In the afterglow of Tuesday's election results, I woke up this morning feeling pretty good about life. I may have unpaid bills and a career in a dying industry, but the promise of getting there ("there" being that nebulous state of fulfillment) seemed more certain – so as long as I put in the effort. "If Obama could do it, so can I." That's my new mantra.
Tonight I looked to Susumu Tsuchihashi for further inspiration. He's the owner of the newly-opened imagawayaki shop Fulfilled. Full disclosure: He's from the same WLA community I grew up in. So I'd heard a lot of second-hand stories from friends about his endeavor to get this place open. He quit his job, sold his condo and began traveling to and from Japan to research everything that goes into making one of the country's most cherished pastries. In this economy, most people wouldn't dare let go of their boring-but-heck-it-pays-the-bills job. But for Susumu, food being his passion, life is too short to play it safe.
Imagawayaki is a pancake-like treat traditionally filled with warm anko (sweet red beans). Susumu adds modern variations like banana and Nutella; Ghirardelli chocolate, toffee, crunchy peanut butter (seen above); prosciutto di parma, smoke ham, aged parmesan, fresh basil (seen in the top photo); chicken apple sausage, pepper jack cheese, green chili, cilantro; and others. I definitely preferred the sweet over the savory, particularly the 'Nutty Buddha' chocolate-toffee-peanut butter trio. The 'Sumo Italiano' ham-cheese-basil combo was tasty, too. If only there was a way to stuff in more of it.
I hope the best for Fulfilled, which officially opens this Saturday. It may be the fledgling newcomer among its more established 90210 neighbors – but with steady effort and commitment I know it'll turn into something grand.
9405 S. Santa Monica Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90210