Thursday, March 31, 2011

This is it: Best bagel on the Island!

I miss my east coast bagels. I still remember when my dad brought home a bakers dozen of H&H bagels and I finished them off in a few days. Heaven on Earth. Chewy but soft. I tend to avoid bagels when I'm at home (although I do like Lox of Bagels on Sand Island), but I wanted to pick up bagels for my office the other day. So I decided to stop off at This is It in Kaka'ako...for the best bagels on the island. Here's the baskets of fresh bagels. You can see all the donuts in the back! They also have a separate case with pastries and scones. I got a dozen mini bagels and some cream cheese for my office. And also picked up a sandwich for lunch. Wasn't sure how I was spending $7 or 8 on a bagel sandwich, but it was SO worth it. The bagel was delish and the perfect base for my ham & cheese sandwich.
And also a scone for the road...yum...

443 Cooke St Honolulu, HI 96813
(808) 597-1017

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cheesy goodness: Melt and Bella Mia Pizzeria

Mmmmm, there is always room in my stomach for lots of gooey, melted cheese. Checked out the relatively new Bella Mia pizza & pasta place on Beretania with some friends. It's a super cute red and white house with lots of patio seating.This is why I wanted to go: PIZZA FRIES! I can't believe every other Italian restaurant hasn't capitalized on this. French fries smothered in marinara sauce, pepperoni and mozzarella cheese.
We also had a calzone (yum).
And a meatball sub...even more yum.
Everyone's been buzzing about Melt, the gourmet grilled cheese food truck. They are hard to pin down, since they are in a different spot almost every day, but so worth following their twitter feed to find them.

My melt sandwich peeking out of its bag:
Rye bread, bacon and cheese, perfectly grilled:
More rye bread, cheese (can't remember what type) and swiss chard (although why pretend to make a grilled cheese sandwich healthy?). Sandwiches are about $6:
Bella Mia Pizzeria

2222 S Beretania St Honolulu, HI 96826

(808) 941-4400

Monday, March 28, 2011

New vs old-school Korean: Duck Butt & Ja Gal Chi

Ja Gal Chi made Yelp's list of Korean restaurants you need to try on Oahu. It's a small little place off of Keaumoku St that is known for its soon doo bu (tofu stew). Front of the menu: Inside of menu: sometimes it's tough to understand what exactly the dishes are!
The house rice is sticky purple rice...exciting!

Here is the famous soon doo bu - this was by far the best dish we had. On the right is the kim chee pancake - I wouldn't order this again. Way too doughy and heavy.

Meat jun: this was ok but not amazing
Whoops, here are the ban chan that came with our meal. Nice but not stellar
To get a different perspective on Korean food in the Ala Moana / Kaka'ako area, we also went to Cafe Duck Butt, a karaoke bar in Kaka'ako. They have happy hour every day until 7 or 8 pm!

Inside view of the bar; lots of booths + a few private karaoke rooms
No ban chan (the bar setting) so we started right in with the kim chee pancake.
Shrimp tempura
Poke (rec by the waitress)
Spicy mochi with hard boiled egg
Cafe Duck Butt
901 Kawaiahao St Honolulu, HI 96814

(808) 593-1880

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Liliha Bakery pancakes & pancake batter

Everyone knows Liliha Bakery for their cocoa puffs. But I'm trying to spread the word that they should also be known for the_best_pancakes_on_earth. And not just pancakes at their in-house restaurant (because it takes forever to get a seat) but for their take home pancake batter! They sell it in the refridgerated case across from the main bakery case. You get a take-out container that looks like this: Only $5.25 and it makes more pancakes than my family of 4 can eat. The pancakes puff up miraculously. I'm actually horrible at making pancakes on my own (they always look terrible and burn) but these come out perfectly every time. Perfect for having all of your friends over for a Sunday Brunch!

515 North Kuakini Street Honolulu, HI 96817
(808) 531-1651

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Favorite sweet treats on Oahu

When I'm craving sweets (as I have been recently) there are a couple of places I always turn to:

+ Cake couture
Mmmmm, I can't get enough of their cupcakes ($2.50 each). Perfectly moist cake, just the right amount of frosting (in a ridiculously decadent way) to make all of your worries go away.

+ Ted's
Ted's Bakery is out on the North Shore, which is super far away, but oh so worth it just for this carrot cake. They are definitely more famous for their chocolate haupia pie (available at most grocery stores on Oahu too) but I am a fan of their carrot cake. The cake is super smooth and textureless (my hypothesis is that they use carrot puree, instead of shredded carrots) with a delicious cream cheese frosting. (I borrowed this pic from Flickr...the cake is actually round; $4/slice or $18 for an entire cake).

+ Kamehameha Bakery
Kam bakery is in Kalihi and is famous for their taro doughnuts. Check out the purple color below!

Top left: taro doughnut

Top right: regular glazed doughnut
Bottom: butter roll

Also famous for their banana bread:

+ Otto
My family is loyal to my aunty's homemade lilikoi cheesecake, which has to be one of my favorite foods. I thought it was the pinnacle of cheesecake until I tried Otto. Otto is a tiny hole in the wall in Chinatown that opened maybe a year ago? I don't know how he does it, but this is the smoothest, creamiest cheesecake I've ever had. The crust is the perfect balance of sweet and buttery. He sells by the slice ($5) or by the entire cake. He has more flavors that I could ever have imagined for cheesecake; below is the lemon.

When I'm walking around Chinatown and want something sweet (and that I can pretend to myself is somewhat healthy), I stop a Thang's for a durian or soursop smoothie with pearls. Heaven on earth.