NEW BLOG FEATURE

NEW: VIEW RIGHT SIDE TAB AND SELECT
CITY FOR TASTE OF HAWAII FAVORITES!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

HALE VIETNAM VIETNAMESE RESTAURANT

HALE VIETNAM
VIETNAMESE RESTAURANT
HONOLULU, HAWAII

The Kaimuki neighborhood just east of Waikiki is home to dozens of restaurants.  You can find most every ethic cuisine here.  There is Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Italian, Indian, French, Lao and everything in between with the exception of a good Pizza Parlor and Sub Shop.  One of our "go to" places for a quick and delicious lunch or dinner is Hale Vietnam.  This is a neighborhood gem that has been there for years.  Always filled with locals slurping up big bowls of Pho.  Pho is a Vietnamese Soup that includes noodles, broth and meat.  I always go with the Rare Steak and Brisket.  My daughter loves the Beef Balls.  The Pho is served with a large plate of fresh basil, bean sprouts, lemon and jalapenos.  I pile the bean sprouts, a little basil and the jalapenos into my soup and add a good helping of hot sauce.  The Rare Steak is served raw and cooks in the broth.  The brisket is fully cooked and adds a lot of flavor to the Pho.  Eating a bowl of Pho is very relaxing for me.  I like to take my time and just enjoy the broth and flavors of the vegetables and meat.  I rarely finish an entire bowl but always polish off all of the meats and sprouts.  A bowl of Pho here runs around $8 for a medium size bowl and $9 for a large bowl.  Usually split a bowl with my daughter so this is a very affordable lunch or dinner.  We always go with the Spring Rolls ($11).  They are filled with various meats and vegetables and served with lettuce, cucumber, basil, mint, noodles and pickled carrots and daikon.  My daughter loves the noodles and eats the entire portion as an appetizer.  I take the Spring Rolls and make up a burrito like dish.  Place the Spring Roll in the lettuce and add the other veggies.  Top with fish sauce and hot sauce and roll up like a burrito and dig in.  This is one of my favorite dishes at Thai and Vietnamese restaurants.  We like Hale Vietnam and recommend it.

GREAT NEIGHBORHOOD RESTAURANT IN KAIMUKI
IMPERIAL ROLLS
WRAP THE ROLL IN LETTUCE AND ADD MINT, BASIL, CUCUMBER,
CARROT, DAIKON, FISH SAUCE AND HOT SAUCE
SPRING ROLL BURRITO
RARE STEAK AND BRISKET PHO WITH BASIL, BEAN SPROUTS,
LEMON WEDGES AND JALAPENOS
NICE BOWL OF PHO

SOUL CUISINE WITH ALOHA AND SPICE

ENTRANCE OF WAIALAE AVENUE
SOUL CUISINE WITH
ALOHA AND SPICE
HONOLULU, HAWAII


I was somewhat surprised when the cover of Honolulu Magazine hailed Soul Cuisine as Best New Restaurant in January of 2011.  I have always heard great reviews about Chef Sean Priester when he was the Executive Chef at a well known Waikiki eatery. I had read that from the fame and spotlight in Waikiki, he traded for a Food Truck called Soul Patrol.  The Food Truck lead to a stand alone small restaurant in a very tight and crowded strip of restaurants across from City Mill on Waialae Avenue.  Parking is scarce so we opted to park in the City Mill lot where they charge $5.  It is a bit confusing when you enter the space.  On one side there is a Shave Ice business with a counter and on the other side is a counter for Soul.  There are tables outside and a door that has a sign that says wait to be seated.  We opened the door and a girl sat us at a table.  She gave us three different menus.  One regular, one special and one for Saturday breakfast.  It was Saturday night?  She told us that we need to walk back outside to the window to order once we know what we want.  Kind of confusing for first time diners and from the looks of other patrons they did not get the concept either.  The decor at Soul is simple.  Album covers of various Soul Artists on the walls and a television playing a loop of Soul Train from the 70's.  My daughter had never seen Soul Train so she was loving it.  The loop however hit the end and it was never reset.  Bummer.....  I wanted to try Fried Chicken and Waffles so I got up and walked to the counter to see if they were available.  No I was told with no information on when they would be available.  I saw them on the Saturday morning menu and on a sign that said "Fried Chicken and Waffle Wednesdays".  Guess we will be back on a Wednesday.  The Regular Menu has Seafood Gumbo and Grits, Shrimp and Grits, Jambalaya, Pulled Pork Adobo, Southern Vegetarian Chili, BBQ Spare Ribs and Hot Dogs.  Prices range from $4 to $20.  I went off the Saturday Special Menu and chose the Sassy BBQ Chicken Po Boy ($12).  Wow....this thing was massive.  Enough for two people.  Really surprised me.  The sandwich had two or three pieces of boneless chicken smothered in BBQ Sauce and topped with Cheddar Cheese and Cole Slaw.  This Bad Boy was difficult to pick up and eat but when I did get my hands around it I loved every bite.   We ordered a side of the Buttermilk Fried Chicken ($4) just so we could try the chicken.  The Chicken was glossed with Honey which makes it real sticky when you pick it up to eat.  I liked the flavor but the chicken was a bit dry.  We also tried the Bacon Mac and Feta Cheese with Cornbread Au Gratin ($10). This was a huge plate of Mac.  I tried a few bites and found it to be over powered with garlic and a bit dry.  The entire table did not really enjoy the Feta in Mac N' Cheese.  The Smothered Chicken ($15) looked like a mess but the wife said it was good.  This is still to your ribs food.  Nothing light about the dishes and not too many vegetables.  The portions are large and probably good to serve Family Style.  We will return to Soul to try some of the Regular Menu items.  UPDATE:  THIS RESTAURANT HAS CLOSED.
www.pacificsoulhawaii.com
ORDER AT THE COUNTER 
FIND A TABLE INSIDE OR OUTSIDE
MENU - CLICK TO ENLARGE
SATURDAY SPECIAL MENU
SATURDAY BREAKFAST MENU
SASSY BBQ CHICKEN PO BOY WITH COLE SLAW.   LOVED IT!
BUTTERMILK FRIED CHICKEN
SMOTHERED CHICKEN WITH CORN 
BACON MAC AND FETA CHEESE

Saturday, August 27, 2011

UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII STAN SHERIFF CENTER - WAHINE VOLLEYBALL

NEW SCOREBOARD VIDEO SCREEN IS AWESOME

video
VIDEO OF MATCH POINT VS SAN FRANCISCO

UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII
STAN SHERIFF CENTER
RAINBOW WAHINE VOLLEYBALL
OPENING GAME

Next to University of Hawaii Football, the second biggest sport in Hawaii is Wahine Volleyball.  Hawaii continues to lead the nation in attendance year after year.  Opening night was filled with excitement as we have what seems to be a great bunch of veteran players and freshman talent ready to make a run for a National Championship.  While the Wahine did not look spectacular on this first match, they did sweep San Francisco and allow us to go home around 9:00 which is nice.  One new star at the Stan Sheriff Center is the new million dollar scoreboard.  The pictures are crisp and clear.  In fact, you can see every blemish on the players and fans when they are shown on the screen.  Really adds a new dimension to the games. 
GREAT GRAPHICS AND LIVE VIDEO
MR. AND MRS. JACK ITO ENJOY THE GAME

ITALIAN LUNCH IN AN OFFICE

ITALIAN LUNCH
SERVED IN OFFICE
KAHULUI, MAUI


A good friend and customer of mine who wishes to remain nameless is quite a good Italian cook.  He makes his own pasta, grows all his own vegetables, makes his own sausage and bakes his own breads.  Dinners at his house are remarkable.  Well, I visited his office and was presented what we in Hawaii call "Pupus".  Pupus are appetizers but this was a meal.  Home Made Ravioli stuffed with two types of cheese, spinach and another vegetable that I forget.  The fresh pasta melted in my mouth and his home made sauce was the perfect blend of tomato and spice.  The Meatballs were moist and flavorful and the Sausage was delicious.  Nice pieces of Fennel and a hint of red pepper.  This "Pupu" was delicious and filled me up for the day.  My sincere thanks to the Little Long Haired Italian Chef from Haiku, Maui.

BEACH BUMS BAR AND GRILL

LOCATED ON THE HARBOR BELOW MAUI OCEAN CENTER
BEACH BUMS
BAR AND GRILL
MA'ALAEA HARBOR
MAUI, HAWAII 


It's true when they say ask the locals where they eat when visiting a city.  On Maui, some locals that I know love to eat at Beach Bums once a week.  Beach Bums is located directly below the Maui Ocean Center.  In fact, you can park in the Maui Ocean Center parking lot for free and walk down some steps to Ma'alaea Harbor where Beach Bums sits overlooking the harbor.  I was immediately hit with the smell of a smoker when we entered.  Smelled like the Pit BBQ restaurants I have visited on the Mainland.  The smell was delicious.  Since there are absolutely no good BBQ restaurants in Hawaii that I know of, I was captivated by the menu and smell.  While the menu features half pound burgers, fresh fish, salads and a host of other dishes, I just had to try the BBQ.  They serve BBQ Ribs, Brisket, Pulled Pork, Prime Rib and even BBQ Spam.  Our waitress was a true professional.  Took the drink order, brought the drinks and then got right into the menu and took our orders.  I went for the Chopped Brisket Sandwich ($11.95).  The presentation was great.  A huge portion of BBQ Brisket served on a fresh bun with red onion and pickles.  The Cole Slaw side overflowed into a smaller cup.  I immediately tried the Brisket.  Wow.......the bomb.  Absolutely the best Brisket I have had in Hawaii.  Big smokey flavor in a lightly sweet and tangy sauce.  I put the pickles and onion on the sandwich and tried to eat it normally.  This is tough because the Brisket overflows the bun.  When you get a bite of the bun, brisket, onion and pickles all at once it is heaven.  I was making a mess trying to eat this dish as a sandwich so I went to the fork and knife.  Still delicious.  I also liked the Cole Slaw.  Not over soaked in Mayo.  This is really good BBQ.  Really the best I have had in Hawaii.  The waitress told me they are serious about smoking their meats and have the largest smoker in Hawaii.  Several of my guests ordered the Half Pound Cheeseburger ($11).  This is a huge fresh beef burger served with a mound of crispy thin French Fries.  This was a big hit.  Another guest enjoyed a Grilled Mahi Sandwich ($10.95) and loved it.  Another guest had the Fish Tacos ($13.95) and loved them to.  I really like the food and service at Beach Bums on Maui.  Really want to jump on a plane and take my family over there this weekend.  With Hawaiian Air charging over $250 round trip per person to go from Oahu to Maui, that will not be happening soon.

CASUAL INDOOR/OUTDOOR SEATING WITH NO A/C
HAWAII'S BEST CHOPPED BRISKET BBQ SANDWICH
HALF POUND FRESH GROUND BEEF BURGERS ARE GREAT!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

GRILLED MARLIN WITH BABY BOK CHOY

GRILLED MARLIN (KAJIKI)
WITH BABY BOK CHOY
DINNER AT HOME

Getting back to low fat diet means more fish and vegetables.  I went to the market in search of some fresh fish.  Was amazed to find Mahi Mahi hitting $18 per pound.  This was too expensive so I looked for an alternative.  Found some fresh island Marlin (Kajiki) for half the price of Mahi.  The cuts were thick and large like a piece of meat.  I simply salt and peppered the Marlin and then grilled it on an indoor grill pan because it was raining outside and I could not BBQ.  Made a sauce containing butter, balsamic vinegar, honey and mustard.  Sauteed some Baby Bok Choy with Carrots and Onions.  Served with some rice.  The sauce was delicious and the Marlin was great.  Made sure not to overcook the fish.  If you overcook Marlin it gets very tough.  Tried to drizzle the balsamic sauce around the plate but ended up looking like a mess.  Taste good.
Click link below for more posts and recipes for Marlin;
http://greateatshawaii.blogspot.com/2015/01/grilled-marlin.html

GRILLED MARLIN WITH BABY BOK CHOY AND BALSAMIC

Saturday, August 20, 2011

POPEYES FRIED CHICKEN

POPEYES FRIED CHICKEN
HONOLULU, HAWAII

Had to grab a very quick lunch with an associate last week.  Choices were Burger King or Popeyes which are side by side on Dillingham Boulevard.  We went for Chicken.  Both had the Chicken Sandwich, Side and Drink for $6.49.  I chose the Cole Slaw and added it to my sandwich.  Poured on some Louisiana Hot Sauce and Bammm.  Nice flavor with a little bit of heat.  This is a very big chicken sandwich.  Very filling.  It is a meal.  The sandwich is served with lettuce and tomato and just a bit of mayo.  Loved it with the cole slaw on top.
Click link below for another post on Popeye's Fried Chicken;
http://greateatshawaii.blogspot.com/2011/09/popeyes-chicken-sandwich-with-cole-slaw.html

CHICKEN SANDWICH WITH COLE SLAW AND HOT SAUCE
CHICKEN SANDWICH WAS HUGE AND VERY FILLING

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

UMEKE MARKET AND DELI - KAHALA

UMEKE MARKET AND DELI
KAHALA, HAWAII

Had to get some tests done at a lab in Kahala so we went next door to the Umeke Market and Deli.  Umeke is a health food store and deli that carries an interesting array of health conscious products.  I walked around the entire store and could not find anything that I would buy.  The Deli had an interesting array of health foods.  I ordered the BLTA ($6.95).  This is a Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato and Avocado Sandwich.  The place was empty but it took forever for the sandwich to get to our table.  I liked the bread, but the sandwich was a bit bland.  I could not figure out if they use real bacon or a substitute.  It was dry and very flat.  I ate half and threw in the towel.  This was amazing because I was hungry because I had to fast for 12 hours before my test.  Sandwich was served with some nice chips but don't think I would order this again for  $7.

SMALL DINING AREA INSIDE HEALTH FOOD STORE

BACON, LETTUCE, TOMATO AND AVOCADO SANDWICH
PRETTY BLAND AND BASIC
THE COMPANY MADE THE MEAL

BROCCOLI WEEK AT HOME

COSTCO SO ONO FRESH
BROCCOLI FLORETS
MANY DINNERS AT HOME

The Little Woman came home with a huge bag of Broccoli from Costco.  The 3 pound bag was $7, so she said we were eating Broccoli this week to keep me eating low fat diet.  Two nights in a row into the bag and we have enjoyed Beef Broccoli and BBQ Chicken with Broccoli.  Stay tuned for the next Broccoli dinner because the bag is still half full.  Back again to add Fettuccine Alfredo with Mushrooms, Chicken and Broccoli.  Not a bad dinner and there is still more Broccoli left.  Back again to add Fresh Hawaii Opah with Brocolli, Carrots in a soy, ginger and cilantro sauce.  Had some avocado that needed to be used so I topped the fish with it.  This dish was actually really good.  The Broccoli bag is now empty.  Yahoo!
Click link below for fast and easy Beef Broccoli recipe:

COSTCO SO ONO FRESH BROCCOLI
16 SERVINGS IN ONE BAG
BEEF BROCCOLI WITH RICE
FETTUCCINE MUSHROOM ALFREDO WITH CHICKEN AND BROCOLLI
FRESH OPAH WITH BROCOLLI

BBQ CHICKEN WITH BROCCOLI AND RICE

Sunday, August 14, 2011

TONY ROMA'S BBQ RIBS

TONY ROMA'S BBQ RIBS
DINNER AT HOME

We picked up a full rack of Tony Roma's BBQ Ribs at Costco for around $17.  This is a nice rack of meaty ribs that fed four people.  This made dinner for four around $5 each.  Not bad for some really good ribs.  The Tony Roma's Ribs are sold in a bag completely covered in a great bbq sauce.  You simply pop the ribs in the oven for 20 minutes and you have bbq ribs that are as good as any out there.  The meat falls off the bone.  Highly recommend these ribs from Costco.

 TONY ROMA'S RIBS FROM COSTCO

 RIBS RIGHT OUT OF THE PACKAGE PLACED ON BAKING SHEET

 RIBS AFTER COOKING AND BASTED WITH SAUCE - 25 MINUTES @ 400 DEG. F.


TONY ROMA'S BBQ RIBS FROM COSTCO ARE DELICIOUS

TANAKA OF TOKYO - ALA MOANA CENTER

TANAKA OF TOKYO
ALA MOANA CENTER
HONOLULU, HAWAII


My daughter remembered me talking about having a business lunch at Tanaka of Tokyo.  I told her about how the chefs cook the food at your table and do great tricks while cutting and preparing the meal.  She asked me to take her there and I just could not say no.  While this is an expensive lunch, it was well worth the price to spend this time with my daughter and watch her eyes light up as the chef prepared our meal.  There is a Kids Meal Menu at Tanaka of Tokyo, but Keli chose to order off Dad's menu.  We both went for a Combination Lunch.  I had the Steak and Shrimp ($17.75) and Keli had the Chef's Special Steak and Teriyaki Chicken ($18.50).  The meals include pickled vegetables, Miso Soup, Rice, Mixed Grilled Vegetables, Shrimp Appetizer and Hot Tea.  You are given two dipping sauces.  One is a Ginger/Soy dressing that is used for Seafood and Vegetables.  The second sauce is a Mustard based sauce for the beef.  Both are delicious.  The meal starts with the chef juggling, spinning, tossing and hitting his knives while telling jokes.  He then grills the shrimp with lemon juice, butter, salt and soy sauce.  As he removes the shrimp tails he flips his spatula and they fly into a bowl that is hidden in his large chef's hat.  Other tails end up in his front pocket and then still more go up top to his head.  He then takes the bowl from his hat and flips it around his waist without dropping a single piece.  The shrimp is served hot off the grill.  After the shrimp comes a nice array of onions, bell pepper and mushrooms.  After the vegetables are served, the chef prepares and onion in the form of a volcano.  The onion erupts in a 3' flame and then the chef makes it steam and then finally erupt with bubbling lava.  Pretty good show.  We upgraded the standard white rice to Fried Rice.  The chef pulls out and egg for the Fried Rice and flips it around like it is made of steel.  The egg does not break.  They when he is ready, the chef cracks the egg on the cooktop and then begins to add the other ingredients.  During the cooking process the chefs tell dozens of one line jokes that are suited for kids and adults.  The main courses are served ant then a large portion of sauteed bean sprouts is offered to everyone at the table.  Love the sprouts and I loved the Steak and Shrimp lunch and Keli really liked the shrimp.  The Miso Soup was also very delicious.  This was an excellent meal with great service.  The staff here is young well trained.  They really try to make sure that your dining experience is good.
FAMILY STYLE SEATING MEANS YOU WILL MAKE
SOME NEW FRIENDS AND SIT WITH STRANGERS
THE CHEFS ARE THE STAR OF THE SHOW WITH TRICKS AND JOKES
LUNCH COMBINATION MENU (CLICK TO ENLARGE
CHEF PREPARES THE VOLCANO ONION
IT ERUPTS, BUBBLES AND FLOWS
THE ONION VOLCANO ERUPTION IS ONLY THE BEGINNING
DIPPING SAUCES - GINGER AND SOY ON LEFT / MUSTARD ON RIGHT
SHRIMP APPETIZER COMES WITH MEAL
GRILLED ONIONS, BELL PEPPER AND MUSHROOMS
FRIED RICE
GRILLED STEAK AND SHRIMP
STEAK, CHICKEN, VEGETABLES AND FRIED RICE