Hey folks. I’ve spent the past two days decompressing from the conference I attended on Thursday and Friday. It’s been good. I’ve been able to rest and spend some time with family. Sorry for the lack of updates. I will try to work on some posts tomorrow night…or should I say tonight since it’s 2 am. 🙂 Just wanted to let you folks know that I am indeed alive and well. I hope you folks are all the same.

Kokoro-Tei – Moilili, HI

Okay wait. I gotta laugh…I looked up their Kokoro-Tei‘s website for this blog and couldn’t help but laugh at one of their pictures. It’s nothing bad, but if you know this place – when you walk in, their display cases are empty. It’s usually because they make your bento to order so it’s all fresh. I just found it funny that one of their main pictures includes a full display case. Maybe it’s just me. How are you folks doing? I’m participating in a conference today and tomorrow. Today was a bit rough – 12 hours. While I am exhausted, I feel like I’ve gained so much today. Tomorrow is gonna be a hard day, they will be challenging us quite a bit but this is what I signed up for and I am looking forward to it. Nervously looking forward to it.

Ho…today was so shame. I didn’t eat breakfast and they provided a breakfast of fresh fruit and doughnuts. I didn’t feel like doughnuts so I only ate a few pieces of fruit. My stomach was freaking growling all morning. One of them was SO loud that I had to apologize to my neighbor, I felt so bad! It’s shame too but what can I do? I can’t control it. Well I can. I will tomorrow by eating breakfast before the start – I’m not a big fan of continental breakfasts.

Anyway! Sorry for the tangent. We got some lunch at Kokoro-Tei last week and I wanted to share pictures with you! Their prices are incredibly reasonable and I feel like their bentos are super Japanese. I don’t know how that sounds to you, but let me share the pictures and explain.

140328-01Nori Sake Bento – $5.00

140328-02$5 bucks! It comes with a nice piece of salmon, a deep fried filet of fish and then a tempura style fish cake! Tell me that doesn’t look delicious! And I love the entire sheet of nori on the rice.

140328-03Hamburger Steak Bento – $6.50 (I think!)

140328-04My coworker enjoyed this bento a lot. She thought the hamburger was very flavorful.

140328-05I couldn’t decide on a bento so I ordered their omurice and wanted to try the ala carte order of Rib Eye Steak. Here is my steak, I asked for medium rare. What are your thoughts looking at this picture?

140328-06That’s not medium rare, Jenny. Yes, I agree. This was definitely well done. Over done. But luckily for them, it’s rib eye so the meat was still tender. The garlic sauce is one of about 3 choices, it was SALTY. Do not just pour it over the steak if you order this. A small dip is plenty.

140328-07Omurice – $5.50

140328-08Doesn’t that look amazing? It tasted crazy good. My food took 20 minutes – I was getting a bit frustrated as I watched as everyone who came in after me get their orders. I finally stepped up to the counter and asked what the hold up was. The cashier apologized to me and told me he made a mistake of taking my omurice order when he wasn’t supposed to so I think the kitchen was working hard to make this dish! I’m not sure why they didn’t just tell me it was a mistake, I could have ordered something different. But boy, was this worth the wait. I thought the demi glace would be too salty but it wasn’t at all. What a great dish. I think they run out of this dish early so order early!

I really enjoyed their food and would like to come back. $5.00 for that seafood bento was an incredible deal, I don’t see how they make a profit! Do you see what I mean about their bentos being super Japanese? Their bentos feel and taste authentic to what I think Japan would serve up, other bento shops have assimilated their meals to cater to Hawaii tastes more I think.

Happy Days Seafood Restaurant – Waialae, HI

Hey folks! Just wanted to share a recent lunch I had at Happy Days Seafood Restaurant. Definitely the go-to restaurant in the Kaimuki area. Their food is pretty on-par with the food served up in Chinatown so I do enjoy going there as much as I hate to admit it. I like them a lot better now than before. Here’s the pics!

140326-01Siu Mai – one of my favorite dim sum items. I always have to order this in every dim sum restaurant. Even though siu mai is such a common dish, every restaurant makes it so differently! Hawaii has the best ones for sure.

140326-02Hoi Sin Jak – some of these dim sum dishes, I don’t even know the English name because I order it in Chinese. I’ll transcribe the names of them like this one, hoi sin jak – literal translation is seafood bundle/packet. Check out the inside…

140326-03There’s shiitake mushroom, shrimp, a chunk of white fish…and depending on the restaurant, there might be a small scallop or some imitation crab throw in. It’s all wrapped up in tofu skin and steamed. So delicious…I definitely recommend this.

140326-04Pai Kwut (Black Bean Spareribs) – always winners. Always tender and flavorful – if I wasn’t eating dim sum, I would love to just eat this over a nice steaming bowl of rice.

140326-05Kuhl Choy Bang (Garlic Chive Pan Fried Dumpling) – another one of my favorites! It is filled with garlic chives and morsels of shrimp. They have two versions of this dish, one is a steamed dumpling version and this is a pan fried version. I prefer the pan fried version. Delish!

140326-06Hoy Sin Chow Mein – Seafood Chow Mein, this dish reminds me of my childhood and the Chinese parties I had to attend. My favorite noodle dish, the crispy noodles with the awesome seafood gravy…and so much seafood and veggies on top. It’s my absolute favorite, I’ve been on a cake noodle kick lately.

140326-07Ended the lunchtime feast with dessert from the Pillbox Pharmacy. Unexpected place to grab ice cream but they’ve got some of the best! I unknowingly took a pic with the Hawaii cone in full view. Pretty awesome yeah? 🙂

Earl Sandwich – Waialae, HI

So when I write my restaurant reviews, I struggle with putting Honolulu which basically almost everything is in or naming the neighborhood. I should stick to the neighborhood yeah? How is everyone doing? I hope you all had a great weekend! This weekend was so busy for me, had a lot to do! Sorry I didn’t have a post up for Sunday! This week is going to be a bit nuts too but luckily we get a day off on Wednesday (my apologies to those who do not get a day off). Have you folks been to Earl Sandwich yet? It’s a brand spanking new sandwich shop located in the same parking lot as Happy Days, Cafe Laufer, etc. They took over the spot of a BBQ joint and they are still very new! Great ratings on Yelp so far so I wanted to do a quick lunch order! Here are the results!

140324-01French Dip – Beef, Gruyere, Dijon, Fennel Onion Marmalade, and Au Jus – $8.00

140324-02Gotta get a look at the insides! Doesn’t that look amazing? For this particular visit, they forgot to pack the Au Jus. 🙁 Luckily, my coworker still liked the sandwich and said that it had so much flavor for him that he forgave the Au Ju mistake. Would definitely recommend, just check for the Au Jus before you leave!

140324-03Jamestown – Turkey, Mayo, Dijon, Lettuce, Tomato, Curried Yams, and Cranberry – $8.00

140324-04What a beautiful sandwich – I can see why the job title is sandwich artist. Well for this place anyway… 🙂

140324-05This sandwich was good. Not great but good. It’s an interesting combination – the curried yams, cranberry, turkey…it’s a whole lot of different flavors going on. Not too sold on the curried yams for this sandwich.

140324-06Goat Cheese – Herbed Goat Cheese, Sautéed Asparagus, Cherry Tomatoes, and Balsamic – $8.00

140324-07Look. At. That. Goat. Cheese. Oh sorry, herbed goat cheese. As a lover of goat cheese, this sandwich was calling me.

140324-08Oh yes…I don’t care if you can’t see the other ingredients. That’s just how much I love goat cheese.

140324-09How was the sandwich? Awesome. I didn’t even miss the meat – I just enjoyed the flavors and fresh vegetables in this sandwich! Highly recommended!

If you are ever in the Waialae area, I highly recommend this place. The sandwiches are great! The bread is fresh and very crusty. While I’m not usually a fan of hard bread, their sandwiches made it a-okay. They were pretty fast in making the sandwiches too! They are still starting up so help support them! We need to keep these quality places around.

Manoa Eats

I just wanted to share some recent eats on the UH Manoa campus. We’ve got some good eateries on-campus but here’s a quick post on a sort of hit and miss.

140322-01Thai Poke Bowl from Stirfresh. It sounded good at first, a thai version of poke on a bed of rice. It did not work. The lime, the cilantro, and red onions did not work well with the ahi. By the time I dug in, the fish was kind of heating up with the rice. The texture of the fish was not good. Not recommended.

140322-02Veal Cutlet from Simply Ono

140322-03My first time having veal! It wasn’t great but it definitely wasn’t bad. Tasted a bit like pork – it had a lot of herbs, not sure how much I loved that. I think a little goes a long way.

Sweet Revenge – Honolulu, HI

Have you heard the story behind Sweet Revenge? If not, I really think you should go to her website to check out her story! I think it makes her super cool and I am more than happy to help her. Well not help just based on her story, but also because her pies are AMAZING. Have you ever tried them? I tried it first at a farmer’s market and fell in love. Then she must have heard my heart and now comes to Manoa every week. Thank you! My go to is the classic Chicken Pot Pie. Everything tastes so fresh and homemade that you just can’t beat it. I can just taste the buttery goodness in every morsel of the pie. It’s definitely not diet food but it is chicken pie for the soul (get it?).


Do you see what I see?

140321-02A closer look…it’s a heart! It’s the little touches that count!

140321-03Just a peek into the best chicken pot pie ever made. Yes, I’ll stand by that statement. 🙂

140321-04I didn’t actually eat this one but it’s her Quiche Lorraine! My coworker got this and he loved it too! You really can’t go wrong with pie.

Nishi Mon Cho Ramen – Manoa, HI

The weather was nice one day and my co-worker and myself decided to walk to Manoa Marketplace. I’ve walked there a few times and it’s a nice walk, definitely not as far as you would think. She decided to get her lunch from Andy’s (always a good choice!) but I didn’t feel like sandwiches so I tried the ramen shop in the marketplace. Nishi Mon Cho Ramen is one of those ramen joints that is run by Chinese, there’s nothing wrong with that (I’m Chinese!) but I just don’t go in expecting authentic you know? Also, Chinese run ramen shops usually incorporate other dishes. I got the Seafood Chow Mein which is obviously not Japanese…lol. I thought they did a pretty good job! It definitely was not one of the best I have ever had but it wasn’t bad either. Just wanted to share how it looks when you go for take out.


Crispy Noodles waiting to be drenched…


Lots of veggies. At first I thought they would be stingy with the seafood but it wasn’t as bad as I thought! Not bad, not great. I enjoy when the crispy noodles get soggy but still maintain a bit of crunch. I also appreciated them packing the gravy separate from the noodles! No leaky package again!

IL Gelato Hawaii – Honolulu, HI

Hi folks. It’s been a long week already but I am definitely going to try to keep up with the posts! Lots of stuff is going on but I’m hoping things settle down soon. Hope you folks are all doing well! I’ve been enjoying the chilly weather these past few days, I wish it could stay! Speaking of chilly, I’m here to share with you a dessert I had recently! I’ve tried IL Gelato before at a farmer’s market and really enjoyed it so I was definitely happy to see them pop open at Kahala Mall!


One Scoop of Old Fashioned Chocolate Gelato – $3.75


Delicious! I love their chocolate gelato. It’s such a rich and creamy chocolate taste. It was really reminscent of ice cream I had as a kid. It’s hard to explain but just trust me, bugga taste good. 🙂

140319-03Kona Royale – $7.50

140319-04Kristian felt like a Kona Coffee dessert. They didn’t have the actual kona coffee gelato so he tried the Kona Royale. It was very big and jam packed with stuff. I really think this is more of a two person dessert – Kristian could not finish it! How was the taste though? I’ll let him comment since it was his dessert.

Local Cravings – Honolulu, HI

Another ahi poke place in Kalihi! Thank god! Costco stopped serving their ahi poke bowls, not that I liked going to Costco anyway. That place is always nuts no matter what time of day it is. I heard Local Cravings used to run tents in farmers markets but now has opened it’s own shop in the City Square shopping center in Dillingham. I’ve been there twice so far. The first visit was a bit of a fluke to be honest. They had been open for only a few days so things weren’t running smoothly yet. I ordered the spicy tuna and they asked what rice I wanted, they suggested the sushi vinegar rice. I didn’t care for it mixed with spicy tuna. Then as I was eating, I found four scales. So, I decided to let them find their footing before going back about two weeks ago. So how did it go?

140318-01Spicy Ahi Crab Poke Bowl!

140318-02The generous bowl comes with rice of your choice (white, brown or sushi rice), furikake, poke of your choice, cucumber kimchee, and taegu. Delicious!

140318-03So the spicy ahi crab poke was a new addition this time around. The lady helping me mentioned that it is one of their best sellers so I definitely had to try it. What did I think? I thought it was just all right. The imitation crab kind of takes away from the full poke experience and there was a strong oyster sauce flavor.  I think for me, when I go back (yes, when not if!) – I will go for the regular spicy tuna over regular rice. Winners. The people (I assume owners) are nice people so I definitely want to return to support local. Also, any excuse to get a bubble tea at Thang II is always welcome.

Yakiniku Don-Day – Honolulu, HI

Yakiniku Don-Day is a cute Korean BBQ joint located behind the Keeaumoku Supermarket. It’s a unique one because it boasts both indoor and outdoor seating. Folks generally opt for outdoor eating – there’s a huge tree in the middle of the eating area and you are surrounded by wonderful stringed lights. I really recommend you give this place a try! They have good food and good service too. They actually cooked for us the whole way through! Usually my service starts off with them throwing stuff on the grill and then like leaving us to fend for ourselves at other places. Let’s get to the pictures!

140316-02Ban chan is EVERYTHING.

140316-03I give Koreans props for their food – mainly for the side dishes! So much effort is put in, I appreciate that.

140316-04Another ban chan and the dipping sauces!  Check out the edges of these dishes, they have been burned once too many. Hell hath no fury like a dish scorned – what am I saying?

140316-05Ooooohhh – we went with the bulgogi pack. It was delicious! It comes with chicken, pork and beef prepared bulgogi style. The pork was definitely the highlight.

140316-06Can’t eat yakiniku without some tofu stew and rice, yum!

140316-01Hello pretty girls on our water bottle! We also ordered yogurt soju – it was so good!

140316-07We had to drink it all, I don’t know how many shots I had…lost count!

The bathroom situation is…interesting. It’s inside of the restaurant. There are two doors, one for women and one that is unisex that also says Employees Only. Yeah weird. I tried to open the door for the woman’s bathroom but it was locked so I was waiting. The staff then told me to go right into the unisex bathroom so I did. Typical bathroom – toilet and a urinal and their entire stock of alcohol. Yes. And umm…one brand of beer had many cases and they were already past their best used by date…that’s all.

I thought sitting outdoors would allow me to not smell like BBQ after dinner. Unfortunately, I still smelled strongly of BBQ. There wasn’t much wind around and when there was, it blew the smoke into our faces…lol.