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Saturday, February 28, 2015

VIA GELATO

 VIA GELATO
HONOLULU,  HAWAII

VIA GELATO
1142 12TH AVENUE
HONOLULU, HI  96816
808-732-2800
HOURS:  Tuesday thru Sunday 11:00 AM - 10:00 PM
                 Friday and Saturday 11:00 AM - 11:00 PM
                 Closed Monday

After eating dinner in Kaimuki we were walking back to our car and noticed Via Gelato.  The place looked cool and there was a small line starting to form so we decided to jump in it and try this locally made Gelato.  Turns out a local girl started this business after living in New York and traveling to Italy to research and eat a whole lot of Gelato.  She returned to the Islands and started a small business in Kaimuki which from what I saw during our visit is on its way to success.  There was a line out the door here by 6:30 pm on a Saturday night.  A single young gal was behind the counter taking orders, scooping Gelato and ringing up the tab.  She did her job with a big smile and was very efficient.  Got people through the line with no drama and unbelievable speed for one person.  We ordered small Chocolate Gelato's ($4) in a handmade cone.  Loved the flavor and texture of the Gelato but it was a bit runny and melted quickly.  Would have liked to have had it a bit more frozen.
I know, this is Gelato and not ice cream.  It is supposed to be this way.  Just saying. 
Loved the look and feel of Via Gelato.  Totally kid and family friendly with plenty of seating.
This is the kind of story and place I really want to see succeed so if you are in Kaimuki try Via Gelato.

VIA GELATO IN KAIMUKI
VIA GELATO ON 12TH AVENUE - COULDN'T THINK OF A BETTER LOCATION FOR THIS SHOP
IMMEDIATELY LOVED THE LOOK AND FEEL OF VIA GELATO
ORDER FROM A SINGLE LINE THAT WAS OUT THE DOOR AT 6:30 PM ON A SATURDAY
VIA GELATO ALSO SERVES COFFEE DRINKS AND A LUNCH MENU THAT INCLUDES SANDWICHES
THE GIRL WORKING HERE WAS ALL SMILES AND WORKING THE COUNTER SOLO.  SHE ROCKED!
CONE SIZES
HANDMADE CONES AT VIA GELATO
HANDMADE GELATO MADE IN HAWAII
HAND MADE GELATO IN ABOUT 20 DIFFERENT FLAVORS
SMALL CHOCOLATE CONE

AZTECA MEXICAN RESTAURANT

AZTECA MEXICAN RESTAURANT
HONOLULU, HAWAII

AZTECA MEXICAN RESTAURANT
3617 WAIALAE AVENUE
HONOLULU, HI  96816
808-735-2492
HOURS:  Monday thru Saturday 11:00 AM - 9:30 PM
                 Closed Sunday

I had to return to Azteca Mexican Restaurant after learning that they were named Honolulu Magazines Best Oahu Mexican Restaurant of 2015.  Anyone who follows this blog knows that the Mexican food in Hawaii sucks and to this day I have not found a Mexican restaurant that compares to anything in San Diego, Orange County or Los Angeles in California.  We had been to Azteca many years ago and after our meal we decided not to go back.  Perhaps we were wrong so lets give it another try I told my Wife.  If this place really is Oahu's Best Mexican Restaurant, we certainly need to go back.  Go back we did and I am afraid to say that we felt the same as before.  Food was a bit bland and there was nothing that we tried that would make us come back again.  We started with the Chips and Salsa that are provided on every table.  Everyone liked the Salsa.  It was fresh and had some flavor and a kick of spice that I really liked.  Combine the Chips and Salsa with an ice cold Bohemia Mexican Beer and this dinner started out fantastic for me.  We ordered Guacamole ($6.75).  It came in a small bowl and the chunks of Avocado were huge.  Very chunky and a bit bland.  We added Salt and Pepper and then mashed it up with a fork for a little better consistency.  Not bad.  My Wife and Daughter mowed through the bowl of green in minutes.  We ordered two Combination Plates ($17.50 each) for the table.  I went with a Shredded Beef Taco, Chicken Enchilada and Chicken Tostada.  My Wife and Daughter shared a Steak Taco, Carnitas Taco and Chicken Enchilada.  Both combo's were served with Beans and Rice.  I started with the Shredded Beef Taco.  First off I was surprised to see that the Shredded Beef was served in a flour tortilla and not a fried corn tortilla.  I prefer Shredded Beef in a fried corn tortilla.  The taco was very watery and included a small amount of beans, lettuce and maybe a hint of cheese.  Not much flavor or texture here.  Pretty much mush.  The Chicken Enchilada was filled with chunks of boiled chicken but that is about it.  Nothing to add some flavor.  Again pretty bland.  The Chicken Tostada was large and topped with a ton of thinly sliced lettuce.  Once you got through the lettuce, there were more of those nice pieces of boiled chicken with very little flavor.  This Tostada was impossible to pick up and again was very bland.  My Wife was surprised to find the Carnitas Taco filled with very large chunks of fried pork.  Again she said it was tasteless.  She also thought the Chicken Enchilada was bland.  As far as the Steak Taco goes they said it was just all right.  On the bright side here we loved the family serving the food.  They were very gracious and provided excellent service.  I noticed many tables enjoying the Margaritas and the food. I like the neighborhood feel of Azteca and would dine here often if I could get some Crunchy Shredded Beef Tacos and Mexican food with a bit more flavor.  Oahu's Best?
Makes me want to get out the apron and open up my own taco stand.

AZTECA MEXICAN RESTAURANT IN KAIMUKI 
AZTECA IS A SMALL RESTAURANT WITH ABOUT A DOZEN TABLES AND BOOTHS 
NICE NEIGHBORHOOD MEXICAN RESTAURANT WITH FULL BAR

AZTECA MEXICAN RESTAURANT MENU
MARGARITAS SEEM TO BE POPULAR HERE.  I WENT FOR A MEXICAN BEER
AZTECA ALA CARTE MENU
AZTECA COMBINATION PLATES AND MORE
WE WENT WITH THE THREE ITEM COMBINATION PLATES
LUNCH PLATES, ENCHILADAS AND EGG PLATES
AZTECA SPECIALTIES
SANGRIA AND MARGARITAS AT AZTECA
WE ENJOYED THE CHIPS N' SALSA
SALSA WAS FRESH AND HAD A LITTLE HEAT KICK THAT I LIKED
ICE COLD BOHEMIA BEER 
GUACAMOLE
COMBINATION PLATE - SHREDDED BEEF TACO, CHICKEN ENCHILADA AND CHICKEN TOSTADA
SHREDDED BEEF TACO WAS A BIT WATERY AND BLAND
CHICKEN ENCHILADA
CHICKEN TOSTADA
CHICKEN TOSTADA WAS A WHOLE LOT OF LETTUCE
COMBINATION PLATE - STEAK TACO, CARNITAS TACO AND CHICKEN ENCHILADA
CARNITAS TACO WITH LARGE PIECES OF FRIED PORK

WAOLANI WINDOWS

WAOLANI WINDOWS
HONOLULU, HAWAII

WAOLANI WINDOWS
OAHU COUNTRY CLUB
150 COUNTRY CLUB ROAD
HONOLULU, HI  96817
808-595-6331

I told myself that I was not going to blog about Waolani Windows when we sat down for dinner there recently.  Just going to enjoy a nice dinner and keep my camera in my pocket I thought.  Well that all changed when our Sashimi Appetizer arrived.  It looked beautiful and my daughter pulled out her camera to take a photo.  Oh well I said "guess I'm blogging tonight"  The Sashimi presentation was beautiful with the eatable Gold Leaf and large slices of fresh Ahi, Hamachi and Avocado.  I loved the green line of Wasabi down the side of the plate.  Perfect way to slide the Sashimi across the line and pick up the flavor and heat of the Wasabi.  The Caesar Salad was huge.  Really enough for two people.  What put this Caesar over the top was the Poached Egg on top.  Bursting the egg over the fresh greens, parmesan and avocado added another depth of texture and flavor to the salad.  Absolutely delicious.  The salad includes some large pieces of really hard bread and Parmesan Crisps.  These were difficult to eat because of their size and hardness.  The Steamed Onaga with Lobster was amazingly good my Wife Said.  I had the Appetizer portion of the Fruits Di Mari which included a nice piece of Onaga too.  The fish was super fresh and flavorful.  Served with pieces of Lobster, King Crab, and Scallops in a Lobster Cream Sauce. Dish also included nice mushrooms and green peas that were a good contrast to the seafood.  Cannot believe this was on the menu as a Warm Appetizer as it served as a Entree for me.  Loved it!  My daughter went for the Kona Kampachi.  She did not say much but mowed most of it down and was quite happy.  My only complaint about Waolani Windows is that it is a private members only restaurant at Oahu Country Club.  Wish everyone could dine here and enjoy the outstanding food, service and view.  Great place to take the family, dine with friends, entertain clients or bring out of town guests.  Still think the food here is as good or better than most places in Honolulu.  
Click links below for more posts on Waolani Windows at Oahu Country Club;

FRESH ISLAND SASHIMI APPETIZER
CAESAR SALAD WITH POACHED EGG, SHAVED PARMESAN AND AVOCADO 
LOVED THE POACED EGG ON TOP AND GOOEY TEXTURE AND FLAVOR OF THE EGG YOLK
STEAM ONAGA WITH LOBSTER
FRUITS DI MARI WITH STEAMED ONAGA, LOBSTER, CRAB AND SCALLOPS
KONA KAMPACHI 
CHOCOLATE, PISTACHIO AND VANILLA ICE CREAM CAKE WITH OREO CRUST

Friday, February 27, 2015

SPAGHETTI WITH MEAT SAUCE AND VEGETABLES

SPAGHETTI WITH MEAT SAUCE AND VEGETABLES
DINNER AT HOME

There are those days when I work eleven hours, pick up my daughter from school and get home and try to take an hour walk.  That does not leave a lot of time to prep or cook a meal especially when I did not plan or buy anything at the store. On this night,  I basically looked into the refrigerator and tried to use whatever we have.  I found some frozen ground beef and a little pork in the freezer so I thought some kind of a meat sauce would be good.  We had those big bags of Celery, Bell Peppers and Carrots that you buy at Costco so I wanted to use them up and incorporate them into the sauce.  I always keep a good supply of Bertolli Tomato and Basil Sauce in our pantry as it is simply the best tasting sauce in a jar that we have found.  It is super inexpensive too with three jar packages now being sold at Sam's Club for around $7. This is less than $2.50 per jar.  This dish takes just minutes to prepare and it is delicious and very inexpensive.  Made enough sauce to feed a family of three for at least three days.
Click link below view another post on Spaghetti with Meat Sauce and Vegetables:  

ONIONS, GARLIC, CELERY AND BELL PEPPERS (I ADDED CARROTS TOO)
SAUTE ONIONS AND GARLIC IN OLIVE OIL
ADD IN THE GROUND BEEF AND PORK AND COOK  
THROW IN ALL OF THE VEGETABLES AND STIR.  I ALSO ADD SALT, PEPPER AND OREGANO HERE
HEAT UNTIL THE VEGETABLES ARE ABOUT HALF WAY COOKED.  I LIKE A LITTLE CRUNCH IN MY VEGGIES AND THEY COOK THROUGH WHILE SIMMERING IN THE SAUCE
I HIGHLY RECOMMEND BERTOLLI SAUCES.  THEY ARE DELICIOUS AND SAVE TIME
ADD TWO JARS OF BERTOLLI SAUCE
STIR THOROUGHLY AND SIMMER FOR AT LEAST 30 MINUTES
SERVE WITH A LITTLE ITALIAN PARSLEY AND GRATED PARMESAN CHEESE