but thoroughly on brand for this entire country, possibly a metaphor for the colonization that took place there.


To swap out kalua pork for the hamburger patty, a popular option on the island, it will cost you an extra 50 cents.

After breakfast as the bowling leagues start arriving and putting on their shoes to get started, the 16 lanes are really tempting in this cute little alley. But alas, the portions were all huge and that would most certainly take quite a few points off your score if you try to bowl in this condition.


🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

Z

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