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Sunday, June 20, 2010

FATHERS DAY AT HOME 2010

FATHERS DAY AT HOME
HONOLULU, HI


I am a very blessed man. Woke up to the two most beautiful woman in the world today. Had a Eggs Benedict breakfast served with fresh strawberries. After church we came home and worked on the computer, played some volleyball and did some reading. To cap off the day my lovely bride made me a huge lobster dinner with rice, salad and fresh vegetables. This lobster was huge and delicious. I would write more but my girls just presented me with some chocolate covered strawberries.

NICE LOBSTER TAIL FOR DAD
EGGS BENEDICT FOR BREAKFAST

AIR FORCE ONE - REAGAN LIBRARY

AIR FORCE ONE
RONALD REAGAN LIBRARY
SIMI VALLEY, CA

The beautiful Boeing 707 with tail number 27000 dramatically fills an air conditioned space at the Reagan Library. Richard Nixon was the first President to fly aboard 27000. Ford, Carter, Reagan, H.W. Bush, Clinton and W. Bush all used this historic piece of aviation history. The President now flies in a Boeing 747 with tail number 28000. Air Force One was disassembled over a nine week period by a nine-person crew from Boeing. The plane was transported to the Reagan Library by truck and the reassembled in 2003. The Air Force One Pavilion opened to the public in 2005. You can walk through the plane and see where our Commander and Chief conducted business. We could not take photos inside the aircraft. The Pavilion also includes Marine One Helicopter and a replica of a Presidential motorcade complete with Presidential limo, chase vehicle and escort police.

AIR FORCE ONE AT THE REAGAN LIBRARY
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THE OVAL OFFICE - REAGAN LIBRARY

REAGAN LIBRARY
SIMI VALLEY, CA

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley is a must do when in California if you are a Republican and love Ronald Reagan. The library is beautiful set amidst the rolling hills of California. Within the library is an exact replica of Ronald Reagan's Oval Office from the White House.

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WINE STEALS - SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA

WINE STEALS

SAN DIEGO, CA

We left the Padre Baseball game and walked around the block to center field. Right near the park was a great little wine bar called Wine Steals. This place is great. It is a wine store and bar/restaurant. You walk the isles and pick a bottle of vino and then belly up to the bar. The bartender (who was fantastic) opens the wine and tells you about it. We enjoyed a great tasting cheese plate and flat bread pizza. Great way to end the evening.

WINE STEALS ROCKS
DRINK AND BUY WINE AT WINE STEALS
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Saturday, June 19, 2010

THE CLAIM JUMPER

CLAIM JUMPER
ANAHEIM, CA

We planned a dinner to see my Mom, brother and sister a few days before my mom had some surgery. Turns out 16 family members turned out for a great dinner at the Claim Jumper. I love the Claim Jumper because they have large portions, fair prices, good food and a nice salad bar. Prior to my arrival we called the family to tell them to order some appetizers because we were running late from the airport. The appetizer platters were on the tables when we arrived. The combo platters ($19.95) included chicken wings, potato skinsparmesan Zucchini Spears, Mozzarella Sticks, Onion Rings, Egg Rolls and Fire-Roasted Artichoke with dipping sauces. After that, I was in for only the salad bar ($10.75). The table enjoyed a variety of dishes. The Prime Rib ($26.95), Full Rack of Pork Ribs ($22.95) and Turkey Supper ($13.95) looked really good. Others feasted on Prime Sirloin ($18.95) and New York Steak ($25.95). I did try the Tomato and Basil Pizza ($9.95). It was terrible because there was no red sauce. No sauce equal no flavor in my book. Citrus Serano Shrimp Pasta ($15.95), BBQ Chicken Salad ($10.95) and Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo ($9.95) were also consumed with happiness. My nephew loved the "Widow Maker Burger". Applewood smoked bacon, hand-battered onion rings, avocado, double thick Tillamook cheddar, may and relish on a half pound patty ($10.95). The desserts here were amazing starting with the Chocolate Mother Load Cake ($9.95). This is a twenty two year tradition at the Claim Jumper. Six decadent layers of chocolate cake and rich chocolate fudge icing topped with walnuts. This cake was named one of the five most decadent desserts by the Food Network. I loved it. We tried the Chocolate Chip Calzone ($7.50). Baked fresh in the stone hearth oven with white chocolate and bittersweet chocolate chips, vanilla bean ice cream and homemade whipped cream. The Warm English Coffee Cake ($3.95) had rich brown sugar and date cake nestled in warm toffee sauce with ice cream and whipped cream. Last but not least came the Carmel Apple Cream Cheese Pie ($7.50).  What a great meal with the family. I was able to listen to great stories from my sisters husband Dane and got caught up with my newly retired brother, hard working sister and mom along with their kids.






















SPLASH MOUNTAIN - DISNEYLAND

SPLASH MOUNTAIN
DISNEYLAND, CA

We had the absolute best trip to Disneyland ever because Keli is now 9 years old and could enjoy all the rides. One of her favorite is Splash Mountain. Watch the video and see the ride. That is not me screaming, probably the guy behind me.

THE BEST PART OF SPLASH MOUNTIAN
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COCINA CUCAMONGA - CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE PARK

COCINA CUCAMONGA
CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE PARK



We had to try the Mexican food at California Adventure Park next to Disneyland. It was actually pretty good for amusement park grub. I had a steak burrito that was full of marinated meat.

COCINA CUCAMONGA AT CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE PARK
STEAK BURRITO
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BIG THUNDER RANCH BBQ - DISNEYLAND

BIG THUNDER RANCH BBQ
DISNEYLAND, CA

Hidden away near the Big Thunder ride at Disneyland is an absolutely great place to eat. I mean really good. Excellent. Fantastic. This place is the bomb for BBQ. While a little pricy at about $20 per person, it is an "all you can eat" deal and the food is GREAT.  The wait staff begins by bringing a bucket filled with bbq ribs and chicken. Then follows with bowls of cole slaw, baked beans and corn bread. The meal includes drinks served in canning jars. I absolutely loved the ribs and chicken. Full of great bbq taste. Looks like they have a dry rub and follow it up with a wet sauce. What ever they did it works. Probably some of the best BBQ I have ever had. The BBQ rib meat falls off the bone. The chicken surprised me because the flavor penetrated deep into the meat and was not only on the skin. Even the beans and slaw were great. Everyone loved the corn bread too. End the meal with crisp slices of water melon and you have one of the best meals you can buy at Disneyland. My only complaint is that I was not that hungry. Wish I could have enjoyed much ...much more.

TASTE OF HAWAII FAVORITE.  
Click below for another post on Big Thunder Ranch BBQ



































VIDEO OF BIG THUNDER RANCH BBQ

RALPH BRENNAN'S JAZZ KITCHEN - ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA

RALPH BRENNAN'S JAZZ KITCHEN
ANAHEIM, CA (Disney Walk)

I really enjoyed our dinner at Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen. The conversation with my socialist friend who lives in L.A. couldn't even ruin my appetite. We were seated in the middle courtyard right next to the fountain in the picture. The wait staff was excellent and really kept our food coming. We started with the Bourbon Street Sampler ($15).  This included BBQ pork sliders, Creole Calamari, Coconut Shrimp, Blackened Spring Rolls. The BBQ sliders were delicious. We tried the Filet Mignon Muffuletta ($12). Filet Mignon on a rosemary ciabatta bread, hothouse tomatoes, olive oil and provolone cheese. This was o.k. but nowhere as good as the Muffuletta's served in New Orleans. The BBQ Gulf Shrimp ($11) tasted just like New Orleans. Great peppery sauce and large fresh shrimp. I had the Pasta Jambalaya for my entree ($24). Gulf Shrimp, Andouille Sausage, Roasted Chicken served on a bed of spinach linguine. This dish was the bomb. The pasta was cooked to perfection. Loved the Creole sauce. My socialist friend had the Salmon with Crab ($26). Must have been good because he devoured the entire plate. The Seafood Jambalaya ($27) was too salty to eat. We mentioned this to the waiter but he really didn't seem to care and did not offer an alternative. All in all, the food here was good. I would recommend this place if you are visiting Disneyland or the Anaheim area.

RALPH BRENNAN'S JAZZ KITCHEN

A SLICE OF NEW ORLEANS IN ANAHEM




BAY CITIES DELI - SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA

BAY CITIES DELI
SANTA MONICA, CA


After seeing the "Godmother" sandwich featured on the Food Network as one of the best things between bread, I just had to find the place and have a bite. My GPS took us right from Philippe in Downtown Los Angeles to Bay Cities in Santa Monica. This place is so busy that they have a parking attendant in the lot making sure people get in and out quickly. I liked this place the moment I walked in.  It is actually a deli, bakery and store. While you wait for your sandwich, you can walk the isles and see some really good food items. I took a number and waited at least thirty minutes before my number was called. I approached the counter and ordered the Godmother with The Works - mayo, yellow mustard, dijon mustard, onions, pickles, tomato, lettuce, peppers and Italian dressing. Once I had this prized possession in hand we grabbed one of the outside tables in front of the deli. The first thing you notice is the fresh baked Italian Roll. This is a delicious and chewy bread that just makes the sandwich pop with flavor. I could taste all of the ingredients. The meat, cheese, veggies and great Italian dressing. This is the bomb of a sandwich. I think the sandwich cost around $8 or $9.

BAY CITIES DELI IN SANTA MONICA
THE GODMOTHER IS AWESOME!
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MINNOW CAFE - SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA

MINNOW CAFE
SANTA BARBARA



My Dad and his wife know that my family loves to try tacos whenever we travel. Upon our arrival in Santa Barbara they quickly took us to a great little hole in the wall on a small pier. We tried a steak taco and a fish taco. Both were delicious. What a great spot to sit outside and dine too. I enjoyed both types of tacos and the chips with hot sauce. One tub of hot sauce really had a kick. I could not stop eating it. Minnow is a best kept secret in Santa Barbara according to many web reviews. I would gladly return to this little spot

THE MINNOW CAFE IN SANTA BARBARA
JUST A SMALL PLACE NEAR THE WATER
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PHILIPPE FRENCH DIPPED SANDWICH - LOS ANGELES

PHILIPPE FRENCH DIPPED SANDWICH
LOS ANGELES, CA


Philippe The Original was established in 1908 and is one of the oldest and most well known restaurants in Los Angeles. In 1918, the owner dropped a french roll into a roasting pan filled with juice still hot from the oven. A policeman said that he would take the sandwich anyway and the French Dipped Sandwich was born. The restaurant is quite large when you get inside and the floor is covered in saw dust. You stand in line and then order at the huge deli counter. The staff was very courteous and our food came out quickly. We tried a Beef Dip ($5.75) and a Pork Dip ($5.75). The sandwiches were filled with meat and soaking the "jus". I liked the Beef Dip with the famous Philippe home made mustard. A bit spicy with a kick. The Cole Slaw ($1.15) was really tangy but good. We tried the Chiken & Wild Rice Soup of the Day ($2.35). My girls said it was one of the best they have ever tasted. There are also Lamb, Ham and Turkey Dipped Sandwiches on the menu as well as salads, Chili and Stew. This was a must do for me while in Los Angeles. Just had to go here once to try it. Would love to return someday for another world famous French Dip.

PHILIPPE FRENCH DIPPED SANDWICH IN LOS ANGELES
THE SANDWICHES ARE GOOD HERE




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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

HARBOR RESTAURANT - SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA

HARBOR RESTAURANT
SANTA BARBARA, CA


We hit Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara on a cool summer night at sunset. This is a beautiful part of California and the restaurant overlooks the beach. It does not get much better. We were greeted by a happy and professional staff that set the tone for a wonderful evening. We were seated at a table in the shape of a sail boat and complete with sail. We started with some Fried Calamari ($13). Large pieces of squid battered to perfection. This was followed by Steamed Clams ($15) that were large and flavorful. The next appetizer blew my socks off. It was so good that I have been thinking about it everyday. The dish was Lobster Mac and Cheese ($19). Large pieces of lobster tail served in a not too cheesy but creamy Mac and Cheese. Absolutely the bomb. I would go back to Santa Barbara just to eat this dish. I had a cup of Clam Chowder ($8) that was just delicious. Filled with clams, creamy and delicious. My Nephew had the Prime Rib ($29) and it looked fantastic. He loved every bite. My daughter ordered the Caesar Salad ($9). It was presented like no other I have ever seen. Standing up and tied together with a green onion. Very impressive presentation. The Salmon ($26) and Halibut ($34) were pricey but beautifully presented and I was told very delicious. The Linguini Pescato ($24) with clams, fish and calamari was absolutely delicious. The pasta was cooked perfectly and the seafood was excellent. We ended the meal with a huge Cookie Monster ($8) which was ice cream sandwiched between a really good chocolate chip cookie and covered in whip creme. The absolute bomb of a dessert. The cookie was warm and soft. Not hard like every other place I have had this type of dessert. This was an incredible meal with family. One of the best if not THE BEST of our entire trip. Cannot wait to return. While the prices are a bit high, this is great quality, presentation and service. Could be a TASTE OF HAWAII FAVORITE








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PARADISE CAFE - SANTA BARBARA, CA

PARADISE CAFE
SANTA BARBARA, CA



I was quite surprised to see a long line and packed house on a Tuesday night at Paradise Cafe in Santa Barbara. The restaurant was filled with 30 to 50 something locals dressed in shorts, slacks and many Aloha Shirts. Very comfortable. The restaurant is actually a small house that was transformed into a restaurant featuring patio dining and a Oak Wood Grill. We were seated in a small room near the back. Nice space but very noisy. That was not a problem. We enjoyed a nice glass of happy hour priced Chardonnay for $5 a glass. The waiter was a total moron and should not have been given a table of two yet alone our table of 6. The other staff members helped out and did a good job. I jumped on a Filet of Tenderloin ($24.95). It was oak grilled and basted with garlic and herbs then covered in some tasteless mushrooms. The steak was good but did not need the mushroom stuff. The dish was served with fresh vegetables and mashed potatoes that were horribly presented. Perhaps because they were so busy. I started with a Greek Salad for $3 more. The salad was large but lacked flavor. The dressing did not taste good or add to the salad. My Dad woofed down a large T-Bone Porterhouse ($29.95) and loved it. The Lamb Chops ($24.95) were also a hit. My wife had the Filet of Beef with Jumbo Prawns ($32.95). She said it was cooked perfectly and delicious. The Artichoke was a big winner but at $9.95 a bit expensive. The Artichoke was grilled, basted with lemon butter and filled with roma tomato salad and dressed with olive oil and lemon juice. We ended the meal with a slice of Paradise Pie ($4.95). This was great. I would like to return for a second meal at the Paradise Cafe. This was a terrific evening with family that I really love and cherish. Thanks Dad, Heide and Robby.

PARADISE CAFE IN SANTA BARBARA


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Monday, June 14, 2010

PETCO FIELD SAN DIEGO

PETCO FIELD
SAN DIEGO, CA

When in San Diego you must catch a Padre Baseball game at Petco Field. The field is right smack in the middle of downtown. Surrounding the park are dozens of restaurants and bars that make this the place to be. We had great seats on the field level but left them to enjoy the sights of the many bars and restaurants throughout the park. There are so many places to hang out and watch the game. I was surprised to find a bar that was packed inside and tables outside where you can watch the game and order a cold brew and food. We enjoyed a few cold beverages and talked with locals about baseball of course. The Padres did win the game which is nice.

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CASA DE REYES - SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA















CASA DE REYES
OLD TOWN, SAN DIEGO

Located in a courtyard in Old Town San Diego is a great Mexican Restaurant called Casa De Reyes. The food here is authentic and delicious San Diego style Mexican. The Beef Rolled Tacos ($7.95) are the best. Shredded Beef rolled in a corn tortilla and then topped with cheese and salsa. The Tostada Tapas Platter ($8.95) has three good size Tostadas that is great as a table appetizer. You get a beef, chicken and steak tostada. All filled with great flavor. My wife enjoyed a Shrimp Taco and Carne Asada Taco ($10.70) served with rice and beans. My friend had the Carnitas Plate and he said it was quite simply the best ($12.95). This was really good food in a great outdoor patio setting. I loved the chips and salsa and would go back tomorrow for the rolled tacos. Also loved the tostadas and beans. Excellent food and great service from Carmen.





THE BRIGANTINE SEAFOOD - SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA






BRIGANTINE SEAFOOD
SAN DIEGO, CA

I had dined at the Brigantine for years when living in Cardiff by the Sea. It was nice to return many years later with good friends and a table full of great kids. My friend Darryl, his wife Heather and twin boys and girl joined my family and best friend Toye for one of the best dinners of our trip. We feasted on a variety of seafood dishes and enjoyed the best fish taco around. That is right. THE BEST FISH TACO AROUND IS AT THE BRIGANTINE. The fish tacos are off the hook awesome. The batter is light and the sauce is perfect. Cannot figure out why these fish tacos are so good. Everyone agrees that the Brigantine makes the best fish tacos ($7). Our meal started with fresh Fanny Bay, Hood Canal and Blue Point Oysters ($24). These babies were fresh and super delicious. We followed the fresh oysters with 12 Oyster Shooters ($33). Small oysters served in a shot glass with cocktail sauce and horseradish. Simply perfect combination of flavors. I tried a cup of clam chowder ($4.25). It was very thick and filled with clams. Has a distinct smokey taste. The garlic cheese bread ($5) was covered in a ton of cheese and a hit at the table. The calamari strips ($8) were good but nothing to write home about. We also tried Steamed Clams ($13). Kind of small and served in a ton of broth. The kids Mac and Cheese was a hit ($5), but the adult version of Mac and Cheese with Alaskan King Crab ($18) was the bomb. The kids also enjoyed Fish n' Chips ($5) and Sliders ($5). The kids loved everything. Round out the night with the Oysters Brigantine ($15) and a piece of the Brigs famous Mud Pie ($6.50) and you have a great meal served amongst good friends and family. Our waitress (Tara) was great and handled the large table well. THE FISH TACOS HERE ARE A TASTE OF HAWAII FAVORITE.



Sunday, June 13, 2010

JUANITAS TACO SHOP - ENCINITAS
















JUANITA'S TACO SHOP
ENCINITAS, CA

Wow what a treat to go back to my favorite taco shop in San Diego. I have been loving Juanita's for over twenty years. Like Rubio's, it is one of the places nearest and dearest to my heart in San Diego. My wife absolutely loves Jaunita's. She confirms my opinion that this place has the best carne asada burritos on the planet. Also the best rolled tacos with guacamole. The burritos here are filled with a pound or more of meat. Then covered in guacamole and pico. You add some hot sauce and BOOM - this is the BOMB. The absolute burrito bomb. Nothing can compare. Everything is good here. It is truly one of the amazing grind places of my life. The place has not changed a bit in twenty years. They still have hot carrots with jalepenos on the counter. Eat as much as you want for free. I always fill up a bag of the carrots. Hot and spicy and delicious.
THIS IS A TASTE OF HAWAII ALL TIME FAVORITE HALL OF FAME.
Links and video to more posts on Juanitas Taco Shop below:
http://greateatshawaii.blogspot.com/2011/04/juanitas-taco-shop-encinitas.html
http://greateatshawaii.blogspot.com/2012/10/juanitas-taco-shop-encinitas-california.html

RUBIO'S FISH TACOS

















RUBIO'S FISH TACO

There are very few places that I can say that I have been eating at whenever possible for over twenty years. I was addicted to Rubio's Fish Tacos when I lived in San Diego in the 1980's. Back then, they had a limited menu featuring the best fish tacos on earth. We would eat at the Rubio's near San Diego State on a weekly basis. All we ever ordered was the fish taco. Nothing else. The Rubio's menu today includes burritos, tacos and most other Mexican staples. I am a purist when it comes to Rubio's. Fish tacos and nothing else. Rubio's uses a beer batter to coat the fish. The taco is served on a corn tortilla that is the perfect thickness so it does not break when you eat it. The white sauce and cabbage make it the fish taco of my youth. They have added a salsa bar now where you can get four different salsas with four different heat levels. The bar also includes jalepenos, hot carrots and cilantro and onion garnish that is great on the tacos. I love the hot red sauce. It is what takes the taco to another level. This is a good fish taco and always consistent.
Click link below to view updated post on Rubio's Fish Taco;

IN N OUT BURGER

IN N OUT BURGER
CALIFORNIA

In N Out has a cult like following in California. This no frills burger joint has the smallest menu on the planet. Burgers, Fries and Soda. That is it. The Cheeseburger is the best deal in America at $2.10. You get a freshly made burger with onion, lettuce, tomato and sauce served up on a lightly toasted bun. Absolutely the best $2.00 burger on the planet. For $1.35 you can get a big basket of fresh french fries. The fries are fresh and never frozen. My friends tell me you can order the fries overcooked if you want more crunch. At In N Out you can order a double, triple, quad or as many beef patties as you want. They add like $1.00 per pattie and make them as big as you want. This is a fantastic burger at an even more fantastic price.  TASTE OF HAWAII FAVORITE

CLICK LINKS BELOW TO FOLLOW OTHER VISITS TO IN N OUT BURGER

THE FAMOUS IN N OUT BURGER SIGN IS ALWAYS A GREAT SITE FOR ME

















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GUADALAHARAS MEXICAN FOOD - SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA

GUADALAHARAS MEXICAN RESTAURANT
OLD TOWN - SAN DIEGO, CA

Meeting up with four old friends from San Diego was a great treat. Another treat was the food at Guadalaharas in Old Town. As you enter the restaurant, there is a station where ladies make fresh tortillas by hand. This is really good Mexican food. The beans, rice, chips, salsa are all fantastic. Our table started with rolled tacos with chicken and fresh home made guacamole. Delicious. I opted for a chicken enchilada with red sauce and shredded beef taco. Shirley had carne asada taco and our friends enjoyed chicken and beef fajitas and fish tacos. This place is so authentic that they even had the World Cup soccer game on in spanish. No habla english. Food and company were fantastic here.




HODADS BURGER - OCEAN BEACH, CALIFORNIA



HODADS
OCEAN BEACH, CA

If you like Burgers, Hodads is a destination not to be missed on a visit to San Diego. We arrived in the afternoon and there was a huge line down the block. People waiting for an hour just to buy a burger. We waited for a few minutes and then figured out that you could order to go at the counter and then take your food out. This option proved to be brilliant as we got our food in about 15-20 minutes and then enjoyed the burgers on the beach. Eating a Hodads burger is an experience. The mammoth burgers come with huge slices of tomato and onion, pickles, lettuce, mayo, mustard and Ketchup. We went for the Single Cheeseburger ($5.25) and also tried the French Fries ($4.25) and Onion Rings ($6.25). You can order double burgers with extra cheese and bacon for a few bucks more. For $100.00 you can get the All you Can Eat burgers and hang out all day. The burgers here a juicy and delicious. Probably one of the best I have ever eaten. You can taste all of the ingredients. The blending of the mayo, ketchup and mustard works well and oozes from the burger with each happy bite. This is pure food heaven folks. Just does not get any better in the burger world. We tried the Onion Rings. Huge slices of onion battered and fried. Served up with a generous helping of tarter type sauce. The portion was huge. The fries here are also excellent. Wedge cut pieces cooked until golden brown. Nice crunch and potato taste. The portions were very large and we ended up giving a heavy bag of fries and onion rings to a homeless guy enjoying a bottle of vodka on the sidewalk.
HODADS IS A TASTE OF HAWAII FAVORITE.