tsays's Profile

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waikiki for 3 days only

I love, love, love Kaiwa. For sushi, we don't go anywhere else. We're spoiled for life. Here are a couple of hints though, ask for a table in the zashiki room. Its little more elegant, a little more private and much more comfortable than sitting in the main room, which is in my opinion cramped, crowded and loud. Be prepared to take your shoes off in the zashiki room, where you'll sit at a table that's floor level with room beneath for your feet (so you can sit comfortably). You don't have to dress up to come here (though you may choose to), although the restaurant is sleek and modern, the patron attire ranges from slippas and shorts to dress shirts and jeans.

I don't think I've ever had Uni so fresh and fantastic as there. All the food is outstanding. It is pricey, but I think the quality is as good as Nobu, without the imposing attitude.

Make sure to make reservations, they HATE the whole walk-in thing, but go out of their way for reservations. Have a sake martini or three and you'll be one happy girl.

LaMer is a can't-miss place, but you mentioned Orchids for brunch, but they also have a beautiful dinner menu. They have a view of the ocean too. I can barely ever choose when we go. Its probably much more intimate than Kaiwa, plus you can have a drink in the Lewers Lounge before and after. Always cozy, always live music. One of the "clubbier" feeling places on Oahu.

You seem to looking for suggestions outside of the (very excellent) one's you have mentioned. Michel's at the Colony has a pretty view and a nice menu, as does Top of Waikiki which rotates giving you a 360 view. Very romantic. Food is good. *Note: not LaMer/Orchids-blow-your-mind-I'll-never-forget-it* but good and the view is great.
Mariposas is a beautiful lunch spot. They don't have "brunch" as in a gigantic spread of all-you-can-eat food, but its a beautiful restaurant with a view of the ocean as well.

Have fun! Let me know what you think.

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Kaiwa
226 Lewers St Ste 215, Honolulu, HI 96815

May 26, 2010
tsays in Hawaii

Upcoming trip to Big Island-Going from Hilo to Volcano and need Rec

Ning's in Pahoa is excellent. Loved it there and its some of the best Thai food I've ever had. And if you ask for heat - you get heat!

May 26, 2010
tsays in Hawaii

Affordable meats and produce on Oahu

Agree with Costco for meat. Another option for local producers is Big Island Veal. You can find them at KCC Farmer's Mkt Saturday mornings, but this week they also said R. Fields at Beretania has it (though I have not personally confirmed) and they said that the new Foodland in Aina Haina was carrying it too, but I've been there twice and have yet to find it. One word of caution - their veal is NOT cheap, but it is local and AH-MAZ-ING. I am spoiled for life.

As far as produce markets, your best best is the Farmer's Markets, hands down. There is practically one every day of the week these days. I live on the east side, so I know most of those there: Tues & Sat Kaiser HS, Sat KCC, Sat. in Hawaii Kai next to Kiss and Ride, Wed. (?) at Blaisdale, Manoa Farmer's Mkt on Sun. One caution with the smaller farmer's markets - I've noticed that on some of the smaller markets have product that while less expensive is NOT local, so if that's important to you, be sure to ask if your unsure.

A quick search on the net should result in some mkts closer to your house if those don't suffice.

Good luck.

May 25, 2010
tsays in Hawaii

Shipping Wine/Champage

HI Mac -

We packed them in the styro containers mentioned. I checked it. Nothing broke. I thought then that it was expensive. Looking back at it, compared to the over all expense of moving, it was nothing.

Good luck on your move! Are you moving to the islands?

May 10, 2010
tsays in Wine

Food Gifts from Hawaii

Misnatalie --

In addition to what has already been recommended, I would suggest having your friend visit the Farmer's Market at Kapiolani College. My favorites are Pahoa Jam, Big Island Bees Ohi'a Lihua Blossom honey (seriously, buy the big jar, because it is THE best honey). All of the honey there is great! Kaiulani Spices (locally made spices, I love the Hawaiian blend and the curry). You can get 100% Kona coffee there.

I am also a closet fan of the yummiest syrup ever: coconut syrup. Pancakes will never be the same again. You can get this at Safeway and ABC store.

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Kapiolani Community College Farmer's Market
Honolulu, HI, Honolulu, HI

Feb 16, 2009
tsays in Hawaii

Whole Foods Hawaii

Hi EN -
Thanks for the detailed report. I agree with your assessments, I was pretty disappointed in produce + seafood too. I was hoping that the seafood there would save me the drive to Tamashiros, but I don't see WF competing based on selection there. Re: produce, I'll be back to KCC for all my fresh basil, mint, etc.

I was personally little disappointed in the meat selection (maybe that's the midwesterner in me speaking). I was hoping for some variety there, as my local Safeway has a terrible selection of sausages, and beef. I digress, I did see some lamb chops there which gave me hope. I LOVE veal and was hoping to find some there (do they sell it at WholeFoods, even? I used to get it elsewhere in Scottsdale). Glad to see that you picked up on the sausages, which I completely missed somehow, so I will have to swing back over there to take a closer look.

I had the opportunity to go during the middle of the day, on a Tuesday so crowds not an issue.

Didn't think the prices were too bad compared to other grocery here - but I think that's all relative since we are all so used to paying such high prices for food.

Anyway, thanks again for the great review EN.

Oct 08, 2008
tsays in Hawaii

potato buns on oahu

Don't quote me on this, but I could have SWORN I saw potato buns at Costco in Hawaii Kai. Might want to give them a call b/c I might be crazy. =)

Sep 12, 2008
tsays in Hawaii

Israeli couscous FOUND (Honolulu, HI)

That's great - I haven't had a chance to get to the WF yet, but I was hoping that some of the items I haven't been able to find previously would be there...and you are adding light to my hope! I love good couscous!

Sep 12, 2008
tsays in Hawaii

Roy's Schmoy's... Disappointment in Hawaii Kai

As someone who has posted about Roy's in Honolulu area (see Roy's postings from earlier this summer) I think you always have to put into context that it is STILL ROY'S. I have eaten in Roy's all over the western US and it is what it is; not sure that I would have called it "fine dining" to begin with. If you have been to Roy's and appreciated it, then you will enjoy the Roy's in Hawaii Kai. If you don't like Roy's restaurants, then you will indeed be disappointed.

I have to say I usually have a butterfish when I am there and it is done quite well. I have never ventured into the beef world at Roy's.

As far as the location of any restaurant in the Honolulu area, if its not in a hotel, it is pretty likely that you will have to expand your sense of adventure.

Sep 12, 2008
tsays in Hawaii

Grocery/Markets on Oahu

22 Good -

Thanks for replying! I completely agree with you about KCC Farmer's Mkt, although not so much a fan of Don Quijotes (am I missing something there?). Have you ever been to Marukai? I am quite curious about that location.

Thanks for the suggestion about Mercado de la Raza!! Can't wait to visit!

Aug 21, 2008
tsays in Hawaii

Do you drink bottled water (even if the tap water is safe)?

When we lived in Scottsdale, we always had bottled water. Although the water was described as "safe" it could also be described as "nasty tasting". I never loved picking up bottled water, I always kind of felt like it was ridiculous to pay more for water than gas, but I did it. Imagine my relief upon moving to Hawaii and finding that the water here is not only safe, but palatable. I feel better knowing we generate less trash too. The water in Hawaii is still not as good as Denver's water =) , but I am glad to be able to drink out of the tap again!

Aug 20, 2008
tsays in Food Media & News

What food processor should I get?

Have to agree with the KitchenAid proponents here. Love mine. I too make huge batches of Pesto at once and also lots of marinades. Its a work-horse and I love it. Interestingly enough - the only thing I use the blender for is smoothies and iced drinks...blender is a little beat up, but keeps ticking...

Aug 20, 2008
tsays in Cookware

Overheated oil has turned my pan dark

Thanks, Sam for the that description. I could not agree with you more. We are in our 2nd year of marriage and our lovely cookware is only now starting to look like it should: well used. I'll always consider my pans, as they become "prettier" a reflection of the journey of our marriage.

Aug 20, 2008
tsays in Cookware

Attitudes toward restricted diets - your experiences?

I have friends who are diabetic, vegetarian, carb-controlled, recovering alcoholics and have food allergies (everything from nuts to seafood to basil). My approach to dining with these folks is to find spots that can accommodate both our needs and not question the reasons they make their food choices. When I invite them to dinner, I see it as my duty as a good hostess to know about their needs (I often ask, if there is anything I should know before creating a menu, that's how I know about the varied concerns of friends) and make something accordingly. It doesn't bother me - at all.

ON THE OTHER HAND, I don't appreciate a lecture from anyone making food choices about mine either. I enjoy food, I don't have diabetes, I love fish, dairy and meat, and bread and pasta, and lucky for me, I don't have to endure food allergies. What bothers me is when I try not to be rude to other's about food choices, but they so piously want to educate me on the "dangers" or "implications" of mine. "Do you know what your eating, there?!" (Yes, I know what I am eating, I too, made a conscious choice!) I don't want politics on my plate - I eat to enjoy, relax and engage with friends and family.

Aug 20, 2008
tsays in Not About Food

Cooking Classes in Oahu or Maui

I can't personally recommend this organization as I haven't personally tried it yet, but they do feature some well respected local chefs for their classes; I noticed they haven't posted dates for '09, but might be worth a call. Enjoy your trip to Hawaii!!

http://gourmetcookinghawaii.com

Aug 20, 2008
tsays in Hawaii

Grocery/Markets on Oahu

Seems to be some chatter from Oahu Chowhounds re: markets including Trader Joes (and lack there of), incoming WholeFoods, Pros/Cons of Safeway (and other chains). Add your thoughts here about those and other markets on Oahu. Where do you do your best shopping? What is your secret for getting the freshest foods on the island?

Aug 20, 2008
tsays in Hawaii

Chowhounds in Oahu?

Hi EN -

I heard the same as you did re: WF. As far as pricing goes, we shall see. In the months that we have been here, nothing and certainly not food has gotten cheaper. Have you (or anyone else reading) been to Marukai Wholesale? I only recently learned of it and would love to hear more about it. Think I will do a separate posting; love to hear some feedback.

Aug 20, 2008
tsays in Hawaii

Chowhounds in Oahu?

Great advice from JoeBob about buying early in the week (I favor Monday's after the weekend rush, everything seems stocked and fresh). Think maybe TJ's might actually do BETTER in a slowing economy (as opposed to WholeFoods)? I digress, and its probably a topic for another posting..but just a thought.

Aug 20, 2008
tsays in Hawaii

I don't get Trader Joe's

Having moved from Scottsdale to Honolulu, TJ's is something I really miss here. I totally understand your initial experience with TJ's - I felt the same way too when I first started shopping there as I too was over-run by way too aggressive shoppers (though their pent-up shopping rage doesn't even come close to comparing to the Scottsdale Whole Foods Shoppers!).

But after trying some of the products and looking what I purchased regularly at the grocery, I realized much of my staples were less expensive per pound and in smaller (read: less spoilage) than the regular store.

The reason you run into Soccer Mom's there, is that you can always pick something up there to take home and cook fast. Some of it is organic, and if that is important to you, their organic prices can't be beat. Also, if you are cooking for one or two and COSTCO is waaay too much for you, then TJ's a great option as their sizes aren't insane.

Although I am not a HUGE fan of frozen foods, what I did buy, I bought there. Including a microwave french onion soup (quick comfort food). Although I agree with postings here regarding the frozen fish there, I used to pick up the "steam in bag" fresh salmon once a week; throw some lemons and oranges in the bag and a quick, tasty nutritious meal can be had. I always bought my pasta and rice there as it was quite a bit cheaper, I also liked their olive oil for a basic, no frills cooking oil at a reasonable price. I found their soy sauce decent (before moving to Hawaii) and well priced. I miss a yellow or red curry simmer sauce that was great with chicken (again, perfect for quick dinner). For awhile they carried Kobe Beef (US) burgers (frozen) which were a totally awesome treat. I bought my frozen berries there for my smoothies, which I could also put on my cottage cheese b/c it the berries are individually frozen and didn't come out of the bag in clumps. Because I could never get Soybeans at the grocery in PHX, I picked up Etamame. The red bell peppers in a jar are awesome! I liked the quality, selection and pricing on cheeses.

I would grab a couple of the pre-madesalads for lunch that week, and I always loved those; I couldn't make single serving salads for that price, so I felt it was a relative bargin. Some of the produce is pretty good. I always got my garlic, basil and rosemary there.

As referenced, the flowers there are reasonably priced. I always found the microbrews there to be limited, but competitively priced. You will hear people rave, about the prices of wine there, but I only bought cooking wine there as their labels did nothing to excite me.

Well, enough of waxing poetic about Trader Joe's. Give Trader Joe's another shot - you've got some great advice from Sherri too. Arm yourself and have fun. =) Let us know what you buy and how it goes.

Aug 20, 2008
tsays in Chains

Chowhounds in Oahu?

I second the plea for a TJ's in Honolulu. I have several requests in through their website =) not sure anyone is listening, but its worth a regular visit. On another note, as if food prices here aren't enough of a shock - we have WholeFoods on the horizon. BTW - the "Paradise Tax" does not equate to a level of freshness, its more about the cost of getting everything. Thus the excitement over Farmer's Mkts here.

Aug 20, 2008
tsays in Hawaii

Which Oahu Roy's

BillHunt -

A PS to this review of Roy's: I resisted Roy's for so many years b/c it was a chain, but I find it interesting now that I have dined at a couple that I have definite views. Actually, my best experience was at the Roy's in Chandler. Let me know what you think of the BeachWalk location.
Warmly,
Tsays

Aug 18, 2008
tsays in Hawaii

Sake Shops in East Oahu

Thanks, KaimukiMan! I spotted that today too! If we go, I'll drop a quick review here.

Aug 18, 2008
tsays in Hawaii

Birthday Dinner Oahu

BillHunt has some great suggestions, and I dare say, he knows Waikiki dining better than anyone else on the board, but if I can - Roy's (Hawaii Kai and BeachWalk too <I believe>) actually has a children's menu. If your children aren't adventurous eaters, you will appreciate the very basic options (pasta, chicken fingers) on the children's menu. The staff there also totally "gets" families. We recently took our nieces and nephews to the Roy's in Hawaii Kai, (two sets of twins, aged 4 and 6) and we were so pleased at the service and special touches for the kids. They also had the good sense to seat us in the back of the restaurant so as not to bother the other guests - appreciated by all, I can assure you!

For many reasons I prefer the Hawaii Kai location - I wrote about it at length on another post, so I won't go on and on and on (again) =)

Foodies will kill me for the following suggestion, as it isn't a "fine dining" option, it is however, memorable for all: a Luau. Luau's are the ultimate family option; your girls will probably love it and if you haven't done it, you should. Although it is the TOTAL opposite of the many fine, fine options BillHunt suggested, there are upgraded seated and dining options at both Polynesian Cultural Center + Paradise Cove - our guests have enjoyed both shows. PCC is a BIG drive from Waikiki though. Your hotel will probably have one as well.

Enjoy Oahu!

Aug 18, 2008
tsays in Hawaii

Best sushi in Oahu?

I love Kaiwa in Beachwalk. Kaiwa caters to the Japanese clientele in Hawaii, but there is no reason the rest of us can't benefit from their high sushi expectations; we are often the only non-Japanese diners. It is Nobu quality Sashimi and Nigiri (Nobu, BTW, is around the corner), but I love the intimacy of Kaiwa. There is a great sake selection (the Sake Martini is a treat too) if need to wait, sit at the bar for a few minutes with Josh, who has lived in Honolulu most of his life and knows his Sake to boot! The sushi is everything sushi should be - colorful, elegant, fresh and melt-in-your-mouth fabulous. Have at least one of the sushi specials while you are there - pricey, yes - worth it? ABSOLUTELY.
Make a reservation as it is a small restaurant and prime dinner hours fill up fast; and there is no appreciation of the "walk-in" on a busy night. I prefer to eat in the zashiki room; it feels lush and pampered and I love the experience of eating in lush surroundings with my shoes off, as they do in Tokyo. The room is sectioned off with fiber optic curtains which make it feel urban and hip.

Having said that, the sushi bar is great - the chefs are so talented, that the entertainment can't be beat. The service at the Sushi bar is very prompt; and given its location, off to the side of the main room, one would think it lacked the "hustle" of the traditional sushi bar - not so, in fact..maybe a little too much so. We haven't had Teppan there, but they have that as well.

The main room in the restaurant is "fine" there is nothing wrong nor particularly compelling to write about eating in that location. It offers good people watching.

If you can walk to BeachWalk (Marriott is within walking distance)- do - parking is a total hassle. If you are driving, park at Embassy Suites as Kaiwa validates there. OR - park at the Royal Hawaiian and grab a Baskin Robbins and have them validate.

Aug 18, 2008
tsays in Hawaii

Sake Shops in East Oahu

Aloha Chowhounds -

I am looking for a place to buy and learn more about Sake. We've been drinking alot more Sake since moving here, and really enjoying it. I would like to learn more about it, mostly by experiencing it (rather than reading about it) and I'd like to find a place with a big selection and staff willing to help us experience and learn. I'm totally open to classes too if anyone has any suggestions.
Thanks!

Aug 18, 2008
tsays in Hawaii

Which Oahu Roy's

Aloha -

We have had the chance to eat at two local Roy's locations: Waikiki and Hawaii Kai. Without a doubt, I prefer the Hawaii Kai location. Hawaii Kai was just remodeled, which is nice, the tables are upstairs, with a view of the ocean and a decent sunset (the sunset on the Diamond Head side of the island is a little less lovely than on the Ewa side). The menus are not dramatically different, so its about ambiance and service. The service at Hawaii Kai (the flagship location) is fabulous: warm, friendly, and very prompt. Here you will find both residents and visitors enjoying a comfortable and satisfying dining experience. I found the Waikiki (BeachWalk) location to be completely unsatisfying from both the service and ambiance perspective. I was dying to try something new the night that we were at the Waikiki location and the server could barely make a recommendation. Waikiki also has some attitude at the door, which is a total turn off for me. There is nothing I hate more than sitting down to dinner to "relax", but having to battle attitude from an 18 y/o at the door.

Hawaii Kai is a little drive (20 min) from Waikiki, but its an easy drive and worth it to get out of the chaos of Waikiki for a night. Parts of the drive are also very pretty.

Enjoy Roy's!

Aug 18, 2008
tsays in Hawaii

Best eats in Waikiki

Wailana Coffee House is on Ala Moana; walking distance from just about anywhere in Waikiki. There is usually a line for a reason. Incredibly reasonable diner food with some Hawaiian local favorites (SPAM!) but as a import from the mainland, I can't get enough of banana pancakes with coconut syrup.

Aug 18, 2008
tsays in Hawaii

Town Restaurant in Kaimuki-any recent reviews?

Aloha SoCal Boy -
Town is a favorite of ours. With a couple of rounds of cocktails, apps, dinner and dessert, my husband and I can usually plan on around $150 with tip. The menu does change frequently, although as a regular diner, it wouldn't kill me if it changed even more frequently. If you go - get the Roasted Chicken with Panzanella salad. I usually steer away from chicken when dining out, after all, how can you possibly make chicken interesting? HOWEVER, this chicken is brined, then roasted with vert jus, garlic, herbs de provence and grapes. The salad It is absolutely unforgettable, Tatsoi + pinenuts with dried, torn bread, pan cooked with the Tatsoi.

The staff is casual and service is comfortable and prompt without being intrusive. I very much like the vibe they have, it allows me to relax too.

It's hard in Honolulu to find menus for smaller restaurants (I don't know why) but do some internet searches, Town is a favorite of local foodies and you will find some reviews.
Give Town a call - they are incredibly accommodating, and I am sure they will fax you today's menu.
PS - they have some fun house cocktails too-their mixologist has fun with it!

Aug 18, 2008
tsays in Hawaii

Chowhounds in Oahu?

Aloha- welcome to paradise. You will soon hear that the cost of things here is the "island tax" and I can assure you, having moved here in Feb '08 from Scottsdale, AZ (read: very affordable, comparatively) that you will be more and more willing to pay the island tax. I find that we cook more here b/c we can get great, fresh local ingredients and we love fish. If you haven't already - get familiar with COSTCO, especially for items that don't spoil. My husband and I can only do limited shopping there b/c it is just the two of us, but for packaged foods (granola bars, cereal) and frozen foods, its good to go. Make the farmer's markets (KCC is the best on the east side, but depending on where you are, you will find some smaller ones for quicker trips) your regular haunts and go to the Safeway for the staples..although the fish there is actually pretty good. When you are in the mood for a fish splurge, hit Tamashiro fish market, just Ewa of Chinatown. You'll also find good Asian products there. I am not at all impressed with Don Quijote, as it reminded me of a scary WalMart with a fish market - I prefer Tamashiro. Dining outside of Waikiki takes some creativity, when you find a place you love, be sure to frequent b/c we all have to support our local restaurants as its getting harder for privately owned, intimate places to compete. On the other hand, if you can get into the "local" cuisine, good lunch eats are not hard to find. When you are craving a good 'dog, check out Haute Dogs, its a hoot and yummy to boot. Go to Sam Choy's and order the plate lunch (its not on the menu) huge portions of good food.
I'm assuming you are on the east side of the island, just based on your comments. There are some great Chowhounds in Hawaii - stay in the loop, you'll find your favorites!

Aug 18, 2008
tsays in Hawaii

Should You Put Oil in Pasta Water?

I use salt and a small amount of olive oil. My husband likes his pasta VERY well cooked (no al dente for him) and I find that the oil does indeed prevent the pasta from sticking from colander to plate. I don't need much (a tbl spoon). But I also agree that keeping the water at a rolling boil makes a difference as well.

Aug 18, 2008
tsays in Features