Posts tagged hawaii
Posts tagged hawaii
Restaurant Review : Sushi Izakaya Gaku (Japanese, sushi) $$$ *9 out of 10*
This unassuming place has exceeded my expectations. The service was genuine and attentive, the atmosphere was comfortably intimate and the food was authentic and delicious.
Everything was delightful. We enjoyed the food so much that we kept on eating way after we were already full. From the Ono Sashimi, to the Uni, the Gaku Egg, the Unagi, to the grilled Moi and the Roast Duck all the way to the perfectly cooked, perfectly executed Udon…it was all delicious.
Please make a reservation or you will definitely regret it. We were able to get in on our second attempt. The restaurant is small and it’s always full. You don’t want to stand around watching other people enjoy their awesome meals while you’re getting hungrier and hungrier now do you?
Sushi Izakaya Gaku
1329 S King St
Honolulu, HI 96814
Restaurant Review : Boot’s & Kimo’s Homestyle Kitchen (Breakfast,lunch,Hawaiian) $$ *8 out of 10*
I was really, really skeptical. I’m not a fan of pancakes, I don’t care if they are banana pancakes…I mean, how good can they possibly be? I watched as plate after plate of pancakes passed me by feeling disgusted by the white saucy look of them. ”Do we really have to eat this? You know I don’t like stuff like this.” I tittered to my hubby. When the pancakes finally arrived, I grudgingly took a bite. I was seriously blown away. ”These are the BEST pancakes I’ve ever had!” I exclaimed. The banana pancakes were light and fluffy and packed with perfectly ripened bananas. The white macadamia nut sauce that had turned me off from its appearance turned out to be heavenly. It was slightly whipped and perfectly sweetened tasting of buttery maple syrup. It was light and much more delicate than I would have ever expected. ”Damn, I can’t believe it but this is good…”
We also ordered a Hawaiian smoked sausage breakfast. This was mediocre and not worth getting again…the sausages were quite yummy, the eggs were overcooked, and the hash brown was dry. Surrounded by football memorabilia, I still happily munched away.
Boots & Kimos is open for lunch & breakfast only. On the weekdays, they close at 2PM, and on the weekends at 2:30PM. It’s a little expensive and they only accept CASH payments. It also gets over-crowded and is strangely filled with Japanese tourists. Expect a wait. But the banana macadamia nut pancakes were THE BEST PANCAKES I’VE EVER HAD! Hands down!
Boots & Kimo’s Homestyle Kitchen
151 Hekili St
Kailua, HI 96734
Restaurant Review : Matsumoto’s Grocery Store (Dessert) $ *8 out of 10*
Shaved ice in Hawaii? I say Yes! Yes! Yes! Matsumoto’s is probably the most known spot thus cranking out the most volume. I mean, there’s ALWAYS a line packed with both locals and tourists alike. But the people behind the counter know what they’re doing and it moves fairly fast.
They have 39 flavors to choose from. But instead of boggling your mind over all the choices, my suggestion is to get the Hawaiian…you are in Hawaii after all. This combo will give you 3 flavors: Pineapple, Coconut, and Banana. Treat yourself to a large WITH ice cream AND condensed milk - why not splurge?!!! And if you’re so inclined, add the azuki bean too. Make sure you get the little plastic holder for an additional 25cents. This is sooooo worth it and will really help keep things tidy.
So how much will this all cost? A large Hawaiian + Ice Cream + Azuki Bean + Condensed Milk + the Plastic Holder = $4.25! I challenge your sweet-tooth to this. I will be amazed if you aren’t satisfied by this huge mountain of soft flaky sweet ice. I was hard pressed to finish one… and I shared!
Matsumoto’s Grocery Store
66-087 Kamehameha Hwy
Haleiwa, HI 96712
Restaurant Review : Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck (Shrimp, Food Truck) $$ *7.5 out of 10*
Giovanni’s is an over-priced tourist trap but it’s still so friggin’ yummy! I can’t help but scarf down all the shrimp smothered in greasy, garlicky sauce. Then, I can’t help but scarf down all the rice with the remainder of the sauce. Then, I can’t help but order another plate and scarf that down as well.
I must warn you, their food is addicting. It’s no wonder that this place seems to grow bigger and bigger every year I visit. Shrimp scampi is the thing to get here. It’s buttery, oily, with loads of garlic…extra sauce please. Although I like spicy foods, I think that the “Hot & Spicy” is too vinegary and overpowering. But if you feel that you must try this, please note that there are no refunds on this plate. Obviously, people have tried to return their food! LOL! Oh, their garlic hot dog for $3.50 is tasty in that oh,-this-is-so-bad-for-me-but-I’m-really-enjoying- it-anyway sort of way.
$13 dollars will get you 12 shrimp with 2 scoops of rice. While this may sound like a lot of food, it really isn’t. The costs do tend to add up especially considering the fact that you’re eating out on dirty benches on paper plates with plastic utensils.
Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck
56-505 Kamehameha Hwy
Kahuku, HI 96731
Restaurant Review : House Without A Key (food&drinks, breakfast, brunch) $$$ *8 out of 10*
House Without A Key located in the Halekulani Hotel is clean & beautiful with warm, attentive, friendly service. If I have to pay inflated Waikiki prices for food and drinks, this is where I want to have it.
Can you picture yourself sipping on a delicious cocktail while soaking in the sights and sounds of the ocean? I sure can.
The best time to go is at sunset to check out the views of Diamond Head to your left and the perfect sunset to your right. Adding to your experience will be some live Hawaiian music to lull you into tropical heaven.
Or perhaps you may want to go for their breakfast buffet complete with fresh fruit, an omelet station, bacon, fresh squeezed OJ…and banana pancakes with coconut syrup?
House Without A Key
2199 Kalia Rd
Honolulu, HI 96815
Restaurant Review : The Beach Bar (Bar, Bar food) $$ *3 out of 10*
The Banyan Court aka The Beach Bar located in the classically charming Moana Surfrider Hotel…
Their food sucks; we felt like it came straight from Costco and presented to us with poor preparation skills, a tenth of the portion, and 12x the price! Their drinks suck, the service really sucked, and it was expensive…the only thing that’s going for them is their beachside location but their set-up is only very mediocre. With so many options on this beautiful island, why go back?
The Beach Bar
2365 Kalakaua Ave
Honolulu, HI 96815
Restaurant Review : K&K Bar-B-Que Inn (Hawaiian, Chinese) $ *4 out of 10*
I’m wracking my brains and I can only think of one possible scenario that I would return here; I would have to be STARVING for one. Then, I would have to be at the plaza to return my kayak at “Kailua Sailboards & Kayaks” next door. And of course I would have to be carless so that I couldn’t drive anywhere else for food.
I don’t believe that there’s a single healthy item on the whole menu. The food is greasy, so feels the rest of the restaurant. Sure, it’s pretty cheap and they have plate lunches that are easy to pick up and go but do you really want to put this stuff in your body? The food is either too sweet, too fried, or too saucy. And yes, I realize that I’m in Hawaii where this is usually the case with plate lunches…all I can say is that I’ve had better.
K and K Bar-B-Que Inn
130 Kailua Rd #102A
Kailua, HI 96734
Restaurant Review : Hinone Mizunone (Japanese) $$ *7 out of 10*
A simple, affordable, and authentic little Japanese restaurant located on King Street. They are known for their bentos (lunch boxes). They have about 6-7 types and all of them include pickles, sides like gobo (burdock root), croquette, and egg.
For dinner you and a loved one could order the 2 choice Teishoku (main dish w/miso soup) for $16.95 and share. This comes with rice and a few pickled side dishes. Since you also get 2 main dishes of your choice, it should be enough for most people to share. In addition, you can add some small a la carte items to your meal.
Let’s talk about the rice here. Hinone Mizunone takes special care in making the rice. The rice is made in the style of “kamadaki gohan,” a traditional method that’s supposed to bring out the sweetness in rice. For this process they utilize two huge metal pots in a room just off the kitchen that customers are able to view through a window. “Of course, any rice is good when you first cook it, but you can really taste the difference when our rice is cold.” -Eiki Tamaki, operations manager. Personally, I thought that the rice was good; perfectly cooked even, but rice is rice. It is not an item that stands out…it’s supposed to be there as a good foundation. But next time, I must give it the true test and eat it cold, just to see what the difference is…
I found the food to be good. It is Japanese comfort food and they do it well…that is, aside from the poke. The poke was super-duper salty and we found it very hard to eat.
1345 S King St
Honolulu, HI 96814
Restaurant Review : Duke’s Waikiki (Hawaiian, American) $$ *7 out of 10*
Duke’s doesn’t have the best food but to me, this place is kind of iconic to Waikiki/Hawaii. This actually was the first restaurant I ever dined at on my first trip to Oahu and with its great beach-side location and easy going nature, I find myself returning here on every trip. Walk through the Outrigger Hotel towards the beach, and you’ll find yourself at the entrance to Duke’s.
I am fond of their lunch buffet for $13.95. Considering that food prices are quite inflated on the island, it is a decent value. You can have all the fresh fruit you want while sampling staples such as teri chicken and kalua pork. Best of all, you can have your meal with a nice cocktail while soaking in the sights and sounds of the ocean.
If you have a sweet tooth, don’t miss out on the hula pie. Please don’t attempt to eat the whole thing yourself…the pie is huge and remember, you will probably have to get into a swimsuit in the near future. For those of you who don’t know what a hula pie is, let me tell ya; it is a compressed mountain of vanilla ice cream on top of a chocolate pie crust topped with chocolate fudge, whipped cream, and chopped macadamia nuts!
2335 Kalakaua Ave
Honolulu, HI 96815
I’ve been in love with the Hawaiian islands ever since I attended the University of Hawaii for a summer semester back in 2000. In a strange way I feel like I’ve left a small part of myself there and I often feel compelled to return in order to feel whole again.
Of course every person has their own experiences with the Islands but my Hawaii is as follows…
Hawaii is happiness; it is the lush landscape and the warm tropical breeze, the blue waters and the white sand at Lanikai. It is the rains that suddenly stop as soon as it starts. It is laying out on the beach, doing nothing…it is being a jungle girl; hiking, kayaking, swimming, jumping into waterfalls and jumping of ledges. Surfing. It is doing everything in nothing but a bikini and flip flops.
It is getting a glimpse of sea turtles in their natural habitat, and staring at those loud hoppity mynah birds. It is laughing at the wild chickens that roam everywhere and wake you up way too early.
Staying in Hawaii long enough will make you superstitious no matter how you were raised. It is a land with colorful beliefs and stories that you can’t help but want to to be a part of. It is a place of Aloha and Kamaʻāina…it is also a land of Haoles. It is Waikiki and Japanese tourists…where everyone tells me “Konnichiwa” for the first week until I get tanned.
It is a place where you “talk story” and everyone is your auntie and uncle.
It is a place where papaya, mango, guava, banana, pineapple, coconut, & wild ginger grow in your backyard. It is a strange place where the locals will eat the apples, oranges, and melons at a buffet while you pig out on all the tropical fruit. It is where you stick a Plumeria in your hair and it’s not cheesy.
It is a place for tourists and super slow drivers. Where Foodland, ABC stores and banyan trees dominate.
FOOD…Culinary fusion is Hawaiian food…spam, poke, breadfruit, shaved ice, loco moco, kalua pig, Poi (not for me)…L&L and Zippy’s…A place where they love their proteins fried… Hawaiian Sun drinks, an ongoing battle of the garlic shrimp trucks, Macadamia nuts in all forms and roadside fruit stands. Li hing EVERYTHING and orchids garnishing your plate. If you love sweet blended cocktails, you’re definitely at the right place.
Kukui nuts, coconut palm leaves, sacred places, leis, luaus, outdoor concerts, hula, and the sound of ukulele.
It is a place where I can find periods of freedom…