Just in time for L.A.’s raging ramen fever, a Japanese cultural program called Common Grains is coming to town for a series of food-centered educational events lead by cookbook writer and soba-expert Sonoko Sakai. Common Grains, a collaboration between Japan’s rice giant Shinmei and the Japanese government’s own cultural awareness program, kicks off on January 10th with an onigiri contest (savory, nori-covered rice balls) at Downtown’s Japanese American National Museum from 11:00 A.M.-3:00 P.M. that is completely free for the public. That’s just the tip of the noodle, as Sakai plans to chase this premiere with a soba pop-up at BreadBar, followed by the opening of a Torrance restaurant.
From January 10th-19th, Sakai will be joined by soba chef and Mori server Mutsuko Soma at Century City’s BreadBar, where the two will host a ten-day sake bar and soba restaurant, highlighting hand-made, freshly stoned, and milled buckwheat noodles using ingredients and garnishes both time-honored and contemporary, as well as a specialty grilled onigiri among the menu of eleven to sixteen dollar items. Catch the soba pop-up from 5:00-10:00 P.M. daily next month.
Common Grains’ subsequent events stretch through February, with soba workshops being held at Mitsuwa Torrance, a soba bar popping up at Atwater Crossing in Torrance, a screening of a Common Grains film, and eventually, will culminate in a new soba-based restaurant opening in Torrance, coming from the team at Shinmei itself.
A full schedule of the coming events can be found on Common Grains’ Facebook page.