Sunday, November 28, 2010

Another ono pancake & waffle day

It's funny: after 3 days of eating turkey plus all of the surrounding carbs (stuffing, butter rolls, sweet potatoes, cookies, pies, etc.), now I can't stop craving more carbs. Seriously, I've been eating cookies & rolls for days.

Now today (day #4), I was still craving carbs, so somehow ended up eating both pancakes (in the form of Liliha bakery pancake batter) and a waffle (in the form of a KC waffle dog). Talk about old school!

Liliha bakery: I've never been such a Liliha bakery die hard addict (because I don't eat chocolate, so I never got addicted to their coco puffs), but after today I've been converted.

I've discussed in the past how I love to search for fluffy waffles. Well, I also love fluffy pancakes. And Liliha bakery is voted the best for fluffy pancakes in town (by Honolulu magazine, where I stole this pic from). Although I never knew this until today.

My friend scored boxes of new kitchen gadgets at the Macy's black friday sale, and was unpacking her new plug-in griddle (more environmentally friendly than turning on the stove, apparently) when our other friend suggested we make pancakes using Liliha bakery pancake batter. What? They sell pancake batter?

Apparently we aren't the only ones who like to play with their electric griddle, because that (pic above stolen from Yelp, it actually looks a little different now) is pancake batter from Liliha bakery! The pancakes cooked up perfectly, and actually looked just like the ones in the pic above. Amazing.

Then, we were at the Christmas Craft Fair at Blaisdell, wandering around the food gift section, when we saw the KC Hot Dog stand! KC Drive Inn closed in 2005, but Dayton Asato (part of the original family), still makes the famous dog for events & parties. You can find out where he is going to be here.

OK, no more eating for awhile now!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Finally...Gogi taco truck

Been dying to try this since I read that Korean tacos have hit the island. Took me awhile though, to figure out where they were, when they were open, and find a convenient time to go check them out. Verdict: satisfied my curiosity but probably won't become a regular here. Get the kim chee fries if you go!

Gogi taco truck from the ordering side:
Top: spicy pork taco ($2)
Bottom: BBQ chicken taco ($2)

Left: tofu taco ($2)
Right: Short rib ($2)
Creamy kim chee fries with parmesan (?), pickled garlic & green onion sprinkled on top. This was definitely the highlight of the meal ($4).
Gogi truck from the parking lot:
Gogi truck from the street: this is what you are looking for when you are driving down Kapiolani (close to Shokudo)! (today they were at 1637 Kapiolani, but always subject to change, gotta check their twitter)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wine tasting @ Amuse Wine Bar (inspiration design center)

Amuse wine bar is situated in the Honolulu Design Center on Kapiolani Boulevard. It's a bit strange walking through the furniture store past the $2,000 coffee tables on your way to a bar, but hey, they found a great space.

The highlight of Amuse is the wine tasting machines. You put a dollar amount on a stored value card (kinda like Dave & Busters), stick your card into any of the 4 wine tasting machines, and taste away! Each wine shows a price above, the cost of a 1 oz. taste. They ranged from $1 to almost $20 a taste (I think that was the Opus One). It was a little hard to tell what some of the wines are, since you can only see the front of the label, and there isn't any other signage (except for the Robert Parker 95+ pt wines) to identify what you are drinking, what type of grape it is, or where it is from.

Hopefully you like red wines, because only about 10 of the ~70 or 80 wines available are white.

Highlights of the tasting machines last night were:
  • Warwick Pinotage (South Africa). Not sure how much this is selling for at Amuse, but I priced it online for around $17 a bottle. Pinotage is a red grape specific to South Africa; it's a medium bodied red, pretty fruity on the palate

  • A Brunello (Italy--I have to check what the name was). According to the book on wines I read, Brunello is both a region in Italy and a grape varietal, somewhat related to sangiovese and nebbiolo. This was a splurge ($6 a taste) so I don't think I could afford a bottle, but it was impressive. Silky smooth with a bite from the tannins but not acidic at all. This was in the special Robert Parker 95-99 pt section, it scored 95 pts from him.

A tip: we went on a Saturday, so had to pay full value for our wine tasting machine card. BUT if you go btw 5 - 8 pm on Mondays and Wednesdays, you can get $50 value for just $30!

Amuse wine bar
Honolulu Design Ctr
1250 Kapiolani Blvd, 2f

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dinner @ Shokudo (Ala Moana)

For some reason, I thought Shokudo was going to be a very traditional Japanese restaurant, so I was surprised when I walked in to see all locals eating there, and a creative / fusion Japanese menu.

I wasn't blown away by any of the food (except the honey toast!) but I thought maybe it was just me, and I should get some second opinions. I checked out the Yelp reviews, and even though it has 3 1/2 stars, no one really raves about it or swears by this place. There's an interesting quote from one Yelper, saying "Shokudo was one of those cool places where all the cool kids went to eat. Now, and I'm sure thanks to Yelp, it's just some place that sells you toast that isn't toasted." hee hee

We ordered a bunch of appetizers to share, since we were saving room for dessert.

Cucumber ume salad with bonito - this was tasty
Homemade tofu - very different from Chinese homemade tofu. Curious how they make it. Much creamier, although I got a slightly powdery and roasted flavor as well. Comes with a soy sauce, green onions, chopped up nori, and kosher salt (the big crystals) to sprinkle on
Spicy scallop roll - this was not very good. It was falling apart, not much rice, and had this weird white nori - type wrapping
Yukari french fries - couldn't really taste the yukari sprinkled on, not very hot
...and then dessert...the famous honey toast. 2 giant slices of white Japanese toast, hollowed out. The innards are cut into cubes, fried in butter, drizzled in honey, then stuffed back into the crusts, and topped with two scoops of ice cream :)
1585 Kapiolani Blvd


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Some lunches: Da Kitchen, Fort Street Cafe, and Shirokiya

A melange of lunches I've had recently:

1) Da Kitchen
Ok, so this place isn't that new in Honolulu (it's originally from Maui) but new to me. I'd been hearing about it all over, but hadn't made it over to Isenberg to check it out. It's right next to Maple Garden, and they have a decent size parking lot in the back.

We had the fried musubi (omg, why didn't anyone else think of this before? I can't believe it's not on every menu in Hawaii - it epitomizes island food - spam, rice, and deep fried goodness). $4.50
And the special of the day: shoyu ginger opakapaka plate lunch (I was expecting it to be grilled, but it came fried). $15.50

2) Fort Street Cafe
After reading on Nonstop Honolulu about their extensive search for the best garlic chicken on the island, I had to go try their #1 pick, Fort St. Cafe. I had assumed it would be in small, mochiko chicken type of pieces, so I was surprised to see these big pieces of chicken. They had each been pounded flat, fried, and then a clear, sweet-garlicky sauce was poured on top.

3) Shirokiya
Shirokiya makes me wish I worked near Ala Moana shopping center. I would eat here every day. Heck, if I ever open my own company, I will put our office near Ala Moana just so I can eat here every day.

Bento (which I picked because of the flavored musubi: one had salmon flakes and the other had this sweet - salty konbu type of thing, but I'm not exactly sure what it is. It also came with a piece of fried chicken, nishime, and pickles.Shirokiya spam musubi (with egg and furikake)