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.


Bills Hawaii – Waikiki, HI

On a nice Sunday morning, I got to try Bills Hawaii for a brunch before a movie. It was a great day! I’m not generally a big brunch person but was curious to try this place. This restaurant originates in Australia and I’m pretty sure it was named Bills Sydney when it first opened here in Hawaii but then changed to Bills Hawaii. The restaurant is open air and has a very casual beachy feel which is perfect for tourists. Let’s get to the food!

Two lattes up! I wish I had the heart design. Is there even a design on my drink? Haha, the coffee was good.

French Toast, fruit, caramel, pistachios, and yoghurt – $15

$15!!! Well this toast was just alright…not a huge fan of the sour yogurt and the bread was a bit dry. I would not recommend this dish…

full aussie – scrambled waimanalo eggs, sourdough toast, cumin roast tomato, bacon, miso mushrooms, pork and fennel sausage – $22.00

$22! Hahaha sorry to exclaim the price for each dish. I wanted to try it just to see what a full aussie breakfast is like. Not impressed. For the prices we paid, I don’t think it was worth it. Parking is across the street and with validation, it’s still $7! Oh man, I can’t recommend this restaurant unless you have some cash to burn and want to enjoy a nice environment and mediocre food.

Sushi Izakaya Shinn – Honolulu, HI

Have I come to Sushi Izakaya Shinn a few times? Yes. Do I feel like I enjoyed each time? Debatable. Maybe I felt like I had to give them a chance? The hostess is an unfriendly woman and to me that makes a huge difference in your experience. They are on open table so you can make reservations before going. One visit, we were checking their reservations and it was open and clear all night. We walk in and inquire for a seat, the restaurant is not full by the way and she informs us coldly that there were no open seats. If she apologetically informed us of this, I think I would not have left with such a sour taste in my mouth. The thing is, the staff once you get seated are great. I’ve had good experiences with the grill master and the wait staff, it’s just the host staff that ruins everything. I refuse to go unless I put a reservation in through Open Table. Also, the parking is horrendous. They share a small lot with Mini Garden and this other shop in the back…not sure what the back lot is…not a place I would go. It’s hard to get parking so good luck with street parking.

Okay I did a lot of smack talking, let me share the meal I had there last.

Fresh Oysters – delicious but pricey. We were in the mood for oysters so it was really nice. Do you folks know of any all you can eat oyster places? That would be heaven.

Fire Cracker Roll (Go to the Hell) – that’s the exact title. It didn’t wow me but it was okay.

Enoki Bacon (top) and Chicken Meatball – well the enoki looks pretty burnt. Gosh, I can’t even remember this meal…

Chicken Skin and Beef Tongue

Totally my own guilty pleasure. Grilled chicken skin? YES. It was good, sorry not sorry. Their beef tongue, my favorite here. I like that they slice the tongue so thick. Some places slices beef tongue so thin…this place makes it perfect. I really enjoyed the tongue.

Mochi Bacon and Chicken and Leek

I mainly wanted to try the bacon wrapped mochi. It was a nice bit of the soft mochi with the smoky bacon. I was glad to try it but probably wouldn’t order it again.

Grilled Lamb ChopĀ 

It was good, but once again, not memorable.

Miso Ramen – lol, okay I think this wasn’t half bad. Definitely better than Ramen Nakamura. This restaurant really serves everything. Sushi, Robata, Noodles, and Oden! I didn’t get to try the oden but if you’re into oden, they serve it up!

Mizu Shingen Mochi with Green Tea Ice Cream

This is mizu shingen mochi right? I think it’s better at Tsukuneya…

Dagon – Moilili, HI

Everytime I’ve come to Dagon, I always walk away happy and satisfied. This is actually my second post on Dagon, you can read the first one, here. Dagon specializes in Burmese food and I love it! They use a lot of different spices to blend together the most incredible flavors. I hope you get to try it yourself. I actually walked here from work for a lunch break one day, was worth the hot walk (walking back to work was another story…)! Here comes the pics…

Appetizer Sampler

This includes harvest vegetarian spring rolls, yellow split pea fritter, burmese samusa, and fried tofu. So…my initial thoughts? Too much fried food on one plate. It was nice to be able to try each of the dishes. My least favorite was the yellow split pea fritter, it was deep fried and hard to eat. My favorite? The fried tofu. Do you see the little rectangles near the bottom of the plate, those are it! According to their menu, these are made of homemade tofu with fresh yellow split pea. It is crisp (light!) and silken on the inside. Totally true! I would order the fried tofu again.

Garlic Noodles with Shrimp

Garlic? Noodles? Sign me up. Got two of my weaknesses right in one dish. The noodles were good! They also come with an interesting chili sauce. I think next time I want to try one of their noodles in broth…

I tried to get an artsy scooping shot but the lighting did not work with me. I can’t let my hard work go…my dining companion had to wait a while before I gave up…haha.


There are two different tea leaf salads, I get the Tea Leaf Salad and it is my favorite salad of all time. The tea leave mixture MAKES this dish. It arrives at your table unmixed, your waiter asks if you want it mixed and say yes…then get ready to be in heaven. Hmmm…I am already craving more of the salad…

Ramen Nakamura – Waikiki, HI

I’ve heard about Ramen Nakamura for the longest time, they’re at the edge of Waikiki on Kalakaua. The reviews seem to be awesome and they always have a line out the door. We just had to try it once! When we got there, there was a line so we thought it was a good sign! We finally got into the restaurant and they certainly run a tight ship, customers hustle in and out of the restaurant as they complete their meals. Kamaaina get a discount so make sure you bring your ID for 15% off and it’s cash only! So what’s the verdict?

Hakata Tonkotsu Ramen Combo

Well…I’ve had much much better elsewhere. What is the big deal about this place? You know one way I judge a good ramen joint? How the eggs are made. Look at this egg. The gray ring around the yolk signals it’s been over-boiled…how disappointing! The ramen was not memorable and I just had no urgency to come back.

Gyoza – typical, average, nothing special

The ramen combo comes with the small fried rice and gyoza. The whole meal was just meh to me, nothing special. The broth was mediocre with no depth in flavor. I would not recommend this restaurant especially since we have so many great ramen restaurants elsewhere.

Dean & DeLuca – Waikiki, HI

My posts will be a mix of old and new restaurant visits. Dean & DeLuca was part of our first Waikiki food journey where we tried to “eat” Waikiki. As you read in my earlier post, our journey was an epic fail at Waikiki Yokocho. So this journey will be in two parts, first part was pupus at Dean and DeLuca. We went when they had first opened, I had high hopes of getting their tote bag! They were all sold out, bummers. We headed up to the wine bar upstairs and had a wonderful time! Here are the pictures…

Lilikoi Soda – I’m not much of a drinker so I got this from their little cafe downstairs. It was delicious! Perfection. Can you tell that I like liliko?

Prosciutto Panini – $16.00

Very nice, delicious!

Sliced Charcuterie & Cheese – $16.00

We really enjoyed this platter, liked the addition of grapes, figs, nuts…I really enjoyed the goat cheese with honey drizzled on and the marcona almonds!


Mochi Experiment: Cupcake and Mini Cupcake Pans

I got a super good question last week about how mochi would come out in different pans. Once that question was posted, I knew I had to do an experiment of my own! Baking mochi in a cupcake pan would yield single servings of mochi…and with that…plenty massive crust pieces. A lot of my coworkers enjoy the edge pieces so I had to give this a try.

I made a butter recipe that is made for a 13 x 9 pan. I followed this recipe from ‘Ono Kine Grindz: Butter Mochi!

Mini Cupcake Pan – I tried to not fill each too full in case the mochi rises.

Finished Product – Mini Cupcake Pan
350 Degree Oven – 35 Minutes (this was with a cupcake pan and a 9 x 9 pan as well)

Look at how brown and crusty each piece was! I made it the night before and served it up to the office guinea pigs…and guess what? All the crust loving folks loved the mini cupcake version of the mochi! To me…it’s like all crust but still has a bit of softness inside.

Caveats: Even though it’s butter mochi, the mochi pieces definitely stuck onto the pan. I had to really scrape each piece out…and then I had to let the pan soak before I could get out all the crust residue. Was it worth the trouble? I wouldn’t say so….

Cupcake Pan – I filled this one up a bit more than the mini cupcake pan. It worked out okay!

Finished Product – Cupcake Pan
350 Degree Oven – 43 Minutes (this was with a mini cupcake pan and a 9 x 9 pan as well)

I enjoyed this version a bit more. It has the nice brown edges but still remains nice and soft inside…and it’s a bigger piece! The mini cupcake pan has too small servings…haha

9 x 9 Pan: Leftover Mochi Batter after Cupcake and Mini Cupcake Pan

Finished Product – 9 x 9 Pan
350 Degree Oven – 43 Minutes (this was with a mini cupcake pan and a cupcake pan as well)

That’s another caveat to this recipe, I had leftover batter so I had to use another pan. Thankfully I have this smaller pan, the pieces came out good but a bit thin for my taste.

Another picture of the mochi pieces. Do you see how the mini cupcake mochi is separated? I feel like it gets a bit dry so as I tried to take the mochi pieces out of the pan, the top crust separated from the bottom piece. If I had to make this mini cupcake version again, I would start checking the doneness earlier. I would probably start checking at 20 minutes with a toothpick.

So what do you think? Do you think you would try any of these options? I wish I had more than one cupcake pan, then I would make this recipe again. I don’t want to wait 40 minutes each batch to make it then have to wash the pan and start it over again!

Sunrise Restaurant – Kaimuki, HI

Sunrise Restaurant is an old school Okinawan restaurant located at the edge of Kapahulu near Waikiki. I’ve been wanting to try this restaurant for the longest time but dang, there is absolutely no parking. We tried lunch one day here and my gosh, it was worth the wait and we are itching to go back. Super small restaurant, if you can’t make it right when they open, you better wait a bit for next seating. They definitely have their regulars…and there is one chef. Seriously. He makes all the plates of sushi and then he has to hustle to the back kitchen to prep the oxtail soup. The lunch orders seem to be mostly oxtail soup and sushi combination so that’s what I got!

Looks like a typical sushi offering but it tasted great.

Oxtail Soup – star of the show. It was delicious. They don’t give a whole lot…probably because it’s part of a sushi combination. The soup is flavorful yet very clean tasting. We don’t have enough good Okinawan restaurants around, I want more, more and more! Wish they had more readily accessible parking…perhaps the hunt makes the meal all the more worth it.

Took a quick pic of their hours in case you’re curious, they’re not always open for lunch!

Costco: Tagliatelle Grilled White Chicken & Portobello Mushroom Sauce

I saw this package at Costco a few months ago and was intrigued. You know what I loved even more than the 8 minutes in a microwave thing? They provide the microwaveable bowl! No dishes? My lazy soul has been sold. I was scrolling through the many pictures I have yet to upload and happened upon this one and thought the timing was perfect because it’s going on sale at Costco this week (Thursday to be exact).

Here are the contents, ready to go! In the provided microwaveable bowl.

Fresh pasta!

Portobello Mushroom Sauce

Sliced Chicken Breast

Finished product! Nothing like a dump and heat up dish. How was it? I would have loved a bit more pasta because there is a LOT of chicken meat! Overall I thought it was pretty good. I don’t remember how much I paid but it’s going to be $3 off with the new coupon book so give it a try! Let me know how you like it. šŸ˜€

Nicoā€™s Pier 38 – Honolulu, HI

An after work meal at Nico’s is perfect! They have a nice view of the harbor and live music to help soothe you from a day of hard work. I would come here for a good pupu evening – but they serve up great entrees too! Here is what we got…

Virgin Lava Flow

I felt like a drink but without alcohol. This did the trick! Tasted great, and dare I say…I can’t taste much of a difference between both anyway. Maybe I should just stick with the virgin version…

Fried CalamariĀ 

Nicely fried, generous portion!

Poke Sampler

Perhaps the favorite of the night! Three different types of poke, all delicious. Do you see the chunks of fish between the scoops of poke? Gosh I don’t know what they were, I want to guess salmon but they were DELICIOUS. It was a smoked fish…and I would get that again alone…over rice!

Seafood Pasta

Ehhh, it was good. Not great, I wouldn’t get it again.

Furikake Pan Seared Ahi

One of their famous, signature dishes. Perfectly cooked and seasoned, I would definitely recommend this!