Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Revisiting Bangkok Chef (Nu'uanu)

I've tried the super cheap (i.e., the sketch place on the corner of Alakea and King St with the big $5 sign in the window) and the fancier Thai in Honolulu (Phuket Thai, Keo's) but I always come back to Bangkok Chef. While it's not oh-my-god I'm eating in Thailand authentic, it's good, satisfying, always the same, and very affordable.

Here's some pics from the last time I was there (Nu'uanu location)

Tom yum - nice & sour

Pad see ew

Green chicken curry with sticky rice

thai tea and pandan flavored tapioca

strawberry pannacotta
Bangkok Chef
Multiple locations including Manoa, Nimitz and Nu'uanu

Auntie Pasto's on Pensacola

Hadn't been to Auntie Pasto's since high school (ummm, fifteen years ago), but was craving some American-style Italian food. As in, more Italian than the Spaghetti Factory or Buca, but not as fancy / authentic as Assagio's. I still remembered the warm, soft goodness of the bread basket at Auntie Pasto's back in the day (which used to be somewhere other than Pi'ikoi, if I remember correctly? But I can't remember exactly where...)

 Mmm, the bread basket (with pesto now!)
Bread basket
 Mixed greens with walnuts, strawberries and cheese - this was a fantastic salad.

Fancier salad than I'd expect

Eggplant parm
And finally onto the mains: spaghetti with eggplant parm, and a spaghetti with meatballs (my go-to dish, back in the day). The most pleasant surprise of the evening...each was about $8.95! I don't remember exactly, but was shocked at how affordable the place still is. And delicious to boot.
And the classic spaghetti w/ meatballs

Auntie Pasto's
Pi'ikoi near South Beretania

Monday, October 03, 2011

Reviewing Non Stop's Korean eats

Ah Lang - Angry Korean Lady / Seoul Garden Yakiniku / Chodang

My brother was obsessed with Non Stop Honolulu’s write-up on “where the Koreans eat Korean food on Oahu.” Obsessed to the point of creating a spreadsheet to chart which restaurant got the most votes, and what to order at each. If I had a copy I’d put it up here (especially because Non Stop’s slide shows can be a big pain to flip through, since they don’t have links to any specific pages within the slide show, or any mechanism to select a slide. But that’s beside the point).

Here’s the story:

We’d already been to a bunch (Orine, Sorabol, etc). I just realized I’ve never put up Orine on my blog, which I need to get about doing, since that’s one of my favorite Korean finds in Honolulu.

Anyway, we picked three new ones to try: The Angry Korean Lady, Seoul Garden Yakiniku and Chodang. Found two winnahs out of the three, which is pretty good in my book. The only one I wouldn’t head back to is Chodang. It’s good for what it is - super cheap sit down Korean food ($4.99 and $5.99 specials including ban chan? That’s pretty amazing) right outside of Ala Moana shopping center. But the food wasn’t anything amazing.

I’d torn between picking a favorite of Ah Lang (the angry Korean lady) and Seoul Garden. Seoul Garden was probably better overall, and a real restaurant as opposed to a tiny (4 table?) spot in a strip mall in Kakaako, but I am still thinking about the meat jun at Ah Lang as some of the best I’ve ever had.

The proprietress at Ah Lang is know as the “Angry Korean Lady” for a reason. She has very specific opinions about how she runs her restaurant, and she’s made little signs with all of them and hung them up on each wall, just in case you forget.

But aside from her rules, there’s her food.

The ban chan (a step up from a Korean plate lunch)

cold noodles

kal bi

soon du bu

Soon du bu

And this is the meat jun (although I had to borrow the pic from Yelp, since as soon as ours came out, I started eating and forgot to take a pic!)

Bi bim bap (without the stone bowl) - killah

Seoul Garden is one of those places I’ve driven past on Kapiolani a million times but never really noticed before. But when it got such raves on Non Stop, we had to make a trip over there. It seems (to me, at least) to be pretty full-on authentic, with Korean speaking servers, and primarily Koreans eating in the restaurant.

The menu is extensive, so it was hard to pick between favorite stand-bys (kim chee pancake, soon du bu) and new stuff we wanted to try.

For 3 of us, we ended up going with:

pork & kim chee stir fry

“tofu dregs” - like okara


yook kae jang - beef soup - this was my winnah of the day. Nice & spicy.

Expensive for lunch ($20 each) but definitely worth another visit!

Lastly, there's Chodang:

Chodang ban chan

Cho dang meat jun

Kal bi tang

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Not food per se, but right next to Bac Nam! New recycled furniture store

Saw this on Paula Rath's blog this morning: a new recycled furniture store over on King Street. Mark Ariyoshi takes used furniture (estate sales, hotels), refurbishes it, and sells it. Store looks super cute! Once I have a house to furnish, I'm definitely going to check it out.

**And I borrowed this picture from the story, just because I like how Bac Nam pops up in the background :)

Da Spot's new digs on King St.

Da Spot
YUM. I’m a fan of Da Spot from back in the day when I would go to their TINY little hole in the wall for the amazing Egyptian chicken, curries, and smoothies. I’d also go track them down on UH campus or at farmers markets.

When I heard they were opening a fancy new spot by UH, I had to go check it out. It’s amazing how far they’ve come, and I’m so happy for Ahmad and Ako with their success. The new place (open for lunch and dinner) has a hot bar (pick 1 or 2 for a plate), PLUS a fridge of yummy looking mezze (hummus, baba ganoush, grape leaves, olives, cheese etc) that you can order by the pound (would be an awesome tapas party) AND an even larger menu of smoothies.

My friend and I split a two choice plate ($10, not cheap) and a piece of baklava. I am blanking on which curries exactly we had - there were so many to choose from! But both of our selections were fantastic. I’ll definitely be back here frequently.

Looking in


Grape leaves & veggie curry


$10 2 choice plate w/ brown basmati rice & taboulleh salad

Da Spot
King St by University
Honolulu Magazine