In November 2008, Beverly Hills will be home to an original new concept called Fulfilled Japanese Pastries, a contemporary pastry shop serving sweet and savory versions of the traditional Japanese treat known as imagawa-yaki. Known at Fulfilled as ima, pronounced ē-ma, these waffle-like pastries are normally filled with sweet azuki bean (sweet red bean) and are Japan’s version of comfort food. Still very popular today, imagawa-yaki originated in Tokyo in the early 1800s and are often enjoyed at various festivals that occur throughout the year in Japan.
Owner Susumu Tsuchihashi, a 28-year-old Los Angeles native of Japanese descent, is modernizing this nostalgic comfort food by creating exciting new flavor combinations that will lure the taste buds of both adults and kids alike. Tsuchihashi has always been passionate about food, particularly the blending of Japanese and American flavors, ingredients and techniques. While studying abroad in Tokyo as a student at UC San Diego he attended a private culinary academy where he was schooled in traditional Japanese and French cuisine.
Imas, made using the freshest ingredients and cooked on Japanese cast aluminum griddles are best served hot off the griddle. At Fulfilled, guests can enjoy a selection of sweet and savory imas including Harajuku Monkey with banana and Nutella; Nutty Buddha with Ghirardelli chocolate, toffee and crunchy peanut butter; Spicy Samurai with chicken apple sausage, pepper jack cheese, diced chili and cilantro; and Honey Yakuza with goat cheese, Mission figs, honey, walnuts and cracked pepper. At 3” in diameter and 1 1/2” thick, one ima can serve as a substantial afternoon snack or light meal. A unique Azuki Green Tea Honey Latte (created by award winning barista, Eton Tsuno) and other Japanese beverages, including juices and kid-friendly sodas in colorful bottles, pair nicely with the imas. With minimal seating and the countertop, guests can stop in and enjoy their ima as a quick lunch or pick up a selection to take back to the office or home for dinner. Open daily from 10:30am- 7pm, Fulfilled can cater to Angelenos’ cravings all day long, even if that craving is for bananas and Nutella for breakfast.
Designed by Milan Lojdl, responsible for Beverly Hills spots such as Crustacean, Theodore, Wolfgang’s Steakhouse, and many high-end stores along Rodeo Dr., the 500 sq. foot store will feature both modern and vintage-style design elements with inspiration from Japan. Passersby will be able to watch the skilled staff making imas in the large windows in the front of the store, while two large water fountains will flank the entrance. More than 150 Czechoslovakian crystals will hang at different lengths around a large Maria Theresa crystal chandelier, creating a dramatic effect. Floors will be covered in a unique metallic-colored tile, while mirrored walls and cabinets and black granite give the space a sleek and modern feel. Keeping with the unique combination of contemporary and traditional touches, wooden shelves behind the counter will display colorful Japanese pop culture toys as well as more traditional items like Japanese tea pots and other related items.
Fulfilled can cater any special event from a children’s birthday party, to a bridal shower or corporate meeting. Imas are made in front of guests who can enjoy them directly off the griddle. Fulfilled (fulfilledpastries.com) has already catered celebrity-studded parties, garnering fans such as Tori Spelling, Dean McDermott, Carmen Electra, Kim Kardashian, Reggie Bush, Rick Fox, Matthew Perry, Serena Williams, and Danity Kane. Meant to be eaten with the hands, it’s the ideal party food.
Freshly made, imas are best enjoyed upon purchase, but customers can order to-go and re-heat them in the toaster at home and can even freeze them and enjoy them months later. The traditional Sweet Azuki ima is just $1.75 and all other flavors are $2.75 each. Free two-hour parking is available across the street with entrances on Beverly Drive and Canon Dr., in addition to ample metered parking in nearby lots. Visa and MasterCard will be accepted.