Mixed Plate – Office Potluck

We had an awesome potluck over the summer at work…and my coworkers really turned it out! Well, they always do but this time…everything was just so onolicious! No specific theme, just bring whatever you want! Here are the pics!

Homemade ume and ebi musubi, taco salad, pasta salad…yum!

Slow cooker mac and cheese!

Yummy pasta with pesto and bacon, delicious!

Homemade Pancit! It has both the egg noodles and the rice noodles…it was so good!! I love myself homecooked pancit and this definitely did not disappoint!

Ham! Yes, a whole ham. It was so good! If I remember correctly, it was done in one of those one pot cookers. The ones that do pressure cooking, slow cooking, etc. I am so hungry as I am writing this post…haha

Cafe Julia Hawaii – Downtown, HI

I recently had a business meeting in downtown and got to try Cafe Julia Hawaii for the first time. It’s a beautiful location so I was excited to try the restaurant! They were pretty busy as expected but we were able to snag a table indoors after a short wait. For those who care, it is an open air restaurant…no air conditioning! It wasn’t awful the day I went…but I could definitely feel discomfort. Let’s get to the food!

Indoor Restaurant Shot – those shelves are full of miniature alcohol bottles! The long table was set-up for a big Japanese tourist group.

Lilikoi Cooler – $6.50 (!)

While this drink was delicious, the price tag was not worth it! It’s non-alcoholic and does not come with refills.

Garlic Furikake Fries – $10

These fries were okay…definitely hit the spot since we were starving. I wouldn’t get them again.

Seafood Risotto – $22.50

Not my dish so I can’t comment to much, my dining companion seemed to enjoy it!

Garlic Ahi – $22.95

One of Cafe Julia’s well known dishes is their loco moco. I didn’t feel like a loco moco this day so I decided to give their garlic ahi a try. I don’t know about you, but for $23 I expected a lot more fish than what I got. The dish was okay, and it’s good that the fish was not overcooked but I was just disappointed by the price of the dish and what you get. As we were finishing our meal, the Japanese tour group came in and they must have ordered a pre-set menu…they all got the loco moco and I instantly regretted my choice! Luckily, I didn’t have to pay for this meal so my Chinese heart wasn’t too hurt. Would I come back to this restaurant? Probably not…but it may be worth a visit at night for dinner…it must be so pretty at night.

 

Wagaya – Moilili, HI

Have I really not posted about Wagaya? Is that possible? Wagaya is definitely in my top 3 ramen spots for Hawaii, if not…number 1! I’ve been going since they opened and they have been consistently good, if not better than before. Their food is delicious, the broth deep in flavor. The only thing they need to up their game in is maybe the char siu…a bit thin. But everything else is so good. It’s a small family business and I really hope you get to try it. Let’s get to the pics!

Yummy…good food is coming. Parking can be scarce so plan ahead! They have a small lot but there is also a lot of street parking.

Homemade Gyoza – $5.95

I enjoy their gyoza, tasty! They have a happy hour special for gyoza but it only counts towards the deep fried ones. It’s too bad, I only like the pan fried ones.

AGEDASHI TOFU – $4.95

Can I just get excited for a little bit? Yes, you can get agedashi tofu anywhere. But this is the best way I’ve had it, seriously. Yes, at a ramen shop. The tofu is fried perfectly, the batter is very thin, light and crispy. Once you pour the sauce onto the tofu, the batter turns almost gelatinous. I know that doesn’t make it sound good…BUT IT ALSO DOES. Because it gets a bit gel-like, the sauce hugs the tofu completely. Hmm…I want to get this for myself next time. No need share. Haha okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit.

Garlic Wagaya Ramen – $12.75

Here is my go to. I get it with regular firm noodles, spice level 3 (they start charging more at level 4, lol). It’s just a perfect serving of ramen, and that soft boiled egg is perfection. I save that for last. 🙂

Hiyashi Tan Tan Men – $11.95

I must confess, this particular week – this was my second visit so I tried the hiyashi noodles for the first time. It is served cold with the sesame dressing on the side. It was nice to try something different but I definitely prefer their ramen. And the ramen comes with a whole egg, so I want the whole egg…so I will get the ramen. Haha, still delicious.

Mixed Plate

Hey guys, I’m thinking Fridays might become a mixed plate post of sorts. I do have random shots throughout my camera so I’ll use Fridays to share them out. It’s already September! That means autumn is upon us…my favorite seasons are autumn and winter so yay! Hope you folks are doing well.

Here is a random meal from Itchy Butt. When you’re hungry, you know you think of Itchy Butts right? Heard about this place for a long time so we finally tried it. We realized that we should have ordered a whole chicken to share rather than get our own half chickens. My Chinese never kick in! The whole chicken is $22 for 18 pieces and the half chicken is $13 for 9 pieces….DOH!

I think we got the spicy and the garlic chicken. The set comes with corn salad, radish, and fried cheese. The fried cheese is like mozzerlla cheese wrapped in a won ton like wrapper and deep fried. If you feel like deep fried food, give them a try. I wasn’t too impressed, I prefer Vons Chicken.

Kulu Kulu! Did you folks ever try that cool ramen cake they had before? I tried to order it but the girl gave me a cold reaction and said that it was only seasonal. Why a cake with no fresh fruit is seasonal? Beats me. I did get to try their lilikoi cheesecake, it was delicious! Although I do like anything lilikoi.

Fresh Salmon Poke on Garlic Hurricane Fries

8 Half Desserts, have you been to their location on Waialae? You walk in and are greeted by the sweetest folks who ask if you want to sample their flavors. AND BOY DO THEY MEAN SAMPLE. No need go Costco. This is the Costco of ice cream, they let you try every single flavor. By the time I’m done, I no even wanna order but then I have to because they just gave me 20 samples. Delicious ice cream. As I was walking through Shirokiya, I noticed they had their own stall! We wanted a quick snack and noticed they served savory food too.

No prices on their menu but I wanted to try the fries. I get to the register to order…they ring it up and it’s almost $17. I wanted for faint. Hahaha but I was in too deep, they already started making it. Was it worth it? $17? No. Did it taste good? Yes. Was the salmon pretty good quality, yes. I still can’t recommend it due to the cost.

Tsukiji Shokudo Genchan Waikiki – Waikiki, HI

Ah yes. Slowly catching up on my posts but decided to stick a new one in! Tsukiji Shokudo Genchan Waikiki has been open for about a month and I wanted to give it a try. Oh, this place is hard to get to. Waikiki is already a pain but this place has absolutely no parking. One of the worst kept secrets is the Ross Store parking lot. If you know you’re going to buy something from Ross, you can park in their lot for 2 hours FREE. It’s great. We took full advantage, ate dinner, walked over to the International Market Place for dessert, shopped at Ross and got out just in the knick of time!

Tsukiji Shokudo Genchan Waikiki offers a pretty extensive menu: hotpot, sashimi, poke, Japanese pupus, and plenty of specials! If you check out their yelp page, I uploaded pictures of the menu from my visit.

Salmon and Avocado Salad – $10.80

Nice salad with a good dressing. Very generous with the salmon and ikura. The addition of limu is a bit of a headscratcher. I’m not a fan of limu so I’m glad it was just sprinkled on top so I could just remove it. Good salad.

Spicy Karaage – $7.50

Interesting preparation. My dining companion thought it reminded her of Korean chicken from Zippy’s, she’s probably right. It has big chunks of chicken thighs fried with a very light batter tossed in a savory soy sauce. Not spicy at all but I enjoyed it.

Spicy Trio Don Set – $19.98

According to the waitress, the trio of fish varies on the day. During our night, it was ahi, salmon and hamachi (and ikura!). It was good, nicely seasoned! Their sets come with the entree, rice, miso soup, and tsukemono. The tsukemono was interesting, the usual daikon dish and then a Korean seasoned bean sprout side dish.

Special Ahi Don Set – $18.86

Ah, my dish. I should have gotten the trio special above but I didn’t want us both to get the same dish. I was disappointed. Do you notice that it’s basically slices of ahi sashimi? I hardly would call this a special ahi don, I would have expected seasoning. Well, after I was able to dig in further, there was a mound of ahi chunks under the nori that was somewhat seasoned. Still disappointing, I wouldn’t get this dish again.

I think this restaurant was pretty good! I would definitely give them a try again knowing my new parking option. They weren’t too busy but I wonder if it’s because word hasn’t gotten out yet.

 

Yakitori Hachibei – Chinatown, HI

My friend suggested we try Yakitori Hachibei, I saw it on Yelp but people said it was always busy. Well the stars must have aligned for us on this day because we were able to grab a last minute reservation at the bar for dinner. Was it good? Yes. Was it worth the hype…well…I can’t say it’s the best yakitori place in town but it certainly had it’s high points. To the pics!

Cabbage Appetizer – complimentary.

Served raw with a very light dressing. I’m not the biggest fan of raw cabbage so it was okay.

Bacon and Egg Maki (Japanese breakfast stick)

Will you look at that? Just look at it! Sweet tamago encased with bacon, an American dream.

Tare Bara (pork belly dipped in lightly sweet soy sauce)

Pork? Yes, please. Belly? YES, please. Get in my belly. This was delicious. Probably one of our favorites of the night since we ordered it twice.

Goma Salmon (salmon in shoyu sesame sauce)

Good dish, nice chunks of salmon!

Hachibei Tempura Chicken Fingers (chicken fingers done the hachibei way)

This is their version of nanban chicken. My friend doesn’t like tartar sauce so we got it with a different preparation. All the reviews on Yelp say their tartar sauce is good, so give it a try!

Sukiyaki (sukiyaki on a stick…really on a stick)

Stop the presses. MUST TRY DISH IS RIGHT HERE. It really literally is sukiyaki on a stick. The unassuming meat roll is covering up all the fixings that come in sukiyaki. Yup, all the veggies and such are wrapped tightly on this stick with wonderful seasoning. That egg yolk right there? That raw egg yolk? You break that yolk up and dip your sukiyaki in. Heavenly. I loved it. Trust me.

Hachibei Chicken Ramen

We fell into the hype. We saw these bowls being carried out to other diners and had to get one for ourselves. Light chicken ramen served in their custom designed cups? Sure, why not. It was an okay dish. When they say light broth, they mean light broth. Nothing I would return for but it was nice to try once.

O’Kims – Chinatown, HI

O’Kims is definitely one of those hole in the wall places that is hard to access. There is no parking so you either have to strike it rich with Chinatown street parking or park at a municipal lot. This shop is very small and it’s set up essentially for take-out. We did a lunch order for the office a few months back and I enjoyed it! If they had a parking space for quick in and out stops for take-out, I would be coming here way more often! I hope you can give them a try, it’s a small shop and they change their menu monthly. They even have vegan options! Let’s take a look at some of the food…

Kalbi Steak – Short ribs with sweet shoyu seasoning, roast root veggies, purple rice, green salad and kimchi.

Kimchee Fried Rice with Egg Nest

Jidori Chicken Ginseng Risotto

I didn’t get this dish but the ones who did didn’t seem to enjoy it too much…

Seaweed Salmon – Slight poached salmon with nori and panko on top, Korean remoulade, tosazu gelee, pickled cherry tomato, nori chip, green salad, purple rice and kimchi.

I tried two dishes! I enjoyed this! The fish was cooked perfectly, not dry at all. At first I thought the fish was a bit small but it was actually the perfect size. The deep fried nori chip…hmm…definitely not needed or memorable.

Confited Pork Belly Brulee – Confit pork belly with sesame leaves and miso sauce, pickled onions, apple & ginger jam, green salad and kimchi.

I really enjoyed this dish, the pork was delicious and I love the deep fried leaves on top of the pork belly. Although, I think when I got it…it may have been deep fried kale? Either way, it was delicious and complemented the pork really well. What I appreciate about O’Kim’s is how high quality their food is and the little touches and details they add to their dishes. Highly recommended!

Recipe: Soon Dubu with Pork Belly

Do you folks follow Maangchi on YouTube? I have been following her channel for years and have made a few recipes which have all been successes! My biggest challenge to come…homemade kimchee. It’s time to up my game and make some good kimchee myself. I’m stressed just thinking about it! But excited as well.

I learned from her how to make some of the BEST Korean soups. The golden base of Korean soups are pretty basic: daikon, seaweed, and dried anchovies. Sounds simple but it makes all the difference in the world. Here are some pictures of a soon dubu I made before, recipe can be found here.

GOLDEN BROTH!!!!!

Did you know there is a special tofu to use to make the best soon dubu? Yes, it comes in this packaging at the Korean supermarkets! Yummmm…

Frying up some pork belly. So this recipe was a play on her recipe, I had some old kimchee that goes really well with pork belly so I made a soup out of it.

Ooooh…that looks sooo good.

Just get me a bowl of that purple rice they serve up and I’ll just be in heaven…

Thank Q Pocha – Honolulu, HI

I have to apologize for some of these posts, I am posting pictures from meals months ago at times so my details on these meals may be minimal. I preface this post with that because…this is one of those posts. This was my first time trying Thank Q Pocha and I think to rally up business, they started offering half-off menus during the weekdays. This may have changed since then but this is the deal we got! Here are some pictures:

Kimchee Fried Rice with Cheese

If you’ve been following Korean food trends, cheese is huge. It’s pretty cool to see the melted cheese surround the fried rice, it’s a nice way to offset the spiciness of the kimchee fried rice. Do I still make better fried rice? Yes. (hahaha)

Thank Q Bulgogi Plate

I think? Nothing special, it’s just a stirfry.

Kalbi Ssam

It’s the wraps you make when you go eat Korean BBQ, only they do it for you and you don’t have to smell like Korean BBQ smoke after eating this. It was good!

Braised Pork Belly Stew

I think? Lol, sorry for this post…I’m pretty sure this is what it was. Pretty good, I love anything served in a stone pot.

Chicken Wings

Meh – I didn’t eat these. Just wanted to show you how they are served up.

California Pizza Kitchen – Kahala, HI

All locals know how popular CPK is here in Hawaii. Especially the CPK in Kahala Mall. I never understood the fascination because any given night at Kahala Mall, you will see big groups of people outside the restaurant waiting to get in. CPK serves up okay food but it can be hit or miss depending on your server for the day, I am always weary of busy restaurant chains because I feel the staff then doesn’t care to provide good service because they are always going to get customers no matter what.

This particular visit, we were roaming around the mall and decided to go to CPK since we were pretty early. We got a table pretty quickly and it was a pretty good experience! Here are the pics!

Complimentary bread – wish they served up some butter. But good overall!

Spinach and Artichoke Dip – classic dish from CPK. Delicious as always, consistently!

Avocado Club Egg Rolls – once again, another classic appetizer from CPK. It was so good! I love this dish.

Garlic Cream Fettuccine – Okay dish, basic, nothing special.

Fire-grilled Ribeye – ooohhhh, never thought of ordering steak from CPK. Doesn’t it look good?? Definitely not a great quality cut of meat but I wasn’t expecting that since this is not a steakhouse. Still thought it was pretty good! We enjoyed it.