A recipe for Loco Moco Pizza inspired by our time in Los Angeles: South Bay! Homemade pizza dough is covered in a savory beef and mushroom mixture, mozzarella cheese, gravy, and an egg.
During our time in Los Angeles, we lived in Torrance, California. I have already covered favorite restaurants in the city with my recipes for Karaage Don (Japanese Fried Chicken Bowl) and Chocolate Dumplings, but wanted to share other fantastic spots throughout the South Bay.
Los Angeles’ South Bay is located in the southwest corner of Los Angeles County along the Pacific Ocean (Santa Monica Bay and San Pedro Bay).
It is made up of El Segundo, Inglewood, Hawthorne, Lawndale, Gardena, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, Torrance, Carson, Wilmington, Harbor City, Harbor Gateway, Lomita, Palos Verdes Estates, Rolling Hills Estates, Rolling Hills, Rancho Palos Verdes, and San Pedro.
Today, I am covering some of our visits to areas not already featured in previous posts.
Fukagawa is tucked in the corner of Pacific Square Shopping Center at 1630 W Redondo Beach Blvd. They have been open for over 30 years with traditional Japanese breakfast, lunch, and dinner options.
I got the Japanese breakfast set (朝食セット) with grilled salmon, rice, egg, natto, miso soup, tofu, and pickled vegetables. All the flavors were so refreshing.
Sweet Rice is next door to Fukagawa. They focus on Thai porridge, rice soup, omelettes, curry, noodle soup, desserts, and drinks.
My favorite was their Kao Soi (yellow curry, ba mee noodles, chicken, bean sprouts, mustard greens, shallots, fried onions, cilantro, crispy noodles, lime) and Thai Tea Float with Non-Dairy Coconut Ice Cream.
We also ordered the Beef Noodle Soup, Jok, Thai Omelet, and Dirty Thai Tea (half Thai tea, half Thai coffee) once for takeout.
I ordered the combination meal with Signature Hamburger Steak, Akane Special Demi-Glaze Sauce, and Spaghetti with Meat Sauce.
Cafe Pruvia is near Akane Chaya (there really is so much packed into this shopping center). They specialize in handcrafted coffee, tea, boba drinks, and desserts.
We picked the Pruvia Milk Tea, Taro Swirl, and Iced Spanish Latte.
Spoon House is across the street from Pacific Square Shopping Center at 1601 W Redondo Beach Blvd. Their menu is packed with a variety of Japanese-style spaghetti dishes.
We especially enjoyed the Spaghetti with Clam Sauce, Carbonara, and Bolognese with Sausage (a favorite with the kids).
Gardena Bowl Coffee Shop
Gardena Bowl Coffee Shop is attached to the Gardena Bowl bowling alley at 15707 S Vermont Avenue. They have a large menu with large portions of Hawaiian and American comfort food.
We ordered the following for takeout: Hawaiian Royal (Portuguese Sausage, Chashu, Green Onions, Eggs over Rice with Teriyaki Sauce), Banana Pecan Pancakes, Hot Cakes Combo, Bacon Fried Rice, and Fried Saimin with Chicken.
Kagura Tokyo Central
I enjoyed Kagura in Old Town Torrance, but they also have a small stand inside the food court of Tokyo Central at 1740 Artesia Blvd in Gardena!
I would often stop here for lunch before grabbing groceries. My favorites were their Katsudon (Pork Cutlet and Egg Rice Bowl) and Katsu Sando.
Aloha Pizza & Shave Ice
Aloha Pizza & Shave Ice is just down the street from Tokyo Central at 1534 W Artesia Square. They have such a fun variety of Hawaiian-inspired pizza along with wings, salads, and shave ice.
We especially loved the Aloha’s Loco Moco with brown gravy, white onion, ground beef, mozzarella, and sunny-side eggs.
Chikara Mochi was one of my very first stops when moving to Los Angeles and it continued to be a favorite during our four years in the area.
A little hidden at 16108 S Western Avenue, this small wagashi shop makes absolutely gorgeous mochi with different seasonal designs and flavors.
Kansha Creamery at 18515 S Western Avenue was one of our favorite ice cream shops in Los Angeles. They feature all natural, handmade ice cream with Japanese and American inspired flavors through a weekly rotating menu.
Photographed above is their AOI Premium Matcha, Brownies & Cookies, and Mt. Crunchmore (Chocolate Covered Pretzel Brittle in Milk Ice Cream).
The Serving Spoon
The Serving Spoon at 1403 Centinela Avenue in Inglewood has been open since 1983. Their menu is packed with comforting Southern breakfast, brunch, and lunch options. Specialties include catfish, grits, oxtail, omelettes, pancakes, waffles, and more.
We enjoyed The Cookie (waffle with chicken wing splits) and Everything Omelet with Chili.
Banadir Somali Restaurant
Banadir Somali Restaurant at 137 Arbor Vitae Street is open daily for breakfast and lunch/dinner with a focus on authentic, halal Somali cuisine.
We ordered the Rice & Chicken Suqar, Rice & Goat Meat, and Rice & Lamb. All were fantastic with large portions, bananas, soup, and tea.
Randy’s Donuts is a particular favorite with the kids. We usually went to the one closer to our house in Torrance, but stopped by the Inglewood location at 805 W Manchester Blvd a couple of times.
The front of the building, with it’s massive 32.5 ft (10 meter) donut on the roof, has been featured in a variety of movies such as Iron Man 2.
Love & Salt
We stopped by Love and Salt at 317 Manhattan Beach Blvd once to pick up brunch. They were collaborating with other fantastic women-owned restaurants from all over Los Angeles for RE:Her’s first 10 day event in January 2021.
This “We Love HER” Boozy Brunch had quite the collection of items:
- Fried Chicken and Biscuit with Sweet and Spicy Honey from Hotville Chicken.
- Galician Empanada with Beef Brisket, Bell Pepper, Caramelized Onion and Patatas Braves from Gasolina Cafe.
- Porridge with Short Rib Ragu, Koda Farm’s Heirloom Kokuko Rose Rice, Confit Mirepoix, Blistered Tomatoes, Crispy Fried Egg, and Parmesan from Porridge + Puffs.
- Guava and Cream Cheese Hand Pie from Socalo Restaurant.
- Coconut Cream Concha from All Day Baby.
- Warm Nutella Donut from Love and Salt.
- No Apology Needed Specialty Drink with AMASS Non-Alcoholic Botanical Spirits, Strawberry, Lavender Ginger Syrup, Lemon, and Mint.
- Who Runs This Mother Specialty Drink with Mezcal, Amaretta, Serrano, Lemon, and Pineapple.
- Get Her Some Coffee Specialty Drink with Bourbon, Amaro Nonino, Cafecita Coffee Cold Brew, and Cream.
Barsha Wine and Spirits
Barsha Wine & Spirits at 917 N Sepulveda Blvd features small production wines, spirits, craft beer, food pairings, gift baskets, Tunisian products, and apparel. Their tasting room has wine and beer tastings and flights.
During my latest visit, I picked up a small marble board which has now been incorporated into multiple food photos, a beautiful Tagine, spices, and wine.
They also have an amazing restaurant in Hermosa Beach with Tunisian-influenced small and large bites, wine, other drinks, and desserts.
I visited Offset Coffee in El Segundo during my latest visit back to Los Angeles. I often went to their Torrance location since it was close to my house, but this was my first time at their newer El Segundo spot right off of PCH.
There was plenty of parking and seating, plus it was on the way to get gas and easily drop off the rental by LAX.
I ordered a seasonal favorite, the Vermont Maple Cinnamon Latte, and an Egg & Spinach Biscuit (buttermilk biscuit with a baked egg, slice of white cheddar, and sautéed spinach).
Blue Butterfly Coffee
Blue Butterfly Coffee is another coffee shop near LAX at 351 Main Street. They are open daily with specialty drinks, breakfast, lunch, and pastries.
We have enjoyed their Blue Butterfly Tea Latte, S’mores Doughnut, White Mocha Espresso, California Hash (avocado toast, hash browns, salsa, mozzarella, cilantro, egg), and Peppa Pig (avocado toast with shredded bacon, feta, pepper, and chives).
I picked up takeout once from Jame Enoteca at 241 Main Street for Chad’s birthday. They focus on seasonally inspired hand-rolled pasta, salads, and sandwiches.
We ordered the Scarpinocc (slipper shaped pasta with braised beef cheek, brown butter, sage, Saba), Capellini (thin pasta with 36 hr tomato sauce), Mandilli (handkerchief pasta with three nut kale pesto), and Tagliatelle al Ragu. It was the perfect way to celebrate.
Orleans and York Deli
Orleans & York Deli at 673 E University Drive in Carson combines the flavors of a New York style deli and a New Orleans restaurant with a menu packed with po’ boys, heros, muffulettas, rice bowls, platters, and more.
We usually ordered the Big Mo’s Favorite Po Boy, Creole Chicken Bowl, Fried Catfish Platter (Evan’s favorite!), and Cajun Macaroni Salad.
They have additional locations in Downtown LA, Inglewood, Crenshaw, and Windsor Hills.
Baboys at Bahay Kainan
Baboys at Bahay Kainan at 330 E Carson Street was one of our first stops in Carson. This Filipino-American fusion restaurant features such a fun and fantastic combination of flavors.
We enjoyed the Lumpia Burger (their most popular item- Lumpia Shanghai patty on a toasted Hawaiian bun with sliced cheese, Asian slaw, pickled onions, tomato, scallions, banana ketchup, and garlic aioli), Bistek Onion Rings (Filipino marinated beef steak with garlic aioli, pickled onions, green onions, and Cotija cheese), and Pan de Sal Sandwich ( option of Tocino, Spam, or Longanisa with a fried egg, tomato, green onions, pickled onions, Cotija cheese on toasted Pan de Sal).
The Chori-Man at 2309 S Alma Street was my favorite spot to get Mexican and Argentinian chorizo. They also have delicious prepared items such as burritos, chilaquiles, sandwiches, and more.
Photographed above is their The Chori-Man Breakfast Burrito (Burritos con Papas- choice of meat/we went with green pork chorizo, russet potatoes, fried eggs, and cheese), Chorizo tacos, Argentinian chorizo, Tolucan green chorizo (southern Mexican style green chorizo with poblano chilies, herbs, and spices), and Zacatecano Red Pork Chorizo.
Point Fermin Park
Point Fermin Park at 807 Paseo Del Mar offers some gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean along with a playground and walking paths.
Cabrillo Marine Aquarium
Cabrillo Marine Aquarium at 3720 Stephen M White Drive was a favorite stop for the kids. Located next to Cabrillo Beach, this aquarium highlights Southern California’s diverse habitats through dedicated exhibits, interpretive displays, and local plants and animals.
They are home to the world’s largest collection of Southern California marine life on display, an outdoor tide pool touch tank, teaching laboratory, auditorium, research lab, library, aquatic nursery, and gift shop.
Check the calendar for naturalist-led tide pool walks open to all ages to see animals in their natural habitat.
At the time of this post, hours are 12-5pm Tuesday-Sunday (closed July 4th, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day).
I especially love the focus on hands-on learning. The kids usually spent most of their time in the Exploration Center and Virginia Reid Moore Marine Research Library. Overall, our visits were generally about 2 hours.
The aquarium has also partnered with KultureCity to make every aspect of the programs and events sensory inclusive. Sensory bags and weighted lap pads are available to borrow upon request at the welcome booth.
Rancho Palos Verdes
Point Vicente is another beautiful area to see the Pacific Ocean in the southwestern corner of the Palos Verdes Peninsula at 31501 Palos Verdes Drive.
Within the park is the Point Vicente Interpretive Center and Point Vicente Lighthouse.
The center originally opened in 1984 and focuses on the history of the Peninsula, geology, people, and the Pacific gray whale’s migration (which you have a chance to see from December to April).
This is just a small part of the South Bay. I loved our time here so much and there are so many other restaurants, parks, and places throughout the area to visit.
Loco Moco Pizza
To pair with this post, I wanted to recreate the fantastic Loco Moco Pizza from Aloha Pizza & Shave Ice in Gardena!
I used my Loco Moco recipe as the base, but adapted a few things to adjust it to fit on the pizza. A homemade pizza dough is stretched into a thin circle and covered with a rich gravy, ground beef mushroom mixture, and shredded mozzarella.
It is baked until golden and bubbly, then an egg is added during the last couple minutes of cooking.
Serve the Loco Moco Pizza immediately after the egg is set with even more gravy, green onions, and a sprinkling of black pepper.
A Few Tips
I have included a recipe for a homemade pizza dough that requires an overnight resting time. You can either use this recipe or your favorite/store-bought for the Loco Moco Pizza.
Instead of one massive pizza, I divided the dough into four pieces to make four individual pizzas- each topped with one egg. You can keep it like this or divide the dough in half to make two larger pizzas.
Adjust the seasonings as needed to taste. If your beef stock has a decent amount of salt, you may not need to add any more, especially with the Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce.
For the gravy, I like to use the remaining chopped onion and caramelize it before pouring in the beef stock and seasonings. To caramelize the onions, slowly cook over medium-low heat while stirring occasionally until golden brown.
I used cornstarch mixed with a little water to thicken the simmering gravy. If still too thin, add a little more. If too thick, add a little more beef stock.
Loco Moco Pizza Recipe
Adapted from Jun-Blog
Loco Moco Pizza
- 2 1/4 teaspoons (7 grams) active dry yeast
- 1 3/4-2 cups (415-470 milliliters) lukewarm water 105-115˚F (40-46˚C), divided
- 4 1/2 cups (585 grams) bread flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoons (20 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3 tablespoons (45 milliliters) olive oil
- Cornmeal for dusting
- 1 pound (450 grams) ground beef
- 1/4 medium onion peeled and finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Loco Moco Pizza:
- 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) vegetable oil divided
- 3/4 medium onion peeled and chopped
- 3 cups (710 milliliters) beef stock
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons (14 grams) cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) water
- 8 ounces (227 grams) button mushrooms quartered or sliced
- 1 pound (450 grams) low moisture mozzarella
- 4 large eggs
- 2 green onions thinly sliced
To make the pizza dough:
- In a small bowl, sprinkle yeast over 1 cup (240 milliliters) of the lukewarm water. Stir and allow to sit until frothy, 5-10 minutes.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook or a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Mix in the yeast with water and the olive oil.
- Slowly add the remaining water until a soft dough is formed. Knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic.
- Divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap or place each into large ziploc bags. Refrigerate overnight.
- The next morning, remove the pizza dough from the refrigerator and form each into a ball, pinching together the ends and tucking them under.
- Place each into a bowl, flouring if needed. Cover with plastic or a towel and allow to rest at room temperature until doubled, 1-2 hours.
- One hour before baking, place a pizza stone in the middle rack of the oven and preheat to 500˚F (260˚C).
To prepare the loco moco:
- In a medium bowl, combine the ground beef with the 1/4 finely chopped onion, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.
- In a large skillet, drizzle 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) of the vegetable oil over medium low heat.
- Add the remaining 3/4 chopped onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to caramelize, 20-30 minutes. Adjust between medium low to low to keep the onions from burning.
- Pour in the beef stock and season with the soy sauce and worcestershire sauce. Bring the mixture to a simmer.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water. Pour into the simmering stock and stir to combine. Continue to simmer, stirring often, until the mixture has thickened.
- Remove from heat. Adjust seasonings as desired.
- In another large skillet, drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) vegetable oil over medium heat.
- Crumble in the ground beef mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned.
- Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and the moisture has evaporated.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
To assemble the pizza:
- If using a baking stone, sprinkle cornmeal over a large pizza peel. Otherwise, sprinkle cornmeal over a large baking sheet. Form one ball of risen dough into a large circle, thin in the center with slightly thicker edges.
- Add a thin layer of gravy over the base of the circle, leaving the edges clear.
- Cover in an even layer with 1/4 of the ground beef and mushroom mixture.
- Cover with 1/4 of the shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Carefully slide pizza onto the hot stone or place the baking sheet in oven. Bake in preheated oven until the crust is golden and cheese is melted and bubbly, about 8 minutes.
- Gently crack an egg over the center of the pizza. Place back in the oven just until the egg white is set, another 1-2 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, top with additional gravy and a sprinkling of green onions and freshly ground black pepper.
- Repeat with remaining dough and ingredients. Serve immediately.