Miss Needle's Profile

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Al Di La - Whats Good These Days

If your group can "stomach" it (yes, bad bun), try the tripe. I prefer this version over Babbo's and Bar Pitti's.

Sep 10, 2014
Miss Needle in Outer Boroughs

Al Di La - Whats Good These Days

If you want to keep with the Italian theme, there's also L'Albero dei Gelati nearby as well.

Sep 10, 2014
Miss Needle in Outer Boroughs

Honolulu in November - looking for your thoughts on a few places

My husband loves meat, hence our meat-centric selections at Pig and Lady. There are plenty of fish and veggie selections there. Oh, I didn't mention it in my report but make sure you get the coconut horchata. A total revelation!

The restaurants that I think would meet your criteria from the list you provide are: Pig and Lady, Lucky Belly and MW. Pig and Lady had the most hipster vibe out of all of the restaurants I've visited in Oahu, even having a bartender with the ironic moustache. When I was at Salt on a weekday, it was pretty dead. We were the only table eating upstairs. By the time we left, there were only two other tables filled. Downstairs was more busy. I've only been to Town for lunch so it was relatively quiet. Dinner may be busier.

Some other spots you may like: Koko Head Cafe (ambiance not trendy as it's very retro diner-like but it is a current hot spot with locals); Bill's (but may not be busy enough for you).

Sep 10, 2014
Miss Needle in Hawaii

Oahu Trip Report - August/September 2014

Oh I would totally avoid the KCC Market as well if I was a local. It's quite insane and there is a very low ratio of produce to prepared foods. But it's really fun from a tourist's perspective. I went to Blaisdell Market a couple of years ago and found it relatively tourist free at that point. That might have changed by the now.

Sounds like a great time at the festival! Yes, please post some pics when you have some time later.

Sep 09, 2014
Miss Needle in Hawaii

Oahu Trip Report - August/September 2014

I was there for part of the Wine and Food Festival. Was seriously considering going to the Lucky Modern Buddha Belly event but thought that my money would be better spent elsewhere. I've been to some of these in NYC and find that the food is sometimes not the very best as these chefs have to cook in mass quantities and food can be sitting out for a while. Watching my kale sliders just sit there at the KCC Market was kind of torturous for me. ; )

I would have loved to go to the Friday night one as it would have been awesome to meet Hiroyuki Sakai. But $1,000 per person is quite a bit more than I would have liked to spend. But glad to hear that you had a nice time. Which events did you attend?

Sep 08, 2014
Miss Needle in Hawaii

Oahu Trip Report - August/September 2014

This is an excerpt of my trip report posted on tripadvisor.

http://tinyurl.com/mt4j9rs

Wish Hawaii was closer. Would be visiting a lot more often!

COCKTAILS

House without a Key (Honolulu) -- Went there the evening I had arrived. Had an early dinner and made it in time for sunset. Got a slice of their coconut cake and a couple of drinks. Can't think of a better way to start vacation in Hawaii!

BAKERIES

Leonard's (Honolulu) -- had the sugar, cinnamon, li hing, chocolate and macadamia ones. I prefer the plain over the filled. Very popular and crowded. Lovely, eggy, yeasty dough. First time I tried the li hing -- I know it's super popular in Hawaii but I don't think I'm a li hing mui type of person.

Agnes (Kailua) -- hot, crunchy outside. Love their version.

Kamehameha Bakery (Honolulu) -- wanted to try the famed poi donut. OK I guess. I'm actually not a huge doughnut fan to begin with as I'm not a big fan of combo of greasy and sweet -- I make exceptions for very few doughnuts, Leonards and Agnes to begin with. Didn't really taste the taro and thought it was like a plain doughnut. Also got regular malasada, chocolate puff and banana fritter. Maybe the malasada and poi donut would have tasted great if they were hot. At room temperature they were just all right. The banana fritter was tasty, especially as it was a bit crunchy when you bit into it.

Patisserie Palme d'Or (Honolulu) -- this type of bakery is totally my thing. Japanese-french pastries. Items are rich but everything is done with a delicate hand. Tried so many different things there -- strawberry shortcake (my fave), chocolate cake, coffee roll cake (my second fave), vanilla roll cake, rare cheesecake with walnut crust. Also tried the mocha jelly au lait which isn't quite my thing as it is reminiscent of bubble tea. But bubble tea/coffee lovers will probably love this.
Fendu (Honolulu) -- this was the first time I was here but it certainly won't be the last. Their lychee streusel danish was amazing. DH also loved his chocolate croissant. Was surprised how flaky they were, especially with the humidity.

Royal Hawaiian (Honolulu) -- we stayed at the Royal Hawaiian for 3 nights before moving to our condo (cuz it wasn't available). They gifted us with this delicious macadamia nut banana bread. One of my friends who stayed there before told me it was warm. Mine wasn't but still very tasty. It was perfect breakfast food before hiking.

Ani's Bake Shop (Aiea) -- oh, how fluffy those lillikoi butter rolls were! It was like eating fluffy clouds (well, I hear that clouds are actually comprised of ices crystals and aren't fluffy but you get the gist). Also wanted to try the sweet potato haupia pie but they only sell that by the pie and not the slice. Maybe next time.
Sconees (Honolulu) -- we got the lillikoi bar and blueberry cream cheese turnover. I didn't get to try them until a couple of days later but they were both really good! Not fancy like Patisserie Palme d'Or but still quite delicious.

Sing Cheong Yuan Bakery -- we picked up a bunch of chewy macadamia coconut and sesame candies for souvenirs from here. Also got a butter mochi (finally found a place with butter mochi that I liked!) and li hing mui for DH. Turns out that some local friends of ours picked up a bunch of stuff from here for us. An item that may be of interest for visitors is the sesame seed studded mochi ball. I usually only find it filled with red bean paste. Here there was coconut in it. They also had a really cool selection of mooncakes, including mochi mooncakes. Not the largest fan of mochi and mooncakes so I didn't try anything.

BREAKFAST/BRUNCH

Koko Head Cafe (Honolulu) -- went on a weekday to avoid a wait. Very inventive brunch dishes. As I'm more of a savory person, we ordered the kimchi bacon scone, breakfast dumplings and ohayou eggs. Everything was very tasty. My favorite was the dumplings -- skins were thin and filling and toppings had right amount of salty and sweet. Dumplings change every day. The ohayou eggs were great but extremely rich. I wanted to try their signature, corn flake french toast. It was well done, but as I'm more of a savory person probably wouldn't order that one again. But glad I tried it. I ate a small amount of everything as portions were really large (with the exception of the dumplings where they give you 5 pieces). Unfortunately DH felt compelled to finish everything on the plate and ended up paying for it later. This was towards the beginning of our trip -- he learned to moderate his portions at the end. I wanted to go back to try some other things on the menu. But he had his fill this trip.

Bill's Waikiki (Honolulu) -- best scrambled eggs I've ever had (including my own which involves stirring the eggs nonstop for 1/2 hour straight). Looked up his recipe online and it seems easy to make. Will try it tonight for dinner. Also had some corn fritters with ham and avocado. DH, still traumatized after Koko Head Cafe, orders a chop salad with gravlax in order to keep it light. I thought the food was pretty good. It may be a bit pricey but it is in Waikiki. One warning -- once I ordered an iced oolong from the downstairs section. It came unsweetened. If you order it upstairs, it automatically comes sweetened. I rarely talk about drinks in my reports but their iced oolong is really good -- very flavorful and strong, served with a wedge of lime. They replaced my sweetened one with the unsweetened. DH thought his cold brew coffee, though, was very weak. Took a sip and had to agree.

ETA: I did make Bill Granger's scrambled eggs for dinner. Happy to say it was super easy and just as tasty as what I got at the restaurant. No more standing in front of the stove for 1/2 hour!

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/17...

Cinnamon's (Kailua) -- ordered hawaiian omelet with home fries. We originally asked them for hash browns but they were out. The waitress said they had these other types of potatoes that are cubed. Guess she's never heard of the term before cuz when I asked her if they were home fries, she told me no. I wanted to try the guava pancakes after hearing so much about them (even though I'm not a sweet breakfast type of person). Decided to order corn beef has with fried eggs with a side of guava pancakes. The side of panckes were HUGE! Three to a serving. I was expecting one. I didn't like it in the beginning but it was one of those things that the more I ate, the more they grew on me. I prefer pancakes with crisp edges -- this one was more fluffy. The potatoes in the hash were a bit larger than I've seen at other diners. Portions are huge -- we ended up taking most of it back to our condo.

Ted's (Sunset Beach) -- I actually came here just to get a slice of lillikoi cheese pie but they were out. So DH and I shared a plate of eggs and spam with home fries. OMG, make sure you've got plenty of time because they move soooooo S...L...O...W...L...Y... I've seen some slow service in my time but not like this. There was only four people in line ahead of me (single and a party of three) and it took about 25 minutes for the cashier to get to me to even take my order! And once I placed my order I had to wait another half an hour to get my food (and it wasn't that busy -- there were tons of seats available when I got outside). While I was waiting for my order, I saw several workers coming out to the front to get cups. It was comical to see how slow they were shuffling to get their cup. You know there are service issues when there's a sign for the employees telling them they can't use their phones while they're at work!

Musubi Cafe Iyasume (Honolulu) -- best musubis because they make them to order! Shared a spam and salmon. Convenient location for tourists as it's in Waikiki.

COFFEE

I don't really drink coffee so this is my husband's perspective. The coffee scene has really changed since we've been here last, for the better, according to him.

Bill's (Honolulu) -- cold brew; DH thought it was weak

Beach Bum (Honolulu) -- iced Japanese style (which basically is brewing it hot and serving over ice); he really liked his selection; they know their stuff

Kai Coffee (Honolulu) -- thought it was good for cold brew

Gorilla in the Cafe (Honolulu) -- the first time we went, the girl working there sheepishly told us that there was no cold brew because she screwed up and threw away all the filters by accident. She did it very adorably so you couldn't get mad at her. DH went back another time (I was watching the car in Waikiki) and got a cold brew. He liked it a lot.

CHINESE

Fong's (Honolulu) -- It used to be our favorite place for roast pig. It still is but it wasn't as good as before. This was the first time I noticed the elderly gentleman not there so not sure if that has something to do with it. There wasn't the long line I've always encountered so the pork was warm, but not piping hot. It was still better than anything else I've had in NYC but not as good as I had remembered it. Also picked up some roast pork rice noodle at Ying Leong Look Fun to eat with the pork.

Pah Ke (Kaneohe) -- Their gau gee was very good -- not greasy at all. We couldn't finish it and had it wrapped up to go. We were heading back to Honolulu over the Pali highway. I then remembered the legend (we broke that rule and carried pork over Pali many years ago and really did have something bad happen). So DH ended up finishing the leftovers before we headed towards the highway. The kona short ribs were tasty as well -- they were served in a thick broth. Very hearty. The local carrots they used bursted of flavor. Unfortunately their scallops and asparagus weren't that great. The asparagus part was as we finished all of it. But the scallops had a very strange texture and tasted sour. Think the scallops were injected with a solution. I could get over the texture but couldn't eat them due to the sourness. DH, whose palate isn't as sensitive as mine, detected it as well. The taste was quite strong. So we left all the scallops on the plate. Too bad as it was the priciest item.

POKE -- only naming poke shops as we did have poke at other restaurants such as Wada and MW

Ono Seafood (Honolulu) -- I know people say their pokes are made to order (and I've had it made to order before). But the last two times we were there, they were pre-made. Nevertheless they were still ono.

Tamura's (Honolulu) -- as DH was picking up his wine (we also stopped by Vintage Wine Cellar but DH said it was on the pricey side), I got some spicy ahi poke. Loved this poke as it didn't have any mayo. Spice level was great as well.

KCC FARMER'S MARKET

We got there before 7:30P and already the first parking lot was full! Crazy! We parked in the second one up the hill and proceeded to walk (not far at all) to the market. If you want fried green tomatoes, pizza or abalone be prepared to wait. I did want the pizza as I love the combo of tomatoes, pesto and mozzarella so I had to wait. DH got the Crown Pineapple juice -- so sweet you would think they added sugar. I tried the Otsuji's Farm kale tempura sushi sliders. So good that I wanted to try the eggplant ones. I went back to the stand and the lady told me they only had kale today. Well, I loved it so much I got a second order. The second order wasn't as good a the kale tempura was premade so it wasn't hot. There was also one lady out in the front handling the customers and expediting the orders. When it gets busy she has no time to notice whether the food is ready or not. So I saw my sliders sitting there for a few minutes before I got to eat them. But still delicious. I would try to go when there aren't a bunch of people on line. We also got a bunch of fruit -- kind of pricey as a bag came out to $40. But ya only live once. Got some rambutan, three varieties of mangoes (Yee's orchards were our favorites as it had the least amount of fiber), lillikoi (for lillikoi sodas), mamey and pittaya. Also picked up Kahuku Farms lillikoi butter for souvenirs and Made in Hawaii strawberry mochi for myself. The Made in Hawaii stall was mobbed at the farmer's market. If you want to avoid these crowds, you can find many of their items at the ABC stores.

TAPAS

Salt (Honolulu) -- The menu that I received was vastly different from the online menu as there wasn't as much Asian influence. I know a lot of locals have gotten excited about its opening. I think it's a good restaurant but may not be worth it for some visitors if you come from a place with good Spanish food. I may be wrong but I think some locals get very excited by good food that is not Pacific-rim because of the lack of these types of restaurants in Hawaii. We started off with the deviled eggs which were quite delicious. Then we got an order of fries. Oh, way too salty! It must have been salted twice by accident because there's no way somebody could think this was OK. I rarely return food but had to as it was inedible. They were very nice about it. Unfortunately the kitchen tried to overcompensate and thought we must have sensitive palates by undersalting the next two dishes (the second batch of fries and shishito peppers). When the waitress asked us how everything was I told her the truth as I didn't want the rest of our meal to be bland. She relayed the message as everything that came out afterwards was well seasoned. My favorite dish was the short rib empanadas. I would say these are a must-order. My second favorite dish was the jidori fried chicken with chili dip. The chicken was well-fried and very tasty. I wasn't too crazy about the panko-crusted pork belly as it was too fatty. Deep frying pork belly also made it kind of chewy. Service was great and well-intentioned. They took off the fries off the bill and tried to do whatever they could to make us happy.

PLATE LUNCH

Rainbow Drive-In (Honolulu)-- I've never been to Rainbow Drive-in and wanted to go because it's such an institution. I wanted to try the shoyu chicken that is a daily special so went on an appropriate day. We were there around noon and they already were sold out of the chicken! So we shared a mixed plate and a loco moco bowl. The mac salad was one of the best we've ever had. I can see why they sell it by the bucket. The rest of our food was just OK.

Mitzu Ken (Honolulu) -- We shared a garlic chicken plate. No facilities to eat there. DH wanted to park in the shade and eat. I looked at him like he was crazy cuz where are you going to find shade in Kalihi around noon? I didn't want the chicken to get cold so I started eating my half as he started driving. When he realized he wasn't going to find parking anytime soon, he headed back to the condo while I fed him as he drove. Garlic chicken, where have you been all my life? It was so crunchy, garlicky and flavorful. Kind of like a super flavorful General Tso's chicken without all the gloppy sauce. The mac salad was kind of strange tasting for me. They close early at 1P so make sure you plan ahead. I wanted to pick some up for the plane ride home but it was after 1P.

FOOD SHOPS

Don Quijote (Honolulu) -- such a cool interesting store. They've got food and non-food items for sale. Prices are also really good. We ended up picking up quite a few souvenirs from there. Also got some green tea oreos and green tea Dr. Bronner's soap!

Safeway (Honolulu) -- DH couldn't wait until Saturday for the Farmer's Market to pick up a pineapple. So he picked up a Maui Gold at Safeway on Kapahulu as well as a Hawaiian watermelon. The watermelon was very sweet but so many seeds. The Maui gold was good but not as good as the Hawaiian Crown Pineapple sold at the Farmer's Market. We we discovered this store later during the trip:

Hawaiian Crown Pineapple (Honolulu) -- well, you don't have to wait until the farmer's market to pick up this pineapple. They've got a very small store in Waikiki where you can get whole pineapples, cut up pineapples, smoothies, acai bowls, pineapple juice, plantation iced tea, dried pineapples. We got
some plantation iced tea, dried pineapples and a box of pineapples (certified for plane travel).

Down to Earth Natural and Organic (Kailua) -- I went there to primarily look for Maui Fruit Jewels, the most wonderful pate de fruits. I'm generally not a fan of them because I find them too sweet. But Maui Fruit Jewels have the perfect amount of sweetness, especially as they're not coated in white sugar. It's not that easy to find them in Oahu. Whole Foods Kailua only carried a few. Whole Foods Kahala used to carry them but stopped because they said they weren't selling very well. My favorites are the lillikoi and pineapple ginger. Very intense flavors. When I was having that horrible bout of vomiting and heartburn one evening, the pineapple ginger one was able to calm my stomach down to help me sleep.

Shirokawa (Honolulu) -- We picked up some food for our flight back home. Got some garlc chicken, potato salad, pork tonkatsu and tofu and shrimp patties. The garlic chicken and potato salad were good. The chicken was not as good as Mitsu-Ken's but still fine. The pork was a bit dry. The tofu patties (I really didn't see any shrimp in there) was kind of sour. I think it's a way for them to use their leftover tofu that's starting to turn. I would stay away from that dish.

JAPANESE

Jinroku (Honolulu) -- got the seafood okonomiyaki, buta kimchi deluxe and jinroku gyoza yaki. Everything tasted good. Buta kimchi deluxe was my favorite. The only thing I have to say is that nobody seemed like they wanted to be there. Service was kind of unprofessional. It's rare that I encounter this in Hawaii or anywhere else for that matter. I was sitting at the counter so I had a better view of what was going on. They were civil to us (probably because we were right there) but grumbled about other customers behind their backs. If you're going to do this (and I'm sure this goes on everywhere), make sure you're out of earshot of all customers. It doesn't make for a good impression.
Sushi ii (Honolulu) -- we sat at the counter and ordered a la carte. I was allergic to one of the items that went into the deep fryer so I couldn't order any fried stuff. Got the king crab sushi with kani miso, uni, king salmon, toro, salmon roe in sacs (you should like salt if you're going to order this -- salt level similar to belly lox) and scallop sushi. Shared a negitoro roll and got the uni and mirugai sashimi platter. Everything was fresh and the waitresses couldn't have been nicer. A lovely experience.

Wada (Honolulu) -- we reserved the counter. Unfortunately they screwed up and had to seat us at a regular table. They were very apologetic about it. It seemed that somebody didn't do the seat placements correctly at the counter as there were two seats available but not next to each other. What I think happened is the head waiter tried to ask the guy to move down one seat because he asked for us to wait in the front for a bit before we were seated to see if he could do anything. And the reason why I think that was the case was that as soon as we were seated at the table, this one guy at the counter kept staring at us. Kind of a douche move, but whatever. I think seated at the table was better for one of the dishes we had ordered. So it turns out that like Sushi ii, they served my allergy item deep-fried. So this meant no deep fried items here either. We got the corn tofu (so different and interesting!), tuna and seared foie gras sushi, nori wraps with uni and beef (similar to those served at NYC's Takashi), ankimo, poke from rib and steamed manila clams with sake. We then proceeded to order the grilled tongue which we grill ourselves on a ceramic grill. This was when we realized the table would have been better as the grill was quite large. This tongue was better than the well-regarded specialty tongue restaurant I went to in Japan! So much more tender. After you're dong with the tongue, they saute some onions and mushrooms and pieces of beef on the grill. We ate what we could and were so full that we had to ask for the check. They said there's a fried rice or noodle course afterwards but our stomachs said no more.

Sushi Izakaya Gaku (Honolulu) -- we sat at the counter by the what one Yelper describes as the "Asian Ken doll." He was very sweet but there was a bit of miscommunication with what we were ordering. But that's OK. We ended up getting a sashimi platter of his choosing. The sashimi platter included the best scallop I've ever had -- it was live scallop from Hokkaido. I really love seafood from Hokkaido -- must be in the genes cuz that's where my grandparents are from. DH, who normally doesn't like raw scallop, thought it was so good that he wanted to order some more. Unfortunately they were out of the Hokkaido scallops. : ( Also ordered pieces of sushi including uni, ikura (make sure you get this here -- it's different), toro. Got the uni wrapped in fluke. Ordered uni shooters, hamachi tartare and crabcake from the kitchen.

Nanzan Giro Giro (Honolulu) -- we sat at the counter by the head chef. He was one of the nicest people we've encountered on this trip. Sounds like this guy is super busy working on the menus at the restaurant because he doesn't seem to have much time for anything else. One of the best bargains for upscale dining here. Be sure to make reservations. I saw a couple turned away even though there were many seats left. A lot of Japanese restaurants in Japan only make sure they have enough food for their customers that evening as they hate waste. When I went to Japan, many restaurants actually had me pick what I wanted to eat months before I got there. So my thinking is that the couple got turned away because there wasn't enough food for them as opposed to no seating room. I can see some people thinking portions may be small but they were fine for us. If you're on vacation and tend to like larger portions, schedule this meal towards the end of your trip. You'll be so stuffed from all the malasadas and plate lunches that a smaller meal would be quite welcome!

FIJIAN

Fiji Curry (Kahuku) -- decided to hit this place up as we were looking for something different than the usual garlic shrimp plate. Also was not in the mood to wait on a long line. Shared one shrimp plate with one scoop of rice and one roti. Also got a couple of samosas. The samosas were OK -- they were baked, not fried. The shrimp curry was delicious -- read somewhere they use local shrimp. A bit of a small portion for the price. $14 for 7 shrimps.

HAWAIIAN

Helena's (Honolulu) -- It's amazing how busy this place is! Only open for four days a week (and closed on the weekends!). But the food is so good. Ordered small portions of pipikaula ribs, kalua pork, chicken long rice, fried butterfish collar, luau squid, lau lau. The waitresses kept asking if we wanted to order poi and rice. I told her that if we got poi or rice that we would never be able to finish all of this food! She laughed and people stopped asking us if we wanted starch. Lots of people did take-out. If I wasn't ordering the fried butterfish I may have done that to avoid the wait. But I knew the fried butterfish wouldn't be the same after a car ride back to the condo.

PACIFIC RIM

Side Street Inn (Honolulu) -- It was a good place to go because we were going there with a couple of other folks and I had a feeling that they would want to pay (which they did) so didn't want to pick a super expensive place. We shared the garlic fries (garlicky, but run of the mill sysco fries), lillikoi BBQ ribs (ribs weren't super tender but tasty enough), the works fried rice (one of my favorite fried rices I've had), garlic shrimp with zucchini and mushrooms (one guy only wanted the shrimp as he hates zucchini and mushrooms -- the waitress told her it only comes with 6 shrimp so he had better get the entire dish), and the steamed fish with ginger and scallions. Food was fine and I didn't eat that much that night but the food didn't agree with me as I had a really bad case of heartburn and vomiting that evening. Not sure if it was the food or the accumulation of all this rich food over the days and nights.

Alan Wong's (Honolulu) -- We decided to go for the chef's tasting menu. It sounded long but wasn't as super filling as one would think if you were prudent with the bread as it was basically small portions of proteins and veggies. I think there's more of a chance you'd get full from ordering a la carte. However, once I got to the dessert part it put me over the edge. The food was delicious and interesting (cheddar cheese and foie gras in the same dish) but I think I prefer ordering a la carte or ordering the Alan Wong's tasting of the classics. They did fulfill my request of subbing out the tasting menu dessert for the coconut. Service was exceptional as always.

Roy's (Honolulu) -- We usually go to the Hawaii Kai location but decided to go the Waikiki one as we were staying at the Royal Hawaiian at that time. Ordered the champa roll, kampachi crudo with yuzo kosho, seame crusted day boat scallops, prawns with uni pasta and shared an orange panna cotta with lilikoi mascarpone. Everything was delicious and service was wonderful. It seems as prices are slightly higher at the Waikiki location compared to the Hawaii Kai one.

MW (Honolulu) -- Was so surprised to see a full house when I got there for my 6:30P reservation. Hawaiians eat relatively early compared to NYers! Got the poke with rice crisps with ikura and uni, fried chicken; mochi crusted monchong and the special of shrimp and oaga with dried scallop sauce. We shared the candy bar and floating island with lillikoi and tropical fruits. Everything was so well prepared. Everybody was so nice. This will be put on the list of restaurants to go back to next time we're in Hawaii.

Lucky Belly (Honolulu) -- Chinatown's been undergoing quite some change. There are a few building there that are very architecturally interesting. If I lived in Hawaii, I would probably try to invest in some real estate there. Lucky Belly is very similar to Momofuku Noodle of NYC -- except there's an awful lot more space between tables! We shared the salad with goat cheese and beets, lobster shu mai; crab cakes with kimchi aioli, shishito peppers and the beast ramen. We enjoyed everything, especially the salad which was so needed as we haven't really been eating many greens on this trip.

VIETNAMESE

The Pig and the Lady (Honolulu) -- The first time I had their food was when they had their pop-up dinners. Then I was lucky that that they had a stall at the farmer's markets. Now I was so stoked they had their first brick and mortar. I loved my first dinner there that I went back two more times for lunch! It is probably busiest during lunch on a weekday. I encountered about a 20 minute wait around noon -- and we ended up sitting at the bar as all of the tables were full. I had the bone marrow (they have limited orders of it -- really smart way to make use of what most restaurants would probably throw away or serve for staff meals), shitake la lot, coffee can mousse, yellowtail reuben (probably my least favorite dish from everything there), kaya panna cotta with starfruit and lillikoi and thai basil, pho ga, beef bun hue, hoi han chicken salad, oxtail pho, laotian fried chicken, and pho banh mi (thought it didn't quite work for me as I like the crunch of the banh mi bread and the dip and stewed beef made the sandwich soggy). I really wish there was something like this in NYC. Loved, loved those pickled chiles they serve in jars at all the tables. The best pho I've had was in my home -- until I tried the oxtail pho at The Pig and Lady! Food is relatively light and so satisfying.

SHAVE ICE

Ailana (Honolulu) -- Ordered the shave ice from the homemade syrup side. Got mine with strawberry milk and haupia with condensed milk and ice cream. DH got his with mango and guava with ice cream. Both were very good. They inserted straws throughout the ice to get even distribution of ice and syrup.

Uncle Clay's House of Aloha (Aina Haina) -- Probably the best shave ice I've had - EVER! They made the shave ice in two sections, making sure there's plenty of syrup. They also sandwiched the ice cream in between the sections. Very generous with the ice cream. I ordered the lillikoi and strawberry with dream sauce (kind of like condensed milk) and ice cream. DH got the lillikoi and pineapple with dream sauce and ice cream. Service was pure aloha.

When is Fong's Meat Market open?

Thanks! Glad to know they are open daily. Yes, I thought it was strange that a Chinese restaurant would only open twice a week!

Aug 08, 2014
Miss Needle in Hawaii

Halo Halo in Oahu

I'm not a big halo halo fan so I can't give you recommendations for specific places. But I would try Filipino restaurants as it's commonly served as desserts there.

Aug 06, 2014
Miss Needle in Hawaii

Alan Wong for kids...

Yes, even though Alan Wong is a higher end restaurant, it's one where kids are welcome. It's relatively a noisy experience. One time I was there there was a woman with a baby that wouldn't stop crying. While I was hoping that she'd take her baby further away from the tables, nobody said anything to her.

Aug 06, 2014
Miss Needle in Hawaii

When is Fong's Meat Market open?

Does anybody know when Fong's Meat Market is open? It's a roast pork place in Chinatown. They used to be more frequently but it now appears that it's only opened two days out of the week. Problem is I've read conflicting information. One site said Thurs, Fri. Another said Fri, Sat. As Friday was the common denominator, I've tried calling numerous times on Friday but nobody's answering.

www.yelp.com/biz/fongs-meat-market-ho...

Aug 06, 2014
Miss Needle in Hawaii

Favorite Xiao Long Bao ( soup dumplings) in Queens?

Make sure to save room for a slice of Boston cream pie from Yeh's Bakery.

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/899199

Aug 06, 2014
Miss Needle in Outer Boroughs

Hakkasan

The pipa duck is served with pickled ginger.

Jul 03, 2014
Miss Needle in Manhattan

Upscale Chinese in Chinatown??

I really enjoyed Fung Tu a lot. Room is tasteful and the food was very delicious. Some favorites were the egg roll and the dumpling knots. The greens had a lot of wok hay. Service was very gracious. Will return.

Jun 17, 2014
Miss Needle in Manhattan
1

Favorite dessert by nationality?

American -- strawberry shortcake (the cake kind) or chocolate cake
French -- pot de creme
Italian -- ricotta cheesecake
Romanian -- papanasi
Portuguese -- pastel de nata
Lebanese/Egyptian/Turkish/Palestinian, and others -- kanafeh
English -- sticky toffy date pudding
Korean/Chinese -- sool dduk
Indian -- ras malai
Austrian/Hungarian -- apple strudel
Filipino -- leche flan
Trinidadian/Jamaican -- black cake
Japanese -- castella
Indonesian/Malaysian -- pulut hitam

Jun 14, 2014
Miss Needle in General Topics

Soup dumplings at Lake Pavillion

As soup dumplings are Shanghainese and dim sum is Cantonese, it would be reasonable to think that soup dumplings wouldn't be very good at a dim sum place. With the exception of Yank Sing in San Francisco, I've never had good soup dumplings during dim sum. Once in a while I'll try it because I love a good soup dumpling. But I'm always disappointed.

May 21, 2014
Miss Needle in Outer Boroughs

Ice Cream Truck - totally weird

Hmmm... Wonder if it's code that the trucks sell other goods aside from ice cream? There have been a lot of news stories in NYC about ice cream trucks being used as fronts for drugs.

I've also wondered about the bodegas in NYC that don't have many customers with these flashing Budweiser (or other alcohol company) signs. I've noticed that the pattern changes depending on the day. DH thinks I have a vivid imagination but I remember my friends getting their pot through a takeout Chinese joint back in the days.

May 14, 2014
Miss Needle in Not About Food

Change of plans -- need quick help with food walking tour

This serious eats piece about Times Square might be helpful. You can hit the street food and quick bites section.

http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2013/0...

May 14, 2014
Miss Needle in Manhattan

Where can I find reasonably priced smoked whitefish?

Sorry I don't know of a reasonable place in Manhattan but have you considered going to a Russian market in Brooklyn or Queens? Also I believe Acme (in Greenpoint) sells it during their Fish Fridays in the AM.

May 12, 2014
Miss Needle in Manhattan

Alphonso mango sightings?

I was in Patel Brothers in Jackson Heights today. No alphonso mangoes. Also checked out some of the other stores around the area including Subzi Mandhi. Nope. So I think it's unlikely you'll find them in Manhattan. I also agree with Kathryn -- I purchased a really bad batch of alphonso mangoes from Spice Corner.

Purchased a crate of kesars instead at Patel. 12 for $36.

May 07, 2014
Miss Needle in Manhattan

Placentophagy: A New Food Trend?

It's been around for a really long time. Around the 90s or so, there was a documentary on HBO about it. But, yes, it hasn't seen the celebrity endorsement until recently.

I would definitely do it if I had a child -- though I'd probably wuss out and opt for the freeze-dried form. It's an herb used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. But I'd probably save a little bit to try it in its natural state. The smoothie form sounds nasty. My choice of cooking would be Sichuan style with lots of chiles and peppercorns.

May 01, 2014
Miss Needle in Food Media & News

Moim @ 206 Garfield Pl

Yes, sometimes you just don't feel like traveling far for Korean food.

There were no BBQ dishes on the lunch menu but they are available for dinner. Please note that the bulgogi in the tacos were too sweet for my taste that I had to put some kimchi in it to temper it.

Apr 28, 2014
Miss Needle in Outer Boroughs

Moim @ 206 Garfield Pl

I had lunch there recently. I think if you are to eat here you need to adjust your expectations from traditional Korean restaurants. You're not going to get the superfluous complimentary banchan (last week in Flushing, I received about 13 including a couple of casseroles). The portions will be smaller and the food probably not as spicy. You will pay more here than in K-town or Flushing.

That said, I thought their kimchi pork mandoos were awesome. Really generously filled and well-seasoned, they didn't need the dipping sauce. I actually thought it was better than what I have received at traditional restaurants -- perhaps I like the larger meat to dough ratio.

The dol sot bi bim bap was well done. It was served sizzling hot and stayed really hot. It's really hard to screw up that dish unless you use really old fixins. The kimchi (that came with my bi bim bap) was actually spicier than what you would find at most Korean restaurants. There was a good level of fermentation as well.

Unfortunately the tacos and minced pork in steamed buns were a bit too sweet for my taste. But I think you can eat well if you order carefully.

Apr 28, 2014
Miss Needle in Outer Boroughs

Communal tables at restaurants - your opinion please?

Generally I'm not a huge fan of them. The only exceptions I can think of are dim sum parlors (where you're expected not to make conversation) or in instances where the restaurant has a set menu with 1 or 2 set seatings a night. I find it much easier to converse with others when everybody is on the same page in terms of food. It's kind of awkward to talk when one party has food the and others don't -- well, at least for me -- as conversation kind of slows down when people are in the process of eating and disrupts the rhythm.

Apr 28, 2014
Miss Needle in Not About Food

What to do with jar of fig jam?

Similar to the pizza, I've used fig jam as a spread for a grilled ham and cheese sandwich.

Apr 22, 2014
Miss Needle in Home Cooking

Any suggestions for Japanese near Film Forum

I do -- for their sushi. I love that they cut the toro in the way so there are no sinews. Not all sushi restaurants do that as there's more waste. But I think eating a piece of toro with sinews running through it defeats the purpose.

But just glancing at their menu, there aren't too many things your gf can eat except for salad, eggplant, tempura, veggie rolls. If she's happy with that I guess it would be a good choice for you too.

Apr 22, 2014
Miss Needle in Manhattan

Atera - Really??

You're just the minority on this thread. Believe me, before this thread I had no idea that somebody disliked Atera. I thought it was a board darling.

Apr 22, 2014
Miss Needle in Manhattan

Any suggestions for Japanese near Film Forum

If "feels" like a chain to you means that the waiter will come up and say, "Hello, I'm Matt and I'll be your server today," -- no. It's a beautiful space and the food is good. Your gf will probably like the freshly made tofu.

There are other Japanese restaurants near the Film Forum that I like such as Soto or Ushiwakamaru. But there aren't as many items your girlfriend can eat.

Apr 22, 2014
Miss Needle in Manhattan

Any suggestions for Japanese near Film Forum

EN Japanese Brasserie has lots of vegetarian options for your girlfriend.

Apr 22, 2014
Miss Needle in Manhattan

Atera - Really??

My visit to Atera was about six months ago. I think it just comes down to preference. Everything was executed well. Presentation was beautiful. Service was great and I feel kind of bad writing this because they were all so nice. I just found some of the courses were more innovative than they were delicious. For me, delicious always triumphs over being cerebral, novel, unconventional, etc. I remember wishing I'd rather being eating a slice of pizza during some of Atera's courses.

I find this thread helpful as there are others who didn't like Atera as well (I also was starting to think I was the only one -- didn't catch your review from years ago). I'm making a mental note of this as we may share the same tastes with other restaurants.

Apr 22, 2014
Miss Needle in Manhattan

Atera - Really??

Make that two. Although I appreciated what they were trying to do, I didn't think the food tasted all that great. But I'm realizing I have this issue with a lot of restaurants that incorporate modern techniques. But I will have to say two of my favorite meals were at those types of restaurants -- Alinea and Pierre Gagnaire. I just think it takes a lot more skill to pull off the food.

Apr 21, 2014
Miss Needle in Manhattan