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Itinerary Review (Kauai, Oaho, Big Island)

While I agree it is important to take advantage of all of the natural beauty Hawaii has to offer, I would say it is also very important to scout out where the good places to eat are near the locations you are planning to visit. The food here can be terrible and/or wildly overpriced for the unprepared, especially near tourist attractions and in resort areas.

On the other hand, thanks to the internet, visitors can now eat some of the finest local food available, if they are willing to go looking for it. I recently saw two Japanese tourists getting their picture taken outside of Tanioka's in Waipahu. They did their homework!

In terms of fine dining, I agree Hawaii is not a world class dining destination like NYC or Paris. However, we do have a very interesting and distinctive regional cuisine that is worth seeking out.

By the way, if you can only make it to one location from your list for snacks in Hilo, make sure it's Two Ladies Kitchen. The mochi is wonderful.

Jun 30, 2014
Quince in Hawaii

Good food in Kapolei?

When I first moved back to Hawaii less than two years ago, I really missed being able to get a good CSA box in my neighborhood. There were dozens of options in Minnesota, but I found very few here.

If you are a couple of dedicated cooks who like the idea of a CSA, I would look into Mao Organic Farms, which has a drop off point at the Kapolei Foodland on Mondays. They would have been my choice if they had a drop off point that worked for me.

Jun 12, 2014
Quince in Hawaii

Good food in Kapolei?

I don't make it out to Kapolei much, but from reading the newspaper and word of mouth recommendations I have a short list of restaurants to try if I am ever out that direction:

Brick Oven Pizza
Hapa Grill-especially for the teri beef
Le Nonne-Italian
Thai Lao
Monkeypod Kitchen-farm to table

Jun 08, 2014
Quince in Hawaii

Sitka and Spruce or Bar Sajor?

Thank you for your reply. That's pretty much what I wanted to know, whether the food quality was similar at both restaurants or not.

Jun 08, 2014
Quince in Greater Seattle

Sitka and Spruce or Bar Sajor?

On my visit to Seattle in December I loved my lunch at Sitka and Spruce, so for my upcoming visit I figured I would either go back for dinner or try Bar Sajor instead (unfortunately, I don't have time for both). Which one would you choose and why?

Jun 07, 2014
Quince in Greater Seattle

From DC to Oahu for a week : June 12-18th

For breakfast I recommend Liliha Bakery. There's just a counter, so if you have a group of more than two people it might not work out, but it is diner food done right, and the hotcakes are delicious.

I agree with the recommendations for Side Street Inn (delicious local style bar food), Ono Seafood (poke bowl, takeout only), Ono Hawaiian Foods, and Rainbow Drive In (plate lunch). Unless you are avoiding pork, do try Hawaiian food at least once...I also recommend Helena's Hawaiian Food and Young's Fish Market for this.

Visit Leonard's or Champion to try malasadas, but make sure to eat them hot. Shimazu Store is one of my favorite places for shave ice. I'm under the impression the best pho places are in Chinatown, as there's one that made it into the upper reaches of the Zagat guide, but I haven't been there myself.

Also in Chinatown and highly recommended: Royal Kitchen for baked manapua and rice cake, Char Hung Sut for steamed manapua, and the Pig and the Lady for Vietnamese fusion.

May 10, 2014
Quince in Hawaii
1

Need help! Oahu and Big Island

The Hilo Farmer's Market has an exceptional array of tropical fruits for sale, or at least it did when I visited a few years back.

May 05, 2014
Quince in Hawaii
1

Ethnic and other affordable eating options near the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Honolulu

You can't have everything in life...there are no delis with great pastrami sandwiches here for instance, or world class French bakeries. There's just about no laulau on the mainland, except for the west coast and Vegas. That used to be my craving when I lived in the Midwest, and my attempt to make my own wasn't very close, even after I found taro leaves at the Asian market.

On the other hand I saw poke on a menu in Minnesota, and one of the Asian markets there made Spam musubi and carried frozen poi and Noh mixes in their Hawaiian food section, so you never know. Can you get sushi grade ahi? Then you can make at least some kinds of poke.

Mar 24, 2014
Quince in Hawaii

Where can I purchase a good quality pastrami?

Thank you, maybe I will try that one first, as Safeway is the closest supermarket to me.

Mar 24, 2014
Quince in Hawaii

Ethnic and other affordable eating options near the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Honolulu

Luckily for you your craving for fried spam and eggs can be easily quenched anywhere in the USA.

Mar 24, 2014
Quince in Hawaii

Where can I purchase a good quality pastrami?

Thanks for that suggestion, that sounds worth trying.

Mar 24, 2014
Quince in Hawaii

Where can I purchase a good quality pastrami?

Oooh, thanks indelibledotink and honu2 for letting me know. Boar's Head will be good enough for my purposes.

Mar 24, 2014
Quince in Hawaii

Ethnic and other affordable eating options near the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Honolulu

Your best bet is probably to look for good Japanese food...some of the best Japanese food on the island is in Waikiki because the influx of tourists from Japan help support these establishments. I haven't been myself, but Iyasume Musubi and Bento is supposed to be really good and very affordable. I've also heard good things about Marukame Udon.

I have personally enjoyed Tonkatsu Ginza Barin and Jinroku for okonomiyaki, although these places are a little more expensive. I tend to go into Waikiki as a special occasion. Matsugen for soba and Kimukatsu for multi-layered tonkatsu are on my list for a future trip.

Ala Moana is easy to get to from Waikiki via public transportation, a bunch of shuttles go there and it is a major bus terminal. The food there will be more diverse and cheaper on the whole. Now that the International Marketplace is gone, I don't know if there's much local food in Waikiki...they used to have a decent looking food court.

The Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center probably has some fast food breakfasts available at their food court, if you are really looking to save $ (Subway, stuff like that). Otherwise, Wailana. I happen to believe breakfast with a view of the ocean at a fancy shmancy resort is a worthwhile splurge experience once in a blue moon, but I wouldn't do it at HHV. Halekulani House Without a Key breakfast buffet or Hau Tree Lanai would be my choices, the food at both places for breakfast is excellent but you definitely pay for the view (although less than you would pay for the view at dinner). Of course you could just take a fast food breakfast to the beach and have the million dollar view and a cheap meal.

Also, food on Kapahulu is worth investigating if you can get out that way. Rainbow for plate lunch, Ono Hawaiian Foods, Side Street Inn...many good places.

Mar 22, 2014
Quince in Hawaii

Where can I purchase a good quality pastrami?

I went to Whole Foods today thinking it would be a good bet for purchasing a high quality pastrami to make sandwiches at home. Other than turkey pastrami, I didn't see any there, much to my surprise. Any suggestions for stores that carry pastrami like you might find in a Jewish deli on the mainland? I'm looking for something that is as good or better than Vienna Beef pastrami.

Mar 22, 2014
Quince in Hawaii

Honolulu Trip in March staying at RH - help me fill in trip intinerary

Tamashiro's Fish Market in Kalihi has a poke counter with a good reputation. Alicia's Market, also in Kalihi has good poke as well, along with good laulau, pasteles, etc. Take out only at both places...and at the lunch hour parking may be difficult, just to warn you.

Mar 04, 2014
Quince in Hawaii

Breakfast on the way back from Haleakala

I ate at the Kula Sandalwoods Cafe. It's not fancy, but it provided a good solid breakfast and was reasonably priced.

Feb 17, 2014
Quince in Hawaii

Health Food Markets - Honolulu and O'ahu

Hmm, they do carry honey and milk. I guess no animal products that require killing an animal then. Vegetarian, not vegan.

Feb 03, 2014
Quince in Hawaii

Health Food Markets - Honolulu and O'ahu

I shop occasionally and very selectively at DTE only because it is close to me. It's probably hard to find bargains at any natural foods store on Oahu, don't you think?

One time when I was in high school and didn't know any better (I thought it was gourmet and natural foods store) I asked one of the employees at DTE if they carried squid ink pasta. You would have thought I had asked if they carried butchered babies or something, the guy was so offended. Well, I will never forget, no animal products at DTE.

Feb 03, 2014
Quince in Hawaii

RAMEN BURGER

The Pearl Country Club restaurant sells a ramen burger, but it is pretty different, with a crispy fried cake of ramen for the bun, if you would like to try it. The ramen burger at Taste was smaller, with a noodle bun that held together well and that was soft in the middle, like cake noodles.

Jan 16, 2014
Quince in Hawaii

8 days to fall in love with Seattle (with a day in Portland & Vancouver)

On my recent visit I went to Sitka and Spruce for lunch, and I really loved it. The charcuterie plate was excellent, but the real standout was the beet salad, much to my surprise. If you like vegetable heavy dishes and complex flavors it will be for you.

Jan 12, 2014
Quince in Greater Seattle

What's new on Oahu?

Town for breakfast is very good and more reasonably priced than what you will find in Waikiki. For a splurge breakfast in Waikiki I would go to the House Without a Key breakfast buffet or Hau Tree Lanai. Just be aware you will be paying for the view.

I second the recommendation for Liliha Bakery for breakfast. They are also good for lunch and dinner, just really good diner food. Ono Seafood is great for a poke bowl lunch, just be aware that there isn't much seating. Rainbow Drive-In is also good for plate lunch. If you are okay with takeout only for lunch, Fukuya Okazuya and Mana-bu for musubi are both good places and not too far from Waikiki. If you are headed to a beach for the day it can be a good plan to pick up a lunch to enjoy there.

If you are at Ala Moana get a bento from Shirokiya. Helena's Hawaiian Food is good, but the laulau at other places is better. I haven't been to Ono Hawaiian Foods in years but they made one of the best laulaus from what I remember.

You probably already know this, but there are tons of good, reasonably priced casual places if you do the research and aren't put off by gritty initial appearances. Oh, and the food at the newer Side Street Inn on Kapahulu is just as good, and you can make reservations on Open Table. It's a little quieter in there too.

Jan 11, 2014
Quince in Hawaii

Seattle trip report

Wow, thank you for your detailed reply! I never would have guessed the dried fruit place would be on the list. I saw they have dried cantaloupe, which I will make sure to try on my next visit.

Jan 05, 2014
Quince in Greater Seattle

Seattle trip report

Would you be willing to divulge some of your secrets about the great, unusual food items and bargains? I probably should have asked on here before I went on my trip, but I will likely be back again within the next few years.

Jan 05, 2014
Quince in Greater Seattle

Seattle trip report

Thank you Seattle hounds, as you helped make my brief trip to Seattle full of foodie delights. We went to three bakeries, Bakery Nouveau, Cafe Besalu, and Crumble and Flake. I thought Bakery Nouveau was flat out amazing, a real wonderland of a place. The stollen was the best I have ever had, and the filled croissants were delicious. I had big eyes and wanted to try everything. Cafe Besalu was just as good, although with a smaller selection, and with great coffee too. We had croissants and European style Christmas cookies. Crumble and Flake was solid, but was not on the level of the other two.

Spinasse, Sitka and Spruce, and The Walrus and the Carpenter were all worth the hype. The salads in particular at these places were all done with more care and nuance than I am used to, with unusual and brilliant combinations of flavors.

Every latte I had was pretty delicious. I went to Milstead and Co. because I read it was a real coffee lover's sort of shop, but I suppose above a certain level it's all the same to my taste buds, more or less.

Do many residents of Seattle go to Pike Place Market if they are not taking visitors there? I kept coming back for the crab cocktails and the meat sticks, but most of it looked like a tourist trap, and parking was crazy expensive. Piroshky Piroshky was really good, along with Pike Place Chowder. Having lived in the Midwest I was hoping the cheese curds at Beechers would squeak between your teeth (a sign of an extremely fresh curd), but alas, they did not. I thought because my visit was in late December and early Jan, the crowds would be moderate, but that really wasn't the case. I can only imagine what it is like in high tourist season during the summer.

I'd also like to report that Ray's Boathouse was good, for those visitors looking for the water view seafood restaurant with good food.

Jan 03, 2014
Quince in Greater Seattle

DAGON BURMESE CUISINE, OAHU

I've tried it. Like others have said, the highlight was the tea leaf salad. The rest of the food was pretty good, perhaps not good enough that I would drive into town specifically for it, but if I was in the area I would probably go back. I had no previous experience with Burmese food, but I found it somewhat similar to Indian or Nepalese food.

Dec 14, 2013
Quince in Hawaii

Where to eat what in Honolulu

I suspect the food might be better at lunch. I have only been for dinner recently.

Dec 08, 2013
Quince in Hawaii

Where to eat what in Honolulu

I think Nico's is on a downhill slide. Too bad, it used to be a really great deal. Perhaps they overspent on their expansion and are cutting corners now.

Dec 07, 2013
Quince in Hawaii

Consumer Reports Investigates Exploding Pyrex

That happened to me too. I bought an Anchor Hocking measuring cup from Target and poured hot water from a kettle into it to mix with powdered gelatin. It was sitting on a butcher block counter top when I did this. I picked it up and the damn thing shattered dramatically in my hand.

I've never had a problem with older Pyrex pieces, but I certainly won't be buying any more.

Nov 28, 2013
Quince in Cookware

Squid Luau on Maui or Kauai?

When you get it in a restaurant I'm pretty sure it's usually made with squid.

Nov 25, 2013
Quince in Hawaii

Okazuya list

Is the food just flat out bad at St. Louis Deli?

Is St. Louis Drive In any good, BTW?

Nov 15, 2013
Quince in Hawaii