Sunday, July 26, 2009
SIDE STREET INN
Welcome to a new version of my blog complete with video. I picked up a Flip Video Device that is about the size off a cell phone. It fits in your pocket and shoots high definition video with a touch of a button. The video is easily downloaded onto the computer. You can make and send a video in a matter of minutes. There are no tapes or memory cards either. This will allow me to shoot video clips when we travel and dine. Turn down a back street near Ala Moana Center and you find a little gem housed between a bunch of seedy bars. Forget about parking here. There just is not much around. Lucky they offer a valet right in front for $5.00. The valet workers are courteous and fast. Once you enter Side Street you will notice that it is an odd shaped place. The tables go from room to room in different shapes. There are flat screen tv's everywhere playing sports. You can sit at the bar and order food or drinks. I like the booths for a little privacy. This is a hot spot with people constantly coming in and going out. The waitresses are all veterans and know how to work in a fast paced environment. They smile and really provide excellent service given how busy they are. The food is without compare. Most of the items are large portions and are meant to be shared. At Side Street you just order a bunch of plates and eat family style with everyone having a little bit of everything. This trip we ordered the Spinach Salad. A huge mound of spinach topped with large chunks of bacon, onion, egg and shredded mozzarella cheese. Add a great tasting dressing and you have what could be the best spinach salad in town. The fried rice is definitely the best in town. A huge bowl of perfectly cooked rice jam packed with ham, pork, portuguese sausage, carrots, onions and then topped with sliced green onion. Simply amazing and always enough to bring home extra for tomorrows breakfast. We tried the Escargot with puff pastry. Large snails stuffed into a mushroom cap and then smothered in garlic and cheese. Sinful but delicious. The Pork Sliders were off the hook good. Kalua Pork stuffed in a chinese style bun and topped with bbq sauce and a slice of pineapple. You get three for around $9. Awesome! If you just want to enjoy a cold beer and some stick to your ribs local food. This is the place to go.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
I have been waiting a year for Buffalo Wild Wings to open. While I have never been to one on the mainland, the thought of a good beer and wing joint in Hawaii was exciting. We ventured out on a Saturday night (5:00) to get our first taste of a Buffalo Wild Wing. The Honolulu location is on Ala Moana Boulevard on the second story of Discovery Bay. A tough location for any restaurant. Parking in the building is $1.00 for four hours. The lot is very tight and not meant for large trucks or SUV's. Despite the parking we arrived to find a line out the door. The wait was over one hour we were told by the host. I was not going to stand around for an hour just to try some wings so we left and returned on a Sunday around noon. Much better. There was no wait and the place was about half empty. We were seated in a booth surrounded by flat screen t.v.'s. There must be 40-50 flat screens in the joint. They are everywhere. Sports of all kinds to watch while you sip your cold brew and chew on some wings. The restaurant is very large with a small bar in the back. The ceilings and floor are black and lighting is minimal. This is probably so you can see the t.v.'s without glare. It works. The pictures are great. We reviewed the menu which includes burgers, ribs, fried shrimp, salads, pulled pork and chicken sandwiches, flatbreads and other fried bar food. I was here for the wings and went directly to the wing choices. You can order your wings standard or boneless. There are 14 different wing sauces to choose from: Sweet BBQ, Teriyaki, Mild, Parmesan Garlic, Medium, Honey BBQ, Spicy Garlic, Asian Zing, Caribbean Jerk, Hot BBQ, Hot, Mango Habanero, Wild and Blazin. We went for the hot wings and ordered (6) each of the Hot, Mango Habanero and Wild. I held back on the hottest version until I sampled these. The wings are about $1 each. They come with bleu cheese or ranch dressing and celery according to the menu. We did not receive any celery on any of our orders. The wings are very small with just a little bit of meat. The Hot wings were covered in a red sauce and had the best flavor and a late kick heat that was good. The Mango Habanero had some heat but were really sweet. I did not like the sweet taste and moved onto the "Wild" wings. The Wild wings differ from the "Hot" wings a bit because there is not as much sauce on the Wild version. The heat comes slowly. With these three versions down, I asked the waitress to bring six of the "Blazin" wings. These are the hottest available and come with a warning to keep away from your eyes, pets and body parts. There is a warning sticker on the paper basket they serve them in. The waitress said good luck and I dug in with a knife and fork. You could smell the heat on these babies. The first bite reminded me of habanero peppers. The heat came fast and continued. After two I was hot. My mouth was on fire. The third one went down and I threw in the towel. I had met my heat limit for the day. Next time I will stick to the "Hot" and "Wild" and go at night so I can enjoy some of the ice cold Coors they were pushing on special. UPDATE: Went back on week night and had terrific service. The wings came out fast and included celery. Knocked back a few cold brews and they were great. Tried the flatbread. It is like a pizza served on a flour tortilla. We had it with chicken and wing sauce. It was good but had way too much cheese on it. Three people at the table could not take all the cheese. We left 3/4 of the thing on the table. Not worth taking home. I would order again but tell the waiter to go very easy on the cheese. The wings were really good the second time. I decided that the "hot" wings were the perfect combo of flavor and heat.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
When my friend Brigete asked me to join her for a business breakfast I said no because I rarely eat breakfast. She persisted and recommended that we meet at Longhi's at Ala Moana Center. Longhi's for breakfast? Never heard of such a thing. Thought they just served lunch and dinner. I drove on over and took the elevator that takes you up to the restaurant. As soon as you get out of the elevator you enter a huge open space overlooking Ala Moana beach. It is really pretty and a great place to start your day. We were seated and given menu's. This does not feel like a breakfast place. There were probably only 8 other diners in the place. A private Oasis in the middle of a huge mall. Very relaxing. The breakfast menu surprised me. It was filled with great choices like steak and eggs, fresh fish and eggs, omelets, frittatas and a great list of eggs benedict. There is the standard benedict with 2 poached eggs on a toasted baguette with sliced ham and hollandaise sauce ($15), Eggs Florentine with spinach and hollandaise ($15), crab cake benedict with poached eggs, Maryland crab cakes and hollandaise ($17.50) and then the Lobster Benedict with poached eggs and Maine lobster ($21). Waffles here are $8.50 and Pancakes will run you around $11. Expensive yes, but was it worth it? I opted for the standard Eggs Benedict. The dish was awesome. One of the best Benedicts I have ever had. The salty ham with the creamy hollandaise and crunchy baguette were perfect. My friend opted for the crab benedict. Wow....two huge crab cakes were loaded on the baguette and then covered in the sauce. She loved every bite. Next time I have to try the lobster benedict. Longhi's for breakfast is a true hidden gem. It is very expensive but the food and view are worth it when you want to splurge.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII
LUANA HILLS COUNTRY CLUB
We were blessed to attend a special fundraiser for the University of Hawaii this week. We were part of a small group of people who were able to meet and eat with former University of Hawaii superstar quarterback Colt Brennan and many other former players who have reached the NFL. All of the Hawaii coaches were there including Head Coach Greg Mc'Mackin and Assistant Head Coach Rich Miano. Rich was actually the guy who invited us. The evening started with a very private meet and greet in a small room away from the crowd. We were able to meet with Colt Brennan who is now playing for the Washington Redskins. Also met Devone Bess (Miami Dolphins), Jake Ingram (New England Patriots), Ryan Mouton (Tennesse Titans) and Ashley Lelei from the Oakland Raiders. As usual Colt was an amazingly humble and giving person. He took time to sign mini helmets, real helmets, hats, footballs and about a dozen photographs we had brought. He did not complain a bit, just kept signing and saying thank you. What a guy Colt is. Truly a good person with a huge heart. Jake, Ryan, Ashley and Devone were as equally gracious. All giving us time, warm smiles and autographs galore. After the signing we joined the players and coaches in a small ballroom. There were standard pupu's that included sashimi, poke, wontons and crab claws. Throw in an open bar and the night got started on a good note. The evenings buffet included fish, chicken and prime rib. Not too bad. Coach Mike Smith former NFL player and now our linebacker coach joined our table for dinner. He shared some stories from his days at Texas Tech and in the NFL. Great guy who is down to earth and still rooted in his Texas values. The night was capped off with a authentic Warrior football helmet signed by all the coaching staff and Colt Brennan.
|COLT BRENNAN WITH MY LOVELY BRIDE|
|ENTIRE FAMILY LOVES COLT BRENNAN|
STORTO'S DELI AND SANDWICH SHOPPE
I was so excited to see that a new Sub Sandwich shop had opened on Waialae Avenue in Kaimuki. Perhaps finally I would be able to enjoy a good sub close to home. When the local Subway is the best in town you know things are bad. Hawaii just lacks good pizza and sub sandwich joints. It was tough to park at Storto's. They have only four stalls in back of the restaurant. Getting in and out of the lot can be dangerous as it fronts Waialae Avenue. We attempted to get in the lot but had to back down the hill and exit because another car was coming out. Parking next door also was impossible so we opted to park across the street at the Times Supermarket. Walking across Waialae Avenue with no light is dangerous so I thought the sandwich better be good. Once inside Storto's we noticed all the posters on the wall are from the North Shore of Oahu. Turns out there is a Storto's in Haliewa that has been serving surfers for over 30 years. Wow...this should be good. The subs on the menu are named after North Shore surfing spots. We tried the Velzyland ($6.75 for Half 8"). This sub came with pepperoni, ham and salami. Also tried the Perry's with roast beef, turkey and pastrami. The Perry was pretty bland and tasteless even though I ordered it with lettuce, tomato, onions, mustard and Italian dressing. There was just no taste. Could not distinguish the meats, cheese or even the dressing. Bland....bland...bland. Same goes for the Velzyland. Bland...bland....bland... It is like taking meats from Costco and slapping them between two pieces of bread. No originality, nothing to add flavor and nothing to write home about. I could honestly make a better sandwich at home for less money. The 15" subs are $12.50 to $16.50. You gotta be kidding. Way too much money for such minimal taste. I won't have to worry about the parking here again because I will not be returning.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
ROY'S 4TH OF JULY CELEBRATION
Wow......what a magical evening of fine food, wine and great people. We were very blessed to enjoy the 4th of July at Roy's in Hawaii Kai. The evening was capped off with a huge fireworks display right in front of our table which was on the lawn fronting Roy's restaurant. It really does not get much better than this. We dined on a wide variety of finger foods that were presented at food stations both inside and outside of Roy's. There were Lamb Burgers, BBQ Ribs, Crab Cakes, Shrimp Skewers, Lobster Hot Dogs, Soft Shell Crab Burgers, Grilled Oysters, Corn on the Cob and lots of other great dishes. There was also Cotton Candy and Carmel Apples for the kids. Plus fresh Lemonade and Root Beer Floats. Roy himself was there to meet guests and enjoy the evening. Roy is a very humble and relaxed man. I have never seen a restaurant owner this relaxed and at ease with his customers. With 39 Roy's Restaurants all over the World, he is a true celebrity chef and accomplished businessman. Roy's staff is remarkable. Hard working, polite and gracious at every level. I cannot wait until next year. We will be there early to get the eight person table under the tree on the front lawn. This was a private oasis over looking the bay. Back to the food. The Ribs were fantastic. My wife loved the Soft Shell Crab Burgers. Think she had at least two. Our friends truly enjoyed the Grilled Oysters and just about everything else.
|MET CHEF ROY YAMAGUCHI|
Labels: ROYS 4th of july celebration party RESTAURANT HAWAII FOURTH OF JULY PARTY ROY'S HAWAII KAI 4TH OF JULY CELEBRATION