Thursday, October 28, 2010


Mmm....snacks after yoga yesterday. Banana bread with the little brown banana specks:

...and a blueberry mini scone...yesterday was pastry heaven :)

1117 12th Ave

Saturday, October 23, 2010

KCC farmer's market 10/22

Kapiolani Community College
4303 Diamond Head Rd
Saturdays, 730 am - 11 am

Friday, October 22, 2010

Best cupcakes?

I've never lived in New York, but I used to go and visit friends there every year, when the cupcake craze was just taking off. We'd visit Magnolia, Buttercup, Dean & Deluca, and others I can't even remember. So that's how I got hooked on cupcakes.

While I was living in Shanghai,
one girl brought the cupcake craze to the city but only via delivery, so it wasn't as though I could go pick up a cupcake whenever I was craving one (although she did later start distributing through Gloria Jean's coffee).

Now that I'm back home, I've been craving cupcakes. I guess it's mostly just because they are available! I tried to bake some (usually, I'm a pretty decent baker) but for some reason, they were all disastrous and like solid little lumps, instead of nice light, moist, risen delightful cakes.

So I went cupcake exploring and tried out 3 of Honolulu's cupcake shops. Here are my favorites:

#1) Cake Couture (Aina Haina)
This is my ultimate cupcake. The cake is moist and has the perfect crumb. The frosting is sweet, buttery and loaded on. The store is perfectly designed - very clean, modern look.

#2) Cake Creations (Manoa)
This is a relatively new shop, I believe. She started out doing wedding cakes and expanded to have a storefront bakeshop. The cupcakes were beautiful - best presentation - but the cake tasted a little like a cake mix and was not as moist as Cake Couture. Only 3 flavors available in the shop when I was there.

#3) Hokulani (downtown / restaurant row)
Most variety of flavors but lacking in presentation and taste. They were cute, but more of in a home-made looking way. The cake was a little dry.

Tell me, are there any cupcakes out there that I am missing?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

New finds in town

Hi everyone! Since I've been home, I've been trying to visit some places
that are newly opened (ok, I've been living away from the island for over two years, so my definition of "new" is not necessarily that new).

I've been reading the following in order to get ideas that go on my "list of restaurants to try"

Yelp Honolulu- Nonstop Honolulu
- And of course all the great Hawaii food blogs

#1) Cafe Kaila

When I was growing up, my parents had this old school waffle maker that made the flattest, crispiest waffles ever. I couldn't stand them. That experience made me avoid waffles for most of the rest of my 31 years.

The old waffle iron:

Until I discovered soft, fluffy Belgian waffles, like this:


So when I read on
yelp about the best breakfasts in town, I had to try Cafe Kaila.

We got there around 1030 or 11 am on a Sunday and faced this line:

Yikes. We thought we could go browse at Fujioka's wine at market city, but they weren't even open yet! So we stood in line (the staff kept everyone in line happy with free waffle samples).

Once we were finally seated, we were starving and ordered what felt like half of the menu:

- a waffle (of course!)
- pancakes
- the breakfast quesadilla
- the fritatta

The waffle unfortunately did not live up to my soft fluffy expectations, but everyone else at the table loved it. Everything else was fantastic though - the pancakes were soft and fluffy and slightly spiced, the breakfast quesadilla was stuffed with bacon and incredibly addicting, and the fritatta was very satisfying.

The frittata

Breakfast quesadilla

The belgian waffle

#2) Soul
Pulled pork sandwiches.

Shrimp n grits

Mac n cheese

Cornbread with honey butter

Hush puppies

I spent a summer living in Atlanta once, and while the city itself never grew on me, I fell in love with southern cooking. I would drive all over town searching out new soul food or bbq joints to try out.

I'd been missing my southern bbq or "meat + 3" (a heart attack on a plate) but luckily Soul on Waialae solves that problem.

I ordered the vegetarian sampler: veggie chili, collard greens, buttermilk coleslaw and cornbread. Each was better than the previous. Can't wait to go back and try some other things on the menu. My only gripe is that they are quite expensive - I went at lunch, no lunch specials or mini plates available. I think they could attract a larger lunch crowd if they offered "minis" of the specials (which range up to $18 I think, but don't remember exactly).

Kaila Cafe
2919 Kapiolani Blvd (Market city)
732-3330 (not that they take reservations)

Soul Cafe
3040 Waialae Ave (by city mill and the fat greek)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Coffee break downtown

When one of my friends moved home to Hawaii, the first thing she did was search all of the cafes and coffee shops downtown, so she could explore them and find her favorite place to sit and read or work online (unlike when I come home, I look up all the wine shops, so I can figure out where to buy some yummy alcohol :) ).

Today she took me to visit one of her favorites: Downtown Coffee Honolulu. We had excellently made cappucinos - a double shot in even the small size...a big caffeine rush!

Conveniently, Hokulani Bake Shop has a kiosk right outside Downtown Coffee (well, maybe not so convenient for my waistline, but oh well...). Now, I am a true Cake Couture devotee, and I have trouble wasting cupcake calories on inferior cupcakes. But Hokulani was right there, and I'd never tried their cupcakes, so I thought why not give them a shot.

Hokulani wins on offering more flavors (I could barely decide between strawberry guava, coconut, and all sorts of other yummy tropilicious flavors) and having cute Halloween cookies, but I didn't think the frosting or the cupcakes could compete with Cake Couture. CC's cupcakes are moister and have a better texture, and they put a lot more frosting on the cupcake (you have to really, really like frosting!).

Here are the Hokulani strawberry guava cupcakes:

And the cute halloween cookies:

Downtown Coffee
900 Fort Street Mall

Hokulani Bake Shop

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I heart Chinatown pho

I ate a lot of pho in Saigon earlier this year, and more recently in Melbourne, Australia where there is a large contingent of recently immigrated Vietnamese, so they have some pretty amazing pho there too. But I always love coming home and going down to Chinatown for pho.

Today -- first time ever -- I made it to River Street to each lunch. Usually the line is too long, or I am too impatient and I just eat it somewhere closer to downtown, like Pho Mai Lan or Vietnam Cafe. But today, since we weren't eating until 2 pm, it meant that there was no line at Pho To Chau (1007 River St). Yay!

Here is my happiness ($6 for a "regular" which I guess is there smallest size)

They bring out a cute little dish of chili sauce, and then there is sri racha, plum sauce, and fish sauce on the table. Very generous with the veggies and herbs too!

Pho To Chau
1007 River St

Friday, October 08, 2010

Visit to Champion Malasadas

I have a pregnant friend. She just got over the morning sickness (thank goodness!) and is kind of hungry again, but hasn't had any of those crazy pregnant-lady-i-have-a-good-story-about-her-cravings stories. Until today.

Today, right after we had finished a plate lunch from Gina's, she suddenly announced, "I want malasadas. Now."

Seeing as how it was 4 pm, I didn't think either Leonards or Champion would be open. But I did a little googling, found their numbers, and gave both a call. Suddenly we had our choice of malasada shops! We ended up going to Champion (even though I still haven't tried the lilikoi malasada at Leonards) because it was closer, and I told my friend that it's superior to Leonards (but just my opinion here). Plus they have sponge cake :)

* Champion from the outside *

* The menu - I bet it hasn't changed in years! *

* Sponge cakes - chocolate, orange, lemon and guava *

1926 South Beretania St.
Honolulu, HI 96826
(808) 947-8778