Imanas Tei – Honolulu, HI

Funny storry about Imanas Tei, well it’s embarassing for me but I’ll share it anyway. One of the first times I dined here, I was seated at the sushi bar and absolutely did not know what I was doing. So guess what I did? I placed my freaking purse on the front counter mantle. That mantle piece that the sushi chefs place your pieces of sushi on. Oh my gosh, the sushi chef who scolded me to remove it looked so mad. I will never forget that moment. Also that was probably one of the last times I dined at the actual sushi bar. Hahaha I don’t like sitting at the bars anyway, I don’t want to be watched or feel like I have to converse with the person behind the bar. I am a true introvert.

Anyway, this was a wonderful visit to the restaurant and it was even better because it was a nice birthday treat meal for me. I am always appreciative of my friends. Anyway, Imanas Tei used to be super popular. Not to say they aren’t anymore but it’s definitely easier to get a reservation now. And guess what! They joined the reservations on Yelp so you don’t have to call in to reserve a table anymore. That was a plus for me!

Chinese Cabbage & Grilled Chicken Salad with Japanese Nanami Chili Dressing | $7.00

Another funny story, I asked if this dish was spicy because my dining companion doesn’t like too much spice. I mean it says chili in the title and the waitress told me it’s not spicy (it was). Not super spicy but there was definitely a kick. I really loved this salad, it was delicious and so refreshing. I would get it again!

Maguro Shichimi Yaki | $17.50
pan fried nanami chili coated tuna with miso butter sauce

BY FAR MY FAVORITE DISH OF THE NIGHT. Their menu has so many items and this one definitely gets hidden in the mountains of text. I just so happened to see a picture of this dish on Yelp and went for it. It was so hard to find it on the menu but oh my word it was delicious. You know the 3660 on the Rise Ahi Katsu dish? The sauce on that dish is so good that I wish I had a big bowl of rice with it. Well this is no different. Dang I wish I had a big bowl of rice to eat with this dish. It’s also very buttery rich but…SO GOOD.

Kakiage | $10.50
fried burdock & seafood

This is definitely a dish you will see across the restaurant on almost every table. Perfect dish to nibble on as you down your beers (and I say you because I don’t drink beer) – freshly fried and served to you in a light batter. Pupu hour lover’s dream! (It’s good for non-drinkers too, per me).

Grilled Yamaimo with Natto (special)

Sorry I don’t have a price on this one, it was one of their specials. I love yamaimo and I love natto so where can you go wrong? We were very curious about how it would be served grilled. It also took a while to come out so the anticipation grew. The dish was good but it was cold?? Like from the refrigerator?? So why did it take so long to come out? It tasted great but I guess when I see the word grilled, I expected it to be served hot? It tasted great and I guess I could taste the smokiness from when it was grilled who knows when because it was ice cold. LOL – anyway it was good.

Anyway, it was a great dining experience as always. They always have a good number of servers running around. Their parking lot is horrendous and they share it with another restaurant and massage place. We got there super early so I was able to score a stall. There is street parking around the neighborhood but that’s a bit iffy to me. I guess you could park in the Nijiya market lot and buy something to get validation? Hopefully the rates outside of the validation aren’t too much.

Recipe: Mixed Berry Muffins

Sorry, I don’t have high end pictures for you folks like ever. And this picture is actually of the first batch I made that weren’t as good as the second batch. Okay, actually I personally liked the first batch because it was super dense and moist to me. But muffins are not supposed to be like that. I took a look at my baking powder and realized it was 2 YEARS after the best by date. Oops. So I went out and bought new AP flour and baking powder and boom, the muffins were a hit at work!

And yes, I did get this recipe from TikTok. It was from a very sweet older man who exclaimed his wife eats 1-2 of these muffins a day. His recipe was all raspberries while mine has strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries (not trying to sound fancy, that’s just what comes in the frozen bags for smoothies!). This is a great recipe and the lemon zest really adds the perfect zing. The recipe below includes my little tweaks.

Mixed Berries Muffins

Dry Mix
3 C all purpose flour (no need to sift)
1 1/4 C sugar (I probably just used 1C and 2T)
4 t baking powder

Wet Mix
⅔ C oil (corn, canola, vegetable)
2 large eggs
1 T pure vanilla extract
1 C buttermilk
Zest of 1 lemon
1 C frozen strawberries, chopped small
1 C frozen mixed berries, chopped small

Chop up strawberries and place back into freezer. Chop up frozen mixed berries and place back into freezer, keep the 2 cups of berries separate.

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl, set aside.

Mix wet ingredients together in a bowl and pour into dry ingredients. Mix until batter is formed (no flour left). 

Add frozen berries one cup at a time, folding berries into the mixture (do not mix or overmix). Spoon into lined muffin tins.

Bake at 400 degrees for 23 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Note: Batter produced enough for about 18 muffins. 

Clubs to Join!

As I promised, here are the Parks and Recreation clubs that may be of interest to you! All online through zoom and no cost!! Please join us!

Book Club

If you like reading and discussing books, here’s an online class for you! Participants, along with a moderator, will select a book and meet weekly to discuss it. Through discussion, we hope to gain a better understanding and appreciation of the books.

Registration Link

Movie Club

If you like watching and talking about movies, here is an online class for you! Discussions will occur virtually and will be moderated. We hope this discussion group will lead to a greater understanding and appreciating of the films we watch. Previous discussions have centered on Asian-American and foreign-language films. Please join us!

Registration Link

Atlantic Magazine Discussion Group

The group will select and read an Atlantic magazine article per week and meet weekly to discuss them.

Registration Link

Mixed Plate Friday

I went to Las Vegas in April, I’ll share some pictures soon although it felt like eons ago. Also, I came back from Vegas with Covid. I guess not everything that happens in vegas stays in vegas. Well, no one wore their mask in Vegas and every time a door opened, I got such a strong smell of pakalolo that I think perhaps I would have tested positive for it had a drug test been administered.

Anyway, obviously Trader Joe’s was an absolute must. This Cacio E Pepe sauce was kind of all the rage back in April so I got it. It’s not worth it. Don’t waste your time, luggage space and like chance of it exploding in your luggage. It’s super bland – it’s basically an alfredo sauce. Just go eat alfredo at a restaurant, it’ll probably be way better.

That’s me trying to make it look better with some steak. Also, these are not udon noodles – they are the special pasta that is like a thicker spaghetti and it’s hollow. Bucatini! That’s what they are called. Anyway, thumbs down.

Speaking of covid, during the last government free giveaway of covid tests – I placed my order and got this. I never got this brand before AND they only sent me two of these and these boxes only contain one test each. I was supposed to get 8 total tests! Well I submitted an inquiry with USPS and they took a while but came through and sent me my brand new 8 tests.

I wanted to post this because this test is AWFUL. If you ever have to buy a test, don’t buy this one. First of all, you can only use this test if you download an app on your phone and the app requires you to give your personal information. I hate that. Then, you see the testing stick on the box? It works as a bluetooth to your phone so basically you can’t touch your phone for 15 minutes because it is being used for the test result. It is all so stupid. And guess what? In the end, it tells me they couldn’t figure out a result with my test. WHAT A WASTE OF MY TIME. Anyway, I already have the app and have one more of these dumb tests left. Don’t use these.

Goteborg Musubi

My friend kindly shared some slices of goteborg sausage with me. If you didn’t know, the best place to buy it is at Times. They will slice it to the size you specify. Also, they tend to put these sausages on sale during big holidays so keep a look-out. I never cooked these before but it is really so simple and you definitely don’t need oil to heat it up. So fast and easy. The boys loved it cause it’s like eating crispy pepperoni – just add some hot rice and furikake on top and you’re good to go.

Jalgachi – Honolulu, HI

I am too lazy to look now but I am pretty sure I have posted Jalgachi before. They are still the top makers of bossam in my opinion, if there is a better restaurant out there, please let me know! I came in for lunch about 2 months ago, food was still delicious. Prices have gone up, but where haven’t prices gone up? Their Yelp business hours have not been updated but they are closed on Wednesdays – FYI! We learned the hard way.

Bossam (Steamed Pork with Oyster) | $37.99

Yes, it’s pricey but it’s so worth. I really love that they season the pork so well. The oysters and the mixture beneath? *chef’s kiss* It’s just the perfect dish. Honestly, I could eat this as my entire meal. Not that I should. (Let me live!)

Complimentary Banchan

They used to give you six dishes of banchan – I guess covid has changed things a bit. And it seems like these are the mainstays – they used to vary up the banchans.

Bibimbap (Brunch Special) | $13.99

Actually, my friend and I shared the bossam and bibimbap. It worked out perfectly, we pigged out but didn’t overstuff ourselves. We had two Korean men dining next to us and both of them constantly left their table to go outside to smoke. They really slowly ate and drank…super slowly. Good thing it wasn’t that busy.

Honey Glazed Hams of Hawaii – Honolulu, HI

Honey Glazed Hams of Hawaii is located so close to my work place but I only tried their deli sandwiches for the first time maybe two months ago? Wild right? And guess what? I loved it. Simple deli menu but it really shows you how good quality deli meats can really elevate a sandwich. I’ve always just bought the packaged deli meats in stores, is it worth it to go to their deli counters to get the meats there??

Anyway, this store is also so cute because it’s like a little craft fair in the store! So many cute little products. I hate their parking lot lol so that’s the only caveat. If you come on a weekday during off-peak hours, it’s not too bad!

Turkey Pesto Melt | $9.95
smoked turkey breast, pesto mayo, melted provolone cheese with tomatoes on white bread

I know this sandwich may not look like much but it was packed full of flavor. Oh so good, highly recommend!

Portuguese Bean Soup

I got this with the sandwich as a combo. Would not recommend. I love myself some portuguese bean soup but ho….this was salty! Maybe it was that day? I don’t know. I’m willing to give it one more try but yes, salty. Also I have a coworker who makes the best ever portuguese bean soup so it’s hard for me to like others as much but well…I can tell if something is too salty…

I am posting the menu that was up in the store when I visited but it looks like their prices have gone up so please refer to their website for the most updated prices. I didn’t see the different combos on the website listing so I wanted to post this anyway.

I also tried their Honey Glazed Ham sandwich, sorry I didn’t get a pic of it but that was so good too. Nice thick slices of tender ham. Man, I wanna go back again soon!

Hello there

I would hate to sit here and tell you I’m back to normal posting. I want to be but that might be a bit hard to promise. I did want to post an update and slowly slip back into somewhat of a normal posting schedule.

First off, thank you for all the warm wishes. We have been living with the new normal and there have been some really rough moments in my life these past few months. I don’t want to go into too much detail here but am posting because I am in a better place now.

I hooked up my phone to my computer for the first time this morning and my god, I have too many pictures to sort through. A lot of my dine out pictures are old and I hardly go out now. I have still been cooking so I’ll post both anyway.

One thing I have really enjoyed for a few months now have been a few clubs I joined through the City and County Parks and Recreation – they are all free and completely online through Zoom. They have been run by a great facilititator and the people in the groups have been small in numbers but awesome awesome folks. If you ever have an interest in joining a book club or movie club, I do hope you’ll join us when the new enrollment period starts! Then you’ll be able to “meet” me as well! I’ll post the enrollment information when it opens up! If you have any questions about the clubs, please don’t hesitate in asking me!

A bit blurry photo but look at the beautiful flowers I received for my birthday! I wanted to share this blurry picture because I wanted to show off my Baymax and Mochi dolls in the back lol.