Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hana Sushi

Hana Sushi

377 Keahole St Ste C3
Honolulu, HI 96825

(808) 395-4330


A tiny hole in the wall in Hawaii Kai (by the Safeway) that looks like it would have your standard, Kozo style takeout sushi turns out to have a creative menu of fun sushi rolls.

The lobster roll

Red Dragon roll (this was my favorite)

Minna (or something like that)

Salmon – nice touch with the radish sprouts

Maui Tacos

Maui Tacos


539 Kailua Rd Ste 102
Kailua, HI 96734

(808) 261-4155

Starving on the day before Christmas, tacos sounded like a delicious lunch choice. We stopped at Maui Tacos, in Kailua. The menu was too complicated to read, in our starving state, so we just ordered a chicken soft taco and the nachos. Maui Tacos appears to be a chain, since there are several listed on Oahu. While not spectacular like what you could find in California, this was good Tex Mex for Hawaii.

The soft taco did not look so appetizing, but the chicken was actually good and very filling ($3.75)

The nachos were heavily loaded and very satisfying ($6.00)

*these were the highlight!*

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas from Oahu & back on the island for 2 weeks!

Ward Warehouse
1050 Ala Moana Blvd.
Honolulu , HI 96814
808-592- 9292

The latest fro-yo place in Honolulu, Menchies offers serve-yourself frozen yogurt in a variety of flavors, similar to Yogurtland on University. While they didn’t seem to have as much variety as Yogurtland, they did have some flavors I hadn’t seen at Yogurtland, such as “pomegranate tart” and “lychee” tart, both of which were yummy. But overall, I still prefer Red Mango.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Dim Sum

Won Kee

100 N Beretania St Ste 106
Honolulu, HI 96817

(808) 524-6877

I haven’t had much dim sum in Hawaii in years, so when we decided to go for Sunday brunch dim sum in Chinatown, I had no idea where to go. After consulting with the parents and Yelp, I narrowed the choices down to two at Cultural Plaza: Won Kee and Lam Fook. Still undecided when we got there, we just picked Won Kee, since it was the first one we saw.

There were 3 of us for brunch, the perfect number for dim sum, since everything comes in orders of 3. Won Kee has the cart ladies, who push around steaming carts of dim sum in bamboo steamers and lift the lids off each type of dim sum as they walk past. Since I can speak mandarin, I ordered most of our dim sum by name, but it was fun also to see what they had available (they kept pushing this one order of seafood in a tofu wrapper on us, it kind of felt like it was the one order they couldn’t get rid of!)

Everything (except for the cha shao su/char siu soo, similar to ma tai soo) was delicious. The cha shao su was mushy (instead of flaky) and had a very congealed (too much cornstarch?) filling.

Char Siu Look Fun

Char Siu Soo

Pineapple Buns

Xia Jiao (har gau?)

Char siu bao and spinach dumplings (bo cai jiao)

Dim sum cart

Friday, October 10, 2008

Hank's Haute Dogs

Hank’s Haute Dogs

324 Coral St
Honolulu, HI 96805

(808) 532-4265


Drove up to Hank’s Haute Dogs for lunch one weekday afternoon right around 12:30. did not have any trouble finding parking or waiting in line to place our order, despite arriving at prime lunch hours. Our order was a little slow to come up, but only because they forgot to add the onion rings. The menu seems to have changed a bit since they first opened (no more reindeer or seafood hot dogs) but still offers a gourmet range of dogs that I’ve never seen anywhere else in Hawaii.

We had the chicken dog with mustard and mango salsa. The dog was greasy but flavorful, and the fresh mango salsa was excellent. Onion rings were tasty, and the lilikoi lime soda was the perfect refreshing drink to go with the meal.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Breakfast at Diamond Market

Usually when I go to Diamond Market, it's for a blueberry cream cheese scone or a lunch plate, but last weekend we went for breakfast. I had trouble deciding between both the outside grill menu and inside, so I ended up with a brown rice spam and egg musubi (meh) and the pumpkin crunch (pumpkin pie filling on a shortbread crust...yum!) We also had an order of the french toast from the grill...it was 4 big slices of sweetbread, in a rich eggy batter, fried in lots of butter. Tasted like dessert :)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Cupcakes from Cake Couture!

Cake Couture

Aina Haina Shopping Center
820 West Hind Dr. #112
Honolulu, HI 96825

(808) 373-9750


Yelp reviews: http://www.yelp.com/biz/cake-couture-honolulu

I was craving cupcakes, so I searched Yelp to see what recs Yelpers had for cupcakes in Honolulu. By far and away, Cake Couture had the most positive comments, so I went to check it out.

Cake Couture is an adorable shoe box of a store at Aina Haina shopping center. You can tell once you walk in that the owners really care and want to create an amazing experience for their customers.

Daily cupcakes include chocolate and vanilla, and then there are 4 rotating flavors every day. Today I got to try a new one: the peanut butter and jelly, as well as a creamsicle flavored one, and a red velvet. The creamsicle was my favorite by far, with orange zest baked into the cupcake and a rich, buttery frosting.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Okazu-ya-ing in Kalihi

1223 N School St
Honolulu, HI 96817
(808) 848-5573
Yelp reviews

1218 N School St
Honolulu, HI 96817
(808) 841-3864

Yelp reviews

It was kalihi okazu-ya day for lunch the other day. We started out with a mini garlic chicken bento at Mitsu-ken (3 big pieces of garlic chicken, half a hot dog, omelette, and rice with furikake, $3.75) and then a plate across the street from Mitsuba (chow fun, hash, eggplant, and saba). Both were so delish that we couldn’t stop eating, and went into a food coma by the end. So if you are ever feeling really hungry, or really indecisive, go check these 2 plate lunch places out, since they're right across the street from each other! Mitsuba was getting more business that day, but they are also running a much bigger operation.

Mitsuba plate
Garlic chicken mini bento
Mitsu-ken storefront
Mitsuba storefront

Friday, October 03, 2008

Lox of Bagels

Lox of Bagels

111 Sand Island Access Rd
Honolulu, HI 96819

(808) 845-2855


I was dying to try Lox of Bagels after reading about their guava flavored cream cheese spreads. Unfortunately the day we went, I was too full for an entire bagel with cream cheese, but I grabbed a cinnamon raisin bagel puff (with cream cheese baked in!) and 2 bagels to go (strawberry guava and plain). All were excellent. OK maybe not H&H bagel in New York good, but plenty good for Hawaii.

Yanagi Sushi

Yanagi Sushi

762 Kapiolani Blvd
Honolulu, HI 96813

(808) 597-1525


I thought this would be a trendy sushi restaurant (like Sansei) but it was actually the opposite..more of a family style Japanese restaurant, like Natsunoya Tea House or Suehiro. So although Yanagi Sushi wasn’t what I was expecting at all, it was actually a great meal.

The menu is very extensive (pages and pages), so it took us awhile to decide what to eat. We started with the salmon sashimi with maui onions and ponzu sauce. It was the perfect pairing, between the sweet onions, the generous cuts of fish, and the citrus dressing.

Then we moved onto a spider roll (deep fried soft shell crab), which was also very generously portioned.

As main courses, we ordered 2 combination dinners for the 4 of us. The combination dinner ($18.95) includes miso soup, salad, 2 entrees, rice and ice cream. We shared the tempura (amazing!), chicken katsu, saba, and nigiri.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Hula Boba in Chinatown

Hula Boba
65 N Pauahi St
Honolulu, HI 96817
(808) 521-5213

Yelp Reviews

Brightly colored and super clean, Hula Boba offers Taiwanese style boba drinks and shave ice. You can get all sorts of flavors (lychee, passion fruit, mango) but I went with a basic milk tea boba…and was disappointed by the tapioca balls that were too chewy. But if you like that style, then check this place out. The shave ice comes with fruit syrups or fresh fruit and condensed milk that looks really good, I’m curious how the ice is shaved (fine like Waiola’s or not)…but on Yelp it says that it’s not just ice, it’s soy milk, so I will definitely try that next time…

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

More Korean frozen yogurt...

Red Mango
227 Lewers St
Honolulu, HI 96815
(808) 922-0848

Yelp reviews

I’m torn, with so many frozen yogurt choices in Honolulu now! Other than being in Waikiki, Red Mango is definitely a winner. A clean, brightly lit shop with a number of outdoor tables. Ordering is easy: there’s only natural or green tea flavors. A bunch of toppings to pick from (beautiful fresh fruit) but not as many as Yogurtland, which can be overwhelming, or too easy to pick toppings that end up tasting really bad together. Red Mango keeps it simple.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Frozen yogurt wars heating up

Milano Freezer
98-150 Kaonohi St
Aiea, HI 96701
(808) 488-7976

So aside from the tacky name, Milano Freezer (an LA chain?) is a new entrant in Hawaii’s nascent frozen yogurt wars. All of us fro yo fans used to complain about the lack of pinkberry or red mango in the islands, and then Yogurt Land opened up around July in Manoa. I thought that Milano opened up after Yogurt Land, but after reading some reviews on Yelp, I realized they’ve been around for at least a year already! So I guess I have to say that they were the first ones (aside from Yami Yogurt, which has always had the plain flavored fro yo).

Milano serves both gelato and fro yo. Their fro yo is delish – super soft and creamy, just the right texture and sourness. They have 4 flavors every day: always plain, and then 3 rotating fruit/green tea flavors. We also tried the gelato, and I’d have to say go with the fro yo. It tasted more like frozen yogurt than gelato to me, but I guess that’s a bonus if you’re looking for a dessert that’s on the lighter side…

Monday, September 15, 2008

Italian kisses in Kailua

Baci Bistro

30 Aulike St
, HI 96734

(808) 262-7555

Yelp reviews

So I have to say that this evening’s dinner started out in a very disappointing manner. We wanted to try out Formaggio Grill – a new outpost of Formaggio wine bar in Kailua – but they don’t take reservations. We showed up around 7 pm on a Saturday, hoping that it wouldn’t be too crowded, with the rain and the Saturday night movie showings, but that didn’t work out. The sweet hostess told us it would be a 45 minute wait. We weren’t in the mood to wait so long. She recommended Saeng’s Thai (in the same strip) but we decided to go look around Kailua for something else.

Our 2nd choice was Casablanca, for some Moroccan fare. Unfortunately, they were full as well, and told us it would be a 20-30 minute wait. Finally, we found a table at Baci Bistro. I had very low expectations, plus I wasn’t even really in the mood for Italian. If there’s any Western food that’s easy to find in Shanghai, it’s Italian. But since it was a crowded Saturday night in Kailua, we went for it.

It turned out to be a lovely evening. From the outdoor seating (despite the rain), to the friendly service, to the amazing cheesecake, Baci comes highly recommended.

We started with the garlic toast (roasted garlic with toasted Italian bread) so-so, and the eggplant tower (roasted eggplant served with an eggplant spread and fresh tomatoes) which was much better.

The yummy eggplant

Pass on the roasted garlic...there's not even very much garlic!

Our entrees included both pastas and meat dishes. The pastas tasted primarily freshly made (with the exception of my spaghetti) Everyone’s favorite by far was the gnocchi, in a delish cheese sauce.

The gnocchi are to die for:

Lobster with spaghetti: excellent buttery lobster, just average spaghetti in a plain tomato sauce

Black fettuccine with scallops

Meat lovers papperdalle: chicken, beef and sausage

Veal (I am blanking on the name) with your choice of veggies or pasta

Even though we were stuffed after all of the pasta, I felt the need to splurge on dessert. The manager recommended the marscapone cheesecake, and we also threw in some vanilla-chocolate profiteroles and the crème brulee. The cheesecake was absolutely to die for: high, white and creamier than a new york style cheesecake, served with raspberry sauce made from fresh berries. The crème brulee was just so-so (a little too soft and runny under the burnt sugar crust), and I can’t report on the profiteroles, since I don’t eat anything with chocolate in it.

On top of the lovely meal, I also learned that baci means ‘kiss’ in Italian…as evidenced by the big set of lips on the restaurant’s sign outside, as well as the copy of ‘il bacio’ in the restrooms