Bon Voyage!

Hey folks…still super busy at work but luckily slowing down. Slowing down enough for me to finally take a trip! My first trip since pre-covid. I’m excited to travel again and hope to share some great stuff when I come back! I won’t be able to post while I’m on my trip but please feel free to follow me on my instagram, I will probably post stories!

http://www.instagram.com/maybeitsjenny

See you folks later!

Mixed Plate Friday

Spicy Poke Inari | $5.99
Spam Musubi | $1.75

New Japanese Bento Shop called U Kitchen and oh no, I just saw the Yelp ratings so far and it doesn’t look great (though the picture the one star review shared says they got served raw chicken and the chicken doesn’t look raw to me). This shop is located in Dillingham – same strip mall as Hana Tea and Yohei Sushi Restaurant. It looks like it took over the Korean restaurant spot that V used to frequent?? Anyhow, I was actually here to pick up some subway sandwiches and U Kitchen was open so I popped in for my own dinner!

I got a spam musubi and their spicy ahi inari sushi. The spicy inari was pretty good, interesting they also have imitation crab salad in it. At first I was wondering if they were just trying to add stuffing to use less ahi but it was just a little bit and I thought it had enough ahi. The spam musubi? Oh boy. The rice was so dang mushy. What’s up you guys? What’s up Hawaii restaurants? I don’t think there is ever an excuse to make such mushy rice!! I couldn’t believe it.

I’m interested in trying them again because they sell delicious sounding Japanese plate lunches and they make all kind Japanese bentos but they close at 4pm? I was there past 5 on a Friday and maybe they were just trying to sell out what food they had? I think they should minimally try to stay open past the dinner crowd!

Sorry folks, a home cooked dish. A big heaping bowl of jook (congee) for the Mid-Autumn Festival. How do you folks like your jook? I like mine cooked with nice marinated pork bones, sliced up century eggs, choke green onion and cilantro and then even more choke white pepper. Hits the spot for me.

I had dinner in Waikiki and took advantage of the location to finally try Henry’s Place. You folks ever heard of this place? They make all kinds of sorbets and ice creams and store them all in styrofoam cups and all individually labeled. I decided to try the POG flavor and bugga was good. I had it fresh so it was still so soft, it reminded me a lot of the Asato Family Shop. There is definitely no parking for Henry’s so if you willing to walk down to Beachwalk while in Waikiki, give it a try! Guess what else I got from Henry…

LOL, they label all their sandwiches too. Now has anyone ever tested to see if sharpies seep through plastic wrap? I wonder if I ingested any sharpie ink. I saw some interesting pictures of their sandwiches and I had to try it for myself. Why are they interesting you ask?

Okay, I know what this looks like and I promise you that’s not mold! LOL. I opened up the sandwich to show you folks before I heated it up. Interesting yeah? It’s mixed with this green herby mixture but it’s definitely not pesto and it’s definitely not like ginger scallion sauce. Very peculiar. I can usually tell what things are but I couldn’t tell what this mixture was made of. Was good though. If you know what the green stuff is, let me know!

Recipe: Ichigo Daifuku (Strawberry Mochi)

Sometimes I make recipes out of necessity and sometimes I like trying recipes that maybe home cooks normally wouldn’t. Sometimes, while recipes are do-able…it’s best to just leave it up to the professionals right? Would I put this recipe in that category? Yes and no. While I think I found a really good recipe and think I have done a pretty dang good job at making it…it is a bit tedious. To me it was worth it, the people I shared it with seemed to enjoy it very much and I finally found a great recipe that keeps the mochi super soft! Ahh…love it when science experiments…work!

I owe my success all to this recipe. I mean he does it better than me but still…!

First step, did you know you need to “dry” out your koshian? Empty your entire can of koshian into your pan over medium heat and just start moving it around. How did I know it was done? Honestly when it lost all its sheen and became very paste like. See the difference between the first shot and the second shot?

I let the koshian cool down and then place it in the fridge – I’ve kept it in overnight to set-up. It helps that the paste is as thick as possible especially when you are using it to wrap the strawberries. He goes a further step to measure out the koshian paste, I found that as long as I wrap each strawberry with the paste in the same way…it works fine.

One of the most tedious things about this recipe? Having to wash and thoroughly dry each strawberry. Also!!! How do mochi shops get the same sized strawberries for their mochi?? I had so many different sizes in my one carton…it was frustrating. That is why measuring out the koshian into balls made no difference for me so I just wrapped each strawberry with paste in the same way. I left the tip uncovered to help in the wrapping of the mochi and I think it also keeps it less sweet. This mochi is humbug in the way that you can’t make this ahead of time…you basically have to make it and eat it already. The strawberry can start getting very wet and well, everything needs to be dry to wrap a good mochi.

I don’t have pictures of me wrapping the mochi, I’m sorry. But when my hands are handling hot molten lava covered in corn starch (I didn’t have potato starch) trying to wrap the strawberries…I can’t take pictures. Here one batch of the recipe in the video. I bought this plate from Daiso, a great size. I’m not great with math and I think I can get 6 big daifuku out of this batch.

I followed the video to a T with the measurements. He uses shiratamako, I only had the Blue Star Mochiko so I used that. I also don’t have a 900W microwave oven so I used the handy time table on this page to figure out how long to microwave mine! It worked perfect!!!

I would type out the recipe but really, the credit all goes to this blogger, RECIPE.

My recipe notes:

  • I used mochiko instead of shiratamako
  • I wrapped the strawberries fairly quickly out of the microwave oven because that’s when they are softest. They did maintain the softness throughout the day! My friend even reported that it stayed soft with overnight refrigeration!
  • I followed his measurements in grams and ML. I find that recipes work the best when I follow those measurements

Good luck if you decide to try making this recipe! It was a great success for me and maybe I’ll make it again when it’s peak strawberry season again.

Murphy’s Bar and Grill – Honolulu, HI

I know I’ve written about Murphy’s before, oh here is the previous post. Just your friendly neighborhood Irish pub, a much needed escape when you need it. Well I don’t really drink so I just like to go and eat and boy do they deliver the comfort food.

Started up with a glass of Blue Moon, I think I need to stop drinking period. The past two times I felt junk after drinking and I didn’t even drink hard stuff. If I had to pick a beer to drink, this is it. Places usually serve it up with an orange wedge and I suddenly act like I have scurvy or like it’s so hard to find oranges or something. I really appreciate that little wedge of citrus, lol.

Fried Spicy Chicken Wings (full order) | $15.00
served with ranch dressing

How can you go wrong with deep fried chicken wings and beer? No can right. They do it right here. Probably a bit salty but that’s what bar food is for right?

Beef Stew (Thursdays and Fridays) | $10.00

My friend only got the bowl so no rice. You can get it with steamed rice for $3.00 extra, is that right? $3.00! I hope that is with veggies too or something?? Anyway, I was able to try…very tasty. How you eat beef stew without rice? Boggles my mind!

Fish N’ Chips | $15.75
cod fish and fries served with malt vinegar

Okay, I was totally craving fried food this day. I just really wanted some fish and chips. Boy was it good. I don’t eat it with the vinegar, sorry I never learned how to eat it that way. Also, karma caught up with me after this meal cause I got a big zonking zit overnight!

Pumpkin Pie (Weekly Special)

Sorry, I forget the price of this, I believe it’s $7.00 a slice. Doesn’t this picture just scream autumn? Loving the vibes…wasn’t my dessert but it was enjoyed!

Apple Crisp A La Mode | $8.00

Okay, I’ve gotten this before and I’ve tried their pies before but this one is the most winner-est dessert they have. I absolutely love it and abhor it but abhor it just because I know I must be inhaling calories enough for the day with this dish alone. Warmed up apple crisp (who doesn’t love crumbles!) and the vanilla ice cream topper? Gosh, I am salivating just thinking about this.

Mixed Plate Friday

How’z it! I was excited to see that 711 was going to sell Chinese restaurant kine dim sum in their stores! They partnered with Yung Yee Kee. Not sure if this is limited time or for a long time, also…it’s not like it’s identified as the collaboration packs. You gotta just look at the packaging and make the assumption like I did.

Half Moon & Har Gow (Shrimp Dumpling) Pack | $5.59

Kind of pricey yeah? Well dim sum can be kind of pricey and I gotta say, this was pretty good. I found it in the cold case so I had to heat it up in the microwave when I got home. Heated up nicely and the skin was nice and soft, I enjoyed both very much!

Sticky Rice in Lotus Leaf | $3.99

Okay the last picture looks bad but that’s not a bug, I promise. It’s just a chunk of the filling on top of the rice. I don’t know if you can tell but the portion of the rice is kind of small. I liked it though, tasted great and I liked that it didn’t stick to the leaf at all.

Furikake Chicken | $11.52 (tax included)

I was out in Kaneohe and finally got to try KJ’s Local Grindz furikake chicken! They are known for it, was a bit disappointed they don’t make it as a musubi anymore. Remember when 711 used to sell the chicken musubis, now it’s hard to find chicken musubi. I loved them. Anyway, this was delicious! I can see why they are known for the furikake chicken. The spaghetti mac salad is cool too, though for me…a bit bland. If you’re ever out there, give them a try!

Kukui Cafe – Chinatown, HI

Have you ever been to Kukui Cafe? They’ve been around since I was a small kid (that’s a long time) though I was never a customer until now. I used to go to Chinese school at Sun Yat Sen school and this restaurant is located right at the edge. I was mainly a customer at a small shop that sold ice cake and sometimes Kent’s Drive In for their fries. There also used to be a little Chinese shop nearby where we would go to buy snacks (remember crushing up the instant ramen packets to eat like chips?), I think the store used to be called Cheung Chau, though they are no longer there. Oh the memories! So how would I characterize Kukui Cafe? I would say they focus on Cantonese or Hong Kong style food. It’s good stuff! Also…probably get MSG so be aware of that. Here’s a few things I got recently.

Singapore Rice Noodles | $12.00

Love these noodles. This one for sure has MSG because I have reacted to it. It’s thin rice noodles seasoned with curry, get shrimp and thin slices of ham in it too. It’s really good.

Beef Brisket Lo Mein | $12.00

Love me some lo mein, sometimes it’s too hot to eat hot soup you know? This is the best of both worlds, I get the beef brisket with the same egg noodles and just enough of the beef brisket sauce to have a great mixed noodle. I really enjoyed this dish too.

Lemon Coke | $4.00

Alright, this was a silly purchase. I mean it’s literally a can of coke with some freshly crushed lemon slices in it. Lemon and Coke is such a great combination though, so refreshing. So anyway, don’t order it, just make it yourself. This was four freaking dollars.

Another thing I love about this place? They make the food real fast. I would say the noodle dish takes 7-10 minutes to make from when you order it. They do phone orders…I park illegally by the river and just dart in to pick it up. I’m sure you can park in the lot with validation but just feels like a lot of hassle to me…haha.

et al. – Kahala, HI

Hey folks. Sorry for the unexpected absence! It got super busy at work so I’ve been just passing out at night…lol. I also wasn’t eating out too much so I didn’t have a lot to share. I have been keeping busy in the kitchen! If you can believe it, I made my own kimchee from scratch and also fresh strawberry mochi! I think I did a pretty good job at it if I may say so myself. Anyhow, today’s post is about et al, a newish restaurant located in the new shopping center across from Kahala Mall. They are located in the new Foodland Farms! Let’s get to the food shall we?

Pineapple Regina | $9.00

This drink is not on their menu but if you go to their Yelp page, it’s all over the place. Of course I would order it. Why wouldn’t I order it? It is so pretty! Looks do make a difference to me, sorry. When we ordered the drink, the waitress said oh I think we can make that drink for you! Well, this must be a ploy because unless they have cleaned pineapple leaves ready to go at all times, this must be a way to get people interested. Well it worked for us! We both ordered it. Was it good? Ehhh…it was okay but not great. I don’t think I am dying to reorder it.

Hawaiian Clam Chowder | $9.00
ulu, smoked meat, clams, grilled sourdough

Not my appetizer but it was thoroughly enjoyed!

Maui Beets | $11.00
sweet land farm chevre, orange, preserved plum, pistachio, lemon basil pesto

My appetizer! I am a sucker for beets…and these were good. So delicious. Interesting combination of flavors but they all came together and tasted delicious.

Short Rib Arancini | $15.00
sumida farm watercress puree, sweet land farm gouda

Ah, I would call this the star of the night. Sorry I didn’t get a shot of the inside, it’s basically like a risotto ball mixed with short rib meat…breaded and fried. Delicious!

Hamakua Mushroom Risotto | $18.00
hon shimeji, truffle, nori

Funny story. One of their specials was a seafood risotto, come time to order, my friend asked for the risotto and our waitress did not clarify which risotto dish. So here we are. We got the mushroom risotto that’s on their main menu. It’s a good dish, only my friend doesn’t like mushrooms so that didn’t work out too well. If you like mushrooms, you would like this dish.

Casarecce | $27.00
braised pork, clams, garlic, truffle, sherry, parmesan

My dish! Okay, so like the menu isn’t super clear on their dishes. I had no idea what a casarecce was. I had to google many things on the menu before I knew what they were. Then I learned that casarecce is just the type of pasta for this dish. I am sorry to report, was pretty disappointed in this dish. Very strong sour taste…strong citrus? I was a bit confused since there isn’t lemon listed as part of the ingredients? The pork was also salty…pork was served up like a kalua pig. Not a great dish, I wouldn’t order it again. Well unless sour and salty is your thing.

E.V.O.O. Sponge Cake | $10.00
mirin strawberries, basil leaf crumble, olive oil gelato

This cake was…okay. Olive oil as the fat in a cake, what do you think of? What do you expect? I think the cake was alright, a bit dry and crumbly. Wasn’t my cup of tea, probably wouldn’t order it again.

Okay, I realized that this is a less than stellar review. Though, I really enjoyed the ambience and decor of this restaurant. Even though the dishes we got weren’t to our liking, I actually wouldn’t mind heading back to give them a second shot!

Recipe: Ramen Fried Rice

It’s me, and I’m here to share another trending TikTok recipe. Originating from Korea, I’ve seen it made with either raw ramen noodles (uncooked but toasted) or cooked ramen noodles. I chose to use cooked ramen noodles. Was nice to try but would I eat it again…ehhh…I think I am okay. If you ever find yourself wanting to eat double carbs, go for it. It’s pretty easy and of course it’s tasty…!

Ramen Fried Rice

Ingredients:

1 package Shin Ramen, crushed
2 eggs, mixed
2 C cooked rice

Sesame Oil
Toasted Sesame Seeds

Instructions:

Place crushed ramen noodles, dry vegetable packet and seasoning mix into a heat safe bowl. Boil water and add to the bowl (less than you usually would if making it to eat regularly – maybe 1 to 1.5 C of boiling water?).

As the ramen “cooks” in the bowl. Add eggs to pan/wok to make soft scrambled eggs, add cooked rice (preferably cold leftover rice) and cook together, incorporating mixture. Add ramen mixture into pan and mix together well. The ramen mixture would have absorbed the water by now so it is no longer soupy. Fry together until fragrant and a bit toasted. Serve fried rice with a nice drizzle of sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds.

Recipe: Yogurt Marinated Chicken

Okay, that title does not sound too appetizing. I apologize but I was scrolling through the “app-that-shall-not-be-named” and came across this recipe. I’ve been looking for a good tasting and fairly low fat protein recipe and this one seems to fit the bill, a good mix of spices with the yogurt makes for a nice chicken dish and no worries to people who cannot handle spicy, this recipe is not at all spicy! I found that I can enjoy this dish warm or cold – throw it on your salad!

I probably add too much tomato paste but once I open that can of paste, what am I supposed to do with the rest? I used the whole can – too bad.

Yogurt Marinated Chicken

Ingredients:

7 chicken breasts, chopped into bite-sized pieces

1 5.3 oz. plain nonfat greek yogurt (I used Chobani, one of those individual servings)

2 T olive oil

3 cloves of garlic, minced or grated

Juice of 1-2 lemons (can be one if your lemon is nice and juicy)

2 t paprika

2 t cumin

1 t salt

1 t white pepper

1 6 oz. can of tomato paste

1 medium-large onion, chopped

2 bell peppers, chopped (I used yellow and orange)

Instructions:

Combine all the ingredients and marinate for 3-4 hours. 

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place chicken mixture onto two baking dishes, try to keep mixture as flat as possible to cook through evenly in the oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes until fully cooked (I used the full 30 minutes). 

You can also grill on high for 10-20 minutes until fully cooked.

Mixed Plate Friday

This post is forreal mixed plate, not even all food.

Fruit Chichi Dango | $3.99
strawberry, mochi flour, sugar, milk, red bean, custard

Been seeing this all over social media and just had to get it. This is from Kansai Yamato located in Moanalua 99 (former Ranch 99). I figured I should go to the source to get it.

Struggled to get a side view for you. First of all, you should keep this refrigerated. I didn’t realize it was custard on top at first so I kept it out for a bit and boy oh boy did it get melty and messy. Good news is that I did throw the second one in the fridge…ate it the next day and the mochi was still melt the mouth soft. This was a delicious treat! I would definitely get it again!

Clockwise from top left: Baked Char Siu Manapua, Taro Cake, Shrimp Dumpling (Har Gow), Siu Mai, Half Moon

Sing Cheong Yuan Bakery has been around forevers and they always have a long line in Chinatown. Now that we’re heading towards Moon Festival time (September), might be either best to avoid this place or place a phone order in because they are going to be super busy with moon cake orders. If you can believe it, I haven’t tried their dim sum before. I don’t know what it is, I guess if I’m going to be in Chinatown, I’m just going to eat at a Chinese restaurant you know?

So how does it compare? If you’re local to Hawaii and I say local style pork hash, I bet you know what I’m talking about right? The kind you can get from the manapua man….very different from the kind you get from a dim sum restaurant. Now while Sing Cheong’s siu mai looks more “local” style, I actually want to give it more credit and say it’s a balance between the manapua man siu mai and dim sum siu mai.

Baked Char Siu Manapua – Very good, I think Royal Kitchen is a near competitor but I will give this one to Sing Cheong.
Taro Cake – Hmm, no thank you. I’m used to homestyle taro cake which is very thin. I don’t know why taro cakes are so huge in these shops…to me it’s like eating a big lump of dough.
Har Gow – These are winners. They really do stuff it full of shrimp, nice skin too.
Siu Mai – Better than local style, still not as good as dim sum siu mai.
Half Moon – Good but not memorable. Nothing special.

A silly project I had a month ago. Shucks, wish I remembered to take a side picture of this. It’s actually Pikachu on the side. Such a cute vending machine, the bottom draw opens but the machine doesn’t actually do anything. It’s just super cute and it was super annoying to build…hahaha. This was over 2000 pieces and they were like super small pieces. I was obsessed to finish and am super happy with it. I have it proudly displayed at work. Apparently there is like a whole bunch of Asian building block sets that oh so gently copies Lego sets…for less money of course. Have a great weekend folks!