Bo’s Kitchen – Honolulu, HI

Have you been to Ohana Hale Marketplace yet? I’m still waiting for it to reach it’s full potential! I really hope more vendors jump in and start using that space, it would be like having a craft fair all the time! It’s the perfect venue for new businesses to test the waters, I haven’t had much things to buy the past few visits but they’ve got some pretty cracking food establishments there. The first one I tried is Bo’s Kitchen, I am drawn in by their menu. It’s like Hong Kong street food which we don’t have much of here in Hawaii. I’ve been looking for a restaurant to serve up some good Hainan Chicken and guess who does…

Hainan Chicken

I have wanted to make a homemade Hainan Chicken for years. The chicken you cook is used to infuse almost every element of this dish. You fry up some aromatics in chicken fat to add to the rice as it cooks, you gently poach/cook the whole chicken to get the softest/juiciest meat (even the breast!), use the broth to make a nice little soup to accompany your meal. The sauces for the chicken include a sweet soy sauce, chili sauce and a cold ginger chicken type sauce. Yum.

They do a pretty good job here! I couldn’t eat it right away but it tasted great the next day. I just reheated the rice and kept the chicken cold, didn’t want to overcook it. I would love to return to try their other dishes!

Otoro Hawaii Fusion – Honolulu, HI

When Otoro Hawaii Fusion first opened, I wanted to give it a few months to find it’s footing. I am usually a bit more lenient with new restaurants because I know starting off can be a bit rough. Well, I gotta report the months I waited did not help this restaurant. I think first impressions are everything and my first impressions left a terrible mark. First of all, it’s valet parking. I understand there is not a lot of parking in the area, I also felt bad for the one person valet working that night. I practically parked my own car, and actually retrieved my own car after dinner so…I guess it’s good that it’s free? Still gotta tip the solo worker, he was definitely working hard to get all the other cars parked by himself!

I made my reservations through Open Table and that was great, I wish all restaurants were tapped into an online reservation app. When we arrived in the restaurant, the hostess was a Chinese woman who was noticeably irritated, running around and talking to the other staff in Chinese. Not what I was expecting in a Japanese restaurant, her attitude and demeanor already turned me off from the get go. All the wait staff were conversing in Chinese (don’t get me wrong, I’m Chinese) but their conversations didn’t exactly come off positive which decreases the dining experience.

With the word Otoro in the restaurant name, you’re expecting pretty high-end food and service…
Salmon Skin Salad | $6.50

I kind of expected there to be some lettuce with this salad, like at other restaurants. This tasted okay but would have benefitted with some greens.
Yakitori | $7.00
Tamago | $5.00

Not the dashimaki kind, it’s the sweet omelette
Spicy Tuna Roll | $10.00
Wagyu Beef Fried Rice | $28.00

Let me tell you. Their most popular dishes are their flambe dishes, they bring the dish to your table and light it on fire in front of you. Doesn’t sound scary or dangerous at all, haha. Anyway, they had a wagyu flambe dish but it cost $45 for 2 OUNCES OF MEAT. It’s not A5 meat, so why does it cost $45 for 2 ounces? We didn’t go for it obviously and settled for this fried rice. Well…disappointing too! Most of the “meat” was like the fatty pieces and there was almost no flavor (salt) in this dish. Do not get it.
Otoro Sashimi | $50 (!!!!!!!!!!)

Yes, we ordered otoro. We have ordered otoro from various restaurants and never have we paid SO MUCH for such disappointing quality. Stringy and stingy with the portion. The last bite of the otoro included a bone. COME ON GUYS, GET IT TOGETHER. Especially if this is your namesake and you charge so much. We actually asked the waiter how many slices came in this order and he said 5-6. We got four slices so naturally we asked what happened. He went to ask the sushi bar and came back and apologized that he gave us the wrong answer. All around disappointment.

In the end, I definitely do not recommend this restaurant. They were having a special, if you spent $100 – they gave you a $20 gift card. Wow, that’s pretty nice but we gave that gift card away. Yeah, not worth it.

Ikea – Burbank, CA

Ikea. This store has been a dream of mine to visit for years. We drove out to Burbank to visit this location and I am glad we did. It is a huge store and the street is named after them! I wish I lived in California, I would have bought so much stuff. Not to say I didn’t anyway, I made room for it in my suitcase. I still am holding up hope for it to come to Hawaii one day. Not sure why the this place has such low ratings on Yelp. It’s a nice big store although I’m not a fan of the layout, I guess it’s their way of making you walk through the ENTIRE store. It was a bit of a nightmare for me since I was so unfamiliar with this store, I kept getting lost.

Anyway, my main reason for the visit was also to try the meatballs! Food related, who would have thunk it.

Swedish Meatballs Complete Meal!

I love meatballs, so it doesn’t take much to impress me. I enjoyed it a lot! The gravy was great and the lingonberry jam too! Didn’t need the vegetables or mashed potatoes…give me a big plate of the meatballs and jam and gravy and that would be great. Well, as an Asian give me some rice too, thanks. Something else caught my eye as I lined up…you can see a corner of it in the picture above…

Chocolate Cake

I mean, look at that piece of cake. It’s everything you hope and dream of. It’s like that chocolate cake from Matilda. Mmm yum. I don’t think I need to say much more, just look at it. It looks as it tastes, gooey, moist and delicious. Ikea. Boom.

Ramen Hood – Los Angeles, CA

Ramen Hood is a 100% vegan ramen noodle shop. It is located in the Grand Central Market, which is home to a horde of food shops and fresh markets. Compare it to the Maunakea Marketplace only bigger and possibly cleaner? Anyhow, I tried to plan it perfectly. We would first check out The Broad museum and then grab our brunch/lunch from here. Okay, it kind of worked out. We had to pay for $15 parking for 3 hours of parking at The Broad but the museum took a minimum 1.5 hours to get through. We get to the Market and it is PACKED with people.

I wanted to try two places, Ramen Hood and Eggslut. Eggslut’s line practically wrapped around the market, it was a no go. Ramen Hood was busy too but we were able to order take out. I actually didn’t realize it was a vegan place until I got there…then I got excited, especially about the egg! And let me just say, $2.00 for half an egg…I hope it’s worth it. Let’s check out the food…

Garlic Ramen | $10 (+$2/egg)
Spicy Ramen | $10 (+$2/egg)

Sorry I didn’t get a picture of both bowls with their broths! The broths are great, seriously. Even though there is no meat, there is so much flavor and depth in the broths. A nice kick of umami. We actually drove to Ikea and awkwardly ate this in our rental car in their parking lot, lol. I was also saving my appetite for the Ikea cafeteria so I didn’t finish the bowl of noodles.

If we had more time, we would have eaten it at their bar. That’s the thing about this shop, it isn’t really a sit-down restaurant and they basically have a bar to eat at. So the big question in all your minds, how was the egg? I am coming from a very open and vegan loving place, and with that caveat, I bet you know where I’m heading. I DIDN’T LIKE IT. I really admire their try at a real egg, doesn’t it look realistic? I think the egg white is formed with agar agar and it just…I don’t know, I guess I’m expecting an egg texture and didn’t get it so it just felt odd. Glad I tried it just to know…would I order it again with the egg? Probably not.

Other than that, the ramen is great. Give it a try! And $10 a bowl? What a deal!

Boteaga – Los Angeles, CA

Oh yes, a trip to Los Angeles. Believe it or not, it was my first time to Los Angeles ever. Sure, I’ve been through LAX for connections but never to Los Angeles. It was a last minute booking, limited research and no expectations. I’m glad I went in with no expectations because I had a wonderful time there.

I’ve been through some pretty interesting times in the past few months…including the crashing of my laptop. I was able to restart it but then I lost everything and that certainly puts a cramper on spending time to blog. Some of my entries are long and it takes a bit out of me…so maybe I can try to update with smaller posts. This one is real quick, check out the drink I got from Boteaga:

Pinky Strawberry | $6.00

Isn’t this drink beautiful? I can’t say the motivation for the photograph wasn’t high on my list. How was the drink? Eh….the pink boba balls were much too hard to chew. Other than that, it’s really just a strawberry milk and I am lactose intolerant so I didn’t do myself any favors. Very cute shop located in Japantown Los Angeles. Even the actual cups are cute! But I wouldn’t recommend it.