Archive for the 'Food' Category

Restaurants, Post-2016

Anybody went to the new tonkatsu place in Kapahulu? In the past, I’ve expressed a blase attitude about tonkatsu restaurants (although the kurobuta tonkatsu did intrigue me). But I saw some pictures of this new place, and it looked good. You know how Japanese tempura (versus local okazu style) is spiky? That’s how these looked.

Also, has anyone gone to the new Uzbek restaurant downtown? It looked good. (Don, the food looked like something you would like.)

I’m Generally Excited About All Things “Cutting Edge,” Except When it Comes to Food

While watching Mind of a Chef, featuring Ed Lee, a Korean-American chef working in Louisville, he said some things that evoked a somewhat negative response from me. Lee explained that if his menu offered shrimp or some strange-sounding fish, most people would order the shrimp every time, but he went onto say that the patrons should trust him and go for the dish that is unfamiliar. He also talked a lot about seeking new types of dishes and cooking techniques. A part of me feels annoyed by this notion that people should eat more exotic food, then food that is “safer” and something people simply enjoy. Why is exploring new foods important? Why are new cooking techniques important?

This reaction surprises me a bit because I generally love innovations and innovators–individuals seeking out a new way of doing something. However, I found Lee’s mindset problematic–not in the sense that I felt a strong dislike for him (He seems like a cool guy), but I just didn’t care for his overall approach–specifically within the realm of cooking. Here’s some possible reasons for this: Continue reading ‘I’m Generally Excited About All Things “Cutting Edge,” Except When it Comes to Food’

Scratch (Restaurant)

Continuing with my breakfast fixation, I went to Scratch on Smith Street in Chinatown. BUT, they don’t serve breakfast all day. I went for dinner. So, I was denied. They do serve the breakfast menu during lunch, though, so I will be going back soon.

I enjoyed my meal here. It’s a little on the expensive side, but the food was fresh and tasty. Sorry, I don’t know how to add the pictures, but we had: Continue reading ‘Scratch (Restaurant)’

An Idiot Lunch Lady

I recently took on a part time job as a cook at a childcare center, where I make lunch for seventy kids between the ages of two and five, and I set out lunch for the staff as well.  Depending on who you ask, or my mood that day, I am either the lunch lady, or the executive chef of the childcare center, or something in between, though the children call me Mr. John.

Continue reading ‘An Idiot Lunch Lady’

The Pig and the Lady Restaurant

This is the second restaurant that I’m most excited about. I’ve been here a couple of times, but I didn’t get around to posting my thoughts. Well, here they are. Continue reading ‘The Pig and the Lady Restaurant’

Review of Cocina Restaurant–Has Good Mexican Food Finally Come to O’ahu?

Cocina is a new restaurant that has taken over the spot vacated by Whole-Ox Deli. Apparently, the chef-owner (can’t remember his name) has roots in Texas and loves Tex-Mex food, so that’s what he’s decided to serve. Larri and I went here twice; here’s what we tried so far: Continue reading ‘Review of Cocina Restaurant–Has Good Mexican Food Finally Come to O’ahu?’

Da Falafel King

We went this tiny lunchwagon on the site of the old Varsity theater. (There’s another one in Waikiki). We tried the falafel sandwich and kabob sandwich. The best thing about the falafel was everything but the falafel. The falafel was a bit too mushy and lacking in flavor. But the sandwich is packed with red cabbage, cucumbers, pickles, in a tahini sauce (I think). More importantly, this is stuffed into the pocked of the pita versus folding the pita over like a taco. The vegetables and the sauce aren’t that noteworthy, but the “packaging” of all the food appealed to me for some reason. (It’s also wrapped in paper and tinfoil, which you can easily pull back.) Still, I probably wouldn’t get this again.

The kabob sandwich is basically a patty of beef and pork (or was it lamb?). It’s almost like a hamburger, but, again, it came in the same form as the falafel sandwich. The patty wasn’t exceptional, but I prefer it to the falafel.

We paid $14 for the kabob combo and $11 (I think) for the falafel combo. You get a canned drink and either fries or pita chips. The latter is probably the best thing about the place. Yep. They cut the pit into triangles, dust them with spices and then quickly fry them so that the edges are slightly crisp, while middle of the pita remains soft. They also either fry it in olive oil and/or dip in olive oil afterwards. It’s good, but not necessarily drive-out-of-your-way good.

Restaurants, post-2010

If you’re going to add something to any of the conversations begun in the original restaurant thread, by all means please feel free to add your comment there. However, if you’re going to add some thoughts to some new place not previously mentioned, let’s put it here.

In Search of the Greatest Steak

I think I could give up eating beef, but the thought of never eating a good steak again would make it really tough. “In Search of a Steak Glory” is an Atlantic article by Marck Schatzcker about the quest for the greatest tasting steak. (He’s written a book about the quest called, Steak: One Man’s Quest for the World’s Tastiest Beef.) In the process, he’s come to examine what exactly makes steak taste so good. The answer is not simple, but according to him, it has nothing to do with marbling or with grain fed cattle. Schatzcker touches on the science of what makes beef so tasty, and it’s pretty interesting.

What are some of the best steaks you have eaten? What restaurants, in Hawai’i or other places you’ve tried, serve the best steak?

I Need Some Big Island Restaurant Recommendations

Larri and I will be going to the Big Island in May for the weekend, and I’m looking for restaurant recommendations, and recommendations of things to do in general.

Seattle-Las Vegas (Food) Trip

A journal of my trip to Seattle and Las Vegas.

Favorite Quick Recipes

So I’m trying to cook more at home, and I have a really limited number of things to cook. My goal is to learn at least five new recipes this year, which should be easy, right? So I’m asking on you idiots for some of your favorite recipes that 1.) are relatively quick to make; 2.) contain ingredients easy to get; 3.) are relatively healthy (ixnay on the cream sauces and deep fried stuff) Here’s some of the dishes I cook now: Continue reading ‘Favorite Quick Recipes’

Meal Deals

prime rib

Kristen’s Kitchen in Waipahu. Kristen’s is located across from Times Supermarket on Farrington Hwy. The prime rib was not only cheap, but it was very good, particularly the au jus, which I’m usually indifferent to. (Perhaps, I enjoyed it so much because the leftover jus tasted so ono with the rice.) I believe they use to serve this every day, but they told me they only serve this on Tuesday and Thursday. They only have a limited supply, too.

What are some other great meal deals you know about?

Le Bistro

le bistro

I don’t think there are any reviews of Le Bistro here, which surprises me. This may be one of my favorite restaurants (although it is a bit pricey). The food here is basically upscale comfort food, nothing really hyper-creative or original, just feel good food done well. There are some items you can get under $20 but I would say most entres are above $25 and can get close to $40. Continue reading ‘Le Bistro’

Royal Palace

Royal Palace (Stadium Mall, next to Ice Palace)

A college classmate of mine took me here once, and I remember liking it, so Larri and I gave this a shot this past weekend. We were surprised to discover a lunch buffet for about $10, so we went with that. We came about 1:00 (the buffet closes at 2:00), and there were two huge parties going on, so many of the serving bins were almost empty, the food kinda cold. Despite this, the food was not bad. Here are some of the items I recall: roast pork with tofu; salt and pepper shrimp; egg rolls; Chinese chicken salad; choi sum; roast chicken (good); green beans and chicken; Singapore rice noodles (decent); chow fun; sweet and sour pork; and some other things I can’t recall. According to one of the newspaper clippings on the wall, this is Hong Kong cuisine, and they are known for their char siu and roast pork (which the owner recommends getting between 5:00-6:00, if I recall correctly, because that’s when it’s usually freshly prepared). It’s a solid Chinese restaurant, probably one of the better ones for people living on the Leeward side.

Caliente del Sol

Caliente del Sol (Safeway strip mall on Kapahulu)

I should have wrote about this place first as I think other idiots would like it. This is Mexican version of Burgers on the Edge (same owners, I think): you can choose several different proteins, different sauces or cheeses in several different dishes (taco, burrito, quesadilla, enchilada). For the protein, you have an option of grilled rib-eye, chicken, fish and smoked pork. The enchiladas came with four different sauces. Instead of selecting sauces, you choose different cheeses (I think) for the quesadillas.

We got three things: a cobb salad with smoked pork (shredded), a taco with rib-eye in chipotle, and an enchilada with mahi in a lobster sauce. The salad, on the initial bites was good. First, the portion size was good. It looked well-prepared and I liked the avocados and shredded pork and the crunch of shredded cabbage. But there was a little too much cabbage and the overall flavor got tiresome afterawhile. Still, it was a good size and pretty good tasting salad.

The enchilada was OK, although the lobster sauce was a little too rich for me. We didnt’ finish it.

The taco with the steak was probably the best I’ve had (of the steak taco variety). I liked it with the chipotle, too. It cost a little over $3, and the price was just about right. I’d go back for this again, and this is something I think others would like.


Dorraku (Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center)

I probably shouldn’t write a review as I couldn’t try many of the dishes due to a gout flare up. This is a sushi/Japanese restaurant, with inclusion of Latin elements (chimchurri steak). We mostly ordered sushi and small plate dishes. I can’t remember all the dishes we got, but I do remember the presentation impressed me (partly because I wasn’t expecting it or expecting to care). I liked the seared ahi salad, which was basically a sashimi over some lettuce. I liked the dressing, which I believe had a mustard base. Seared ahi dishes are sort of bland for me, but this was one of the better dishes.

I also liked the cuban steak rolls which was a sushi with steak in chimchurri sauce rolled in rice. (I can’t remember the other ingredients.) There was also a fish dish, I think sea bass, that was good, too. I believe the rolls were around $10-$15. It’s kind of a izakaya style place, so it’s suited for people who like to drink, and the atmosphere was quite nice, although you could dress pretty casually.

Pho 77

Penny wrote:

Pho 777. Frankly, Viet Cafe (which is now closed and replaced with that Banana Leaf Pasta place) was better, but hopefully Pho 777 will get better in time. They are taking 20% off your bill until November 30, 2008 in honor of their Grand Opening. Continue reading ‘Pho 77’

Taste of the Bayou

Penny wrote:

Mitchell has pics, so hopefully he will post those as well as add his comments (Renee, too!) for A Taste of the Bayou.

Food: Very good. I was happy with everything I tried. Continue reading ‘Taste of the Bayou’

The Best Ramen

Don and I were talking about this the other day, and I know Joel expressed interest in starting a thread on this topic. The discussion will center on the best ramen places you’ve eaten at a restaurant (versus the packaged variety). I think we could also include saimin in the discussion, too. I like ramen, but I don’t think I’ve been to enough places to discriminate the good from the great. I’ve been to Goma-Ichi, Goma-Tei, Ezogiku, Tai-Sei, Sanoya, and probably some others I can’t remember right now. I love the tan-tan shiru at Goma-Ichi. In general, I like the ramen that has the layer of Chinese style gravy (gomoku variety). You can get those types at Ezogiku and Tai-Sei. So what’s the best ramen you’ve eaten?