Happy New Year

Hi everyone. I hope you folks had a nice new year and holiday season, if you live in Hawaii…I know you went through torrential rains and loud bombs. I no get why people get enjoyment out of those big bomb sounding fireworks. I get the enjoyment of fireworks in the sky but the bombs…why?

Anyway, without going into too much detail…I had an awful December. A family member had a stroke and we have been adjusting together as a family. The first few days were scary and very touch and go but now we are doing nothing but progressing so I am grateful and relieved. I’ll try my best to post here and there but it’s a bit hard to focus on extra curricular activities at this time.

I’ll end the post with a funny picture I took at work not too long ago. Someone like be funny yah? 🙂

Please take care of yourselves and take care of your health! Mind the ones you hold near and dear as well. Take care.

Mixed Plate Friday

Oahu Noodle Factory | Wide Egg Noodles

Wanted to make a noodle dish at home and wanted fresh noodles so we went to Oahu Noodle Factory in Kalihi. It’s a great deal and while parking is non-existant (unless you know, let me know) – there is an spot to illegally stop your car in front of their shop and run in and out for. Well I did it…but I would always bring a buddy so I can drive around in a circle if needed. I was in luck today! This bag was about 2 lbs, they were charging $2.50 a pound when I was here.

I saw this online a few months ago and was super curious about it. Someone said Costco would start carrying it but it never came to our Costco so I got it when I saw it at Target. Kind of pricey but curiousity killed the cat. It’s pretty good, definitely can taste the coconut oil but just a hint of it. It tastes pretty okay! I’ve only had it on top of toast.

This Mazemen was on sale at Don Quijote for $3.99 so I gave it a shot. It comes with sauce packets, you cook and drain your noodles and mix it with the sauce packets! You have to add your own toppings. It was pretty good! I would get it again should the craving occur.

Acai Bowl | $12.25

One Saturday morning, I decided to head out to Hawaii Kai after my walk to go to Costco and Ross. Well I was a bit too early for Costco so we decided to head to a little cafe for a smoothie and acai bowl. Goes to show you how much I know, Island Brew Coffeehouse in Hawaii Kai is a totally swinging brunch place during the weekends and it was PACKED. It was raining this day so I just wanted for grab and GET OUT. They are also very pricey. Kind of pricey for this huh? I guess I should get used to it…inflation isn’t leaving anytime soon. Was it good? Sure. It’s an acai bowl. Anyway, I would probably avoid this place next time due to popularity and price.

Can I also just add, Ross Hawaii Kai and Costco Hawaii is the most chill and laid back. And HK Ross has all the cool stuff. Okay, have a good weekend folks!

Piggy Smalls – Honolulu, HI

I got the chance to return to Piggy Smalls for brunch and oh boy did I jump at the chance! Parking was crazy. Ward has been super busy lately, they’ve been using their space to hold different fairs (like themed craft fairs) so I’ve had to park pretty far up. I guess it’s a good thing for retailers right??

Seasonal Slushy | $5.00

Man oh man, what was this flavor? Okay, I am going to go with POG. Was so nice and refreshing. They change it every month!

Classic Pho French Dip Banh Mi | $17.00
12 hour slow roasted beef brisket, spicy hoisin, thai basil chimichurri, sautéed bean sprouts & onion, toasted la tour baguette, side of our classic beef pho broth for dipping

I absolulely would get this anytime and at any place. In fact, if we didn’t order our second entree – I would have added noodles for $4.00 to the broth. We shared this sandwich and it was good to the last bite. Okay the side salad, why they served us a salad “undressed” is beyond me. How embarassing for the salad (sorry, bad joke) but the salad was wasted because I am not an animal and will not eat plain leaves for pleasure.

Banchan’s Army Stew (Budae Jjigae) | $39.00
vienna sausage, spam, aged kimchi, ramen noodles, american cheese, tofu, microgreens

This was the next dish we shared together. Oh boy, talk about salt bomb yeah? I mean it’s all the meats and they were pretty generous with the meat! I was kind of surprised. Wasn’t a huge fan of the microgreens as the topping but went with it. We were both pretty stuffed from the sandwich already so we could barely finish this. It was good…but for a hipster place you know? I gotta get this dish from a Korean place next time.

‘Ōlena by Chef Ron Simon – Kalihi, HI

Honolulu Aunty told me about ‘Ōlena by Chef Ron Simon a few months ago when I posted about banh mi. Well, I finally got a chance to order from them this past week along with some office folks! Sad to share that they are closing down on December 24th but are looking for a new location so I am sending good vibes their way. I am not sure the name of the lady in the front but boy is she friendly and vivacious. That’s the best way to describe her, what a difference awesome customer service makes. Well if you can order before they close, do it! They have an online ordering system that makes it super easy to order, pay and pick-up! Also, they are super busy so that’s probably the best way to get your food.

BBQ Pork Ribs | $16.99
slow-braised tender, pork ribs with lilikoi BBQ sauce. served with choice of white or brown rice and fresh pineapple coleslaw.

Two office mates ordered this dish and both enjoyed it! I like that you can really customize the sides. Not sure what Olena rice is but that’s $2.00 extra. No one ordered Olena rice so I couldn’t tell you!

Red Wine Beef Stew | $14.99
gluten-free braised beef stew with choice of white rice or brown rice or local greens

Feedback on this dish? They felt like the stew could have been braised longer and the sauce/stew could have been reduced more. I can see what they mean…doesn’t look as thick and it could be huh?

Blackened Ahi Sandwich | $16.99
Regular Fries Add | $4.50
served with sweet aioli

Feedback on this was…the ahi is cooked perfectly. Nice and pink inside. Do I think it’s worth $4.50 to add fries? Personally no, but if you are able to eat it fresh…it’s nice and crispy! Not so good cold.

Chicken Lemongrass Banh Mi (Sandwich) | $13.99
Add Fries | $4.75

Whoa whoa whoa, how come the fries cost more to add to a banh mi plate? Hmm…

Chicken Lemongrass Banh Mi (Sandwich) | $13.99
Extra Cilantro | $0.25

Okay, this was mine! I got my sandwich without the fries and added more cilantro because I freaking love cilantro. So how was it? Good! I think it’s a great lemongrass chicken banh mi and I like that the lemongrass isn’t overpowering!

Spicy Ahi Roll | $16.99

A co-worker was nice enough to order this to share with us! I got to try a piece. How was it? Eh, it was good. I guess I prefer my spicy ahi rolls fresh and not fried.

Organic Beets with Caramelized Onions | $3.00

Another dish I got to try. How was it? Ehh, okay. I didn’t taste that much of a caramelized onion taste. Tomatoes are a nice addition, I can just eat my Costco beets though.

Soba Noodle Salad | $10.99

I got this dish to eat for dinner. Okay, I don’t know why I always fall for this. Me being a carb queen assume it’s like a full soba noodle bowl but it’s actually a layer of soba noodles and the rest is spring salad mix. That’s okay and that’s better for me. I love the toppings on this. There was gari (red ginger), ocean salad, egg omelet, kamaboko, julienned carrots and of course green onion. I like their dressing too! I would get it again.

Seared Ahi | $8.99

I got this seared ahi to share and to supplement my sandwich. It was good, the ahi was seared perfectly. Wish the outer layer had flavor, also wish the sauce wasn’t just wasabi with soy. I guess I am too spoiled by Ethel’s and their amazing ahi tataki sauce.

All in all, it was a good visit! I would absolutely return back to try their food again! Hoping they find a new spot so that we all can try. They update their instagram regularly so check them out. Support local!

Mixed Plate Friday

Happy Aloha Friday! We are creeping closer and closer to Christmas. You ready or what? I am writing this post early but I’ll just say yes to move this along. I plan to do some baking this season as well so let’s see how that goes. This is probably going to be my final Florida post on food – then we can get back to the regular schedule. Can you guess where my first meal in Florida was?

It’s a laugh I even walked around the store beforehand. Get me to thee meatballs!!!

Swedish Meatball Plate | $5.99
Traditional 8 pc. Swedish Meatball Meal served with Mashed Potatoes and Lingonberry Jam

This dish is my comfort food. After my bout of food poisoning while in the air to Florida, I just couldn’t wait to nourish my soul with some Swedish meatballs. Did they hit the spot? Absolutely.

Smoked Salmon Salad

I never saw this dish before and I can’t find the price, it’s just a simple salad with smoked salmon. The dressing is very strong in dill flavor.

Apple Cake | $1.99
tart with layers of almond paste, apples and crumble

Oh yes, my apple crumble adventures continues. It happens here in Hawaii and of course twice in Florida. It was pretty good! Served cold. I was kind of good, I mainly ate the topping and left most of the crust. I guess that makes it a diet dish? Ha. Ha. Ha.

There was an AYCE hot pot place right next to our hotel so while our meals were usually spoken for, we did make it out to this restaurant once. And well, once was enough. It’s not even worth sharing the name of this restaurant – they are incredibly busy so reservations are highly recommended. They have a gimmick, one of those cute robots that take you to your table. Cute and creepy? Anyway, the service was severely lacking and we didn’t even get the drinks we ordered until we had to remind them and they made them wrong but it wasn’t worth the effort to flag someone else down. The buffet was okay, had some people (ahem Asians) just grabbing all the good stuff to take to their tables. Come on guys, leave some for the rest of us and just grab more later. Ah what can you do. I miss Little Sheep so much. 🙁

So like, I think we ended up at Chipotle like every night. Hahahaha long days of walking led to getting late dinners at Chipotle. Boy did the locations differ in staff and ingredients available. The first bowl pic was basically all I could get because they ran out of everything. The second bowl was much better. Must be the Asian in me, I just wanted one big bowl of rice. Love their toppings and the fresh ingredients. Also love their chips with queso dip. Augh, wish we had a Chipotle here in Hawaii too.

You know what else I did? I bought Shake Shack burgers and Chick-Fil-A sandwiches the night before my return flight home. Threw them in the fridge over night and then straight into my luggage. Yup, I risked another bout of food poisoning. I wanted the boys to experience these burgers/sandwiches because they never have. Happy to report that none of us got sick and I was informed that Popeye’s Chicken sandwich is better than Chick-Fil-A. Have a great weekend folks.

Seito Sushi – Orlando, FL

Saved the best meal of the trip for last! It’s not easy to find good Asian food you know and while Seito Sushi was definitely more for the hip/trendy types, I still enjoyed it. We went after our day at Universal and got there in time for happy hour specials. Let’s check it out!

Salmon Hand Roll | $4.00 (each)
aji amarillo vinaigrette/pickled onion/fried capers
Yellowtail Hand Roll | $4.00 (each)
kizami wasabi/yuzu tobiko/powdered shiso

Did I expect sushi tacos? No. Did I like it? A resounding yes. We really enjoyed the salmon handrolls so we even order an encore of them. They mix all kinds of flavors together but they all work very well. Capers and salmon huh? Can someone try do that here too?

Amaebi Nigiri | $6.00 (each)

Look at how I positioned this shot. You can’t even see the actual nigiri. It was good, highly enjoyed and re-ordered. Don’t judge us, this was our splurge meal of the trip. I would have loved to eat the amaebi but I have an allergy to raw shellfish, it’s my cross to bear. The plus is that I get to eat the fried heads lol.

The Distinguished Gentleman Roll | $24.00
wagyu tataki/lobster/avocado/wasabi aioli/masago/jalapeno/scallion/truffle salt

We shared this roll and it tastes as good as it sounds. Yum yum! A bit wasted that the lobster is chopped fine – would not be able to tell if this was lobster or imitation crab, you know? Anyway, it was good!

Foie Gras Torchon | $10.00 (each)
five spice/cherry gastrique

I know I know. This is not the most ethical dish to eat. I never have foie gras but do want to try it once in a while and this was my opportunity. It was good – was it worth the $10 bite? Sure, I’ll go with yes since I enjoyed it!

Tonkotsu “Bone Broth” Ramen | $17.00 (add chili bomb $1)
Seito’s house broth/Bershire pork belly/shiitake mushroom/charred corn/black garlic/hearts of palm/Lake Meadows Naturals egg

Here’s what’s missing in Hawaii. Good Japanese restaurants that can do both sushi AND ramen well. We either have just ramen restaurants or Japanese restaurants that do noodle dishes but they are more of an afterthought or prepared very simply. I noticed this in Chicago too, one of my favorite restaurants did both regular Japanese food and ramen very well! Oh sorry for the offshoot. I really enjoyed this dish! Great broth, loved all the veggies and a whole soft boiled egg. The chili bomb isn’t in the shot but like I was hoping it would be shaped like a bomb or something. It was just a big glob of chili sauce on the side, boo.

Anyway, this restaurant was great and the waiter was good! Well he was good in the beginning. You know how it goes, they always seem to disappear as the night goes on. This is definitely worth a return visit!

Yama’s Fish Market – Moilili, HI

I had a hankering for Hawaiian food one day and wanted to grab and go from somewhere quick. I haven’t been to Yama’s Fish Market in years and years so we decided to give it a go! Kind of realized why it has been years since I been there…(sorry!)…

Sweet Sour Spareribs | $11.85

This was not my dish. Feedback shared? Was just alright, nothing special.

Baked Seafood Salmon Belly | $11.85

Feedback shared, overcooked and smallish portion!

Mushroom Chicken | $11 (around there, I forget, sorry)

Okay, this was my dish. This was a daily special and in my head – I imagined a nice creamy mushroom chicken dish. They run out of Campbell’s soup or something? Haha nah, just joke. It tasted alright but I really expected it to be the creamy mushroom gravy so it wasn’t enjoyed as much. The gravy was a bit more soupy too so I didn’t feel like it stuck onto the chicken as much as it should have. I wouldn’t get this again.

Squid Luau (16 oz.) | $9.65

I used to love getting their squid luau. The only way I can eat squid luau is with choke choke choke sriracha. I don’t know why, why do I even eat this dish if I drown it in hot sauce? But somehow the combination just works so well for me. The taste is still the same and still tastes good, maybe my own tastes have changed. Anyway, I splurged a bit for this – this side cost as much as my plate!

The plus side was that we got there and the lot was basically empty…when the lot is full, you know it’s crazy to get in and out of. Does anyone know what that empty lot next to Yama’s is? It’s like a huge parking lot but I don’t know what for? It’s just locked up.

Amorette’s Patisserie | Disney Springs

Okay, there were two things I had to eat while I was at Disney for this trip. First was the apple crumble tart which I got to try at Epcot (and loved), the second was the 50th celebration petit cake at Amorette’s. The first night we arrived in Florida, we came to this mall but the cake was all gone. It was such a bummer. The last night of our trip, we made one final trip to the mall and guess what? THEY HAD IT. So here is a post dedicated JUST TO THIS CAKE.

50th Celebration Petit Cake | $22.00
Vanilla Chiffon Cake with Celebration Blue Mousse, Blueberry Jam, and Lemon Curd

Do you folks watch the Great British Baking Show? I love that show so much. And when they talk about cakes, they are always talking about chiffon, mousse and LEMON CURD. Look, every part of this cake was my jam. I knew I had to get it. It’s 22 freaking dollars…it’s a petit cake. Maybe a 3 inch cake? But do you see all the beauty? Yes, there are gold flakes on it…alongside with the pretty rock candy (I don’t eat rock candy). The inside of the cake was delicious. I don’t care much for fondant so I mainly ate the inside and it was all worth it. I was sad that it was on our last night so I couldn’t even enjoy the whole cake. Why don’t we have these kind cakes here in Hawaii??

Universal Studios Florida

Only one day at Universal but that’s all I really needed, just wanted to check out Harry Potter there. Walt Disney required masking indoors but Universal didn’t require masks ANYWHERE. Yeah. I kept my mask on the whole time yet again. Better be safe than sorry!

Louie’s Italian Restaurant Jumbo Supreme Slice | $13.49
mozzarella, italian sausage, pepperoni, tomatoes, peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomato sauce, herbs, house made dough

Surprisingly really good. And it had a bit of a kick to it too so even better. Yes, pricey for one slice of pizza but I love supreme pizza. Also, when is Costco gonna bring back their combo pizza?!

Louie’s Italian Restaurant Spaghetti & Meatballs | $9.99

This was good, not great but not bad. It just hit the spot and I love meatballs. Was satisfying enough.

Frozen Butterbeer | $7.99
a non-alcoholic sweet drink reminiscent of shortbread and butterscotch

Always gotta get this drink when you’re here. To me it’s like a frozen root beer, not really my thing. I tried the hot version in Japan when it was cold weather and that was nice to sip on.

The train ride from Diagon Alley to Hogsmeade is pretty cool! The windows are all covered by video scenes so you feel like you’re riding your way to Hogwarts, complete with dementors! Super cool.

Be Our Guest | Magic Kingdom

I didn’t realize it was so hard to make reservations for certain restaurants at Disney. This is definitely one of them so if you are planning a trip, make sure you make you reservations early! We happened to keep checking the day before for any last minute cancellations and was able to score one! A very cute restaurant with a Beauty and the Beast theme. There is the main ballroom (where we dined) and two other rooms – I am happy we got to dine in the main ballroom. All meals are three course meals at $62.00. A much better price than the dang steak we got at Tokyo Dining! Anyway, the Beast comes out to make his rounds but no Belle! Bah!

Captain Nemo Octopus | Appetizer
Seaweed Salad, Cucumber, Pickled Beets, Hearts of Palm, Tapioca Crackers, Beets Mousse, and Carrot-Ginger Silk

Assorted Meats and Artisanal Cheese Selection | Appetizer
Chicken Rillettes, Shaved Serrano Ham, Chorizo Sausage, Pleasant Ridge Cheddar, Truffle Tremor, and Stilton Blue with Seasonal Garnishes

My appetizer and ummm…I might have gotten sick from the cheeses. This is the second time I got sick. I felt really junk after this meal, I found myself a seat on a bench with a wall and like just sat there for hours. I didn’t mind haha…maybe I just reacted poorly with the food.

Center-cut Filet Mignon
Robuchon Yukon Potatoes, Seasonal Vegetables, and Cipollini-Garlic Purée with a Red Wine Purée

We both chose the same dish and it was delicious. Once again, much better than the Japanese steak dish. And they cooked the steak to our specifications perfectly. Lovely dish.

Lemon Jam Macaron
White Chocolate “Chip” Cup – with grey stuff and crisp pearls
Dark Chocolate Truffle – filled with dark chocolate grand manier ganache

You don’t have a choice for dessert – their menu lists these dishes all separately but you actually get this trio. I was already pretty full so I wasn’t really feeling dessert. I didn’t try the grey stuff but I heard the waiter having to tell every table to try the grey stuff it’s delicious, don’t believe him, ask the dishes. Poor guy. Hahaha