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Halo Halo in Oahu

I hadnt had halohalo in years...until yesterday. After a long hot hike, we went to Shimazu Store for some shave ice...but I was very indecisive on flavor selection so I pulled a change-up and went halohalo + ube ice cream (which is an extra charge there but well worth it). I enjoyed this halohalo waaaaay more than i would any shave ice....sweet azuke, jellies, coconut meat (i think - could have been different kind of jelly), ube ice cream, chunkier ice with milk....very satisfying, albeit a bit pricy at almost 7 bucks with the ice cream. I enjoyed it so much that i'm now interested in tracking down some fun versions around the island - authentic or otherwise. Any recommendations?

Aug 04, 2014
fatstern in Hawaii

Burgers in Honolulu/Oahu

Just had the burger at Brasserie du vin for lunch today, and its worth a mention for this old thread.

from the website: Rib Eye Burger. ½ lb. ground rib eye patty with Kula baby romaine, Hauula tomato and red onion on a toasted Telera roll. Two choices: Comte, Camembert, Roquefort, Gruyere, Swiss, caramelized onions, pecan wood-smoked bacon, mushrooms, avocado or fried egg. $14 .... plus, this also came with a side (soup, salad, fries, or homemade chips). They also have a rotating specialty burger and an upgrade "du vin" burger with prosciutto, onions, hollandaise and an egg for $16.

I think for the quality of the food this is worth the money. I went with a mushroom/gruyere burger cooked medium rare, and the toppings were generous and the doneness was spot on. Beef was juicy and tasty...the tomato, of all things, was incredible - well sourced and perfectly ripe. My only gripes were that the patty itself was a little underseasoned - when i started my burger i was a little underwhelmed until i realized what was going on and asked for some salt and fresh cracked pepper to set it off...and from then on every bite was VERY delicious. And my bun could have been toastier for sure....otherwise,this was a very solid burger. Also, i got the soup, today a spicy beef and lentil, and that was pretty damn good too.

May 02, 2014
fatstern in Hawaii

Where can I purchase a good quality pastrami?

ha - russkar, this is a debate among myself a couple of friends too. After having both, the bread is obviously a "no contest" to langers....but i honestly like the pastrami better at Katz's. I get to eat them very rarely, but the "highs" experienced by the luscious historic pastramis at both joints were higher with katz's. for me. i'll NEVER understand why they stick with that subpar rye bread at katz's though, especially given the resources they have in NYC. clearly, they want their meat to be the star, but i think that totally misses the point of it being a sandwich of 2 major elements - bread and filling. oh well.

We don't have anything close to on par with those guys here in hawaii....which is kind of crazy bc folks love it here yet i think most people have never really had transcendent pastrami. I think having killer pastrami was an original mission of the whole ox, but they seemed to very quickly drop this mission once they hit their stride (before mcgee left). I make a pretty damn good one though, its in my blood....maybe i'll open a proper deli for y'all one day ;)

Mar 24, 2014
fatstern in Hawaii

Fried Chicken on Oahu

Soul's fried chicken is fantastic .. IF! you can get a fresh fried one. He sometimes fries in batches and you end up getting a room tempish or warm one which doesnt hit the high notes that a freshie does. But his chicken is great. He sources pretty large thighs usually. The breading is crisp, thick and flavorful. He usually drizzles a little honey butter to finish which is a nice sweet touch to the savory. Legit.

Mar 21, 2014
fatstern in Hawaii

Fried Chicken on Oahu

indelibledonk - if you're talking to me about Ray's, then i honestly dont know if i want to know where the chicken is from. i assume costco, so its prob the norm. The prep is straight forward, southern style fried chicken, its just not seasoned AT ALL. You go into a reputable hole-in-the-wall and in the southeast of the USA and get their fried chicken, i guarantee you it'll be salty and seasoned and wonderful without any sauces etc. So, its def the prep at Ray's that has it fall flat... i dont expect any organic or well sourced heritage birds that could elevate the chix a bit. people also say its a super crunchy perfect crusty fry, but that wasnt our experience. oh well. I think my lesson learned was to stick to the mochikos and local kine garlic chicken and japanese karaage preps etc...i leave the southern style to the south. or zippys...ha.

Mar 20, 2014
fatstern in Hawaii

Fried Chicken on Oahu

Just a quick re-up of this old thread. had an errand to run in kalihi today, so figured i'd pop over to Ray's Cafe to try this fried chicken that's been ever so touted. was also hoping for the prime rib these guys are known for, but they didnt have it today. my buddy was still in the mood for a steak so he got the new york steak plate. and there was pig's feet soup on the menu, of which we are both suckers for, so we decided to pig out and share that...with the intention of trying NOT to finish everything to prevent serious kanakattack. ANYWAY, i wasn't expecting much, i know this is one of those good ol' hole in the walls, no frills....but based on reviews on yelp and shout outs on other websites here and again (mostly for their fried chicken and prime rib), i was expecting very simple fare done well. These expectations were not met. The fried chicken was very mediocre. It wasn't super crispy as advertised, and had absolutely no seasoning at all. It was cooked fine, the meat was juicy, but it was very short on flavor....I was just expecting some good salty fried chicken, but no dice. The rice served with it was overcooked and dry. While my friends steak was cooked medium rareish, as ordered, it also was totally unseasoned and SUPER greasy, topped with equally greasy onion, mushrooms and peppers. nothing tasted like anything! again, salt and pepper goes a long way when you are making simple food. we ordered a side of brown gravy just to bring something to the steak, but that was also a bowl of underseasoned gloop. bleh. The mac salad that came with had a some funky backnote....for mac salad, i usually expect simple, creamy (not gloppy), salty, tangy, and cool. and even if it doesnt hit all the notes, i usually finish it anyway bc i'm a glutton for the stuff. Didnt even want to finish this.

I'll give them a nod on the pigs feet soup. It was decent, with a good bit of perfectly stewed pigs feet for the 6 or 7 bucks. broth was so-so but was lifted up by the ginger garnish, and the bowl had a good amount of bok choy included. we had leftover pigs feet so we ended up just scooping out the meat home for what will be some killer leftover pigs feet paninis we'll make later.

i double checked that the usual "chef" was in today, to see if this was some anomoly, and he was....again, i'm happy to do some low brow hole-in-the-wall dining....but seriously, this didnt cut it for me and i'm not entirely sure what others see in it.

Mar 19, 2014
fatstern in Hawaii

ono seafood closed for renovation / times has fresh poke

i believe Ono Seafood is regularly at the kaka'ako farmers markets on saturday mornings, if you want your fix. Always delicious. I think their 'hawaiian style' is as good as it gets. Plus, their tako seems to be more tender and juicy than anyone else's. interested to see the remodel, thx for the (unfortunate for you) tip.

Feb 26, 2014
fatstern in Hawaii

agu a ramen bistro

ya ya tonkotsu

Jan 22, 2014
fatstern in Hawaii

agu a ramen bistro

i checked out agu last night....ordered the spicy kotteri tonkatsu. they warn that their spicy levels aren't messing around. they rate their spice 1-5 with a 5+ if you want to go nuts with it. They say their 1-2 is mildly spicy and the heat cranks up around 3...so i ordered 3 just to get a gauge on everything. Their spice mix was indeed potent...seemed like a dry chili blend and a good dose of chili oil. too much oil for me, i didnt feel awesome after finishing the modest-sized bowl . I liked the spice, but i think the spice blend overwhelmed the broth flavors...so much so i wouldnt order it again. Granted, i didnt try the straight broth first - maybe should have asked for a little un-spiced on the side to really figure out what was going on flavorwise. and as macsak mentioned, the noodles are quite thin, and while still somewhat firm, they lacked the chewiness that i really dig in noodles...these really didnt do it for me. It was nice that bowl comes with an aji tama as well as some generous menma. there were a couple pretty thin slices of char siu that were tasty, but not really luscious at all. overall, i'm not sure. the noodles in the tonkatsu didnt excite me much, so when i go back i may try the jidori stock version with the thicker noodles. the service was quick and friendly, the decor is sleek and chill, and i do think they use good ingredients, so i'd be willing to give it another shot though the noodles may be a deal breaker for me personally.

still prefer the tan tan at goma tei and gomaichi, spicy karamiso at santuoka (with tonriko pork cheeks), and the spicy tsukemen at kiwami over what i had at agu.

Jan 22, 2014
fatstern in Hawaii

Dogs a la Puka

i actually happened to notice they moved downtown....they have a little window on hotel between bishop and fort st mall...close to the back entrance of leo's taverna.

Jan 03, 2014
fatstern in Hawaii

Anyone Try Santouka Ramen Yet?

i have, and it was delicious. Went with my friend who prefers more subtle broths (shoyu), while i almost always go with the stronger tan-tan and spicy broths (really like tan tan at goma tei and gomaichi, as well as the spicy tsukemen at kiwami). We followed suit: he ordered a shoyu ramen combo with their char siu locomoco, and i ordered the kara miso with the tonriku pork cheek upgrade as well as an aji tama egg on the side. Everything was fantastic, except the egg that came with my friends combo >>> its not an aji tama, it was a way over hard boiled egg with some thousand island dressing. I did not understand it....he and i had one bite each and let it be. not worth the space in the stomache. My aji tama egg was an entirely different story, being wonderfully soft boiled and pleasantly marinated in the sweet shoyu situation, with a little of that sauce in the bowl. could have eaten a half dozen of these. My kara miso ramen was an intensly, deeply flavored broth that i quite enjoyed. decent spice level. the noodles were good, pretty firm. the star of the show is those pork cheeks though. wow. served on the side with the rest of the toppings so as to not overcook the pork, the slices have a nice small layer of fat, and are insanely tender with a natural sweetness that complimented and shined through the broth when constructing a "combo" bite. fantastic. my friends shoyu broth was also nice, albeit more subtle. he got the regualr char siu and it looked reasonable thick and very tender though i didnt try it. his little loco moco was also super tasty, a perfectly soft egg on char siu chunks and a dark brown gravy. would get again. looking forward to returning....would highly recommend upgrading to those pork cheeks!

Dec 30, 2013
fatstern in Hawaii

Imanas tei or tokkuri tei

imanas tei is a bit more traditional, straight forward. tokurri tei has a more "fun" local feel with some fusiony creative dishes. both well regarded....think you should just pick your "vibe"...

Dec 08, 2013
fatstern in Hawaii

is good italian really that hard to find on oahu?

While not "dining" by any means, you can seek out Onda Pasta if you want Italian from an Italian (Roman) guy. He and his wife Jessica (a sweetheart!) pop up at Taste somewhat frequently as well as the Kakaako and Haleiwa farmers markets. They make ALL of their own pasta and sell prepared dishes as well as the fresh pasta for you to take home. Haventy had too many of their dishes bt I do enjoy the Ragu. One day they'll have a brick 'n mortar when the timing and $ is right....

http://ondapasta.com/

Nov 19, 2013
fatstern in Hawaii

Honolulu Dive Crawl

burger's been on there as long as i can remember. The happy hour menu is def totally different...its more little snacks than any sort of entree (except for the burger)...a small cheese course, edamame "guac" and housemade chips, southern fried jidori chicken (with some wonderful gravy or spiced syrup), spiced nuts, kim chee grilled cheese, fried fingerlings, maybe some other stuff (things rotate too)....i think its all pretty tasty for the price but nothing like the main menu, which is also available at the bar. also have a small set of 6 dollar cocktails. enjoyed a grapefruit margarita recently...

Nov 13, 2013
fatstern in Hawaii

Honolulu Dive Crawl

DEF V-LOUNGE for pizza. perfectly fits the dive bill and the pies are impeccable (kiawe-wood burning oven, neopolitan style, high quality ingredients).

If you are in waikiki, i still love the (polish) dogs at Hula Dog (formerly puka dog)....served with your choice of tropical mustards and relishes its def a unique one. extra good after a couple drinks.

not divey but highly recommmend the burger at SALT in kaimuki. 1/2 lb hawaiian beef and fantastic ingredients/toppings. happy hour it starts at 8 bucks plus a buck for each topping (at bar only). lots of nice happy hour nibbles here.

Nov 13, 2013
fatstern in Hawaii

Looking for new off the beaten path recommendations for Oahu

oh, i also had their salad....which was delicous, but again, offensive at 9 bucks on a paper plate. should have been almost double the size for that money.

Nov 07, 2013
fatstern in Hawaii

new places opening up all over- reports?

went to KIMAMI Ramen last night as i've been hunting to try tsukemen style ramen (noodles on the side to dip into concentrated broth)....and i thought it was KILLER. They use local Sun noodles, little thicker than the usual....i got the spicy shoyu tsukemen and this was a conentrated, oily, amazing flavor bomb. Noodles were served cool/rm temp, the broth was hot and contained lots of chopped chive/green onions, a few pieces of char siu (decent, not super tender, but tasty - but they dont touch the goma tei char siu), and some menma. As the noodles were on the side, every bite had perfectly cooked noodle, and the broth did a fantastic job sticking them....prob wont finish the bowl of broth with the noodles, but its touch too concentrated (on purpose) to eat on its own...though i was tempted. also shared an order of the gyoza which had a fantastically crispy side, but maybe fell a little flat on overall flavor. Everyone's got their own tastes with ramen (as yelp reviews clearly reveal), but this was MONEY for me.

Nov 07, 2013
fatstern in Hawaii

Looking for new off the beaten path recommendations for Oahu

i think its just "Cocina" without the "la". and i agree >> cocina is pretty damn good. I really like the "gringa" >> a pulled chicken quesadilla in an apple mole with apple pico. tasty. the veggie version is also delicious. headcheese tacos are lucious. i've had 'the perfect egg' when they were doing pop-ups at Taste and found it surprisingly bland, and have read a recent review of someone eating it the new spot with the same opinion. I've also had their elotes (grilled corn) and its super delicious, but offensively priced at 5 bucks for a small ear of corn. In fact, i'd consider that place very reasonable if they knocked 2 bucks off of everything...but its expensive, and, at least at lunch, you're dining with disposable forks and plates etc. A couple dishes came out on a metal tray covered with paper which was cool. But paying all that cash to dine on paper at a proper restaurant is mindboggling to me. whole ox was doing that too, RIP.

Nov 07, 2013
fatstern in Hawaii

BURRITO

quality has been fairly consistent for a couple years! enjoy...

Oct 25, 2013
fatstern in Hawaii

BURRITO

I've had the kalua pig burrito many many times and think its the best burrito in town....though I will say that none of the other fillings do much for me. The shredded cilantro lime chicken is decent, but i dont touch other other stuff (fajita veggies with or without the vegan "beef"....also sometimes they overcook they're rice to dry crispy and thats a bummer. but ya, dont think anyone would be disappointed with the porky one --- which did you get?

Oct 25, 2013
fatstern in Hawaii

best deal meal

I've always thought the Magurokuzushi at Maguro-ya was one of the better deals around town. So fun, too. Used to be 16 bucks, may have crept up to 18 (i peeked at a menu the other day while passing by and and i think that was the newest price my brain cannot confirm). A set meal with salad, soup, tsukemono,edamame, chawanmushi, and ahi like 4 or 5 different ways... sashimi with a nice little sauce, katsu, quick fried with some bubu, grilled....its been awhile since i've had. maybe be another item or 2. Filling, sort of exciting, and a good deal (used to be a hell of a deal a few years ago, but thats quibbling over a couple dollars).

Sep 27, 2013
fatstern in Hawaii

INDONESIAN RESTAURANT

well well - you may be (temporarily) in luck if you got lunch time to spare....due to a scheduling conflict, there will be an indonesian chef at TASTE on Fridays lunchtime for next 3 weeks:

http://us6.campaign-archive1.com/?u=e...

Sep 23, 2013
fatstern in Hawaii

Falafel King?

hey KM -- its less "kosher rules" and more the deeply ingrained jewish practice of observing shabbat, the day of rest, reflection, family, freedom. From Friday eve until Saturday eve...which does mean they miss out of some $$$ for sure, but to each their own.

Sep 22, 2013
fatstern in Hawaii

Falafel King?

i miss those guys....russkar is right....was a family situation. They were intending on coming back sometime this fall and setting up shop again somewhere. Been meaning to send an email to them and see how they are and if there really are plans....i'll report back if i hear something...

Sep 22, 2013
fatstern in Hawaii

In and around Kona help

i'd recommend Basik for a healthy breakfast or midday snack before a day of adventuring...

http://www.basikacai.com/index.html

I'm really not into the whole acai bowl craze, but was taken here by a friend and these are damn good, made with nice ingredients. I recommend the Banyan Bowl...

Sep 13, 2013
fatstern in Hawaii

best lasagna

I Third Bruno's Forno....I've never really been into the "casserole" style lasagna, so this style really fits the bill for me. All of the preps are quite tasty, the noodles are fresh made. I think one of those will easily fill most anyone up with the side of salad...

Sep 13, 2013
fatstern in Hawaii

Farmer's Market on Oahu that is almost as good as the Saturday KCC market?

I'll 2nd the chinatown recommendation. If tropical fruits are in season, you'll find them somewhere in chinatown for reasonable $. Plus, there's other good snacks down there and its a bit of a trip! Theres a couple food tours that run through chinatown, if you're into that thing. cant be hard to google 'em.

Jul 25, 2013
fatstern in Hawaii

Burgers in Honolulu/Oahu

i don't know if you're addressing this specifically to K-man, but I don't think you should feel like you are really missing something on Oahu. When you are traveling and you got a jones for a burger its worth knowing the better spots I guess, many of which have been touched on, but I don't know if there's a supreme superlative burger here. I am passionate about finding it though! I really do like the burger at SALT quite a bit, and I consistently like their other food (though I rarely spring for their house made charcuterie), so to me its ALWAYS worth splitting one of their burgers should you find yourself snacking there.

I've had some really good and fewer mild letdown stuff from Village Burger in Waimea Big Island. Have friends in Honokaa so it always seems to be part of our lunch route when we homebase/adventure there. Everything served there is grown and made within an x-mile radius of the joint...I'd stick with their chuck/brisket blend for best flavor. Their little mushroom burger concoction is very delicious as well, i've opted for it more than once (and stolen bites of beef from everyone else).
http://www.villageburgerwaimea.com/menu/

Jun 14, 2013
fatstern in Hawaii

Burgers in Honolulu/Oahu

hmmm...this happened to me twice upon my first visits there...say 2007-2008....and that was my norm. i havent had a burger there in forever for fear of disappointment. i like getting the mahi ortega and cheese sandwich add bacon when i visit, doesnt disappoint.

Jun 08, 2013
fatstern in Hawaii

Burgers in Honolulu/Oahu

its a cool little meeting/work space. free wi-fi, can rent space for meetings on the cheap....always have great books for sale > >> creative books, great food books, etc....nice to browse while waiting for my coffee to brew...the morning glass outpost has their coffee and smattering of baked goods and sandwiches prepped fresh at the main manoa homebase. i couldnt resist buying the banana doughnut with papaya glaze the other day. who could?

Jun 08, 2013
fatstern in Hawaii