KAHAI STREET KITCHEN
Friday, February 29, 2008
KAHAI STREET KITCHEN
237 Kalihi Street
Where does Drew eat lunch most everyday of the week when he is at the office. It is the Kahai Street Kitchen. Absolutely the best plate lunch joint in Honolulu. There is no better in my opinion. The menu changes everyday (sent every morning via email to your office) and you won't believe what is on the menu. Today I ordered Beef Wellington (the real deal) for under $8. There are only a few places that sell Beef Wellington in Honolulu and the price usually is in the $30 to $40 range. On other visits I have enjoyed Stuffed Cornish Hens that would sell for at least $30 for $7. The BBQ ribs platter is a full rack of ribs for $7. Fresh Ahi Tuna with salad and side goes for around $7. Some days there is steak and shrimp, stuffed chicken, braised pork, stir-fry, pork chops, prime rib, Duck breast and always fresh fish. Kahai Street is a take-out joint. There is no parking or seating. It is somewhat of an adventure to get in and out. We always order by phone and then leave the car running while parked in front. The place is only open for lunch. THIS IS A MUST TRY. I LOVE IT!
JJ FRENCH BAKERY AND BISTRO
3447 Wailalae Ave
JJ'S is one of our most favorite neighborhood restaurants. We visit frequently and always enjoy the food. While JJ's is known for their great desserts, it is the bistro food that we always come back for. The prices are reasonable with entree's going for $9.95 each. For $24.70 you can get a four course meal that includes Soup, appetizer, main course and any dessert from the case. This is a good deal for Honolulu plus you can bring your own wine or beer. There is no corkage charge and they always are happy to provide a wine opener and glasses. During our visit tonight I had the Baked Opakapaka served with fettuccini and julian veggies in a garlic lemon and sweet chili sauce. The dish is a little spicy which I like. It is fantastic! Prior to the main course we enjoyed an asparagas soup served in a clay pot and a fantastic lobster appetizer served on french bread. Shiirly had the Seafood Brioche which is an assortment of salmon, scallop, shrimp, leek, shintaki mushroom, bell pepper and special black pepper cream sauce.
Keli enjoyed a cheese pizza. The pizza is nothing to write home about, but the entree's we enjoyed were great. Other favorites of ours are the Laotion Rock n' Roll, Garlic Shrimp Salad and Baked Tuna Wellington. I love JJ's. It is a place where we always return to.http://greateatshawaii.blogspot.com/2011/03/jjs-french-bakery-and-bistro.html
UPDATED POST LINK BELOW
UPDATED POST LINK BELOW
Monday, February 18, 2008
Located on a secluded cove and beach about 20 minutes from the Kahului Maui airport is one of the most famous restaurants in all of Hawaii. Mama's Fish House is truly a destination for the freshest fish and great preparations, but beware the prices may wipe out your wallet. Whether you go for lunch or dinner - the place is expensive. I mean really expensive. It is the only place I know that charges $50 for a lunch entree. And people pay it and love it day after day. The place is always busy. The menu is written each morning after the fish arrives. Local fisherman bring the fish to Mama's. If their catch is chosen, the fisherman gets his name on the menu next to the fish he caught. One my last visit there was fresh Mahi Mahi, Spearfish, Opah and Ahi. Most preparations include rice and vegetables. The Mahi Mahi with Crab stuffing goes for a whopping $59. Opah was $42, Ahi $36 and the Spearfish was $35. Remember, this is for lunch. We enjoyed two small macadamia nut crab cakes at $18, Shrimp Won Tons at $18 and Seared Ahi Sashimi for appetizer at $20. Bare in mind this was a party of six and we were all sharing the appetizers. The Sashimi is always top notch. You don't get much for $20 but it is so good you forget the price. A cup of Maui Onion soup will set you back $12. This is far too much for a small cup of soup. The entrees are all great. I have never had a bad meal here. It is just a lot of money. Just think what the meal would cost if you added a bottle of wine. Hundreds for a party of two. I highly recommend Mama's for the food and ambiance. The secluded lagoon takes you back to old Hawaii and makes you forget the real world. Too bad you can't forget the prices too.
Labels: MAMA'S FISH HOUSE, mama's fish house maui seafood fish maui mamas fish house, MAMAS FISH HOUSE, MAMAS FISH HOUSE MAUI
Sunday, February 17, 2008
NINNIKU-YA GARLIC RESTAURANT
The "Garlic" Restaurant is becoming one of our favorite places to dine in Honolulu. We have never had a bad meal here and love most everything on the menu. The cozy indoor/outdoor space is actually an old house. We usually opt for outdoor seating as the indoor area gets quite smokey from the hot-stone plates that are served.
There is only one way to eat here. That is "family" style. Order a bunch of everything and let everyone share. This way you have the opportunity to try a number of different dishes. Everything you order contains garlic. Lots of garlic. Even the gelato contains garlic. The fresh mushrooms are fantastic. So is the asparagas. We usually order the hot-stone steak which is served on a super hot plate with large chunks of garlic. Thinly sliced and awesome. The seafood pasta is excellent here. So is the garlic rice. Everything is good but the one thing you must try is the Froi Gras. This is not on the menu. You must ask the server if they have Froi Gras. It is not always available. This is the best dish and should not be missed. They sear the meat and then serve it with a fruit sauce that is to die for. This is a monster of a dish. Everyone that we have dined with here loves it. THIS IS A MUST PLACE TO GO ON OAHU.
UPDATE 2012: RESTAURANT CLOSED AND THE PLACE TORN DOWN.
UPDATE 2012: RESTAURANT CLOSED AND THE PLACE TORN DOWN.
John Dominis is one of Oahu's favorite fine dining and special event restaurants. The location and interior are beautiful. Most seats have a view of the ocean and Diamond Head.
My recent dinner here was for a business meeting. We reserved a private room for 10 people overlooking the ocean. This is a great venue to hold meetings for up to about 30 people.
Our meal began with crab stuffed mushrooms. These are huge. Each plate has four large mushrooms. This is a meal in itself. The John Dominis Salad followed. Maui Onions, Tomato and fresh greens with a touch of sardine. This was really good. The Seafood Chowder was next. It was good but not great. We all had steak and lobster combo as our main dish. The lobsters on this visit were small and tasteless. The last time I had this same meal, the lobsters were huge and delicious. The steak was cooked to perfection and served up with fresh veggies.
When it was time for the Mud Pie dessert, not one person could find room to eat it. We were all stuffed. The service was great. Everyone was courteous and helpful. The restaurant has a great bar area where you can enjoy a cocktail and pupu's. The prices are a bit high but worth it on most items.
UPDATE 2012: RESTAURANT CLOSED AND TORN DOWN. LOCATION NOW HAS RESTAURANT CALLED 53 BY THE SEA.
UPDATE 2012: RESTAURANT CLOSED AND TORN DOWN. LOCATION NOW HAS RESTAURANT CALLED 53 BY THE SEA.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
TIO'S GARAGE & TACO STATION
A few hours after lunch here and I still can taste the garlic from the salsa. I have a gut ache too.
We sampled the tacos. Shredded Beef, Chicken and Fish. For $11 you get two tacos and beans and rice. The beans and rice were good. The tacos were greasy and pretty bland. The shredded beef tasted like it was soaked in lard. Same with the chicken. The fish tacos however were good.
They were filled (actually overfilled) with a beer battered fish. I took one piece of the fish out to make the taco smaller. Not bad. Keli ordered a Chicken Quesadilla with beans and rice. She ate the beans and rice but not the Quesadilla. She said and I quote "it's too greasy". Tio's Garage has no ambiance or feeling to it. It is a very bland space. The service was good.
FOUR HOURS AFTER EATING HERE MY GUT STILL IS HURTING. NEVER GOING BACK. UPDATE: RESTAURANT CLOSED.
As a frequent visitor to Sam Choy's I have had most everything on the menu. This is a favorite lunch spot because it is located close to downtown and not far from the office. Prices are fair and the portions are usually large. Lately I have found that the food has gotten "better". A must try is the Crab Tostadas. They serve six small Tostadas topped with lots of fresh crab and a touch of jalepeno. During my last visit, my guests finished one order of these and then ordered another one. I did not complain.
Sam Choys serves up several specials each day. I have been enjoying the soup and sandwich combo lately. Usually served with Clam Chowder. The fresh fish with fried rice and eggs is a must try for breakfast. There are too many lunch items to list, but trust me you will find something you like on the menu. The restaurant is also a brewery, but since I go for lunch we don't drink the beer. Sam Choy's is a great place to eat. Highly recommended. UPDATE 4/13 - SAM CHOY'S HAS
Absolutely one of the best restaurants in Hawaii.
If you like sushi, Sansei is a must visit. This has been a family favorite for about 10 years. In fact, the day Shirley gave birth to Keli her first request was to have sushi from Sansei. Seems appropriate that Shirley requested Sansei again for her 31st birthday last night.
After a very nice greeting from the front desk we were given a table with people on both sides of us. This was a little uncomfortable so we asked for a booth. We were moved to a nice booth that was quiet and relaxing. We started with the Miso Soup which is Keli's favorite. It is always good. Shirley ordered a Ceasar Salad with Calamari. The salad was topped with large pieces of lightly fried Calamari. The main course consisted of the "69 Roll" which is awesome.
The roll has Unagi, Crab and Cucumber and a great sauce. We also had a "Takah" Sushi Special which consisted of Shrimp, Crab, Avacado and fresh Ahi Tuna. Keli enjoyed her favorite Edamame and two pieces of Masago (fish eggs). We ordered fresh Ahi Sashimi but after all our food came the Sashimi still was not served. I asked the waitress where the Sashimi was. She said that they took it to the wrong table and she forgot to tell us. I cancelled the order and paid the bill which was only $72. The parking however was $12. The Sansei menu is great. There is something for everybody.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
CASSIS BY CHEF MAVRO
Located downtown in the old Palamino space, Cassis is the second restaurant for famed Chef Mavro. Mavro is a legend in Hawaii cooking. His flagship "Mavro's" has received many awards throughout the years. Why he went out on a limb with Cassis is beyond me. I think the place is wrong for the location and will not last too long unless the prices and menu change at lunch time. I was treated to lunch here by a very nice sales rep. If not for the rep picking up the tab, I would not have gone. To put it simply, the food is just too expensive for the lunch crowd downtown. My co-worker and myself ordered the beef dish for lunch. It was a whopping $28. This is for a lunch entree mind you. Add a side salad or soup and drink and you are easily hitting $40 for lunch PER PERSON. This is just not right. The beef is good but not great. It is served with a nice sauce with onions, a green something that is kind of like a salad and some french fries that are yummy. Our rep friend ordered the chicken and another friend ordered the mini burgers. The chicken was fantastic according to our friend. The mini burgers looked good, but the price was $14 or $7 a piece. You can tell the local downtown crowd is not buying into these prices by the size of the lunch tme crowd. The place was nearly empty at 12:00 noon. The bar was empty too. During the Palamino days, the place was packed day after day. Mavro is a great chef. The food is good, but you cannot expect the working class to pay these prices for lunch. I think this place could do allright if Mavro came up with some lunch dishes around $8 to $15 bucks. This would bring in more folks like me on a regular basis. UPDATE: ONE WEEK AFTER WRITING THIS CASSIS CLOSED THEIR DOORS.
ISLANDER ON THE BEACH
This is the view from our lanai at the Islander on the Beach in Kapaa, Kauai. The plantation style resort takes you back to the old Hawaii. Simple and relaxing. As you sit on the lanai, you hear the crashing of the waves 24 hours a day. This is so calming. We all sleep good here. There is a nice pool and pool bar and a warm and friendly lobby.
The grounds are very well maintained with walking paths that go on for miles.
WAIPOULI FAMILY RESTAURANT
Located in a strip shopping center adjacent to Foodland market just a short walk from the condo, we found a great place for breakfast. The Waipouli Family Restaurant is just that - a family type place with hard working folks serving standard Hawaii style favorites. For breakfast we ordered the Fresh Ahi Tuna with Eggs. The Ahi was not fresh so they substituted Ono. This was a good change. The Ono was fresh and delicious. It was marinated in a very light terriyaki type sauce with garlic and served with two large eggs and toast. For $8.00 it is a great deal on Kauai. Shirly ordered fried rice with two eggs. She finished it all so it must have been good. Keli dined on French Toast which both Shirley and Keli agreed was good. The restaurant was filled at 9:00 a.m. and there were people waiting to sit down throughout our breakfast. Mostly locals eating here. We will be back during our next trip.
After shopping at Long's Drugs we walked around the corner and saw a sign that said "Famous Fish Tacos". Without hesitation we walked in and sat down at a comfortable booth at a local watering hole called the Pau Hana. This is a very local bar/restaurant located in a strip mall that includes Safeway and Longs. Very close to the condo. The bar has a good feel and the locals were sipping away the cold ones before noon. At the tables, people were enjoying burgers and sandwiches that looked pretty good. We went straight for the "famous" fish tacos. Shirley ordered hers cajun style and I ordered mine the standard way. Our waiter was a very local guy dressed in a tank top. He was very polite and professional for Kapaa. Only thing is that he had a body odor that could ruin your meal. Everytime he wizzed by us we had to hold our breath. When the tacos arrived I needed a cold beer to get me through the meal. Ahhh....the crisp, cold refreshing beer was perfect. The tacos were prepared with lettuce, cheese and salsa. The fish was Ono we think. Shirleys were spicy and had good taste because of the cajun spice. The standard tacos that I ordered were very bland. They needed some kind of sauce, but there was none to be found. The servings are big. 3 tacos for $10.95. We could only eat three of the six between us. They do a good job using fresh fish, but a little cabbage and white sauce could make these the best fish taco's in Kapaa.
PIZZETTA ITALIAN FAMILY RESTAURANT
We have dined at Pizzetta three times and always been happy with the food and service. The restaurant is located on the main street that goes through Kapaa Town. Close to the condo, not too expensive and comfortable. We were seated around 6:00 p.m. right before the place started to fill up. A comfortable booth perched above the main dining area and bar was just the right place to people watch and enjoy a glass of chianti. We ordered a ceasar salad to split. Good thing because the salad is a monster. Big enough for three people. It was dressed lightly and very good beginning. We then ordered a small combination pizza with sausage, pepperoni, onions and peppers along with penne pasta with a tomato sauce and sausage. During prior visits we found the sausage at Pizzetta to be great. This time however we were very disappointed. The pizza had little or no sauce and the sausage was dry, bland and crumbly. It taste like crap. We could not figure out if they put sauce on the pizza. It was so dry and tasteless that when the waitress asked if we wanted to take it home, we both snapped "NO". The pasta sauce was equal to the pizza - very bad with the same terrible sausage. We will not be going back to this place in the near future.
We just finished a very relaxing weekend at our Kauai condo located in Kapaa, Kauai. The weather was great, but the food was fair to poor. Unlike other trips we opted not to BBQ at the Islander on the Beach and eat oceanfront on our lanai. Rather we would venture out and find some Kauai hidden treasures. Our first stop was the Hula Girl restaurant located in the Coconut Marketplace. The reason for this choice was simple. It is located just across the parking lot from the condo. We arrived around 6:30 p.m. and were quickly greeted and seated. As we looked over the menu, the place quickly began to fill up with a mixure of local and tourists. We went with the Ahi Sashimi appetizer. It was fantastic. Big pieces of raw ahi and a good deal at around 11 bucks.
Shirley went with a salad and I had the onion soup. The salad was better than the soup. We both went with the fresh Ono Catch of the Day. Shirley went with hers being sauted with butter, garlic and white wine. It was a good piece of fish but they battered it. What a waste. They should have mentioned this in the preparation. My Ono was flame broiled to perfection and served with a macadamia nut rice pilaf that was great. All in all the meal was good and not too expensive. We both agreed that we would go back. Besides fresh fish the Hula Girl serves steak, lamb, ribs, chicken and seafood.
Sunday, February 3, 2008
THE FAT GREEK
Prior to going to the Hawaii Basketball game on Saturday night, we stopped into a new restaurant that just opened and received four forks (high rating) by the Honolulu newspaper. The Fat Greek is located near the University of Hawaii. It is a small restaurant with a take out window and inside/outside seating. You order at a window and then wait for your hand held buzzer to go off. We waited in line for a few minutes and then ordered. We tried the Babaganoush (baked eggplant dip with herbs and spices) served with flatbred and a Gyro.
We waited nearly 40 minutes for our food. The place was especially busy because of the favorable review in the newspaper. People were complaining about the wait, rolling their eyes and even asking for the owner. One lady at the counter complained that the people behind her had already gotten their food. The owner or manager was very direct. "Look lady, we cook everything fresh. What do you expect when the place is busy". She wanted a refund, but was given the cold shoulder. We waited patiently and then feasted on one of the best Gyro's I have ever eaten. Fresh bread and thick, juicy lamb/beef combo served with a nice salad. For $7.00 this is a great meal and value. The eggplant dip didn't do it for me or Shirley. Can't wait to go back and try some other dishes.
We spent our last day in New York visiting Rockefeller Center and touring the city.
The evening ended with the Broadway Musical "Mary Poppins". This was a truly magical play that thrilled parents and children alike. In my opinion, it was 10 times better than the Lion King. Shirley and Keli agree.
THE WALDORF APPLE
WALDORF ASTORIA HOTEL, NEW YORK
One day while watching the Food Network, I saw a story about the famous Waldorf Apple.
While not available on any menu, the hotel has been known for having the best carmel apple in the world. Each chef that takes over the kitchen is asked to add his/her own touch to the famed apple. Some have added gold leaf while others try chocolate and most everything else that will stick. Since the apple is not on any menu or adverstised, you must ask for it by name. We asked two employees in the lobby restaurant. Both did not know about the apple. They summoned a manager, who quickly asked me "where did you hear about the apple". I told him on the Food Network. He said that we would need to call room service to order the prized apple. When we returned to the room, we called to inquire about the apple. The person answering the phone was quite surprised and asked if we had seen the apple on a menu. I told them no. The kitchen quickly asked again "where did you hear about the apple". I told them and then they said it takes 24 hours notice to get a Waldorf Apple. We placed our order and waited until the next evening. The apple arrived on a silver platter. Wrapped up and fit for a King. The bill for this prized fruit was $25.00. Was it worth it. Probably not. But it was a nice experience none the less.