Monday, April 30, 2007
Don't let the name fool you. MamMoth Bakery is by no means colossal. In fact, shelf space is on the puny side. But where they lack in quantity they easily make up in quality and uniqueness. Call it a piece of Japan which has finally reached California shores, offering curious taste-mixtures of corn/mayo/onion/bacon or mentaiko and seaweed baked within a soft, fluffy French bread roll. I was hooked on this stuff while living in Tokyo, grabbing a few each day just before my morning commute. Eating is strictly forbidden on the train, but I'd find ways to indiscreetly scarf down my bread while still piping hot. So now to see it finally here in LA... well, it brings tears to my eyes. Sniff.
MamMoth is one of the latest vendors to hit Marukai Pacific Market's burgeoning food court. Shinsengumi now takes up two spaces, offering both yakitori and tonkotsu ramen. I had a bowl for lunch and then made my way to the bakery, which really was my sole reason for driving 30 miles round-trip to the South Bay.
If my stomach allowed it, I would have bought the entire store, but settled on a petit four which Mikey and I devoured later in the day: baked mayo and ham roll, spicy cod roe bread, An-pan (red bean), and a two-inch slice of white toast, scored and drenched in hot butter and honey. Other intriguing goodies on the market included the curiously-named "Cheese Dome," green tea cake, and a very shiny "Chocolate Ball."
I know many of you San Gabriel Valley-ites are thinking, "But there's plenty of fresh Asian bakeries!" True. And I love traveling another 30 miles just for those, too. But where you can only get dried-shredded pork bread over there, you can only find the pride of Kyushu, Japan (namely mentaiko) smothered over a bread roll for under 2 bucks.
The only drawback is that MamMoth is so darn far. Mikey suggested preserving them in the fridge during the week, but there's just something wrong about that. Bread should come right out of the oven and into my mouth. No detours, no delays.
There's a Japanese cartoon character named Doraemon who has an uncanny ability to pull anything out of his front pocket. I could live without the "anything" option, so as long as I could at least pull out bread -- hot, fresh and made to order. But seeing that I never got that bottomless fruit punch-dispensing tree I wished for when I was 10, I guess I shouldn't hold my breath for this one either. Maybe I'll just have to move to Gardena. =)
MamMoth Bakery (inside Marukai Pacific Market)
1620 W. Redondo Beach Blvd
Gardena, CA 90247