Mixed Plate

Just a random post with various eats that won’t make a whole post on it’s own. First off, Whole Foods Market, when Jalna shared about the 2/$5 deal! Thanks so much! Now I check my amazon app all the to check the deals. The pizza was pretty good, the garlic and spinach one was mine. Plenty garlic so I liked it a lot!

Ninja Crispy Chicken Bento | $12.49

Chi Chop is located in the Ala Moana Food Court, not great. The fried chicken is seasoned with quite a bit of five spice powder if that’s your thing. I also think it was quite pricey for $13!

Two Combo Plate (Spicy BBQ Chicken & Fish Jun) | $16.50

Korean Hibiscus BBQ! Oh boy, what a deal. A cute and sweet couple run this shop and the portions are generous! The taste was great and do you see? Two pieces of fried mandoo too! I do have to say, MSG galore, I was thirsty all night!

Izakaya Naru – Honolulu, HI

Izakaya Naru is a bit of a non-descript restaurant located in the same lot as Sushi King. They are more of an Okinawan restaurant but they like to make special twists on certain dishes which are quite enjoyable! They have extensive drinks on the menu along with an extensive pupu menu. Reservations are highly recommended since they are very small. How was the food?

Look at this cute welcome sign! I called to make a reservation and this greeted me when we were seated! Love it!

Shiso Awamori | $7.25

I can’t be taken at my word on this, I didn’t like this drink. I am also not an expert on alcoholic drinks. The reviews on Yelp seem to review this positively so I assume it tastes good? I was not a fan and the shiso taste wasn’t strong. I should stick to soda or cocktails.

Homemade Peanuts Tofu | $6.00

Oh my, one of my favorites of the night. I loved this. I think tofu throws off the diner’s expectation. It’s not tofu mixed with peanuts – I think it’s peanuts mixed with a kudzu starch to resemble tofu. The taste and the aroma of the peanuts was mildly roasted, it was perfect. The tofu itself isn’t really seasoned, the sauce on top tastes like a thick kabayaki sauce. It’s perfection, I would definitely order this again.

Hamachi Carpaccio w/Okinawan Lime Sauce | $12.00

Great cuts of Hamachi and a nice light lime sauce, not at all sour…just a quick jolt of citrus. Very good!

Rolled Fried Egg (Dashimaki!) | $6.50

Okay, I’ve been experimenting with dashimaki tamago at home so I’m a bit biased with my version! This one was okay, I think I would have preferred a stronger dashi taste. Also, $6.50 is a bit steep in price for me.

Homemade Okinawa Soba w/Shoyu Pork Belly | $10.75

Nice dish! A pretty good sized pork belly with slightly al dente okinawa soba (in a good way!). A nice comforting dish.

Garlic Fried Rice w/Squid | $9.50

One of their famous dishes is their taco rice in a stone pot but we were feeling more like squid and garlic fried rice this day and boy am I glad we did! I haven’t tried this before but am very happy we did. Another one of the favorites of the night with very tender morsels of squid, I would recommend this!

Sukiyaki Pizza | $9.00

Okay, so they have a gyoza pizza which is popular but once again, I wanted to try another pizza! The sukiyaki pizza is interesting, did I taste an obvious sukiyaki flavor? Not really, I actually likened it more to like a lightly smoked kalua pig. The mayo on top contains a hint of wasabi which I enjoyed. I enjoyed this dish a lot but I wouldn’t have any sukiyaki expectations when I order it.

Anytime Cafe – Honolulu, HI

If you’re an old fut like me, you will remember a Banana Leaf Italian Restaurant in Market City Shopping Center. I was kind of sad when they closed but soon realized the same owners opened up Anytime Cafe. Anytime Cafe has some pasta dishes still but I think their menu most resembles a Hong Kong Cafe which I enjoy a lot! I wouldn’t mind a few more Hong Kong favorites on the menu but I will take what I can! So how was the food?

Iced Tea with Lemon | $4.95

My favorite type of iced tea, Hong Kong style. This was great! And simple syrup is served on the side so you can sweeten your drink to your preference.

Beef Brisket & Tendon | $14.95

Beef Brisket noodles are a Chinese comfort food. This wasn’t my dish but I got to try a bit and they have the seasoning down. I usually eat this dish with a rice noodle but they serve it here with the thin egg/shrimp noodles. I like that type of noodle best so winners on that.

Hainan Chicken Rice | $14.95 (add $2 to substitute thigh meat)

Only in Hawaii will you find an extra cost for the thigh meat!! $2! Did I pay for that? Yes. I am Chinese and I want the juicy dark meat, of course. No shame in my game.

Soup Broth – It has a nice dried shrimp flavor, went great with the set!

The rice is probably my favorite part of the dish. It may look plain here but it is actually cooked with broth and garlic and maybe other seasonings. If they cook it the way I’ve seen on videos, there may be chicken fat involved too. Mmm…

Dipping Sauces! The traditional ginger green onion sauce and oh! A surprise dipping sauce for me! I don’t quite know what it is…a sort of vinegar with chili and garlic sauce? My favorite! My cousin informed me it tastes the same as the sauce they serve with pig trotters in Chinese restaurants and she is right! I need to learn how to make this sauce.

The chicken. How was it? Ehh…a bit of a letdown answer huh? There’s something about the way this chicken was prepared. I wanna say they prepared it like a drunken chicken and I don’t like that. I want Hainan Chicken in it’s purest form, slowly poached in its own broth. I don’t think I would order this dish again but there is definitely many other dishes I would try!

Masa’s Cafeteria – Honolulu, HI

If I worked in Salt Lake/Mapunapuna, I’d be in food heaven. So many great choices out there but I love the old school choices. I wish these places were open all weekend long so I could give them a whirl. I was in the Salt Lake area around lunch time so we checked out Masa’s Cafeteria for lunch! Oh it was awesome. I was a bit sad we weren’t there during the Baked Spaghetti day (comfort food to the max).

Hawaiian Plate w/ Rice | $11.25
~comes with laulau and lomi salmon
~choice of tripe stew or chicken long rice or beef stew

How can you lose with this plate and the price? It was ono brah! The beef stew was local style with big chunks of tender meat. The laulau had great taste, along with the lomi salmon and rice, you can’t lose! Man I wish I could eat here more often!

Lam’s Kitchen – Honolulu, HI

Who doesn’t enjoy beef brisket noodle? If you answered no, you may want to skip this read. I think Lam’s Kitchen serves up some of the best on the island. If you are willing to make the trek out to Chinatown, find your own parking, and wait out the line, give them a try!

Cheong Fun (Look Fun Roll) | $5.50

This meal is major carbo loaded. We couldn’t help ourselves, they serve up such great look fun. The menu is a bit confusing, I just wanted a small portion of it so I tried to get the side order of it which costs $1.00 or $1.50, I honestly don’t now what the difference is. The waitress turned over my menu and pointed at this one for $5.50 so I just said…okay. I guess this is the one you have to get for dine in? I don’t know. It’s fine. It’s delicious. The sauces are on the table, spread some of that peanut sauce and hoisin sauce on top and you are golden. Delish!

Beef Flank & Tendon Look Fun | $8.99

My dining companion does not like tendon so she asked for beef flank only. Well, I’m used to this now but the wait staff always gives pause when she orders it like this. I guess for us Chinese, tendon is like gold! Why say no? Hahaha but everyone has their own tastes right?

Beef Chow Fun (Dry) | $8.99

Why oh why do I get the beef chow fun here? Yes, it’s just such a basic dish but I really enjoy the way they make it. Hard to explain but they have a way of seasoning it…is it the char of the wok they use? It’s a taste I remember from really good chow fun I had back in China so I just eat this right up. Yes, I left the plate CLEAN. Great stuff.

Saying Goodbye…

Okay, misleading title…no I am not the one saying goodbye! This post is focused on bidding goodbye to an employee of mine. While I am sad to see her go, I am excited for her new adventures and her move to the mainland! Now, she is a graphic designer so I knew I wanted to personalize her gift with something handmade…and well…if you know me, you also know I am obsessed with miniatures so guess what I did…

I made a miniature of her office! Yes, this was all done by hand from scratch…I wanted to help her to commemorate her first ever office space as well.
Made her bookshelf, mirror (yes her mirror is blue!), art work…
Of course the iPad box contains an iPad inside too! Gotta focus on the details!
Did I? Yes, these are real books in her shelf that I scanned the covers of to create the books! Sorry I didn’t get to show a book inside, but the pages are text lined! Loved creating these mini books!!
One of my favorites in this project, creating the cork bulletin board! Yes, the pictures were the same as the ones on her real board!
Created the blinds in her office with the exact view out of her window…and yes, the blinds move!

I put a lot of work into this piece and while I had my moments of insanity (mainly because I am so focused and detailed), it was all worth it because she loved it! Ugh…I love miniatures so much…

Of course I had to cook for the going away party! I made homemade pancit because it’s one of her favorite foods. Very nervous making this because it’s just such a good dish and the taste is key! I gotta admit, I did a test run myself before this day and did not like the first test. I revamped the recipe I worked with and I think it came out great! My coworkers seemed to like it so I am super happy!

If you follow Kat, you would have noticed she talked about Butterfly Pea Flower tea the other week! It was such a coincidence because I had just ordered the dried flowers online and was prepping to make this drink! So you steep the flowers and the water turns into a very bright blue color. When mixed with acid, it changes color! I made a fresh lemonade (first time, was good!) and poured the drinks at the party. It was so fun to see it turn purple and pink! The tea itself doesn’t have a strong taste or any taste, it’s hard to explain. I would pour maybe 3/4 of lemonade to 1/4 of the tea. Tastes great!

Pho My Vi – Kaneohe, HI

I don’t get to visit Windward too often but when I do, I do enjoy trying the different eateries out there! I tried Pho My Vi for the first time the other week and really enjoyed it! The service was good (well it was a young man and he definitely did not want to be at work but he was still a good server), I enjoyed the food! Prices for the appetizers were a bit higher but I think the pho was an incredible value. The medium size was huge!

Spring Rolls (2pcs) | $7.95

Spring rolls tasted good, do I think two spring rolls for $8.00 is a good deal? No.

Beef Salad | $15.95
Citrus infused sliced rib eye served with romaine lettuce, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, onion flakes, 
crushed peanuts, chinese parsley, tossed in Chef’s lime and pineapple specialty dressing.

Anytime I see beef salad on the menu, I just gotta try it! Pho 777 still has the best on the island, hands down. I don’t love visiting Pho 777 because it’s a bit run down and I question the cleanliness but you can’t beat their beef salad. The beef salad here was good, not great.

Combination Pho (Medium) | $12.75

I enjoyed my bowl of pho! I think they are generous with the meats and noodles, I felt quite satisfied after dining here! They have the hot chili sauce I like too (the one with the chili oil). Give them a try if you are feeling like pho and in Kaneohe!

Piggy Smalls – Honolulu, HI

I don’t think I need to tell you about The Pig and the Lady nor do I need to share about Piggy Smalls? Right? Well, I honestly haven’t been to The Pig and the Lady just yet but absolutely have been to Piggy Smalls a few times and loved it for both lunch and dinner. My previous post was dinner, this post will focus on lunch. Both meal times have their perks but I think I might favor lunch a bit more…let me share why…

Seasonal Slushy (Strawberry!) | $4.50

Finally! A seasonal flavor I can get behind! Strawberry! Nice refreshing drink, perfect for a hot day.

LFCauliflower | $12.00
money sauce, kaffir lime, peanuts, fried shallots, slaw

They are known for their LF Chicken Wings, and yes, many tables were ordering them! But somehow, I felt more veggie that day (word?). Well, I had no regrets getting the cauliflower, absolutely none. And honestly, you only get like 4 chicken wings. Look at this platter of cauliflower goodness. I am salivating just looking at it, and it was lightly breaded and deep fried so the cauliflower totally soaked up the money sauce. I could eat this as an entree with rice, well almost…but not when the next dish exists…

Pho-strami Banh Mi | $16.00 +$4 add noodles
all day smoked beef brisket, pickled mustard seeds, sriracha-lime onions, awesome sauce, on la tour baguette with a side of our signature pho broth & farm salad

I was being pretty good during this meal. I actually shared this entree, could I finish it in one sitting? Probably not, but I sure as heck could hoard the other half of the sandwich for a really luscious snack later. This beef brisket is fatty/juicy and tender…I mean…this is my perfect sandwich. The baguette is a little hard (that’s what she said) but you gotta have the crusty french bread right? And the bowl of pho noodles on the side? THERE IS NO WRONG WITH THIS DISH. I wish this sandwich was available during dinner, nope…it’s only during lunch. Anyone want to take me out to lunch?

Wagaya – Honolulu, HI

Okay, it’s been a while since I’ve posted about Wagaya but I still feel like a broken record. I think I already shared that Wagaya is my favorite ramen restaurant right now, it still is. Although…I hardly eat ramen now, not quite sure why. Well, I got to eat there again last week and am happy to share that the food is still great!

Chili Cucumbers | $3.75 (Happy Hour), $4.50 (Regular Price)
Japanese cucumbers with chili pepper and chili oil.

I have a thing for cucumbers, if you are a regular visitor to this blog, you know I will try everyone’s cucumber dish. This was delicious! Each piece of cucumber was seasoned well, that’s quite hard to do with fresh raw cucumbers! The nori was a bit salty so I recommend eating those pieces with the cucumber. Wait a minute, that’s what I did, so maybe that’s why the cucumbers were so seasoned. Hmm, okay eat each cucumber with nori. Hahaha

Garlic Tsukemen (spicy level 3) | $13.95
Thick chilled noodles with savory tsukemen broth kicked up with garlic.
Garlic Wagaya Ramen (Kuro) | $13.25
Our classic tonkotsu broth is kicked up a notch with garlic.

My regular stand-by. Love it, I think I got spicy level 2 because I am frankly getting old and can’t handle spice like I used to. I also don’t want to suffer as I’m trying to enjoy my food. Well, level 2 was pretty weak sauce so I think I may go to level 3 again next time which negates the whole talk about me being too old for spicy foods but it’s all good. Beautiful broth. Perfectly cooked egg. It just all WORKS. Trust me.

IHOP – Honolulu, HI

Sometimes, you just gotta eat. You don’t want to cook and you just want to eat some good ole American Breakfast. IHOP is just that. Yup, I read the reviews beforehand (spoiler alert: they aren’t great) but I figured I could get some not terrible food. Was it good? Ehh…food was alright. A bit pricey if you ask me. The service was a bit inattentive because it was a bit busy, would I return? Well, not anytime soon.

Appetizer Sampler | $12.99
Mozza Sticks, Onion Rings & Crispy Chicken Strips served with marinara & choice of honey mustard or ranch.
Philly Cheese Steak Stacker | $13.49
Signature favorite is stacked with grilled Philly sirloin steak and thinly sliced onion, then topped with melted American cheese on a perfectly grilled roll.
Country Fried Steak & Eggs | $16.99
Get an 8 oz. fried beef steak smothered in country or sausage gravy, then served with two eggs*, hash browns and two buttermilk pancakes.

This was my entree, sorry I didn’t get a picture of the pancakes! This was just alright. The country fried steak was breaded heavily and deep fried too long, so it was too hard for my liking and not enough gravy to soften it. The eggs were cooked perfectly, there are hash browns hiding underneath the country fried steak. Wouldn’t recommend it, you can get better CFS at other restaurants.