Posted tagged ‘Hawaii’

Island Eats: Fresh Catch

February 22, 2013

I know I’ve written about poke before but this was our first time to Fresh Catch.  I used to think all poke was good poke.  I wasn’t picky since I couldn’t eat it any time I wanted to.  Beggars can’t be choosers!  But I have now found a favorite place to get poke and I don’t know if I can ever love it as much as I do at Fresh Catch.

We had heard about Fresh Catch from friends so it was on our growing list of places to eat when we were back in Hawaii.  Luckily, there is a location in Kaneohe really close to where my in-laws live.  As we walked up to the door, we noticed signs pointing out that this restaurant was going to be featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives with Guy Fieri.

There were so many different kinds of poke to choose from, I was in heaven.

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I ordered a small poke bowl which is your choice of poke with steamed rice.  I kept it nice and simple with spicy ahi poke.  The fish was so fresh and tasted so good, I was sad that I had ordered such a small bit of it!

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Fresh Catch has an extensive menu with a ton of different plate lunches with lau lau, beef stew, fried rice and more.  I will keep going back for the poke though.

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We went here for lunch on our second to last day in Hawaii.  We loved it so much that we actually went back a few hours later to eat more poke again as a snack!  We were headed to a friend’s wedding so we went back in our wedding attire before we went to the ceremony.

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Poke Paradise indeed!

We left Hawaii the next day to come back to the mainland.  Before we left, we made a stop at Fresh Catch for our last meal.  We learned our lesson and this time we got a bigger poke bowl.  Mine is on the left.  I got spicy ahi and spicy salmon.  TM got shoyu salmon and smoked tako poke.  The owner, Reno Henriques, dives for his own octopus and the smoked tako poke is one of the most popular flavors.  I have decided this place is a “must go” any time we are back on the islands!

two locations, we went to: 45-1118 Kamehameha Hwy  Kaneohe, HI

Remembering Jill

January 24, 2013

I lost my dear friend Jill almost two weeks ago.  The past few days have been rough trying to process what happened and wishing I could have talked to her one last time to tell her how much she means to me.  We lived a few blocks away from each other when I lived in LA and we shared many meals, desserts, walks and shopping trips in those years.

We both loved to walk and eat so we’d often walk around Wilson Park or around our neighborhood for miles and when we got tired, we would stop somewhere to eat dinner.  Jill loved dessert so sometimes dessert would be before dinner, if we saw a place that had a good red velvet cupcake or if we passed by a 7-11.  She sure loved Slurpees too.

I know I’ve written about Liliha Bakery before but I wanted to write about it again because I know Jill liked this place.  It’s open 24 hours so it’s a great late night place to go and every time I’ve gone, it’s been packed.  No matter what time of day it is.  Jill used to like eating their grilled potatoes!   Just remember that it is closed on Mondays.  We had to learn the hard way on prior trips back to the islands.

I’ve actually only eaten real food here once.  They have a long counter and even at 4 in the morning, it’s hard to get a seat.

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I always come here to get cocoa puffs.  It’s a cream puff with chocolate pudding inside and chantilly frosting on top.  I think the last time we came, we bought a couple dozen to take back to my in-laws since we were having people over.  They were gone amazingly fast.  TM and I only had one each that night so we went back another time to get more.

Jill, you will always be missed and never forgotten.

515 N. Kuakini St.   Honolulu, HI

Back in the 808: Shimazu Store

August 28, 2012

Although Waiola’s is definitely my favorite place for shave ice on the island, I did want to try out the Shimazu Store and see what it was about.  Inside the store, there are many signs stating the rules for ordering your shave ice.  (There is also a sign which states no pictures so I have no pictures of the inside of the store.)

First you must tell them what size shave ice you want.  The small is a large and the large is a giant and “The Larry” is just ridiculous.  The Larry is the size of about four smalls put together.  TM and I shared a small and it was more than enough because the small is about the size of my head.

Shimazu Store offers an assortment of unique flavors like durian, mojito, creme brulee, red velvet, peanut butter, haupia, and more!   I chose green tea with haupia sauce on top.  I am so glad we got the plastic holder for 25 cents.  It was worth it not to have our entire shave ice crumble to the ground.

Make sure you go early since there is not much parking and follow the rules on the signs so you don’t get yelled at.  Order your size, extra toppings, with or without ice cream, pay for your shave ice (cash only) and THEN tell them what flavors you want.  It was almost “soup nazi” status but worth it in the end!

330 N. School St.   Honolulu, HI

Back in the 808: Ethel’s Grill

August 24, 2012

I love hole-in-the-wall restaurants.  There are plenty of great ones in Hawaii, you just need to know where to go.  Ethel’s Grill is in an industrial area in Kalihi and you would probably drive by it unknowingly if you weren’t looking for it.  They don’t have designated parking so we drove around and parked down the street.  We made a point to go early (around 11:30 AM) to beat the lunch rush and I am sure glad we did.  The dining room is tiny, maaaaybe it seats 20 people altogether.  We grabbed the last two seats.

The dining area is quite frankly, a mess.  There were boxes stacked in random places that we had to weave between to get to our table.  Their menu is hand written with markers on pieces of paper and inserted in binder sleeves and specials are taped up randomly on the wall all over the place.  It doesn’t get more local and homey than this!  We sat at a table next to these signs which I found amusing.  I love how there is no option to buy a size S t-shirt but they go up to 2X, 3X and 4X!

Each lunch order includes a side salad, rice, miso soup and a choice of fruit punch or iced tea.  This was an amazing deal considering each lunch dish was only about seven or eight dollars.  You also have the option to “sumo size” any meal for $2.50 although the regular potions are quite big already.

I ordered the Japanese hamburger steak.  There are two types of hamburgers in Japan that differ based on the pronunciation of the word.  One is a hamburger as we know it in America between two buns with ketchup and other fixings.  The other is served with rice on the side and usually grated daikon radish and a sauce on top.  Every restaurant has their own version.  This one had grated daikon and daikon sprouts with a ponzu sauce over it.

The ahi tataki sashimi is fresh tuna that is lightly seared and served on a bed of bean sprouts.  It is drizzled with some sesame oil and some of Ethel’s garlic shoyu sauce.  All for 5 bucks!  It was a steal and TM and I shared this starter.  Just about every single table in the restaurant had an order of it.

TM went with the deep fried pork chops that came smothered in a sweet garlic sauce.

Ethel’s is a neat little find that I am glad we tried.  Definitely go early if you can because there aren’t many tables and it looked like they filled up quickly.

232 Kalihi St.   Honolulu, HI

Back in the 808: Waiola Shave Ice

August 23, 2012

Shaved ice always reminds me of summers in Japan.  There are so many festivals or matsuri in Japan during the summer and they always have shaved ice or かき氷.  I loved eating shaved ice so much that someone (my Mom, grandma, other relative in Japan) bought me my own shaved ice maker!  Back in the day, the shaved ice makers were often designed to look like a popular cartoon character and had a hand crank to shave the ice.

I almost always chose strawberry flavored shaved ice with condensed milk on top.  Besides the fact that I love strawberries, I think one of the reasons why I loved getting strawberry flavor was because it would make my lips red.  It was a way of wearing temporary “lipstick” when I was 5 years old without getting in trouble by my Mom.

Ever since, I’ve ALWAYS gotten strawberry shave ice wherever I’ve gone.  There have been a couple of upgrades over the years… vanilla ice cream on the bottom and then mochi balls.  Every once in awhile I may get green tea if it’s offered.  I thought I had found perfection at Waiola’s with my perfect combination: a large strawberry shave ice with ice cream and mochi balls.  I never had a need or want to venture out and try something different. *Note: it is “shave ice” in most of Hawaii, “ice shave” on the Big Island.*

I’m not sure what got into me this day but I decided to go a little crazy and get strawberry and lychee shave ice, vanilla ice cream and no mochi balls.  The lychee was so refreshing and was the perfect partner for my familiar strawberry.  I. LOVED. IT.

TM went with rainbow: strawberry, vanilla and banana.  I’ve always thought it was odd that he doesn’t get ice cream in his shave ice.

There are two locations but the one on Waiola St. is the original and my favorite of the two.  The ice is so fluffy and smooth and melts as soon as it hits your tongue – it is nothing like a snow cone served on the rest of the mainland.  I have to go Waiola’s a minimum of two times each time I’m in Hawaii, no matter how short my trip may be.  I can’t wait to go again!

2135 Waiola St.   Honolulu, HI

Back in the 808: Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck

August 22, 2012

I know I’ve mentioned this before but TM was born and raised in Hawaii and does not like seafood.  I’ll give you a second to process that because it doesn’t register for most people right away.  TM does eat some sushi and shrimp now… there was a time in his life when he did not even consider eating any seafood at all.  I am fortunate to have met him after the jump since sushi is one of my favorite foods.  It would be a huge disappointment not to be able to go out for sushi together.

We decided to play tourist a little bit and make the drive out to Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck.  In all the times I’ve been to Hawaii, it’s never been a priority for me to eat from the shrimp truck.  The drive there is not the most comfortable when you’re riding in a 5-speed with a full stomach from breakfast and no A/C.

I felt like we had been driving forever but before we even saw this sign, I knew we were in the vicinity because you could smell the garlic from a mile away.

There were quite a few people in line for shrimp!  TM and I had decided we would share a plate of the shrimp scampi since we had literally just finished eating breakfast an hour earlier.

The shrimp scampi was full of butter and garlic with more of the sauce and crispy garlic chips drizzled over the rice.  We got a full order which consisted of a dozen shrimp and two scoops of rice for $13.  Not bad.

I’m glad we made the drive out to Giovanni’s that day.  The food was good and the weather was pleasant.  Now that we’ve gone once, I’m not sure that we’d go again.  There are so many other places on the island that don’t take up as much time but if you’re already headed in that direction, it’s worth a visit.

56-505 Kamehameha Highway  Kahuku, HI

Back in the 808: Boots & Kimo’s

August 15, 2012

When I was little, I would always make Sunday morning breakfast with my Dad.  Most times, our specialty was Betty Crocker blueberry muffins.  My job was lining the muffin tin with baking cups.  Other times, we’d make pancakes together and I would eat my mini pancakes plain with syrup on the side for dipping.  I guess I was never huge on a lot of sauce on my food.  So it surprises me that I liked my banana mac nut pancakes at Boots & Kimo’s as much as I did.

We had read the reviews and warnings about the wait for Boots & Kimo’s.  We thought a random Thursday morning for breakfast wouldn’t be TOO bad so we slept in (we were on vacation, after all) and took our time driving out to Kailua.  Apparently, Boots & Kimo’s is listed in Japanese guide books as THE place to go for breakfast on Oahu and we had to wait outside with many Japanese tourists.  We took a quick walk to Longs Drugs down the street to pass time.  Quick side note, Longs Drugs is still Longs Drugs in Hawaii and did not change their name to CVS!

I needed to order these banana mac nut pancakes.  I love most things banana and most things with mac nuts.  It was the perfect combination of the two.  I was a little concerned about the amount of sauce that is oozing on top of these hot cakes but they were the perfect amount of saucy sweetness on top!  I loved them and thought they were worth the wait.

For some odd reason, TM decided to go with the Huelo Paniolo Omelette.  It comes with corned beef, onions, tomatoes and swiss cheese with a side of fried rice.  I had a bite and it paled in comparison to my pancakes!  TM was eyeing my dish so I was nice enough to share.

I would love to go again for the banana mac nut pancakes!  I just need to make sure to go early and bring cash since they do not accept credit cards.

151 Hekili St.  Kailua, HI 96734


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