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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

ANNA MILLERS


ANNA MILLERS
AIEA, HAWAII 

Anna Millers is an iconic landmark in Aiea.  The 24 hour restaurant is reminiscent of a mainland chain yet it maintains a very local feel.  We stopped in for a quick lunch and I was impressed with the friendly service.  Ordered the Dinner Salad ($2.99) and a Bowl of Chili ($4.29). The Chili was topped with a ton of cheddar cheese which took over the entire dish with cheese flavor.  The salad was fresh.  My friend ordered the Grilled Chicken Breast Sandwich ($8.99).  Pretty basic.


SEATING AT COUNTER, BOOTHS AND TABLES
SIDE SALAD

CHILI OVERLOADED WITH CHEESE
GRILLED CHICKEN SANDWICH
PAY AT THE COUNTER FILLED WITH PIES
PIE DISPLAY

Monday, November 28, 2011

MAMA PHO AUTHENTIC VIETNAMESE CUISINE - AINA HAINA

MAMA PHO 
AUTHENTIC VIETNAMESE CUISINE

I am a confessed Pho-Aholic and probably eat the Vietnamese Soup far too often.  While shopping at Foodland Farms in Aina Haina my daughter was checking out our choices for lunch.  McDonalds, Subway, Genki Sushi and Chinese were in the shopping center.  We saw the sign for Mama Pho and decided to try it out.  Looked like the place had been open for a very short time.  We were greeted and sat ourselves at a table along the window.  The young staff quickly brought us menus and ice water.  The menu is very limited and features Pho and some basic Noodle Dishes. We ordered Pho ($8.50).  I had the Rare Steak, Brisket and Flank Steak served with noodles, bean sprouts, onion and basil.  I was amazed how much meat was in the bowl.  Probably double what you get at other Pho restaurants.  The meats were excellent but the Pho broth was very bland.  My daughter enjoyed the Pho with Beef Ball, Rare Steak and Brisket.  She agreed with me and said the Pho was just "so so".  The Spring Rolls ($4.50) were also lacking flavor.  Nice presentation, but just had no seasoning to make you crave another one.  The service was excellent.  The cashier made it a point to ask if we enjoyed everything.

LOCATED NEAR FOODLAND FARMS
IN AINA HAINA SHOPPING CENTER
INSIDE IS BRIGHT AND CLEAN
ORDER OF (2) SPRING ROLLS
PHO WITH RARE STEAK, BRISKET AND FLANK STEAK.
MORE MEAT THAN I HAVE EVER HAD IN PHO
KELI LOVES THE BEEF BALL
PHO WITH BEEF BALL, BRISKET AND RARE STEAK

Sunday, November 27, 2011

MICHAEL MINA - SAN FRANCISCO, CA


MICHAEL MINA
SAN FRANCISCO, CA

Oops I did it again.  How many times have we tried what are supposed to be the best restaurants in a city and found them not to live up to the hype and expectations.  Michael Mina goes to the top of the list for total let downs.  While the service was excellent, the food failed to impress.  Best part of the evening was the company.  My girls and best friends Tom and Arlene.  We had a great table set away from the main dining room.  I convinced our guests to go with the Chef's Tasting Menu that is $125 per person.  $185 with the wine pairing.  Tom brought a bottle of wine from a local vintner near his home in Pleasanton.  Corkage fee was $35.  This was one of the most unimpressive and tasteless meals of my life.  The only dish with some taste was the grilled cheese sandwich served as a pre-appetizer.  The fish had no taste, the steak had no taste, the scallop had no taste. I don't know how you can serve up so many dishes and not have any flavor.  I was shocked at the lack of flavor of each dish.  This was just not right for the price.  I expected to be blown away by this chef.  I was embarrassed for having brought my friends here.  I wanted to take them down the street for some good pasta after this meal.  Just don't get this place.  The ambiance and service was excellent.  The food came out of the kitchen at all the right times.  Everything was perfect except the food.  Would not recommend this restaurant or go back.


GLASS WINDOWS FRONT THE RESTAURANT
NICE BAR AREA ADJACENT TO DINING AREA 
MAIN DINING ROOM WAS PACKED
MY GIRLS ARE READY TO EAT
ARLENE AND TOM ARE READY FOR DINNER AND WINE
GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH AND SOUP.
PROBABLY THE BEST THING WE ATE ALL NIGHT.
HEAVILY BUTTERED SOUR DOUGH BREAD WITH HONEY
CRUDO OF HAWAIIAN KAMPACHI
LADY APPLE COULIS, JAPANESE UNI, MITSUBA
FOIE GRAS AND HAM HOCK TERRINE
APPLE MUSTARD, QUATRE EPICES BRIOCHE, CHICHARONES
AND FRISEE SALAD
(ADD $10 TO THE $125 PRICE FOR THIS APPETIZER)
PASTA WITH GREEN BEANS (NOT PART OF TASTING MENU)
THIS WAS ORDERED FOR OUR DAUGHTER
PAN SEARED DAY BOAT SCALLOP
MONTEREY BAY SQUID, HIJIKI AND CHIVES
HERB ROASTED JOHN DORY
GERMAN BUTTERBALL POTATO, BLACK TRUMPET
MUSHROOM AND YOUNG LEEKS
ROASTED PORCINI MUSHROOM RAGOUT
HANDKERCHIEF PASTA, HUDSON VALLEY FOIE GRAS,
DUCK PROSCIUTTO
BLANK ANGUS NEW YORK STRIP STEAK
DAUPHINE POTATOES, WILD MUSHROOMS AND
BONE MARROW JUS
SORBET
ROOT BEER FLOAT 2.0
SASSAFRAS ICE CREAM, ROOT BEER GELEE, SELTZER
SQUASH PAIN D' EPICES
MILK CHOCOLATE LOZENGE
BROWN SUGAR WAFERS

THE BUENA VISTA - SAN FRANCISCO, CA

THE BUENA VISTA
SAN FRANCISCO, CA 

 It is a tradition to visit the Buena Vista for an Irish Coffee when in San Francisco.  I have been going there for over twenty years.  Place is even more special now that we know that our friends Tom and Arlene had their first date here over 40 years ago.  Tom only had enough for one Irish Coffee and cab fare home.  Must have been good because they have been together ever since.  This is where the Irish Coffee was invented.  The Buena Vista serves them up with flair.  They line up rows of glasses and pour the coffee and whiskey in one long pouring motion.  Add a sugar cube and top with whipped creme.  So good and warm.

THE STREETS OF SAN FRANCISCO ARE BEAUTIFUL
THE BUENA VISTA
INSIDE IS CROWDED AND LIVELY
ROW OF FAMOUS IRISH COFFEE READY TO SERVE
BEST FRIENDS IN LIFE - TOM AND ARLENE
BAR AND TABLE SEATING - THEY SERVE GOOD FOOD TOO!
ONE IRISH COFFEE IS TRADITION
IRISH COFFEE
THE BAR WITH GLASSES READY TO FILL

OMNI HOTEL - SAN FRANCISCO, CA

OMNI HOTEL
SAN FRANCISCO, CA

Spent one very quick night at the Omni.  What a great hotel.  The staff here was very friendly and really seemed to care about our stay.  They smiled and engaged us in conversation as we checked in.
The room was a little small but very comfortable.  Really wish we could have stayed a few nights here. Liked the atmosphere and feeling of the place.

ENTRANCE OFF CALIFORNIA STREET
TWO BEAUTIES IN THE LOBBY
BEAUTIFUL LOBBY SEATING AREA
FRESH FLOWERS ALL AROUND THE LOBBY
CHECK IN WAS FAST AND VERY FRIENDLY
COMFORTABLE ROOM - DID NOT HAVE A VIEW
CHILDREN WELCOME GIFT BAG
FROM FRONT DESK
COMPLIMENTARY COOKIES AND MILK
WERE LEFT IN THE ROOM
CHRISTMAS TREE WAS JUST DECORATED
AS WE ARRIVED