Mixed Plate Friday

Ahi, Avocado, Tomato, Cheese | $8.85
smoked ahi gourmet spread, carrots, lettuce and sprouts

I was poking pretty hard on Earl’s prices two days ago but can you blame me? I got this sandwich from Andy’s last week and look at the price and size of the sandwich! Can always count on Andy’s to make a great sandwich. Great deal.

Chantilly Parfait | $5.49

I’ve told you folks about the Berry Chantilly Cake from Whole Foods. I loved the cake before but the most recent iterations have left me wanting more…almond! Well, I can’t just buy whole cakes anytime I have a craving so I was so excited to see that they sell a parfait version! It’s located in the cold cases by the cashier. Oh man, did this one deliver. The almond flavor was strong and greatly missed. I enjoyed every bite.

Char Siu & Roast Duck on Rice | $16.00

I’ve been wanting to try Sandy’s Cafe since they opened in the Chinese Cultural Plaza for years now. We did a take-out order in Chinatown so I decided to bite the bullet and order this. I read that their char siu and roast duck is good and sells out fast so I got them both! This whole plate is still cheaper than that Earl sandwich. Hahaha, sorry I keep dogging on the price of that sandwich but I just can’t help myself. The char siu was delicious, tender morsels of meat. Their marinade was a bit sweeter than I’m used to but I didn’t mind it! The roast duck was good too, not the best I’ve ever had but good.

Have a great weekend folks!

Earl Kaimuki – Kaimuki, HI

I didn’t even know Earl moved from their original location to Market City! I haven’t tried their sandwiches in years but finally had a chance to during an office order about a month ago. Check it out!

Cubano | $12.50
sliced ham, braised pork belly, roasted garlic dijonaise, swiss cheese, homemade pickle and fresh lime

Drew | $15.00
pastrami, swiss, tomato jam, whole grain mustard, horseradish mayo, pickle, tomato

Fun Goat | $11.00
goat cheese, fennel onion marmalade, pesto, cucumber, tomato, mushrooms, spinach, EVOO and balsamic

Italian | $17.50
ham, capocollo, salami, provolone cheese, peperoncinis, EVOO, vinegar, lettuce, tomato, oregano & roasted garlic mayo

I got the Italian because why wouldn’t you get that Italian after reading that description? $18 for a sandwich was a hard sell. The sandwich was really good but I just couldn’t shake the price tag. I guess my thing would be, I don’t think it was worth the cost even as good as it was. Then again, I could eat a sandwich anywhere and still feel the same. I’m not a sandwich snob.

Kikuya Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar – Kalihi, HI

Correct me if I’m wrong, isn’t there a Kikuya in Kaneohe? Yes, I see there is, with a slightly different spelling. Are they sister restaurants? Anyway, I went to the Kalihi Kikuya for dinner on a Friday night and it was pretty okay. I wouldn’t call this high end Japanese but more of a family style restaurant, super fast service. The restaurant was full of Korean waitresses, nothing wrong with that! The hostess was super friendly and the other wait staff were just super hustlers, not the chatty type. The location may not be ideal for most. The parking lot is kind of horrendous and shares the same lot with I don’t know, 10 restaurants? I thought I found a stall in front of the Chinese restaurant and parked when a worker came out asking if I was picking up from them. No, I wasn’t. She said the stall I used was for their pick-up orders only. Okay, I moved my car. There was a cone not in the stall but fronting the stall with no sign. They couldn’t just write a quick piece of paper saying take-out only? The cone was not blocking the stall, I promise.

Anyway, I parked next to the adult store. I didn’t even know we had one in Kalihi, lol.

Combo Dinner Set Sides
edamame, pickled cabbage (pink stuff), tossed salad (with an asian vinegary dressing, good!), miso soup

Combo Dinner 1st Choice | Shrimp Tempura w/Veg.
Two big shrimps, kabocha, green beans

Combo Dinner Set 2nd Choice | Sushi
4 pcs. nigiri, ahi, salmon, tai, tamago

Combo Dinner price is $17.95 for 2 choices and $20.95 for 3 choices. A pretty good deal to me nowadays! The food came out FAST. Just homey Japanese dishes. The sushi was pretty good and the cuts were good!

My brother chose the sushi and the chicken karaage (WHY!). To me, if you gonna pay the same price for the sets – go for the pricier stuff! Not chicken karaage! I tried a piece. It was bland, not enough salt and they don’t serve it with lemon. Wouldn’t get the karaage again.

All in all, it was good! Not too busy, we got seated right away but the restaurant definitely had groups dining in already at 5PM. I bet it gets super busy after my senior citizen dining time. I would definitely dine there again, great to know that such a restaurant exists so close to home. Get plenty restaurants I need to check out in this strip mall.

Mixed Plate Friday

Just wanted for be fancy…

Yummy soft tofu slathered in goma dressing and chili oil. Delicious!

Vegetable Board | $15.00

Grilled Marinated Vegetables, Quinoa, Avocado, House Pickled Vegetables, Roasted Beets, Grilled Asparagus

I had this over the summer for dinner at Tango Contemporary Cafe. I enjoyed it a lot! But gosh, was I eating healthy or what?

Lunch Bento | $10.00
marinated boneless short ribs, wing dings, kielbasa sausage, shumai, taegu, takuan, fishcake & kimchee

We ordered bentos from Taka’s Box Lunch for an office retreat and I thought the price was pretty good! I was trying to call them all day on a Friday and sent them a message on Instagram with no response. It was a bit frustrating but I finally got a hold of someone on Monday morning and was able to put my order in. I heard they are pretty busy on Fridays so I understand. The orders all worked out and I thought it was pretty good. I like laugh at wing dings and ribs – the “s” makes it sound like you get more than one. You don’t. It’s okay, still worth it.

Recipe: Chickpea Salad Sandwich

This recipe was trending a bit on social media – using chickpeas to make a mock tuna salad. I think it tastes great, does it taste like tuna salad? No. But it tastes good enough for me! Here is the recipe I followed: link here.

Let me do a quick rant about bread I bought at Sam’s Club. I bought it on I think Thursday night and this was Sunday morning.

At first, I thought it was like maybe a burnt mark or something? I don’t know, I was grasping at straws.

Definitely mold. I was so mad. But it was also not worth it to me to go back for $3 something. Ugh! I just gonna put bread straight into the fridge when I get it now. I went Longs on Monday morning and saw the same brand with the same marks on it on the shelf. Blah! Be careful!

Mr. Beast Burger – Honolulu, HI

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I am old. Heck if I know who Mr. Beast is but ask any teenager or kid and they all seem to know who he is. I loathe to even look up his details, I am sure he is internet famous but doesn’t seem too terrible in terms of his role modeling for kids. Anyway, he started doing burgers over the pandemic and it was available here. The only thing is, they operate out of ghost kitchens and during the pandemic, you could only order his food through food delivery services. I don’t do those. Well I checked again recently and was pleased to see that they now also allow for pick-ups! If you go to his website, you can pick out the location you want to get yours from. We ordered ours from the Buca di Beppo location in Ward, they have a little pick-up area at the front of the restaurant.

Beast Style Double Burger Combo | $14.49
smashed crispy beef patties with house seasoning, american cheese, pickles, diced white onion, mayo, ketchup and brown mustard on a toasted bun served with your choice of seasoned or Beast style fries and a drink.

I didn’t eat these combos, but the burgers were enjoyed quite nicely. If you got teenager boys to feed, you found a good option.

“Seasoned” fries

I put seasoned in quotation marks because I was told these were not seasoned at all. Salt was added by us. Yeah when I see seasoned on a menu, I expect to see the seasoning. These look just plain and also overcooked.

Beast style fries | +$1.80
loaded with caramelized onions, American cheese, pickles, mayo, ketchup and mustard

When I saw this on the menu, I thought it was like delicious cheesy fries. It’s not. It’s literally what they put on top of a burger onto fries. Weird…right?

Anyway, the burgers were enjoyed. We may return just to try the other burgers they have on the menu. This gets a meh rating from me.

Mixed Plate Friday

Just no.

Edomae Nigiri Sushi (9pcs) | $11.49

I got this set from Nijiya Market, I say this is a pretty good price for the sushi set! Tasted great, and yes, that’s oyster right there! Would definitely recommend this!

Yakisoba (Fried Noodle) | $7.49

Another dish from Nijiya and yet another winner dish! I enjoyed it!

For any Yoku Moku lovers out there, I saw this display at Nijiya University! No need to wait for Neiman Marcus and now no more Shirokiya (sad face).

Okay last share is purely silly, I’ve talked about my love of miniatures and found this cute miniature Yeti Cooler from a crafter online. I put the cooler onto my miniature cart from Daiso….but wait!

I added my cute Rement drinks into the cooler and yes…THERE ARE ICE CUBES INSIDE. It’s the little things (literally) that bring a smile to my face, it’s okay to surround yourself with things that make you happy. Happy Friday!!!

Recipe: Taro Cake

I’ve decided to explore my roots through cooking and here is one! You’ve probably had taro cake in dim sum restaurants. They’ll pan fry up these thick slices of dough, you can barely taste any different between the rice dough and the taro pieces. It was nothing like the taro cake I grew up with. Although, my family’s recipes went through variations too. It started off with taro but soon became potato cake and then black eyed pea cake. Perhaps they were playing with flavors or maybe trying to find economical and easier ways to prepare this dish.

I haven’t had this dish in quite a while and had a strong craving for it, unfortunately, I am unable to find a similar dish in restaurants so here we go.

Dried shiitakes, rehydrated in hot water and diced

Lup cheong, diced

Boiled taro, cubed. This is the first time I worked with taro and boy oh boy, I can see why my family moved away from it but to me, it’s worth the work (the peeling!!!) and the taste is irreplacable.

Dried small shrimp, soaked in hot water and then minced. Keep that water from soaking! Absolute star of the recipe, you cannot omit this ingredient!

Stirfry the above ingredients together with some chicken bouillion, oyster sauce…your kitchen will smell DELICIOUS.

The rice mixture is super thin, the liquid is from the shrimp liquid. I think it made a difference, so much more flavor!

I added a layer of the filling at the bottom of the dish and then spooned the rice liquid on top until it was barely covering the filling and steamed it.

Right out of the steamer…

Love the sprinkling of roasted sesame seeds and chopped green onions on top. This recipe came out great!

Wu Tao Gau
“Taro Cake”



180 g rice flour 

½ t salt

½ t sugar

½ t white pepper

2 C of dried shrimp water

Taro Mixture:

340g taro root (weight after peel is removed), boiled, peeled and cut into small cubes

25g dried shrimp, rehydrated in 2 C of hot water

  • Reserve 2C of the dried shrimp water for use in the batter

8-10 shiitakes, rehydrated and minced (no stems)

2 lup cheong (Chinese sausage), cut into small pieces

2 T oil (vegetable/corn/canola)

1 chicken bouillon cube

½ – ¾ C water

2 T oyster sauce


Minced green onions

Roasted Sesame Seed


Boil taro root in water for 45-50 minutes. Drain and let taro cool down in cold water, okay to make it ice water. Once cooled, taro skin will come off easily. Dice into small cubes.

Heat up 4C of water, split in half to soak dried shrimp and dried shiitakes separately for an hour. 

Drain both shiitake and dried shrimp, reserve the shrimp water! Mince both shrimp and shiitakes into small pieces. Dice lup cheong into small pieces.

Heat oil in a pan, add lup cheong and stir fry until fragrant. Add shiitake and stir fry for about 30 seconds, add dried shrimp and stir fry for another 30 seconds. Add taro root and stir fry for about a minute. Add chicken bouillon cube and about ½ to ¾ C of water. Let mixture simmer on medium high for about 10 minutes. 

Remove mixture and place on the side. Mix together rice flour, salt, sugar and white pepper in a bowl. Reheat dried shrimp water in the microwave for about 1 minute. Slowly stream 1.5 C of the water into the dry ingredients while whisking.

Prepare a steamer on high heat. Grease a glass pie dish (pyrex kind) with a neutral oil (corn, canola, vegetable) and add about ¼ C of the taro mixture to the bottom of the dish. Once the water is boiling, mix the rice batter right before ladling about 2-3 soup ladles full onto pie dish. Place in steam and steam for 25 minutes on high. Check after about 15 minutes for the water level, add more water as needed.

Remove from heat and garnish immediately with green onions and sesame seeds. Best served warm, enjoy!

Note: This made about 3 pie dishes worth with tons of taro mixture leftover. Will play around with batter recipe for correct yield to the taro mixture.

Kamukura Ramen – Honolulu, HI

I was scrolling through Instagram and one of the folks I follow talked about Kamukura Ramen, a new ramen joint that opened up in Ala Moana at the Lanai Food Court. This user is a Japanese chef and mentioned that the fried rice they serve is the closest to the fried rice he has had in Japan ramen shops so you know that got me thinking, wanting, and GETTING it. I came this past weekend at about 11, no long line but definitely had orders already. A good sign was a table next to me had three guys from Japan going for it. I wonder if they liked it.

This blog entry may turn into a…I tried it so you don’t have to because their dishes are kind of pricey. Let’s just say I paid nearly $35 for a ramen combo. It’s hard to feel good about this purchase especially since it is located in a food court, does that sound snobby? I am not used to spending this much for ramen. Well how was it?

Ramen * Gyoza * Drink * Fried Rice Combo | $29.99 + $2.99
white cabbage, pork, roasted pork

Now, this combo is with the most basic ramen they have. If you want to get an upgraded ramen (for example, I wanted the egg – you have to pay the difference). I have to say, all the pictures include nice greens in the bowls but my bowl did not come with chives or green onions and if you wanted to add, you have to pay more. $3.49 to add scallions as a topping? Why I no just go Foodland Farms and buy a bunch and cut it into the ramen myself? Okay sorry for being snippy.

I had to eat this at home and no worries, the integrity was not lost in the dish. They pack the soup separate so I reheated the soup a bit before adding it to the noodles. Here it is in final form. The char siu is very thinly sliced – there is an egg in there!

Here are the noodles, char siu and egg before I added the soup in. The noodles were perfectly cooked. No complaints on that.

The broth before I added it to the noodles. They like their chinese cabbage. I like it too.

Ugh, I thought I got a clear picture of the egg. I didn’t. But you get the idea. It’s perfectly cooked and has the perfect gummy yolk inside, no complaints.

Fried Rice! Okay, I was super excited to try this. It was good, not great. Nothing I would yearn to go back for you know?

Gyoza! To me this was the best part of the meal. They were pretty nicely packed in with filling, tasted like it was made by the restaurant. It comes with a packet of the gyoza dipping sauce. I really enjoyed this!

Final verdict? Well it was good. $35 good? I don’t know. I paid by credit card and of course when they turn the machine around, they ask for tip. I don’t know man, I am doing take out in a food court and I am being charged $35 for this – I wasn’t inclined to tip (sorry!). The upcharges to add just bean sprouts or green onions is crazy to me. I get that costs are high right now but…that high?? It was all good, not great. I feel I can go Wagaya and pay less and get the same if not better food.

Mixed Plate Friday

Anko Spread with Butter

I got this so long ago from Costco, not sure if they even carry it anymore! I was super curious about it and I got curiosity got the best of me. I’m not a big toast person anyway but still got it. It’s good! I still have almost full jar in the fridge because like I said, I am not a big toast person lol. I enjoyed eating it with sliced fruits like below.

In June, I had this huge urge to adopt a cat. I don’t know why. I just really really wanted to so we visited the Hawaiian Humane Society and I was enamored with this cat. He was a new addition, rehomed (boo) but absolutely beautiful cat who was SO chill. That’s the kind of cat I need, chill. He barely moved lol but something in his face – is there a sadness? I don’t know. I even imagined taking him with me to work to chill as a work therapy cat. His name was Paco and I think I got to see him 2 times before he was adopted. I knew he would be a fast one to go, I hope his new family is treating him well. Oh, and I got over my urge of getting a new pet. For now.

Okay, can you see which sticker I am laughing about? Hint: it’s easier if you read it out loud. Another hint, I am an immature child with dumb jokes. Let me know if you got it. Happy weekend to you!