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Monday, June 16, 2014

COSTCO PRE-COOKED LOBSTER - DINNER AT HOME

COSTCO PRE-COOKED LOBSTER
DINNER AT HOME

We saw these bright red lobster tails at Costco and grabbed a couple at $9.99 per pound.  The lobsters were around 2 lbs each so each lobster was around $20.  They looked large and meaty.  The guy behind the counter recommended that we simply steam and serve.  We steamed them as directed and then broke into them to find the meat.  The body and claws were huge and the claws were meaty.  The tail however was a bit small.  The flavor of these lobsters was not that great.  A little tough and not sweet.  I was not able to finish the small tail because I did not like the taste.  Even with a little drawn butter they were pretty bland.  Would not recommend these pre-cooked lobsters at $20 each.

LOBSTERS ARE PRE-COOKED 
SIMPLY STEAM THE LOBSTERS TO WARM 
STEAMED LOBSTER READY TO EAT
LARGE CLAWS AND SMALL TAIL SERVED WITH BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH GARLIC                          AND PROSCIUTTO,  MASHED POTATOES AND LOCALLY GROWN CORN

Sunday, June 15, 2014

CAFE SISTINA

CAFE SISTINA
HONOLULU, HAWAII

CAFE SISTINA
1314 S. KING STREET
HONOLULU, HI  96814
808-596-0061
HOURS:  Daily 5:30 PM - 9:30 PM

It has been over 15 years since I have been to Cafe Sistina.  Could not remember my last meal here so we ventured back in search of some fresh pasta and a good Italian meal.  Sorry to say but we found neither.  What I did like was the hand painted artwork on the walls that was painted by the restaurant owner.  We entered the restaurant from the parking garage from the First Interstate Bank Building on King Street.  Parking is a flat rate of $3 in the evening here.  We were greeted quickly and seated at a table that was near the bar and in the vicinity of the kitchen so every plate and waitress ran by us during our meal.  Menus were presented by a nice waitress with very little personality.  She provided the basics, said nothing and seemed a bit rushed.  I asked her if they had any "fresh" pasta and her reply was "no, it comes from a box".  I asked if there were any "specials" and she said "no, we don't do that".  I wanted to ask her for recommendations but given her last answers I really did not care to hear anything else from her.  We ordered an appetizer and asked for a few more minutes to examine the menu.  Fresh warm bread arrived with butter as we mulled over the many menu selections.  No fresh pasta I thought.  Wow..that is why we came to this place.  A friend said they make their pasta homemade and that is what I was craving.  Fresh homemade pasta.  Well, according to our waitress you won't get that here.  The Antipasto Misto ($13.75) arrived and I was a bit surprised that it was basically meats and one type of cheese which was Smoked Gouda.  There was a thinly sliced vegetable terrine on the plate that was a bit burnt on the edges.  The flavor was ok.  I ate one slice and did not want any more.  The Antipasto platter in my opinion was missing something.  Maybe some olives, peppers or something else to compliment the meats.  I ordered the Veal Marsala ($25.50) and asked if it were served with pasta.  The waitress said it came with a small bowl type pasta.  I asked for Linguine and she said no problem.  This was one of the most disconnected pasta dishes of my life.  The Veal Marsala tasted like a flour and butter roux.  Could not taste any Marsala.  Basically thinly sliced pieces of veal with the roux and some mushrooms.  The pasta was overcooked (mushy) and served with a tomato sauce that did not in any way go with the Veal.  It was like two different dishes on one plate.  I actually liked the tomato sauce on the pasta.  Did not finish the Veal.  The heavy roux taste pretty much ruined the dish.  Why they could not integrate a nice Marsala sauce into the pasta is beyond me.  If the chef would have tasted the Marsala sauce I am sure they would not be happy.  Take a bite of the Veal and the pasta with two different sauces and they would know this dish was disconnected.  The Lobster Ravioli ($19.75) was a large plate of pasta that looked pretty good.  There were nice pieces of lobster inside the Ravioli but again the sauce tasted like a roux.  Heavy flour taste that masked anything resembling a sauce.  My wife took a few bites and left the rest on the plate.  The Venison Ragu Papardelle ($21.50) was probably the best dish of the evening and my daughter seemed to love it.  She finished off most of the pasta but left a lot of the Venison on her plate.  The Venison Ragu was good but a bit dry and bland. We ordered two desserts.  The Chocolate Spoon Ala Mode ($10.50) and Spumoni.  The Spumoni was never brought to the table and we did not say anything to our waitress as it did not show up on the bill.  The Chocolate Spoon was delicious.  Tasted like a melted Hershey Bar.  I put back a few glasses of Italian Chianti and admired the paintings on the wall.  Impressed with the paintings but not the food or our waitress.  Probably going to be another 15 years before we go back to Cafe Sistina.  Oh...how I wish this place would have been good as we are looking for that "go to" Italian restaurant in Hawaii.

ENTRANCE TO CAFE SISTNA FROM PARKING GARAGE
CAFE SISTINA NORTHERN ITALIAN CUISINE
CAFE SISTINA DINING ROOM
CAFE SISTINA WAS BUSY ON THIS EVENING
CAFE SISTINA HAS A SMALL BAR
THE OWNER CAN REALLY PAINT
LOVE THE HAND PAINTED ARTWORK AT CAFE SISTINA
COLOR AND DETAILS ARE AMAZING
LIKE DINING IN AN ITALIAN MUSEUM
SMALL DINING AREA IN BACK



FRESH BAKED AND WARM BREAD WITH BUTTER
PARMESAN CHEESE AND RED CHILI FLAKES ON TABLE
ANTIPASTO MISTO
VEGETABLE TERRINE
LOBSTER RAVIOLI 
VEAL MARSALA
VENISON RAGU WITH PAPARDELLE
THE CHOCOLATE SPOON
A STOP AT THE BATHROOM LEADS TO MORE ART ON THE WALLS

Saturday, June 14, 2014

DELIMEX CHICKEN TAQUITOS

DELIMEX CHICKEN TAQUITOS GRANDE
LUNCH AT HOME FROM SAM'S CLUB


Picked up a box with 50 Chicken Taquitos from Sam's Club for cheap.  Thought these would be great for when I was craving Taquitos at Home.  I preheated the oven to 400 degrees and then put four Taquitos on a cookie sheet and baked them for 15 minutes.  The Taquitos came out nice and crunchy but really lacked on chicken flavor.  There was just not enough chicken in the Taquitos to taste the meat.  Mostly tasted the corn tortilla.  I topped the Taquitos with shredded lettuce, cheese and salsa to add some texture, color and flavors.  Toppings were good.  Just wish these little Taquitos had more chicken filling.  Would rather have bought 25 meat filled Taquitos in place of 50 that were mostly air.  Don't know if I would buy these again.

DELIMEX CHICKEN TAQUITOS GRANDE FROM SAMS CLUB
FOUR CHICKEN TAQUITOS TOPPED WITH SHREDDED LETTUCE, CHEESE AND SALSA

Friday, June 13, 2014

GRILLED RIB EYE - DINNER AT HOME

 GRILLED RIB EYE
DINNER AT HOME

Came home to an unexpected steak dinner and loved it.  Turns out Rib Eye Steaks were on sale at a good price so the Wife went for meat over fresh fish.  Simply grilled the Rib Eye with a little salt and pepper plus the Hy's Steakhouse Seasoning Blend.  Broiled the potatoes in the oven with very little oil.  Asparagus was blanched and then finished on the grill.  Entire meal for three was less than $15.
No complaints here.  Great steak dinner for $5 each!


Thursday, June 12, 2014

CHICKEN PICCATA - DINNER AT HOME

 CHICKEN PICCATA
DINNER AT HOME

Improvised a homemade recipe for Chicken Piccata and it came out pretty darn good.  Entire family finished their plate and all were very satisfied.  This is a very fast and easy recipe that delivers a lot of flavor to a piece of chicken.  Serve with pasta and you have a dish worthy of an Italian restaurant for a fraction of the cost.

FINELY DICED ONION AND GARLIC SAUTEED IN BUTTER AND OLIVE OIL.
COOKED AND THEN DEGLAZED WITH WINE WINE AND REDUCED
ADDED TWO SMALL CANS OF SLICED MUSHROOMS BECAUSE WE HAD A CASE OF THEM 
BONELESS SKINLESS CHICKEN BREASTS CUT IN HALF
DREDGED CHICKEN IN SEASONED ALL PURPOSE FLOUR
COOK CHICKEN IN TWO TABLESPOONS OF BUTTER AND THREE TABLESPOONS OF OLIVE OIL
BROWN CHICKEN FOR ABOUT 3 MINUTES ON EACH SIDE.  BE CAREFUL NOT TO BURN THE BUTTER.  I DID AND HAD TO CLEAN PAN AND START OVER 
ADDED LEMON JUICE, CAPERS AND CHICKEN STOCK TO BUTTER AND OLIVE OIL AND THEN
PLACED THE ONION, GARLIC AND MUSHROOM MIXTURE INTO THE PAN ALONG WITH THE CHICKEN.  LET SIMMER UNTIL EVERYTHING WAS HEATED THROUGH
SERVED ON BED OF LINGUINE WITH A LITTLE PARMESAN CHEESE AND PARSLEY.
HONESTLY....THIS WAS DELICIOUS!

Monday, June 9, 2014

KAJIKI - PACIFIC BLUE MARLIN

 KAJIKI - PACIFIC BLUE MARLIN
DINNER AT HOME

Enjoyed an incredible dinner of fresh Hawaiian Kajiki (Pacific Blue Marlin) with Mashed Potatoes and fresh carrots and broccoli.  Cooked the Kajiki on an indoor grill pan to sear the outside and get some grill marks.  Then popped it in a 375 degree oven for 3-4 minutes to finish.  Placing the Kajiki in the oven helps keep it moist as if you overcook the fish on an indoor or outdoor grill it will get tough. Made a quick sauce of shallots, garlic, white wine, capers, creme and butter.  Wow this was a flavor bomb worthy of any restaurant in Honolulu.  Nowhere near restaurant prices as the Kajiki was $6.99 per pound which means dinner for three was under $15!.
Click link below for more posts and recipes for Marlin;
http://greateatshawaii.blogspot.com/2015/01/grilled-marlin.html

FRESH HAWAII KAJIKI (PACIFIC BLUE MARLIN) WITH SHALLOT, BUTTER AND CAPER SAUCE
FINISH THE KAJIKI IN THE OVEN AND DON'T OVERCOOK AND IT WILL BE MOIST AND DELICIOUS 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

DIAMOND HEAD KITCHEN

DIAMOND HEAD KITCHEN
HONOLULU, HAWAII

DIAMOND HEAD KITCHEN
1006 KAPAHULU AVENUE
HONOLULU, HI  96816
808-734-4444
HOURS:  Daily 10:00 AM - 9:00 PM

Cruising down Kapahulu Avenue has been a habit for 30 years.  This street is known for restaurants and over the years I have seen dozens come and go.  Seems like the location of Diamond Head Kitchen is cursed because this great location has had trouble keeping restaurants here for long periods of time.  What used to be a pretty good looking restaurant has been converted into a mess of a building complete with a Blue Shrimp Truck in the parking lot.  What is now called Kapahulu Square is now home to Diamond Head Kitchen, the Shrimp Truck and a Japanese restaurant.  A tent covers a dining area on the side and there is indoor seating in the back.  We ordered the Half Chicken ($9.45) with a Side Salad.  The Chicken looked good on the plate.  Lightly covered in spices with a soft brown color.  We cut in and found the chicken to be very moist and not greasy at all.  The meat was cooked perfectly and bright white.  Nice piece of chicken but there was really not much flavor.  The history of this restaurant stated that the owner traveled to over 30 countries to find the right spices for their chicken.  Well where are they we thought.  I tasted the white meat chicken by itself.  Let it melt in my mouth and then took a big piece of the seasoned skin and did the same.  Really could not distinguish any flavors and was not satisfied with the amount of seasoning.  The others in our party agreed.  Needs more seasoning.  The Avocado Burger ($8.89) included a side salad or fries and soft drink.  I went with the salad but wished I would have tried the fries.  The burger arrived in looked large.  I picked it up and found that this is not really a burger patty.  The chicken is shredded and placed on a bun with onion, tomato and lettuce.  All of the produce items were fresh but again the chicken did not have much flavor.  The Avocado which was to be the star of the dish was absolutely tasteless and seemed to be frozen and not fresh.  The food here was not bad but we all felt it was not satisfying enough to make us come back.  There were no flavors or tastes here to make you want to make a trip back to Diamond Head Kitchen.  Oh...how I wish there were.

DIAMOND HEAD KITCHEN ON KAPAHULU AVENUE
SPACE IS SHARED WITH JAPANESE RAMEN RESTAURANT THAT SERVES BEER
ORDER AT THE WINDOW
CHICKEN WILL TAKE YOU AROUND THE WORLD?  
DIAMOND HEAD KITCHEN MENU
CHICKEN DIPPING SAUCES
HALF CHICKEN WITH FRENCH FRIES 
THE STORY OF DIAMOND HEAD KITCHEN.  ABBREVIATED VERSION:
SURFER TRAVELS AROUND WORLD TO FIND CHICKEN RECIPE AND SPICES.
COMES BACK TO HAWAII AND OPENS CHICKEN RESTAURANT
ELVIS IS IN THE BUILDING AT DIAMOND HEAD KITCHEN
DIAMOND HEAD KITCHEN DINING ROOM LOCATED BEHIND THE TAKE OUT WINDOW
COOL AND COMFORTABLE IN HERE
FIRE ROASTED CHICKEN SURFBOARD
LIKED THE DECORATIONS
BEACH THEME AT DIAMOND HEAD KITCHEN
OCEAN THEME IS NICE
PRETTY COOL LITTLE SPACE
DIAMOND HEAD KITCHEN IS JUST A FEW MILES FROM WAIKIKI BEACH
OUTDOOR COVERED SEATING AREA IN BACK TOO
HALF ROASTED CHICKEN WITH SALAD
CHICKEN COMES WITH YOUR CHOICE OF TWO SAUCES.  BBQ CHILI PEPEER AND HONEY MUSTARD SHOWN HERE.  THE HONEY MUSTARD WAS GREAT ON THE SALAD TOO!
CHICKEN IS MOIST AND NOT GREASY
CHICKEN WAS COOKED PERFECTLY AND MOIST.  JUST LACKED FLAVOR
AVOCADO BURGER WITH SALAD
AVOCADO BURGER FEATURES SHREDDED FIRE ROASTED CHICKEN
SHREDDED CHICKEN, GRILLED ONIONS, LETTUCE, TOMATO AND WHAT WE THOUGHT WAS FROZEN AVOCADO.  AVOCADO HAD NO FLAVOR 
BURGER WAS LARGE BUT REALLY LACKED FLAVOR