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Monday, May 19, 2008

BIG CITY DINER

BIG CITY DINER
Honolulu, HI

We have been to Big City Diner many times.  It is a favorite local restaurant located in Kaimuki.  Shirley loves the BBQ Ribs served with Guava BBQ sauce.  A big slab is served with rice and your choice of soup or salad.  At $21.99 it is about the most expensive item on the menu.  The big slab will feed at least two people and we usually end up taking some home.  I like the Kimchee Fried Rice at $9.99.  This huge plate of rice also serves 2-3 people easy.  I tried the Big Burger with cheddar cheese, carmalized onions, bacon and avocado.  Only finished half.  It was good and served with choice of fries, soup or salad for $10.99.  My friend enjoyed the Pulehu Steak with Grilled Onions and Mushrooms.  Kind of expensive at $20.99 but he loved it.  The Monster Meatloaf  is also good for $10.49.  Served with Marsala Mushroom & Roasted Garlic Sauce.  Keli likes the Soybeans served with Hawaiian Spice Sauce.  Big City also serves great and big salads and sandwiches.  I also like the Big City Chili.  

LAS PINATAS OF MAUI MEXICAN FOOD

LAS PINATAS OF MAUI
Kahului, Maui

I was very happy when one of my friends asked to meet him for lunch at Las Pinatas on Maui.  I hadn't visited Las Pinatas for several years and was eager to go back for another taste.  When I arrived, I found that the place had doubled in size since the last time I was there.  The large open and clean space is decorated with pinatas hanging from the ceiling.  You order at the counter and then take your food to a table.  There is a pretty good salsa bar in the sitting area.  Filled with at least four different types of salsa, jalapeno's, cilantro and onions.  The salsas vary in heat from mild to very hot with habanero peppers.  I ordered two tacos.  One chicken crispy and one carne asada.  The chicken was moist and flavorful.  The carne asada was served on two tortillas which was a bit filling.  The meat is served with guacamole, lettuce and a little fresh tomato, onion and cilantro.  Both tacos were good.  Best I have had on Maui so far.  My friend had a chicken enchilada and a taco.  He said it was great.  You will find lots of Mexican favorites at Las Pinatas.  I saw a lot of people eating the burritos.  They are big and stuffed with Chicken, pork, steak, fish or pollo asado.  The "Kitchen Sink" burritos are huge and range from $8.00 to $10.00.  My two tacos were $3.42 and $4.00.  They do charge extra for the chips and salsa bar.  I am looking forward to going back to this place.  

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

MARCO'S DELI - KAHULUI, MAUI

MARCO'S GRILL AND DELI
Kahului, Maui

I have been eating at Marco's for what seems over ten years.  This is a favorite meeting place for clients on Maui.  Whether it is breakfast or lunch, you can always get a good meal and good service at Marco's.  It is probably one of the most consistently good restaurants in Hawaii.  At breakfast I always order the granola with fruit.  It is a huge serving of granola along with bananas and berries.  You can have it served with milk or yogurt.  I go for the milk.  My friend always gets the eggs benedict which he says is the best on Maui.  For lunch, I have tried pasta, sandwiches, fresh fish.  This last visit I enjoyed a half order of the Penne Pasta with red sauce.  It was perfectly spiced with red pepper flakes and loaded with fresh ricotta cheese.  The half order at around $8 was huge.  I only finished half.  My other friend enjoyed a huge double decker BLT.  He said it was awesome.  Others at the table enjoyed a fresh fish sandwich and a sausage and peppers sandwich.  There were no complaints.  Only silence as everyone enjoyed their meal.  You cannot go wrong at Marco's.  The portions are large.  The prices are reasonable.  The service is good.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

MICHELINOS CAFE OLE' - SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS

MICHELINOS CAFE OLE'
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas is one of the best places to eat and visit in all of Texas.  The city has done a terrific job landscaping and designing the Riverwalk.  The area is clean, safe and beautiful.  It is like being transformed out of the city and into the canals of venice.  The canals are lined on both sides with a variety of bars and restaurants.  Lucky for me there were  lots of Mexican restaurants to choose from.  I didn't do any research on which one was best.  Just did a quick eye review of the ambiance, seating and menu.  As I took a quiet early evening stroll along the river, I saw a nice shady area with people eating and drinking.  Since I was running solo, I decided to try the place just because there was a semi secluded dining area that allowed you to see all the activity on the river without being right out on the river.  Boy was I lucky.  This place was great.  I ordered the combination platter that included a chicken enchilada, beef taco and chicken chalupa.  The price including rice and beans was $12.99.  Throw in a few Coor's Light brews and I was out of the place for $25.  The chicken was probably one of the best I have ever tasted.  It was marinated in tomatos and green chili's and spices.  The chalupa turned out to be a tostada with beans, chicken, lettuce and tomato.  This was the best I have had in ages.  Loaded with great flavor.  Like Los Barrios, the beef taco was ground beef that was a bit wet.  In fact, the taco bottom fell out when I tried to eat it.  The waitress came by several times to see if I was finished.  I kept telling her no because I wanted to take my time and enjoy the food and scenery on the river.  After finishing almost everything on the plate including the beans and rice, I finally gave up my plate.  

MICHELINOS CAFE IS LOCATED ON THE RIVER WALK IN SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS














LOS BARRIOS - SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS

LOS BARRIOS 
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS

After seeing the Battle of the Puffy Taco's on The Food Network, I had to visit Los Barrios when I visited San Antonio, Texas.  Los Barrios won the competition versus Bobby Flay.  I did my research, wrote down the address and phone number and ventured from my hotel to find a cab driver who could find the place.  I told the first cab driver to take me to Los Barrios and without hesitation he said o.k. and told me the food was great there.  I had no idea where we were going  or how far it was.  We got on the freeway and traveled a few miles towards the airport.  Then we took an exit that led into a not so great neighborhood and traveled through a residential/light commercial neighborhood in the middle of what to me was nowhere.  There was a paint store on one corner a auto mechanic across the street and then the huge sign that announced we had arrived at Los Barrios.  The cab drive one way was $15.  I asked the cab driver if it would be easy to catch a cab back to the hotel after lunch.  He said that he would wait for me without charge.  I arrived just before 11:00 a.m. and thought that the place would be closed until 11:00.  To my surprise the place was open and already filling up on one side of the restaurant.  The reception area of the restaurant was turned into a shrine of flowers and photographs of the founder of the restaurant.  Sadly, she was murdered just a few days before my visit.  You could tell the staff was in grief, but they proudly and efficiently kept the business going despite their great loss.  I was quickly served hot chips and a hot salsa that kept me drinking water and thirsting for more of the heat.  The menu at Los Barrios has all the Mexican favorites; tacos, enchiladas, chalupa's, burritos, fajitas, tamales as well as continental cuisine that includes steaks, fish, shrimp and chicken dishes with a Mexican flare.  I opted for the lunch special which included a chicken enchilada, chicken puffy taco and beans and rice.  All for $5.25.  That is it $5.25.  My cab fare was more expensive than the meal.  The enchilada was great.  The chicken puffy taco was also terrific.  The taco was served on a deep fried corn  tortilla then topped with seasoned shredded chicken, lettuce and tomato.  Simple and delicious.  I could not leave without trying the beef puffy taco so I ordered one on the side for $2.50.   I was expecting shredded beef but was surprised to see ground beef in the taco.  The beef was a little watery but had some taste.  I would suggest the chicken puffy taco over the beef.  All in all I loved Los Barrios and can't wait to return someday.  

LOS BARRIOS MEXICAN CUISINE IN SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS IS HOME TO THE PUFFY TACO
MY FIRST EVER PUFFY TACO AT LOS BARRIOS