Monday, January 30, 2012

Yogurstory Brunch

Brian and I were able to get in a quick lunch one day. He asked for "something healthy," and wanted to break his bad habit of McDonald's breakfasts. Also, it had to be somewhere in the Ward/Ala Moana area. Okay, I could definitely work with that!

First thing to pop in my head- Yogurstory!! I like their wide menu full of salads, sandwiches, breakfast items, coffee and tea items, not to mention one of my favorites and one of their most popular items- the Fat Pig fried rice!

I haven't visited in months, but they have made some nice changes- the new and improved menu, which has a new look (no more booklet anymore), and also more items to choose from! It has really become a nice lunch/brunch spot for families, students, business people, friends, couples....ANYONE, to come and chill out for a bit. They also transformed their hardly-used yogurt bar into a full alcohol bar, and now have a Happy Hour! Yogurstory has really done some great revamping. I like your style, Yogurstory!

I was also tempted to have their Fat Pig Fried Rice Special (seen here) once again, but when the waitress came back with my drinks, I immediately changed my order to their Hurricane Rice Bowl, which is basically Bi Bim Bap. I'm so glad I changed my mind, though! It was delicious with its crispy fried rice, veggies, beef and an egg with a gooey center to top it all off! I know Brian was completely jealous when his "healthy" Spinach Salad arrived, plus he was unimpressed with the dry inedible side grilled chicken he added onto it. $4 down the drain! Other than the chicken, I think his salad was okay...don't know if he'd order it again, though I'd highly recommend the Hurricane Rice Bowl for sure! The waitress did mention the Hurricane Rice Bowl and the Fat Pig Fried Rice are their two top items.

As for those Red Velvet Waffles you're probably drooling over above, those were actually really moist and tasty. Not a big fan of Red Velvet cake, I was hesitant to order it over the Sweet Potato or their Dolce De Leche Waffles! It's also drizzled with chocolate, which I'm also not a fan of. BUT turns out, it was a nice dessert and it wasn't heavy or too cakey. Had the light consistency of waffles! Plus, the taro cream cheese was absolutely delectable. I think it made the waffles. More of the taro cream cheese, please!!!

Strawberry Italian Soda- looks pretty and yummy, but it wasn't sweet enough!

Spinach Salad

Hurricane Rice Bowl

Nice surprise of crispy fried rice underneath!


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Oxtail Ramen at Ton Ton Ramen Waipahu

I haven't had a chance to try the Oxtail Ramen at Ramen Nakamura in Waikiki, but I have no doubt Ton Ton Ramen's is a fierce competitor. I am obsessed with their Oxtail Ramen.

Let me explain to you what happens to the oxtail. After being simmered for hours, the meat softens and the cartilage/bones/marrow release their flavor into the soup. What you end up with is a rich, clear, silky broth that is oh-so delicious when slurped up with rice (or ramen in this case). There can be disappointing oxtail broths that are just too salty for anyone's liking, but at Ton Ton, it's anything but.

Another oxtail soup that could rival Ton Ton's is at Sunrise Restaurant first seen here. Still have yet to check out Asahi Grill, supposedly voted "Honolulu's Best," and of course, really want to try Ramen Nakamura's highly infamous Oxtail Ramen.

I'll get on it and get back to you!

Served with grated ginger and an option of ramen or rice! I love the fact that this one is topped with a generous amount of parsley. YUM!

Friday, January 27, 2012

La Tour Cafe UPDATED!

It's not often that I venture out to Nimitz Hwy, but when we need to stop at Lowe's, Best Buy or Home Depot, we are always sure to make a stop at La Tour. Read my first post here.

After trying about 5 different items on the menu so far, I have to admit there's nothing that I don't like! My new faves? Their Hamburger, which is anything but ordinary. Loaded with pesto, sauteed onions, tomatoes, lots of cheesy goodness and a big juicy burger to top it all has to be one of my favorite burgers on the island so far.

I've also been wanting to try their Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwich! Filled with chicken meatballs, carrots, cucumbers, and lots and lots cilantro, I know I'll have a hard time deciding what to order next time. You'd also think it would come with that typical orange sauce to dip the sandwich in...but nope, you absolutely don't need it! It is so tasty in itself. I have a feeling the veggies must be topped with a tinge of sauce. It's a great, refreshing sandwich for this muggy weather!

I heard that the Hamburger and the Banh Mi are the top 2 most popular menu items at La Tour. I can see why!

PS- Try their Macarons. Different flavors each day!! Pink Guava is amazing. Tastes exactly like a guava.

Vietnamese Banh Mi Sandwich

Look at the layers on that thing!

Chicken Pesto Panini

Macarons! Five for a total of almost 10 bucks! Unbelievable. Flavors? Lychee, Salted Caramel, Melona, Pink Guava and Key Lime!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Roy's Hawaii Kai UPDATED!

I usually love Roy's, but this last time we went, the food seemed a bit off. The Frying Dragon Roll that I love was unusually over-fried and a bit burnt, plus the Chocolate Soufflé's middle was not its usual oozy and gooey self. I'll let this one slide, Roy's!

Besides that, Brian and I thoroughly enjoyed one of my favorites- the Washington Steamed Manila Clams and literally soaked up every bit of soupy sauce with multiple orders of bread. And the Miso Butterfish is always a winner.

Roy's Edamame to start

Triple Play Roll

Washington Steamed Manila Clams

Frying Dragon a little TOO fried

Seafood Trio- Opah, Salmon and Blackened Ahi

Miso Butterfish with black rice

Overcooked Chocolate Soufflé

Upstair's décor

Chairs in the elevator...YES PLEASE!
Bamboo Sky'd it up with a Bamboo Sky button-down and Bamboo Sky side-tie shorts, Promiscuous heels.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Chinese New Year in Chinatown

So you thought the festivities for New Year were done? Get ready for Chinese New Years happening on Jan 23 this year! Get down to Chinatown for a whole month of partying. Remember, it's the Year of the Dragon!

Every weekend, there are different vendors located in the Chinese Cultural Plaza and also all along Maunakea Street. Most of the Chinese vendors (Narcissus plants, Jai, Gin Doi, lucky charms/keychains, trinkets, Chinese silk bracelets (my personal favorite), stir fry, Gau, etc) are all located in the Cultural Plaza. There's also different bands playing on Maunakea Street with a variety of food vendors like Corn on the Cob, Crepes No Ka 'Oi, Portuguese Bean Soup, and BBQ Beef Sticks. The streets were packed!!!

What do I look forward to the most? Feeding the Lion a dollar or two. It's good luck! Check out pics from last year's Chinese New Years.

Last but not least, check out the Jai ("Monk's Food") below. Jai is loaded with white and black bamboo fungus (wood ear), gingko nuts, fried tofu, day lily buds (Golden Needles), cabbage, lotus root, cellophane noodles, black mushrooms, bean curd, bamboo shoots, and water chestnuts. Did I mention it's my most favorite Chinese dish ever?


Saturday, January 21, 2012

California Pizza Kitchen Eats!

You've heard me rave about CPK's Caramelized Peach Salad here, however I recently tried some other menu items that were equally as wonderful. Check out their Avocado Club Egg Rolls or their Steak Tacos. Or for a nice citrusy, alcoholic drink, try their Passion Fruit Mojito. I now prefer it over Mai Tai's version!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Indigo Happy Hour

BFF Kristen and I love heading downtown for either Brasserie Du Vin, Bamboo Two, or JJ Dolan's Happy Hour. We used to love going to Indigo, but a couple times we went there, drinks were not as tasty and the menu was shortened to a list of martinis we didn't find appetizing.

We decided to give it another try since it had been awhile!

From 4-8pm Tues-Friday, they have a wonderful $4 Martini menu ($3 Beers) with over 30 Martinis to choose from. They also have a great $6 pupu menu with a variety of different food items to snack on. Non-Happy Hour, Martinis are $7.

What's to hate, right? Well, for one, the parking cost (if you can't find street parking) is ridiculous. Park in Mark's Garage for $8 OR they have a Happy Hour deal for $4 if you park outside the garage (the small lot that has a pay box off of Nuuanu Street). Parking spaces are not always guaranteed in the street lot, but it sure is a much less expensive option.

Another (BIG) negative? We ordered a $6 special suggested to us by our waitress. $6 would give us 2 Kalua Pig Sliders with a bunch of fries. We just wanted a small bite, so this was a great deal for the price, we thought. Once it was brought out, it looked great! To our surprise though, Kristen took a bite only to find something obnoxious stuck in her teeth. Come to find out it was two bristles from the BBQ sauce brush! Imagine if she had swallowed that! They immediately apologized, comped us the meal and had another slider made for her. I proceeded with caution when finishing up my slider..........

So that's our experience with Indigo. Martinis were delicious (I had a Double Happiness- Skyy Raspberry Vodka, Malibu Rum, Cranberry and Fresh Lime, while KZ had a Lychee Martini that she really enjoyed) and our waitress was really peppy and accommodating.

I would definitely come here again........for drinks only!

Check here for the Martini Menu and other menus!

Kalua Pig Sliders with crunchy fries, corn salsa and BBQ sauce

LOADED with radicchio

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Kirin Restaurant

Since Brian and I are both of Chinese ethnicity, we both have our own favorite Chinese restaurants and favorite dishes. I was brought up on Hee Hing and Duk Kee, and Brian was brought up on a lot of Kirin Restaurant. He was craving his favorites from there one night, so we decided to go!

Kirin is located on University and South Beretania Street by Jiffy Lube and Burger King. No street parking? Don't worry, they have their own small lot (free!!) and also more spaces in another lot a little ways down. So convenient and easy!! You may see a pay box, but if you're dining at Kirin, it's free!

When we walked in, Kirin was poppin'! We went on a Monday, and the place was buzzing with local families, asian internationals and japanese tourists. Throughout dinner, I realized just how many commercial buses stop here to drop off tourists. I knew it was one of the best Chinese restaurants on the island, but I didn't realize how popular it was! This is the place to go to for traditional Chinese food and Dim Sum. Actually, wait...Legends for Dim Sum, of course! ;)

Being it was only my second or third time eating at Kirin and had only dined on their Dim Sum before, I was eager to try something different! It was nice to leave the ordering up to someone else for once...Thanks, B!

Did I mention we ordered 5 dishes for 2 people? Yep, we left with stomachs full and with absolutely no room for Almond Float!

Beef Broccoli- Broccoli was tender yet still a little crunchy...the way it should be! And the beef was tender and marinated well, but Brian said it should have been sliced thinner.

Sweet and Sour Pork- I have to admit this was my favorite dish of the night. I liked the fact that the pork skin was so crispy underneath all of that yummy sauce! I like the crunch! Usually it can be very rubbery and soft.

Brian's fave! Stuff the minced meat and chives in the crispy sesame pockets!

Two kinds of dumplings- one boiled and one pan-fried. Both were very plump and filled with a mix of chives and juicy meat.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Gyu-kaku Dessert!

Gyu-kaku is a fun and interactive way to dine. Go there with family or cook your own Yakiniku BBQ with a date! Cook it to perfection, since you're in charge! Choose from a variety of different meats and sauces, vegetables, seafood...whatever your heart desires. Some of my favorites include Harami Miso Skirt Steak, Bistro Harami, Rosu Chuck Flap, Yakishabu Beef, Cheesy Broccoli, Shrimp Garlic, Mushroom with Butter, Enoki Mushroom, Corn with Butter, Bacon-wrapped asparagus, and Bacon-wrapped Enoki...I could go on and on! Everything is good!!

Hey, even prepare your dessert on the grill!

And that's exactly what Brian and I did.

Yakimochi Ice Cream- Grilled Mochi with Vanilla Ice Cream and Syrup! AND S'mores!!

A cute date option!