Mitsu-Ken Okazu and Catering – Kalihi, HI

I haven’t been to Mitsu-Ken Okazu and Catering since they were located in their original School Street location. It was a miracle they had so much business in their original location with no parking! I decided to try their new location out last week because I had a hankering for some good ‘ole garlic chicken. Their new location has a lot of parking, much easier to maneuver especially early in the morning. It can be a bit confusing when you get in since there are a lot of folks standing around, head straight to the cashier if you are ready to order. The folks standing around are most likely waiting for their food.

Breakfast Deluxe • $6.75

2 Scoops Fried Rice, 2 Eggs (any style), 2 Strips of Bacon & 3 Pieces of Portuguese Sausage

Great deal! I don’t really like bacon but wanted to get their breakfast so I got the deluxe! I shared the bacon with my coworker and enjoyed the breakfast. I like that you can order your eggs the way you want it, they are pretty quick too! This was ono.

Fried Saimin Bento • $7.50

Fried Saimin, Garlic Chicken, Egg Omelette, Portuguese Sausage & Rice with Furikake

This is a great deal! And this bento has everything I want in a bento! Great fried saimin, portuguese sausage (yes, I got it again!) and of course the garlic chicken! I didn’t get to heat it up for lunch but it still tasted good cold. I love that I can pick up breakfast and lunch before heading into work. Mitsu-ken, once a classic, always a classic!

 

Pho Que Huong – Honolulu, HI

This may be a controversial statement, but I feel like the pho I have had in Vietnamese restaurants have been generally the same. Of course there are going to be nicer restaurants that offer better broths, but I am not locked down to a specific restaurant because I know I can get a good bowl of pho in most restaurants. Pho Que Huong is the newest Vietnamese Restaurant in Chinatown and after viewing pictures on Yelp, I had to try it. For the pho? Sure, gotta have that…but mainly for the Prawns dish! I’m a sucker for prawns. Pics time!

Medium Pho • $9.00

Great bowl of pho, tasted delicious. I liked that they served up the raw meat with raw onions. Doesn’t the meat look nice and red? It was a good bowl of pho, was it something that knocked my socks off? No, but it was good.

Tom Kho Tau (Prawns in Roe Sauce) • $15.00

At first look, $15 for two prawns doesn’t seem like a great value. However, if you go to Romy’s in the North Shore and order a Prawn plate, you get three big prawns for over $25 so maybe it’s not a terrible deal. Although, I should probably just go to a seafood market and buy my own prawns to make a dish. Sorry, I got sidetracked.

This was a great dish, it is savory in a salty, fishy (in a good way), and caramelized sauce. Very flavorful. It was so awesome to put some of the sauce onto the rice…and the heads of prawns have the best “miso” to eat! I was very happy to eat this, would I order it again? It’s a bit pricey so it’s not going to be a mainstay but a once-in-a-while treat is nice! This is a great restaurant because they serve a variety of dishes – I consider it a very full menu with some dishes you can’t find elsewhere. Parking, this is in Chinatown so you should already guess how that goes. We parked in a private lot across the street and paid $2 for an hour, we were able to dine in the restaurant and leave within the hour.

Mixed Plate – Osaka Edition

Happy Aloha Friday! Just wanted to do a post with some random pictures I wouldn’t be able to create full posts out of…from Osaka! Enjoy!

Okay, I have to admit…Coca Cola Peach was the drink I really really wanted to try in Japan. I read that it was a limited edition and prayed it would still be there when I took my trip. I actually ran into the 711 as we walked to the apartment and found it. Hallelujah. After a very long travel, I just wanted for throw down and take a big drink of this drink. Ummm…well, I didn’t like it. To me, it tastes nothing like peach….or if it tasted like peach, it tasted very artificial, almost flowery. I did not like it and would not get this again.

Check this out! I had to get a quick pic of this as we walked around…they have Aloha Maid! 80 cents a can, special discount. Haha! Is how our cans read too? Passion & Orange? I always thought it was just passion orange.

OKAY, HERE IS MY FAVORITE DRINK. Sorry for the yelling, but I really enjoyed this drink. It was delicious and refreshing. Okay, you see the word vitamin on the bottle but let’s be real, this drink ain’t healthy in any way and I no care. I even snuck a few bottles home…and regret not sneaking more. Okay, maybe I just need to buy some coke here and add my own lemon. So good…

For two days, I bought food from 711 the night before to have for breakfast. I had a hard time adjusting to Japan time so I usually woke up before 5am and got hungry. Here is one of the musubi packs, salmon and mayo tuna. Oh my, so good. The quality of the ingredients is just so great. You know how the musubis are here? We put it in the fridge and then it’s rock hard. Well these musubis stay ono and soft. 711 in Japan is awesome.

Last dish to share…I love soba so this was one of my meals. I love that they give you a little packet of water to add to the noodles so they don’t stay stuck together. Man…wish our 711 would step up their game. And they sold these two dashi eggs on the side, yup I ate both and yup both were perfectly cooked and seasoned. Orange runny yolk for the win. Have a great weekend guys.

Ikinari Steak – Osaka, Japan

As I mentioned in a previous post, our last day in Osaka was located around the main Osaka Station. After some shopping, we had a hankering for some good lunch. I had a hankering for steak, lo and behold…Ikinari Steak! This was a quick find, there was a line of Japanese natives outside the shop, this should be good no? The prices were reasonable and they were busy, LET’S DO THIS.

Coca Cola • ¥300 (yikes!)

Wild Steak (300 g) • ¥1,390

Lunch Set A (Rice and Salad) • ¥300

Being non-Japanese speakers, it was a little bit confusing to order at this restaurant. The waitress was very nice and gave us English menus and proceeded to help us with the ordering. It’s a bit confusing because you have to walk up to the grill master to ask him to cook up your meat. Well, he didn’t really know English so we couldn’t quite get across that we wanted medium rare. Well the steak still came out pretty nicely cooked, though the hot plate kept cooking the steak past my temperature liking. For about $14, the serving of steak was a decent portion but I didn’t think it was anything special. In fact, I think I enjoyed the salad the most (is this becoming a theme?). I liked that they have all the salad dressings and steak sauces at your table for you to use. Aside from the costly soda, this lunch was good and cheap! I would recommend it if you’re feeling up to some steak!

Ichiran Dotonbori – Osaka, Japan

There are two Ichiran locations in the Dotonbori shooping area, one is on the waterfront by the big Don Quijote Ferris Wheel, the other is located deeper within the Dotonbori shopping arcade. We went to the second location and I finally got to try their famous cubicle dining system. Boy was that…interesting.

Does it look cramped? Well, it kind of is. They have both the cubicle dining and regular seats. The restaurant is like a zoo, you get in line and then are led to a machine to place your order. We got our dining tickets and were led to the line for the cubicles, a narrow staircase. We had a bit of a wait but it wasn’t too bad.

Here is the one side of the cubicle, you can order any extra toppings/side orders here…and drinks!

So they give you a new order sheet for any impromptu orders. Cash only!

They have a button for you to make your extra orders, other than that, you have no real interaction with the servers.

You see that bamboo looking mat in front of my noodles? That’s what they lift up to serve your noodles, then it’s back down for your privacy.

I ordered my noodles with an egg. Wasn’t a big fan of having to crack my own egg for the ramen, would have liked it to have been served already in my bowl. I can report that the egg was cooked perfectly, of course it was!

Yayoi Japanese Teishoku Restaurant – Osaka, Japan

I was in Osaka for 4 days and ate breakfast at Yayoi Japanese Teishoku Restaurant twice, I think that speaks for itself. This was a great restaurant, I wish I had taken more pictures. You order your food at the machine located in the front of the restaurant (there is an English screen!), take your ticket, have a seat and hand your ticket over to the waitress. Within 5 minutes, your food arrives. They have a little area that offers hot tea and a big pot of rice, in case you want more. The prices for the food, super reasonable. We only got to try breakfast there but that was enough for me. I’m sold and would love to return when I return!

How can you beat these prices??

Fried Egg Breakfast • ¥460

This was my first breakfast, simple fried egg and sausage. The set comes with unlimited white rice, tofu, nori, and miso soup. I like that this restaurant automatically serves iced water when you have a seat, not all Japanese restaurants do. Oh yes, that is a mountain of shredded cabbage you see. Japanese people love their cabbage, I wasn’t feeling too hungry so I didn’t eat the cabbage…gomen…

Silver Salmon Breakfast • ¥530

Ummm…five bucks for all this?? Salmon, raw egg, natto, miso soup, unlimited white rice….$5?? Great deal. I should have gotten this set both days. Mixing the raw egg into the hot rice…adding soy sauce…and then of course the natto…was so delicious, so satisfying. This is what I call an awesome Japanese breakfast. I wish we had these breakfast sets sold here in Hawaii, I would totally go all the time. Well having the same price here would help too but let’s be realistic…haha. Highly recommend this restaurant!

Mike’s American Grill – Springfield, VA

I had a work trip to Virginia and was flown in literally for the one day meeting. Don’t get me wrong, I was incredibly grateful for the travel. We were flown in late Saturday night, got in late Sunday afternoon…a meeting all day on Monday and then flown out early Tuesday morning. I honestly, never adjusted to East Coast time. In fact, I didn’t sleep at all on Monday night after the meeting. It was insane…I don’t think I’ve ever done that before (yes, I am that cool). Anyway, Monday night was the only night I had to try a restaurant so here it is! I did my research beforehand and really wanted to check Mike’s American Grill out. This restaurant was super close to the hotel so that was great and the food pics looked great…with so many high reviews! How did it go?

Complimentary Bread Basket

The two donut hole looking pastries were actually probably that? There was a thin coating of sugar on them. Okay, I looked them up, they are called Aussie Rolls! I didn’t get to the raisin (?) bread? And a nice cheese bread, we didn’t partake in this too much because we had an appetizer and entree coming!

Special Appetizer of the Day: Crab Dip with Lavash • $14.00

We were really excited to try this dip but it was pretty mediocre. The dip was a bit salty and not very “crabby,” and I don’t think the lavosh is a good accompaniment. I would have preferred a flat bread, but they seemed so open that maybe you could have requested that? I wouldn’t get this dish again.

Drunken Rib Eye • $31.00

Certified Angus Beef® marinated in our Great American Pale Ale…with mashed potatoes & roasted cremini mushrooms

Well…here is the dish we waiting for. Sounds great, looks great…nothing but high marks on their yelp page. And how was it? Oh…I had such high hopes. But guess what? It was FULL OF SALT. This restaurant was located on Backlick road, and I cracked that it was more like saltlick road, get it? I’m just full of fun to be around, trust me. The potatoes were good, the three mushrooms (lol) were good but it was really had to eat through this steak because of how salty it was. Someone had a prime rib and that looked super good…should have gotten that instead. 🙁

Field Greens Salad (comes with the Drunken Rib Eye)

with tomato, sun dried cranberries, dates, pine nuts, croutons & champagne vinaigrette…with blue cheese or Laura Chenel goat cheese, add $1

THIS WAS THE STAR OF THE NIGHT. Yes, a side salad. It was DELICIOUS. I don’t usually rave about a salad, but the level of detail in each topping was impressive. I loved that the salad came with dates and cranberries. Sorry, but where have dates been all my life? It was delicious. And the slices fresh tomatoes, they had some kind of Italian herb oil on them too. Full of flavor. So I will digress, I didn’t feel like a champagne vinaigrette and asked for ranch dressing. Their ranch dressing is like homemade, chock full of fresh herbs. Oh man, I am just salivating at this picture…over a salad. If all salads tasted like this, I’d be a vegetarian, no problem.

Universal Studios – Osaka, Japan

What trip to Osaka would be complete without a visit to Universal Studios? This is my first ever visit to any Universal Studios and boy was I excited! I already know Disney in Tokyo is awesome, I’m afraid I may have visited the best Universal Studios before I even got to see the rest! Although, I’m told the Florida location has much more to see and do so I’ll save my judgement for a later time.

Why was I so excited to go to Universal? HARRY POTTER WORLD OF COURSE. We had planned to get to Universal right when they opened, it didn’t work out in our favor…we got there maybe 15 minutes after they opened. Was there a ton of people already there? Yes. We bought our tickets from Klook, have you heard of Klook? It’s a phone app that you can purchase tickets, food certificates, etc. from! I used it in both Hong Kong and Osaka, and it works great! I connected my Klook to my paypal account so I can purchase things in Osaka through the app and not get charged any foreign transaction fees and second, not have to use my valuable yen. Usually Klook offers a bit of a discount off tickets, in this case, the Universal tickets were about the same price as you would get at the door…but it was nice to walk right past the ticket lines and scan my phone at the entrance.

For those who know me, you know I get motion sickness. Hardcore. So why did I stand in a three hour line to ride the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey? You got me, I don’t know why but I did it. Decided if I was going to ride a ride, might as well ride a crazy one and see if I die. I didn’t die. I didn’t throw up! Well, it is a crazy ride that is crazy fast and flips you all ways…I thought in the beginning that if I close my eyes, maybe I wouldn’t get sick. Nope, closing my eyes made me dizzy so I kept my eyes wide open the entire time. And well some images of the snake and deatheaters aren’t so pleasant but I’m sure my riding companions wouldn’t have appreciated projectile vomiting either. Hahaha, I think as I stood in line, I saw at least three signs saying if you have motion sickness, get out. I’m glad I rode it to say I rode it, I will not be riding it again.

Rotisserie Chicken and Pork Ribs Platter • ¥1950

Rotisserie Smoked Chicken Platter • ¥1900

Originally, I got the Chicken and Ribs plate but when we sat down, I suddenly didn’t feel like the ribs and switched. The plate is pretty good! Well it’s $20, so it better be good! The chicken was nicely cooked and the corn was delicious and sweet. The drink of course is not included in the meal, it costs extra. I want to say it was about $3.00, theme park prices. There were a ton of birds in the area. When I finished my food, two birds climbed onto my plate and started to pick at my food. Was pretty unreal. I missed the actual sight but a crow flew in and grabbed a chicken from one of the other tables! I think it was a leftover plate of food, not from a dining customer. Whew. I can’t get over how cheerful and nice the workers are at these Japanese theme parks. The lady who was cleaning up all the finished plates of food was incredibly gracious and patient, wish we had some of that service here!

Isn’t this a great shot? I have to give credit to my cousin, she spotted that it would be a great shot with the reflection in the water and boy was she right. If you want to get this shot, you will have to dine at Three Brooms because this was from their outdoor dining area.

Finally, I had to get that churro shot with Hogwarts in the background. Thank you to my hand model. Universal Studios offers churros, turkey legs, cute treats…very similar to Disney! There is also a Coca Cola truck that allows you to customize Coke bottles! What a nifty souvenir! My cousin got one and the worker kept stating that the word on the bottle you customize must be the name on your passport. He kept asking to confirm that it was her name on her passport. She said yes, he doesn’t check, he just expects the answer to be yes. I’m assuming they are trying to curb any bad words being placed on the bottles…but as an FYI, they do not check your passports!

Airport Limousine – Osaka, Japan

Hey guys, sorry for the lapse in posting. I had a work trip earlier this week and it was quite a doozy. I’ll probably share a bit more in a future post…because I got to eat at one restaurant! Hahaha, it really was a crazy trip. Just wanted to do a funny post from Osaka.

Have you folks ridden in an Airport Limousine before? If you have, you know the word limousine is a bit misleading. You’re essentially riding in a bus, albeit a comfortable one. My first experience with airport limousines were in Korea, very nice buses, with plenty of room for your luggage, nice seats and wifi access! And don’t forget that lovely air conditioning. Anyway, for Osaka, when we got there, we used trains/subways to get to the apartment. At that point, we only had one suitcase and it was very light. No problem. Well, it totaled four transfers and I wasn’t exactly feeling up to that for the return trip. So I sprung for a taxi ride to Osaka Station where we would store our luggage in the lockers for the day as we browsed around the station/neighborhood. Then when we were ready, we would go to the airport limousine stop located by the station and be on our merry way.

As always, the service and line for this service was very orderly. These guys were pros! We were kind of far back in the line but waited as they loaded up the bus…

Can you tell what is wrong with this picture????

They called us on and as we got on…we noticed all the seats were taken. Huh?? I wasn’t sure what was going on but the bus driver was totally fine and started pointing at the seats on the right. I couldn’t believe my eyes. They had mini seats that could pull out from the right seats to form a row of seats in the aisle of the bus.

Here was my view for the 40 minutes ride to the airport. It was….awkward and uncomfortable. I couldn’t help but get mad because here I am paying the same price as everyone else and we get stuck in these baby seats? The ride was bumpy and the guys on each side of me had a serious case of sleepy lean-overs. Bah! If I knew this was how it goes, I would have waited for the next bus! Have you guys rode in airport limousines like this?? At least I have a funny story to look back on…makes me wonder if I should have just done those train transfers…haha.

 

This entry was posted in Travel.

Yamauchi Farm – Osaka, Japan

For me, I have never had a bad meal in Japan. Even the cheapest restaurants offer quality food. While I love trying new restaurants, sometimes, since you are out all day, you just wanna get back to your hotel/apartment and eat something quick nearby. Luckily for us, Yamauchi Farm is a 5 minute walk to our apartment. We had just finished a full day at Universal, post to come soon, and we were famished and exhausted. What a great place to walk into, this restaurant has everything! Check out their menu, it is fully loaded! The servers weren’t great at English but they didn’t need to be, the menu had English in it and…they had an iPad for ordering! Yessss!

Yamauchi Farm Menu

So this was the starter served…uhhh?! The cabbage and daikon strips are not pickled in any way. It was served with this sauce…

This tasted like a miso paste with pickled vegetables. I didn’t quite know what to do so I just took some out and dipped the daikon in it because I was so hungry. Then I started wondering, was I supposed to lather this sauce on the veggies to ferment them quickly? Gosh I have no idea. I didn’t do it and the cabbage was totally wasted…

Passion Fruit Mojito • ¥480

You know I have a passion fruit drink and mojito weakness. The drink was good. And when I say good, it means I tasted no alcohol and it was just like juice. I’m so junk at drinking yeah?

Soft-boiled Eggs with Spicy Cod Roe • ¥350

Yummy, I will eat Japanese eggs all day everyday. While this dish was good, it was sooo salty. Definitely needed rice…

Freshly Shipped Sashimi Assortment • ¥1,380

This wasn’t my dish but most of the fish pieces were saba I believe. Lucky for me, my partner does not like saba so it was all mine.

Kyushu Kara-age Style Deep-fried Small Shrimp • ¥480

Collagen Loaded Salt-based Ramen with Free Range Chicken • ¥750

I needed some comfort food this night and this menu item drew me in! Not a big serving but for the price, it was great. I shared this with my dining partner, not sure how much collagen is really loaded in this baby but it tasted good.

[Kagoshima] Spicy Spring Bonito Yukhoe Donburi Rice Bowl • ¥580

Yup, I got this dish too. I was very curious about how this dish would taste. Yukhoe, I associate that phrase with the Korean raw beef tartar dish so I wasn’t sure what to expect. This restaurant serves raw chicken and raw horse I think?! So I was almost afraid of what I would get served. Well, I think it was actually the bonito fish…thought it was ahi. I don’t think I have had fresh bonito before, just the dried shavings on top of takoyaki. I really enjoyed this donburi – the orange yolk to mix in? Hey, I’m so there.

We were too tired to fully enjoy this restaurant experience and I kind of regret not being able to go back. There were some businessmen in there drinking and eating it up. Come to think of it, there were some really good restaurants right next to our apartment. We rented an Airbnb for this trip, I thought it was a great idea and the price is way cheaper than a hotel. Do you folks Airbnb when you travel? Anyway, this restaurant seems to be a chain so if you can find it when you are in Japan – give them a try!