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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

SENOR PEPE

SENOR PEPE FRESH MEXICAN GRILLE
ALA MOANA SHOPPING CENTER
1450 ALA MOANA BLVD
HONOLULU, HI  96814
808-946-82226
www.senorpepehawai.com

It's pretty sad when you have to go to the mall to get Mexican food because there are no good Mexican restaurants in Honolulu.  I like Alejandro's in Kalihi but they are closed on Sunday.
Señor Pepe actually does a pretty good job with their Tacos.   I have not tried much else on the menu here.  On this visit we went with Carne Asada Tacos w/Three Sides ($11.89) and Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos w/Three Sides ($11.89).  I picked my three sides; Cole Slaw, Refried Beans and Mexican Rice.
I was surprised that the Tacos came out as a plate with the Tortillas wrapped in foil.  This turned out to be good because the Tortillas were kept warm and the Carne Asada did not soak through the Tortillas.  Also surprised to see all the condiments served with the Carne Asada.  There was Pico de Gallo, Sour Cream and Guacamole plus you have your choice of around six different Salsa's that go from mild to Habanero HOT!  There is a small Salsa Bar where you can fill containers with as much Salsa as you want.  I went with four different heat levels and liked the Hot mixed with Habanero the best.  The Habanero alone was just too hot.  The Carne Asada is good and there was enough to fill four Corn Tortillas.  I liked the Grilled Onions in the Carne Asada and it added another layer of flavor to the tacos.  The fresh Cilantro was a nice touch.  Pretty good tacos and I had no complaints.  Could not finish my plate though.  Just too much food for me.  The Rice and Beans were both good and the Cole Slaw with a light Chipotle Sauce is delicious.  The Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos were also good.  I peeled off some of the batter and found bright white fresh Mahi Mahi that was well seasoned.   The Fish Tacos came with tortilla chips which I absolutely loved with the Hot Salsa.  

SENOR PEPE IS LOCATED IN THE ALA MOANA SHOPPING CENTER FOOD COURT
SENOR PEPE MENU
TACOS, BURRITOS, ENCHILADAS, QUESADILLA'S , FAJITAS, TAMALES AND MORE
HARD AND SOFT TACOS
FRESH SIDES AT SENOR PEPE
RICE, BEANS AND POTATOES
TWO FISH TACOS WITH THREE SIDES
FISH TACOS FEATURE BREADED MAHI MAHI
FISH TACOS CAME WITH FRESH TORTILLA CHIPS
CARNE ASADA TACOS WITH THREE SIDES
CARNE ASADA TACOS COME WITH SALSA, SOUR CREAM AND GUACAMOLE
GUACAMOLE WITH CARNE ASADA
FOUR WARM FLOUR OR CORN TORTILLAS COME WITH THE CARNE ASADA
CARNE ASADA TACO WITH SOUR CREAM, GUACAMOLE AND HOT SAUCE

REALLY LIKE THE VARIETY OF FRESH SALSA AT SENOR PEPE.
HERE IS HOT, MEDIUM, HABANERO AND HOT/HABANARO MIX

Saturday, February 20, 2016

HOKU'S AT THE KAHALA HOTEL AND RESORT

HOKU'S
THE KAHALA HOTEL AND RESORT
5000 KAHALA AVENUE
HONOLULU, HI  96816
808-739-8760
HOURS:  Tuesday thru Saturday 5:30 PM - 10:00 PM
                 Sunday Brunch 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
                 Closed Monday

The Kahala Hotel and Resort is one of my favorite places on Oahu.  The property is absolutely beautiful and the beach is pristine.  Throw in pools of exotic fish and a Dolphin lagoon and you have one of the best places to stay in all of Hawaii.  Along with the beach comes some pretty good dining options with Hoku's being the fine dining restaurant within the Kahala hotel.  Hoku's is an award winning restaurant and is always ranked on the Best Restaurant lists for Oahu.  My opinion on Hoku's is that the food is good but not great for the price you pay.  This is an expensive restaurant.  Very expensive.  Were talking fourteen to thirty two dollars for a salad.  Entrees run forty plus bucks up to $108 for a 5 ounce Steak.  Set dinners run $75 to $150 per person.  Looking back now I think it is a better deal to go with the Prixe Fixe menu for $75.  This includes a salad, entree and dessert.  I have listed links to the dinner menus below so you don't get sticker shock when you go to Hoku's and open up the menu.  I was fortunate to be hosted by business associates who made the night thoroughly enjoyable and cost effective for me.  Your meal at Hoku's begins with fresh baked breads and three types of butter.  One of the butters was made with anchovies and I loved it.  The other was standard butter and the last was slightly sweet and pink with I think Lilikoi.  The breads are followed with the Amuse Bouche house appetizer.  On this evening it was a fried ball with Rabbit.  Very bland and pretty tasteless and I could not taste anything that tasted like Rabbit.  I was going over the salad menu over and over again looking for s simple Caesar or Green Salad.  Ended up going with the Seared Scallop and Romaine Salad ($17) just because it had some Romaine in the description.  Did not really want the Scallops in my salad and felt that $17 was an outrageous price.  The salad arrived on a huge plate with a small serving of Romaine and sliced Scallops and Cherry Tomatoes.  The greens were dressed with Olive Oil and were pretty darn bland.  For this price I expected more flavor and more on the plate.  My host enjoyed the Organic Kula Farm Greens with Roasted Taro and Bacon Salad ($14) and had no complaints.  All three of us ordered the same entree which is rare.  Kona Coffee Crusted Colorado Lamb Rack ($66).  I had enjoyed a piece of Lamb at the Mid Pacific Country Club a few days earlier and I was craving that mild gamey taste again.  When my $66 plate of Lamb arrived I was a bit disappointed with the presentation.  For $66 I was expecting "wow".  The plate really looked unfinished and like it was missing something.  The Lamb was missing something too and it was "flavor".  Really bland and lacking the Lamb taste that I was craving.  Don't get me wrong, the food is good here but not great and worth these prices.  I would go back again and again if someone else was paying but if I am putting out my hard earned pennies, I am probably going somewhere else.
Click links below for Hoku's menus and prices.  


THE KAHALA HOTEL IS ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL SPOTS ON OAHU
ENJOYED A GLASS ON THE LANAI OFF THE MAIN LOBBY OF THE KAHALA HOTEL
HOKU'S FEATURES BEAUTIFUL OCEAN VIEWS
DINING ROOM AT HOKU'S
THREE TYPES OF BUTTER SERVED WITH FRESH BREAD
THE FRESH BREADS WERE DELICIOUS WITH THE BUTTERS
ENJOYING SOME GREAT HOBEL WINE WITH MY WONDERFUL HOST
NICE BUSINESS DINNER WITH GREAT PEOPLE MADE THIS NIGHT A WINNER.
WE BROUGHT OUR OWN MAGNUM OF WINE AND THE CORKAGE FEE WAS $75
HOUSE APPETIZER WAS SOME TYPE OF RABBIT BALL
SEARED SCALLOP AND ROMAINE SALAD
ORGANIC KULA FARM GREENS AND ROASTED TARO SALAD 
KONA COFFEE CRUSTED COLORADO LAMB RACK WITH PUMPKIN PUREE,
VANILLA SABAYON AND BALSAMIC REDUCTION

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

GAYLORD'S AT KILOHANA

GAYLORD'S AT KILOHANA
3-2087 KAUMUALII HIGHWAY
LIHUE, HI  96766
808-245-9593
HOURS:  Monday thru Saturday 11:00 AM - 2:30 PM / 4:00 PM - 9:30 PM
                 Sunday 9:00 AM - 2:30 PM

I love the Island of Kauai.  Probably my favorite of all the Hawaiian Islands.  Not a bad gig when you get to work there for the day.  On this business trip I dined at Gaylord's at Kilohana which is just minutes from the Lihue airport but centuries away in architecture and style.  I liked the place as soon as I set foot in the door.  The old antiques, paintings and furnishings take you back to another time in Hawaii and I love it.  We were greeted by a smiling local girl who sat us at a table overlooking the small courtyard.  It was a bit rainy and windy so the seating area was partially covered in plastic panels which takes away from the views and beauty of the place.  The menu included a bunch of items that I wanted to try but the Fish Tacos really caught my eye.  I ordered them thinking what the heck am I doing ordering Fish Tacos at Gaylord's in Kauai.  Probably going to be terrible I thought to myself.  Well I was pleasantly surprised when the tacos arrived at the table.  The looked great.  The fresh Ahi Tuna was lightly battered and the tortillas were fresh.  Really enjoyed the tacos and would not hesitate to order them again.  The Black Beans were also good and a bit spicy.  Only complaint is that they were cold and the cheese on top was a bit sticky from sitting too long.  I really liked being at Gaylord's and taking in the history and good food.  Below is a little more info on Gaylord's and Kilohna taken from the website.

Upon entering the 1935 English tudor style home, you are immediately greeted by artist renderings of Ethel and Gaylord Parke Wilcox. Designed by Mark Potter, the home reflects California art deco architecture, with tropical influences. Furnishings for the 16,000 square foot home were purchased from Gump’s of San Francisco. Lumber and materials arrived by barge from the West Coast, with detailed moldings from England. Beautiful pine wainscoting and coffered ceilings grace the living room, hallways, foyer, library and staircase. For many years, Kilohana Plantation was the largest home built on Kauai, boasting a bath in each living quarter. The first elevator installed on the island is still located in the main home.
Train at Kilohana Plantation, Kauai, HawaiiKilohana is centrally nestled within 104 acres of pasture, manicured grounds, gardens and natural foliage. As you leave Lihue, heading southwest on Highway 50, Kilohana will be on your right, just beyond the pasture where our grazing horses and donkeys are foraging. The curved driveway leads to the front door of the home, with guest parking just beyond. Approximately 67 acres of agricultural park is located beyond the main home and can be best viewed aboard the Kauai Plantation Railway. Enjoy 40 minutes of a fully narrated tour on a vintage narrow gauge railway, which includes a stop at our animal feeding area. For more information on our train and tours, please visit www.kilohanakauai.com.
Within the main home, an array of shops are tucked away in the former bedrooms, library, nursery, and even the cloak room. Art, clothing, antiques, Hawaiian and island collectibles can all be found. The Shops at Kilohana offers an intimate atmosphere and a unique selection of quality items, including Kauai Made Products. Additional shops are also located on the grounds of the estate. The Depot Store, Koloa Rum Company, and Clayworks at Kilohana are all worth exploring.
BEAUTIFUL PLANTATION ESTATE COMPLETE WITH GARDENS, HORSES AND EVEN A TRAIN
GAYLORD'S RESTAURANT AND LOUNGE AT KILOHANA 
ENTER INTO A PIECE OF KAUAI'S HISTORY
CIRCA 1935
ENTER AND BE TAKEN BACK IN TIME
BEAUTIFUL HALL LEADS TO RESTAURANT, LOUNGE AND SMALL SHOPS
GAYLORD'S LOUNGE
GAYLORD'S DINING ROOM LOOKS OVER SMALL COURTYARD
DINING AREA HAS PLASTIC PANELS THAT COME DOWN DURING HIGH WINDS AND RAIN
BEAUTIFUL PRIVATE DINING ROOM
COURTYARD WAS A BIT WET ON THIS DAY
GAYLORD'S LUNCH MENU
I WENT FOR THE FRESH FISH TACOS
HAPPY HOUR SPECIALS
AHI SALAD
BEER BATTERED FISH TACOS WITH BLACK BEANS
FISH TACOS WERE DELICIOUS!
PLENTY OF SHOPS AT KILOHANA

Monday, February 15, 2016

SOY VAY VERI VERI TERIYAKI MARINADE

 TERIYAKI CHICKEN SALAD
DINNER AT HOME

Looking to drop a few pounds again so we have been eating more salads, fish and vegetables at home.  I had just eaten some really delicious Teriyaki Chicken at Mid Pacific Country Club and was craving it again.  Entered Costco and saw the Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki Marinade and bought it without hesitation.  Simply marinated some Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breasts and Thighs in the marinade and then put them on the BBQ.  The marinade tasted great and will use it again and again.
Click link below to visit the Veri Veri Teriyaki website;

SOY VAY VERI VERI TERIYAKI MARINADE AND SAUCE FROM COSTCO
MARINATE CHICKEN FOR 1-2 HOURS
GRILLED THE MARINATED BONELESS/SKINLESS CHICKEN BREASTS AND THIGHS 
DELICIOUS TERIYAKI CHICKEN SALAD WITH SHAVED PARMESAN AND AVOCADO

 TERIYAKI CHICKEN DINNER

TERIYAKI CHICKEN WITH CAESAR SALAD