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madoka's Profile

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Moon Cakes are here !

All the Chinese people I know, including my family who are from Taiwan and Shanghai, love mooncake, though everyone has flavors they like and others they care less for. The hubby and I just bought 6 full-sized ones yesterday from Kee Wah (better than Sheng Kee) to eat for ourselves. No gifting! We look forward to mooncakes every autumn.

My favorite flavor is red bean with (preferably) 2 egg yolks. If you can get freshly made meat mooncakes (with a flaky pastry instead of the traditional denser version), they are superb. Marina Food in Cupertino started offering them a couple of years ago during festival time. I haven't checked again this year, but I hope they will have them again!

Aug 19, 2013
madoka in San Francisco Bay Area

Adventurous Family chowdown in Waikiki

Regarding La Mariana Sailing Club - As big fans of tiki culture, we went during our trip (Sat afternoon) to pay homage to this true vintage tiki bar. As much as the decor is spot on with tikis everywhere, shell pendants, blowfish lamps and glass floats, the place can now be described as "shabby chic tiki-style". The staff are very nice and probably have been there for decades. The view from the lanai tables overlooking the harbor are very pleasant. But some of the booths look like they haven't been refurbished in a very long time, and the drinks are mediocre at best. The menu can also use an update. Basically, only go if you want to see a true vintage tiki bar/restaurant and imagine its heyday. I hope they can spruce it up some without losing its genuine charm.

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La Mariana Restaurant & Bar
50 Sand Island Access Rd, Honolulu, HI 96819

Oct 20, 2011
madoka in Hawaii

Adventurous Family chowdown in Waikiki

Aulani is gorgeous. No one can beat Disney on creating themed environments, and the Imagineers did not disappoint. The architecture, interior design, landscaping, cast member costumes, pretty much every detail is based on elements of authentic Hawaiian culture and art, not only with respect for the history of the islands but also reflecting contemporary Hawaii. It is not kitschy or cliche at all, but just really beautiful and meaningful. The pool area is amazing too, and the rooms are very nicely appointed (we stayed in a Disney Vacation Club 1-bedroom). The one disappointment was the dining. Their signature restaurant was nothing compared to Roy's Hawaii Kai and Alan Wong's while being at the same price level. The buffets were pretty good, particularly the Asian offerings. I had an excellent pork and butterfish laulau at the dinner buffet which was a big pleasant surprise.

If you like sushi/sashimi, you will love poke. :)

It was my husband's first time to Hawaii also. I'm sure you and your family will love it. Try to let yourselves slip into island time and hang loose. Don't rush but enjoy your surroundings, the atmosphere, and the aloha spirit of the local people as much as the attractions and activities. We didn't get to do everything that was on my list but that's ok, because i know we will be back. :)

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Alan Wong's Restaurant
1857 S King St Fl 3, Honolulu, HI 96826

Oct 19, 2011
madoka in Hawaii

Adventurous Family chowdown in Waikiki

Oh yes we had a fabulous time - can't wait to go back! We are experiencing serious withdrawal for those Leonard's malasadas and missing our daily poke fix.

In terms of Happy Hour, I had both the Royal Hawaiian's Mai Tar Bar and Halekulani's House Without a Key on my list but somehow never made it to either (We didn't stay in Waikiki - we were out in Ko Olina at Disney's Aulani). I did walk by the Mai Tai Bar one evening and it was hopping. The atmosphere is very lively, and the space is not that large, right off the beach. Also, there is another Mai Tai Bar at the top of Ala Moana Center, it's an independent establishment and not to be confused with the one at the Royal Hawaiian. The HWOAK at Halekulani looks a lot more laid back and relaxed than the Mai Tai Bar. They also have live traditional Hawaiian music every day (except Sunday) with hula dancing by a former Miss Hawaii. I think this is from about 5:30pm to 8pm. If I were to pick only one, I would probably choose the HWOAK.

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Royal Hawaiian
2259 Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu, HI 96815

Ala Moana Center
1450 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96814

Halekulani
2199 Kalia Rd, Honolulu, HI 96815

Oct 19, 2011
madoka in Hawaii

Adventurous Family chowdown in Waikiki

We just came back from a week in Oahu and went to half the places on your list. :)

Nico's - two thumbs way way up. We went there twice. Definitely get the furikake crusted ahi (served med. rare by default but I liked rare even better). We also got the daily special fish both times - excellent. You have a choice of either macaroni salad - very good, quite peppery or green salad with their special dressing. I'm not a big salad person but I loved the salad, especially the dressing. It is also made with arugula and other nice mixed greens.

We tried to go to Helena's but they were closed for a week because the owner's wife just had a baby. We went to Ono Hawaiian Foods instead very close to the Leonard's main store and it was fabulous. The owners are so nice and friendly too.

Kahuku shrimp trucks - We tried Giovanni's in Haleiwa town as well as Fumi's and Romy's in Kahuku. This was a Friday afternoon and there was barely any line at all at all 3 locations. Giovanni's had large shrimp, but Fumi's has a more garlicky sauce (tried Garlic Butter Shrimp at both). So both are recommended. We tried the prawns in garlic butter sauce at Romy's. The sauce was not nearly as flavorful as the other 2 trucks (majorly needed salt and wasn't very garlicky). The prawns were huge, but we only got 3 on the plate. I think you're better off going with either Giovanni's or Fumi's.

Shave Ice - Matsumoto's is an institution so no-brainer there, but you might also want to get one from Aoki's just one block down the street for a direct comparison. I recommend you spring for the reusable plastic holder for 25c. I braved my first one with just the default paper cone and it was a total mess. I admitted defeat and got a holder.

In addition, if you go out east from Waikiki at all, such as on the way to Hanauma Bay or Roy's Hawaii Kai, please consider stopping at Uncle Clay's House of Pure Aloha on W. Hind in Aina Haina for a shave ice. They make all their syrups in house with natural ingredients and fruit juices. No artificial colors or flavors (by contrast, the coconut syrup at Matsumoto's and Aoki's is bright pink?). We tried mango, lychee, coconut, lilikoi, watermelon, and guava there over 2 visits and every single one tasted just like the fresh fruit. They even have natural li hing mui powder which was delish.

Poke - We tried 4 varieties of poke from Costco. Our favorite was the blue marlin poke with sea asparagus. Least favorite was the limu poke. Also consider the Poke Stop with stores in Mililani Mauka and Waipahu. Our favorite there was the sweet onion ahi poke, also kimchi tako, and a mussel salad.

At the Shirakiya food court, don't miss the takoyaki (grilled squid balls) and the specialty rice stand. And save room for taiyaki (fish shaped little "waffles" with sweet filling) for dessert. You can ask for ones made hot and fresh with your choice of filling (we tried the custard).

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Ono Hawaiian Foods
726 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816

Oct 19, 2011
madoka in Hawaii

Fresh squeezed sugar cane juice on Oahu?

We tried going last Saturday (the day before our departure) just after noon but there was only one stand at the market (the organizer). She said even she wouldn't have been there that day except they had CSA boxes for subscribers to pick up. She also said the schedule is somewhat in flux right now as they try to continue gathering support for the market from vendors. Unfortunately the website is not updated to show when the market will be open.

She did say there will be many vendors there (50?) this weekend (Oct 21-22).

Oct 19, 2011
madoka in Hawaii

Fresh squeezed sugar cane juice on Oahu?

Thanks! Will definitely keep Chinatown in mind for our next trip to Oahu.

Oct 19, 2011
madoka in Hawaii

Fresh squeezed sugar cane juice on Oahu?

That looks awesome! :D Thanks so much!

Oct 13, 2011
madoka in Hawaii

Ito En Jasmine Tea (large bottle) on Oahu?

Thanks so much for the advice all! We found a Marukai location close to the airport so we stopped there first and found the tea we wanted. Didn't see the $1 day pass option. It was just a slightly higher price for items if you don't have a membership, but the difference was not significant for a one-time purchase.

There is a Don Quijote (open 24 hrs!) near our hotel (we are actually in the Ko 'Olina area) so we will go check it out if we need to restock.

Thanks again guys! :)

Oct 13, 2011
madoka in Hawaii

Fresh squeezed sugar cane juice on Oahu?

One more question for you island experts:

Do you know of any place that serves/sells fresh squeezed sugar cane juice on Oahu?

Thanks!

Oct 08, 2011
madoka in Hawaii

Ito En Jasmine Tea (large bottle) on Oahu?

We are arriving on Oahu for a week visit tomorrow (maybe I should have thought of asking this sooner...). We are rather addicted to Ito En brand jasmine tea (it's healthy and refreshing!), and I'm wondering if anyone knows if/where the large bottles might be available for purchase on the island?

If there is a large Asian grocery store (such as Ranch 99 or Lion City for Chinese or Mitsuwa for Japanese), they will probably carry it.

Thanks in advance!

Oct 07, 2011
madoka in Hawaii

Where can I buy affordable fresh local fish?

Good to know about Cook's in Menlo Park. How about the South Bay? Any thoughts on Race Street Seafood?

May 16, 2011
madoka in San Francisco Bay Area

Disneyland Dining: The Mediocrest Place on Earth

I have never tried a chimichanga, and now it is on my must-do list for the next trip! My husband is super fond of the churros but I'm not a big cinnamon fan so I usually just have a bite or two of his. They are delicious when hot and freshly made.

I've also heard good things about the new menu at the Village Haus, especially the apple strudel and black forest cupcake desserts. Hopefully Corn Dog Castle will reopen when they finish re-doing the dining area in that corner of Paradise Pier. The hotlink corn dog was just sooo good. Of course it was greasy and not at all healthy, but also juicy and spicy the way a hotlink should be.

Feb 14, 2011
madoka in Los Angeles Area

Disneyland Dining: The Mediocrest Place on Earth

Agreed on Wine Country Trattoria! I haven't liked the entree choices at the French Market all that much, but the Royal Street Bachelors are great. I will have to try the fritters next time.

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French Market Cafe
2321 Abbot Kinney Blvd Ste 200, Venice, CA 90291

Jan 25, 2011
madoka in Los Angeles Area

Disneyland Dining: The Mediocrest Place on Earth

Overall, the food at the Disneyland resort is not bad on an absolute scale, very good on a theme park/tourist attraction scale.

But to answer your question: Yes, there are places/items from Disneyland that I would choose to eat (and even pay the same theme park price) if they were available locally (SF bay area):

- Napa Rose, especially the Chef's Counter
- Monte Cristo sandwich from New Orleans Square (at Blue Bayou dinner or Cafe Orleans all day) - It's a guilty pleasure but very well executed. I would eat it once a year.
- Fried chicken from the Plaza Restaurant
- Bacon-wrapped asparagus skewer from the Bengal BBQ
- Turkey leg - This is a specialty item not easily found - the Disney version is way better than the ones they sell at Ren Faire.
- Combo nachos (beef and chicken) from White Water Snacks at the Grand Californian

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Napa Rose Restaurant
1600 S Disneyland Dr, Anaheim, CA 92802

Blue Bayou
1580 S Disneyland Dr, Anaheim, CA

Jan 25, 2011
madoka in Los Angeles Area

Good southern fried chicken in South Bay or Peninsula?

Thanks for the recommendations, guys! I will definitely check out Bayonne.

Does Piccadilly Catering have a restaurant? I saw the menu for the Sunday Brunch but everything else seems to be for event catering. That brunch sure sounds enticing though. :)

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Piccadilly Catering
1072 Shell Blvd, K Foster City, CA

Nov 12, 2010
madoka in San Francisco Bay Area

Good southern fried chicken in South Bay or Peninsula?

Hounds,

I have been craving good southern style fried chicken lately. I looked through past threads and found recommendations in SF or East Bay, plus one for Lil' Biscuit House in San Mateo and Ma Pinkie's which is closed.

Are there any good places other than Lil' Biscuit House that I can try closer to the South Bay? I am looking specifically for breaded fried chicken. I love Korean style fried chicken too but my mouth is watering thinking about crispy batter fused with skin...

Thanks so much!

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Lil' Biscuit House
55 37th Ave, San Mateo, CA 94403

Nov 09, 2010
madoka in San Francisco Bay Area

Menu suggestions for Disney restaurants please

Lots of great info on disboards. Thanks for the link.

Jan 18, 2010
madoka in Florida

Menu suggestions for Disney restaurants please

I had found the second thread but not the first. Thanks!

Jan 18, 2010
madoka in Florida

Menu suggestions for Disney restaurants please

We are also going on a 7-night western Caribbean cruise on DCL on this trip, and I'm expecting gluttony galore on the ship. This is part of the reason I haven't included V&A, Flying Fish, Citricos, etc in our WDW dining choices. We will definitely try V&A some time soon though!

Jan 18, 2010
madoka in Florida

Menu suggestions for Disney restaurants please

I didn't know allears.net had restaurant reviews too. I've only gone to them for menu listings in the past. Great tip, thanks!

Jan 18, 2010
madoka in Florida

Menu suggestions for Disney restaurants please

Thanks everyone! What do you recommend at Jiko?

Jan 18, 2010
madoka in Florida

Menu suggestions for Disney restaurants please

My husband and I are going to Walt Disney World next week for 7 days. We have reservations at Jiko, Kona Cafe, Le Cellier, Bistro de Paris, Kouzzina, Sanaa, and Mama Melrose. I definitely plan to order the cheddar cheese soup and mushroom filet at Le Cellier and am thinking of the whole fish, grilled cheese appetizer, and seafood stew at Kouzzina. What do you think? What would you recommend at these restaurants? We would like to do appetizer and main course, dessert if it's good but will pass if only mediocre.

It will be our first time dining at all of them (we are also going to Boma). We are both very adventurous foodies and love seafood, spicy, game (steak will be ordered rare), offal (not that they have it at Disney), and no food allergies or limitations. We love Ethiopian, eat Indian regularly (both north and south, meat and veg only), dine at ethnic restaurants all the time (I'm Chinese American), eat sushi/ceviche and other raw seafood, etc.

We want to try the best that each place has to offer, whether it's expert execution or unique and authentic dishes. Chowhounds, please help! Thanks in advance. :)

Jan 15, 2010
madoka in Florida

Good Chettinadu and Indian Chinese dishes at Muniyandi Vilas (Santa Clara)

I was intrigued by the meat dishes found on the menu, especially the rabbit and abundance of mutton and goat. I found a post/article on another site that describes in detail the rise in popularity of Chettinad cuisine in India and some of its origins, history and of course, notable dishes. I thought it was fascinating and very informative. I definitely have a game plan for vising Muniyandi Vilas after reading it.

http://www.anothersubcontinent.com/fo...

Nov 18, 2009
madoka in San Francisco Bay Area

REALLY spicy food in the Bay Area?

I've tried the 911 challenge wings at Smoke Eaters at the Santa Clara location (back when it was still Cluck U Chicken). My friends and I did not actually attempt the challenge; we just wanted to see how hot it was. Well, I can tell you definitively it was the spiciest thing I had ever tasted (and I'm a chili lover). It actually burned the fingers and lips just to hold and touch the wings. Unfortunately they didn't taste nearly as good as the other wings with lower heat levels at the restaurant. Somehow they added an absurd amount of peppers and forgot the salt and other seasonings or something. :P So it was hot hot hot but otherwise bland. I won't order the 911 wings again, but they were certainly an experience, and it was fun to try them. :) At least there is a Safeway next door where you can pick up some milk to offset the heat.

Also, I tried some leftover wings the day after, and they lost *a lot* of their kick from being in the frig overnight.

Jul 02, 2009
madoka in San Francisco Bay Area

Craving fish and chips.

I highly recommend the Duke of Edinburgh in Cupertino. The fish and chips are great there (I would even say better than Cook's in Menlo Park) - available in duke's (4 pieces) and duchess' (3 pieces) portions. The pub atmosphere is very nice too (all the decor was imported from Britain by the original owners).

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Duke of Edinburgh
10801 N Wolfe Rd, Cupertino, CA 95014

Mar 13, 2009
madoka in San Francisco Bay Area

Cupertino - suggestions please?

If you do go back to A&J, get the "Chinese hamburgers" (xien4 bing3). They are very juicy, meaty, and flavorful. I once bit into one, and a hole opened up on the other side of the bing. Juice literally shot out of that hole in a stream, much to the horror of my dining companion sitting across from me. :D

Jan 26, 2009
madoka in San Francisco Bay Area

must try - bizarre food?

Unfortunately I don't know of a local source to suggest, but if you can find it, perhaps hakarl, the fermented shark from Iceland?

Jan 22, 2009
madoka in San Francisco Bay Area

Disneyland Dining: The Mediocrest Place on Earth

The Enchanted Cottage wursts are pretty good. DH and I had one type each and shared recently, though now I can't remember which one I liked better... This location also has the advantage of being somewhat hidden and hence has almost no line and easy-to-find table seating.

Dec 26, 2008
madoka in Los Angeles Area

Disneyland Dining: The Mediocrest Place on Earth

I concur about the Monte Cristo sandwich. Really good rendition (though I can eat at most one a year). If you are seeking this specifically, keep in mind that the Blue Bayou only serves it at lunch time. Cafe Orleans is a better choice to get the Monte Cristo if the atmosphere of the Blue Bayou is not a must for you. At the Blue Bayou, the cajun salmon is decent.

I like the Bengal BBQ, though their prices are quite high if you make a meal of the skewers. Between DH and I, 4 skewers each, a Mickey pretzel to share, and 2 fountan drinks set us back $40. I agree the sauces are on the salty side, though I'm a self-prescribed salt queen so I don't mind them. I think the best skewer is the bacon-wrapped asparagus.

The smoked turkey leg is also very tasty and not a bad value for the size and amount of meat you get. I love turkey legs and get them every year at Renaissance Festivals. The Disney leg is both tastier and cheaper (!) than the Ren Faire staples.

Dec 26, 2008
madoka in Los Angeles Area