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Pretzel salt search in east bay

Where can I find pretzel salt in the east bay? Would rather not use kosher salt for the homemade pretzels that I have to make for an upcoming Oktoberfest. Thanks!

Sep 29, 2013
Aleka in San Francisco Bay Area

Quinoa in rice cooker??

My mom just showed me how she's been mixing rice and quinoa and cooking it in the rice cooker. I've been adding about 4-5 tbspn of red quinoa (from TJ), rinsed, to about 2 cups of regular brown rice. Then dump into rice cooker, add same amount of water as you would if it's just rice, and cook. I don't like quinoa all by itself but I love rice so this is a good compromise for me to get some good protein while eating a bowl of rice. And the red quinoa looks pretty in the rice too.

Jan 29, 2011
Aleka in Home Cooking

Oahu North Shore Meals...

We had a really great lunch at Grass Skirt Grill in Haleiwa last month. Small little joint where you order at the counter and they bring the food to your table (inside/outside). I had a plate of coconut shrimp (which came with a generous side of baby salad mix and a supah sweet slice of pineapple). The food was solid and the girls behind the counter were really friendly.

Grass Skirt Grill
66-214 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712

Apr 08, 2010
Aleka in Hawaii

Pancakes in Honolulu (or nearby)

I would be shocked if you can find a place in HI that serves real maple syrup with their pancakes. If anything, since youʻre in Hawaii, enjoy the coconut sauce that usually accompanies a plate of pancakes.
I havenʻt tried Boots and Kimo (Kailua) since they opened their new place but their pancakes used to be reliably light and fluffy. If you donʻt like the sauce and nuts, just ask for a plate without it.

Mar 11, 2010
Aleka in Hawaii

Big Island of Hawaii -- Kailua/Kona/Waimea

Highly recommend Two Ladies Kitchen in Hilo for their scrumptious mochi. The highlight is obviously their strawberry mochi (thin layer of mochi around red bean paste that covers an entire strawberry) but if you can, try their assorted box too.
Parking on the street (or if youʻve already parked in Hilo town, itʻs not that far of a walk from the main street drag area) and the place is easy to find on Kilauea Ave.

Two Ladies Kitchen
274 Kilauea Ave
Hilo, HI 96720
(808) 961-4766

They sometimes go on "vacation", so it would be wise to call ahead to make sure theyʻre going to be open.

Feb 04, 2010
Aleka in Hawaii

Pioneer Saloon, Honolulu (Diamond Head 'hood)

Usually Diamond Head Market & Grill or the South Shore Grill would be our go-to place before/after a beach day at Kaimana or the Cliffs for a quick, filling bite. But we just wanted to try something different for a change yesterday while watching the sunset at DH.

Pioneer Saloon is a Japanese-style plate lunch place with excellent prices. We tried the croquettes (housemade, with a good amount of corn and ground beef amongst creamy potato) and the fried calamari w/spicy-mayo for a total of $15.50. It comes with a side of rice (pay extra 50 cents for the shiso-wakame rice!), Japanese-style mac salad (not overly-laden with mayo like the local style), and lightly-dressed salad greens. Sometimes you just want a plate lunch that doesn't feel like an artery-clogging guilty pleasure, and this place offers a good alternative.

Will definitely go back to try their musubis and other plates.

3046 Monsarrat Avenue Honolulu, HI 96815-4485
(808) 732-4001

Jan 23, 2010
Aleka in Hawaii

Farmer's markets on Maui

Looking through the Edible magazine, I see that there are a couple farmer's markets that take place on Fridays on Maui (Suda Store, Queen Kaahumanu Shopping Center, Hawaiian Motors parking lot, and in Maui Mall in Kahului). I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations for the larger market?
I'm flying into Maui on a Friday for a long weekend and would love to find a good blend of fresh produce and ready-made items (just like KCC).

Jan 18, 2010
Aleka in Hawaii

Waffle Hot Dogs

You can find the KC waffle dogs at the Kalei egg store on Waialae. (I think they make it during a limited time during the day, so I would give them a call.)

Aug 07, 2009
Aleka in Hawaii

Dining near the University of Hawaii

Another place that you should check out for a lunch/dinner pick-up would be Nijiya Supermarket (on University/Beretania). They have really great bentos that they make on site. Itʻs also a great place to pick up fun Japanese snacks and drinks.

When the weather gets too warm for you, Yogurtlandʻs (on University, right next to YMCA across the street from campus) frozen yogurt may be your salvation.

Jul 06, 2009
Aleka in Hawaii

Help me save my cookies!

Last night, I tried to make a batch of thumb print cookies.... but I didn't listen to my instincts (why is the dough still 'wet' after it's been in the fridge for 2 hours?) and came out with a bad batch of cookies. It called for 2/3C butter and 1.5C flour (and other misc ingredients), and obviously, the cookies were SUPER buttery. It was so buttery, the entire sheet of quickly-spreading cookies were practically bubbling when I took out the cookies.

Anyway, the cheapskate in me refuses to throw out this batch. There's no way I would be able to eat it as a regular cookie.... any suggestions on how I can revive these too-buttery-cookies?


Mar 30, 2009
Aleka in Home Cooking

Great Pizza..Big Island..Kealakekua Area..Chris bakery

This post piqued my interest, so I checked it out when I was in Cpt Cook last weekend.... really great pizza (tastier than Kona Brew Pub grub). 2 guys running the show (one incidentally named 'Chris,' but absolutely no relation to the 'Chris Bakery'). Apparently the pregnant lady who just bought 'Chris Bakery' wants to move the shop to the right side of the building, so the guys may be moving to the original shop side of the bakery.
Only had room for a single slice ($3) with a really simple topping of olives and spinach, with a perfect amount of pesto drizzled on top of the gooey mozza cheese. Really tasty; almost turned the car around to order a whole pie, but couldn't figure out a way to bring it back with me to Oahu.

Mar 03, 2009
Aleka in Hawaii

Honolulu, Visiting Vegan

A really great list to check out is the VSH website:
The Krishna's make super tasty vegan food, but the locations are a bit out of the way (Govinda at UH, Govindaji in Fort St Mall, and the Temple in Nuuanu). The Indian restaurants are also a good option for vegan dishes.

Feb 18, 2009
Aleka in Hawaii

Cooking class in Pasadena/SGV?

A friend, who loves food of all types (from the fancy pants to the super simple), is getting married and I would like to buy the couple a gift certificate for a cooking class in the Pasadena/SGV area.
It's been a couple years since I was last in Pasadena area, so I'm a bit out of touch with that area. I was hoping that the CA School of Culinary Arts would have a one-time class, but it looks like they only have career-oriented courses.

Mahalo for any suggestions!

Feb 16, 2009
Aleka in Los Angeles Area

Honolulu fruit and lunches

Here's a great chart that you should check out for seasonal HI fruits and vegetables:
It's the 'Island Fresh Hawaii Seasonality Chart' from the HI Farm Bureau (and other organizations).

Jan 15, 2009
Aleka in Hawaii

Kailua Town... Da Good, Da Bad & Da Kine

I was wondering if you've had a chance to try Teddy's Burgers yet, and what you thought about it..... as a SoCal native, I greatly miss the In-n-Out joints (maybe not THE best burgers in the world, but really appreciated the freshness and it always hit the spot) and it seems like Teddy's is the closest thing I'm ever going to find here in Oahu.

Nov 12, 2008
Aleka in Hawaii

Help! I'll Be in the Waikiki Area with a Vegetarian!

Just letting you know that there's a great resource:
It's the Vegetarian Society of HI website with a pretty comprehensive list of veg friendly restaurants and markets. Good luck!

Nov 07, 2008
Aleka in Hawaii

Oahu Chowdown- A Week in Review

I agree with curiousgeo..... the list of places that you ate within your short vacation time is pretty astounding! Just out of curiosity, did you do extensive research (chowhound?) prior to your vacation to figure out where to go, or did you have a local person guiding you through town?

If you come back again, try the poke at Tamura's (on Waialae, in Kaimuki) and the ice cream at Bubbie's (off University and King).

Oct 06, 2008
Aleka in Hawaii

favorite Bubbie's flavor? (Honolulu, HI)

Aloha kakou,
Just came back from a visit to Bubbies (University and King St) and I had the chance to try some new flavors. My new favorite is the haupia (coconut) with chocolate chips. It was almost like eating a creamy macaroon with a generous dose of chopped up chocolate chips. My previous favorite flavor was champagne.

My friend also let me have a bit of her guava sorbet-mochi..... SUPER delicious! The tropical flavor was really prominent; some of the other mochi ice creams (like azuki or tiramisu) is a bit too subtle for me. Bubbie's mochi ice cream is different than the Mikayawa creations, as the mochi layer is much thinner which means a little bit more ice cream. I actually prefer Bubbie's version, because you get to savor the ice cream more.

I feel obligated to visit Bubbie's more often, in order to keep up with their rotating list of ice cream flavors. Do you have a favorite at Bubbie's that you would highly recommend?

Sep 30, 2008
Aleka in Hawaii

Yogurtland Hawaii

I think people find Yogurtland so appealing (as attested by the long lines!) because it's self-serve. The flavors aren't quite as refined as Pinkberry, but it's decent for what it is. Taro/poi flavor is too subtle, but definitely recommend the yogurt-flavor; nice and tangy!

Sep 29, 2008
Aleka in Hawaii

Catering for small group lunch (Honolulu, HI)?

Mahalo for the suggestion. Just shot an email to Grant Sim (the other chef of Big G's) and hopefully he'll come back with availability and a good estimate! Didn't know that looking for good catered food in HI would be so difficult....

Sep 12, 2008
Aleka in Hawaii

Catering for small group lunch (Honolulu, HI)?

I did try asking Karen, but she wasn't able to think of any other recommendations.
Though I talked to someone from Kahala Caterers and they said that they were going to send me an estimate via email, I still haven't heard back yet.... which means I need to find some other alternatives. Anyone else?? (Also, Kahala Caterers requires a $300 minimum, which seemed a bit pricey for a boxed lunch for 12 people.)

Sep 12, 2008
Aleka in Hawaii

Catering for small group lunch (Honolulu, HI)?

I know.... Karen Miyano would have been the perfect person to cater the lunch, but the timing just didn't work out.
Has anyone had any experience with Kahala Caterers? I've heard that their food is delicious, but I'm wondering if it's worthwhile the $$.


Sep 11, 2008
Aleka in Hawaii

Catering for small group lunch (Honolulu, HI)?

Aloha kakou,
I tried to get Karen Miyano to cater a small group lunch (for about 12-15 people) for next Friday, but unfortunately she was already booked. (She's an excellent caterer, by the way, if you ever need someone to make delicious food, island influenced, with amazing presentation style).

Does anyone have any suggestions for a caterer who is willing to accommodate a small group and willing to bring the food to Manoa? The group comprises of mainland visitors (who are all well-traveled) so we'd like to treat them to food that has an island-twist. Budget is about $20.... or maybe more, if it's worth splurging a little bit more.

Sep 11, 2008
Aleka in Hawaii

Israeli couscous FOUND (Honolulu, HI)

For the chowhound looking for the larger-sized couscous..... Whole Foods (at the Kahala Mall) is the answer to your question! It's in the pasta/grain aisle, right next to the Middle East brand boxes of grains. I think it was about $4 for the box.

I'm going to warn you, though..... you're probably going to walk away from Whole Foods with a whole lot more than just that box of couscous.

Sep 11, 2008
Aleka in Hawaii

Nijiya finally open! (Honolulu, HI)

So finally had a chance to check out Nijiya yesterday.... and it was GREAT!! The majority of the prices definitely are comparable to Marukai (and definitely cheaper than Shirokiya). Their emphasis on 'healthy' food gives you lots of really great options for the prepared food and the dried goods. There was one aisle of fridge/freezer space that was still empty and I'm looking forward to seeing what they fill it up with.
First stop for me was the bento section. I got a soboro bento (organic rice topped with minced chicken meat, thinly sliced Japanese-style crepes, and 3 chicken meatballs and a side of pickled ginger) for $4.99. Definitely worth the price; it was really tasty. There was a nice selection of bentos, including lots of sushi options too. Can't wait to try them out!

Parking at Puck's Alley (enter from University side, narrow entrance next to Varsity) with free validation from Nijiya.

For such a small store space, I was really impressed with how well-stocked their aisles were. Really nice variety of everything. For those of you who have a penchant for adventurous Japanese drinks, their juice aisle will be your dream come true!

Aug 24, 2008
Aleka in Hawaii

Nijiya finally open! (Honolulu, HI)

The Nijiya market is finally open (located right next to Varsity/Magoo's on University, in the Puck's Alley area). The Nijiya markets that I've been to in LA have always been great, with a good selection of organic produce and tasty deli items. I didn't get a chance to go into the store yet (parking situation is a bit hairy in this area) but I hope that it'll be a good alternative for Marukai and Don Quijote.

Aug 22, 2008
Aleka in Hawaii

Cooking Classes in Oahu or Maui

Definitely check out the non-credit cooking classes at KCC (Kapiolani Community College, right next to Diamond Head). They don't have the listing for next summer, but you can get a preview here:

Aug 20, 2008
Aleka in Hawaii

Manoa rumors (Honolulu, HI)

For Bangkok Chef fans.... just saw a sign go up in Manoa (near Duckies, a block or two mauka of the Safeway shopping strip) that a Bangkok Chef is opening up soon. Not sure if they're relocating from the Nuuanu shop or if this is going to be their 2nd restaurant (probably the latter, since they're so successful with their Nuuanu spot). Whatever the case is, I just hope that the food is just as delicious and cheap!

Also, right across the street (on the corner of Lowrey and Manoa?) I've heard rumors that Olive Tree wants to open another restaurant there. Knowing how the Olive Tree owner likes to take his time, who knows when it will happen.... but it's great knowing that Manoa is starting to have some decent food options (ex. Yudi's and Andy's).

Aug 13, 2008
Aleka in Hawaii


If you're willing to stop by Kaimuki to pick up speical-not-the-run-of-your-mill beverages, I would recommend that you go to Tamura's. You can also pick up an order of the 'Tamura's special poke' and the seaweed salad; both perfect items for the beach.

Otherwise, a trip to Chinatown might be fun. You can get fresh fish and meats (to grill) or go to Maunakea Marketplace for already-made foods. Stop by Char Hung-Sut for manapua (sweet and savory) and the dumplings. (It's great picnic food!)

Jul 17, 2008
Aleka in Hawaii

Burgers on The Edge

Another place to watch out for is The Counter (right next to the new Whole Foods in Kahala Mall) which should be opening soon. The menu sounds pretty similar to Burgers on the Edge.
It'll be interesting to see how the locals will embrace the gourmet burger choices.

Jul 16, 2008
Aleka in Hawaii