Las Vegas Eats Part #1 (April 2022)

Okay, these pictures are 6 months old. Sorry, a lot has happened since this trip. I don’t know what was up with me but I was sick for almost the entire trip. I got super air sick and just when I thought it was better, it flared up again the next day. It was such a bummer. I still tried to eat some good stuff while I was there. I also came home and tested positive for covid a day after I came home so I don’t know if I was going through it with Covid during the trip or…from the travel home. My constant travel companion that shared a room with me did not get covid so it was all very confusing.

This was my 3rd trip to Vegas and I did enjoy it despite the sickness. I think it is because I am older and wiser (debateable), anyway it was nice traveling again after a 2 year forced break. First stop after we landed? It was late night so we found a ramen joint that is open very late hours, Shokku Ramen. We ordered takeout to bring back to the room because the wait to eat in was too long.

Ichiraku | $24.20
traditional pork broth served with yellow noodles, pork chashu, soy-cured egg, bamboo shoots, naruto, nori & green onions

Not my dish, it was enjoyed but is that worth $25? I don’t know.

Large Chasu Fried Rice | $13.20
egg rice, seasoned and wok-fried with pork, imitation crab, green onions & ginger

Yeah, so I was still feeling kind of nauseous so I went for a comfort food. Fried rice. I thought it was alright, nothing to write home about (even though I am writing a blog about it)

Gyoza | $12.10
7 grilled japanese dumplings

Once again. Nothing special. It was probably made in-house which is nice but $12 for a few gyoza is not my idea of a good time. I am looking at their website and noticed their dining in menu is way cheaper than their take-out menu. That’s dirty.

Next place is Korean! Once again, wasn’t feeling great nor was I wanting anything to eat but I think when you’re sick, you should be hydrated and fed! So we ordered take-out from Seoul Tofu, they are old school so we had to do a phone order.

Seafood and Green Onion Pancake | $14.95

Really good! I wish I wasn’t sick so I could eat more of this.

Free Banchan!

I love how they packed this and I liked the sides they give! Sometimes banchan is my favorite part of the meal.

Bibimbap | $14.95

Ugh, I don’t know how much of a thing this is in all Korean restaurants but they had quite a bit of romaine lettuce in this. I did not like it. I don’t like romaine lettuce in my bibimbap. Other than that, this dish would have been good! Part 1 pau!


Recipe: Healthy Burrito Bowl

I’m back with another TikTok Recipe. This one works quite well and I think is quite easy. When I reheat it, people compliment the smell in the office but I still dread eating it after a while. I mean, it’s a healthy burrito bowl but I digress. Gotta eat healthy some of the time right? Well should be most of the time.

Healthy Burrito Bowl

Ingredients

2 C long grain rice/brown rice, cooked according to instructions
2 lb. Ground Turkey, defrosted
1 package Frozen Pepper and Onion Blend, 20 oz
1 Taco seasoning packet, low sodium
1 can black beans (low sodium if able), not drained
1 can Medium Diced Green Chiles, 4 Oz
1 can Rotel Hot Diced Tomatoes with Habaneros, 10 oz.
Shredded Rotisserie Chicken Breast (optional, I shredded Sam’s Club entire breast of rotisserie)

Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Cook rice as directed on package
  2. Add non stick spray in pan, saute pepper and onions for 2 minutes
  3. Add ground turkey and smash into small pieces
  4. Add taco seasoning, black beans, diced green chilies, and diced tomatoes
  5. Simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes or until turkey is cooked through
  6. Add shredded chicken breast and just heat through (about 2 minutes)
  7. Add mixture to the rice and combine, best served warm

Notes:

  • Original recipe called for 2 packets of taco seasoning, I only need 1 and it works fine
  • Original recipe doesn’t call for the rotisserie chicken breast, I just added it cause I had it. I now make it without the chicken breast and it works fine too!

Cooked mixture ready to mix with the…

Super easy recipe to make. You don’t even have to chop up any vegetables.

Mixed Plate Friday

If you follow Jalna’s blog, you might remember this post about the cured pork strips they got. I remember eating this as a kid, it wasn’t an everyday dish. It’s pricey and also a bit of an indulgence since it’s got a lot of pork fat. It was such a coincidence that I had also bought a pack from Chinatown and it was sitting in my fridge waiting to be made.

I never made it before but remember the elements of it from my memory. I knew I wanted to make it with green beans but only with these flat ones. I don’t know why I had to be so specific with it. I didn’t have a real recipe to go off of, maybe what I had was more of a family dish. I blanched the beans fast kine and then stir fried the pork and beans together. I didn’t want to add too much seasoning because the pork is super flavorful (aka salty) so I added a dash of soy, oyster sauce and sugar. Oh I also started the stirfry with minced garlic. Look. It was damn delicious. I was trying to hold the dish on to last a few days. I ate it in one day. It was just that good. But it could be an acquired taste.

Another family dish I have been making on my own. Ong Choy! Crucial ingredient? Harm Haw. Gotta have that. I just fried up garlic and red chili pepper, add the shrimp paste and then add the stems first….cook for like 2 minutes and then add the leaves and cook down. I must have added some water to this too. I’m sure folks usually do a cornstarch slurry to make the gravy thick. I was lazy. Another vegetable dish I love.

Smoked Chicken Pasta | $18.50
with onions, roasted tomatoes, garlic and fresh herbs, in a white wine and chicken stock, tossed over linguini

I got this dish the other week at Murphy’s, it was one of their specials. Eh. Was alright, I mean, I keep comparing the food to the price because how can I not? The chicken breast was good, super moist and there was a smoky taste so I enjoyed it. Wish there was a bit more pasta. I don’t get why restaurants like grinch out on the cheaper stuff. I think customers are easily fooled if they see more pasta haha. And I am adjusting to a new contact power and it’s hard to see up close now…if not, I would have noticed it said chicken stock. Yeah, it’s sitting in a chicken stock. I wasn’t expecting that. Yeah, I wouldn’t get this again.

Apple Crisp a la mode | $8.00

It’s okay, their apple crisp always comes to save the day. It saved the day. I loved it. Warmed apple crisp ala mode. You can’t go wrong. Have a great weekend everyone!

Mai Musubi – Manoa, HI

Mai Musubi’s old location was in Liliha but I never got to try them out. I learned recently that they opened in Manoa in the old Bubbies location. How awesome is that! They open at 6AM so you can pick up onigiri or bentos before work. I went during their soft opening week. I tried to time out a morning walk with their opening. I mistimed it. I got there at 5:45AM so I started walking in circles in that huge parking lot next door. If someone saw me, they would probably think I was crazy. That’s fine, I didn’t want to get approached by any undesireables.

They opened a few minutes early and I made a beeline in. They only had their onigiris out, I asked what time bentos are usually out and she mentioned about 6:30AM. Very nice lady, I think this place is run by a husband and wife team.

Karaage Chicken Musubi | $2.55

I was told that this was a good musubi but that the chicken was just a bit bland. If they had added just a bit more salt to the chicken, it would have been perfect.

Tuna Mayo Musubi | $2.55

I’m a sucker for tuna mayo anything. Seriously. I could eat many of these. This was delicious. Perfect amount of tuna mayo and can tell they used kewpie. The nori is perfect – it just all works. One thing to know about their musubis, they actually lay all the “fillings” on top. But they are quite generous.

Mentaiko Musubi | $3.00

A coworker has been trying all the different musubis from the different Japanese shops. She really enjoyed this musubi, shared that they are very generous with the mentaiko. She said she likes the rice better at Dell’s. But I guess both options are fine!

Spam Musubi | $2.55

I also love all spam musubis. It was good. Salty. I get it, spam is salty. I don’t want to assume but I think they used regular spam versus lower sodium spam, if they switched it to lower sodium spam, it would be perfect.

Salmon Tobiko Musubi | $3.00

Generous serving of salmon and tobiko! The salmon was also like homemade kine, not from the can. Thoroughly enjoyed!

Crunchy Ume (Plum) Musubi | $2.55

I got this just on a whim. If you like ume, you’ll definitely like this. I liked it but didn’t love it. And since I ate this on its own, I felt like something was missing. I think I wouldn’t mind eating this alongside another musubi…like the karaage one or the spam one. You know? Cause this one was just crunchy and a bit sour so I didn’t care for it by itself.

Viet Chubby Boy – Kalihi, HI

Yes! Another Vietnamese restaurant opened up in Kalihi! And what a cute name, Viet Chubby Boy. Their menu is interesting, mostly Vietnamese dishes but also some fusion dishes thrown in. Yes, this place is located in a strip mall and maybe it’s not the prettiest restaurant you’ve been to but sometimes the best food comes from the humblest places. It’s a clean restaurant with friendly service, so how was the food?

Chubby Spicy Wings | $12.90
fried chicken wings mixed with house spicy sauce

Appetizer to share, I didn’t try one but it was certainly gobbled up by two teenage boys.

French Fries | $5.00

*shrug* look, I had a moody teenager who is a french fry fiend. I got this for him to calm him down. It was fried crispy but lacked salt I was told.

Vietnamese Ham Sandwich | $10.50
pork meat loaf in Vietnamese baguette, carrot and daikon pickle, cilantro, jalapeno, and cucumber

The sandwich was enjoyed by the diner. This wasn’t my dish but to be honest, as I look at the picture, it looks a bit skimpy for my taste. I like when they fill up the sandwich with all the good guts.

Beef Pho Combination | $15.50
our signature spiced beef broth with fresh rice noodle, rare steak, stewed brisket, beef trip, beef ball, white and green onion, cilantro, aromatic herbs. served with side basil, bean sprouts and jalapeno.

The other teenager is a pho fiend. Too many fiends – too much frenzy. I’m used to Vietnamese restaurants having pho as an option and then the crazy variations of toppings you can choose. This place has beef, oxtail or vegetable pho. They say you can customize toppings but I wonder who would know how to do that. And $15.50 for a bowl of pho is a bit…I get inflation but I think I can still get this pho from other places for a cheaper price and still as good.

Vermicelli with Spring Rolls and BBQ Pork | $13.95
BBQ pork, spring rolls, cabbage herb salad, mint, roasted peanuts, fried shallots, house fish sauce, vermicelli noodles

My dinner for the night! Delicious. I always love this dish and the spring rolls were fried to a perfect crisp. Love their BBQ pork, seasoned just right with a good amount of char in it’s cooking. I enjoyed it!

Mixed Plate Friday

Popeyes 3 pc Tenders Dinner (Blackened) | $9.39

Did you know Popeyes started carrying blackened tenders? Been wanted to try it, it’s basically grilled chicken tenders. I really enjoy the seasoning and the chicken is not dry at all (though it might look it). I tried it with the Mardi Gras Mustard sauce and it went well together! I would definitely get this again.

Homemade Zenzai

I wanted to be ambitious and make the fresh strawberry mochi again. I didn’t. I got lazy and was too tired. So I had prepped a can of adzuki bean paste (just cooking it on the stove to remove moisture) and it was sitting in my fridge. I also had leftover mochiko that was sitting in my fridge. It wasn’t the full box so I didn’t know what to do with it (no, I am not making mochiko chicken – no frying for me). Sooo…I decided to mess around make my own zenzai and you know what? It came out really well. Super easy to make. I just mixed water with the mochiko I had, didn’t add else and rolled them into balls and boiled them in water and drained. I cooked down the adzuki I had with some water and added a pinch of salt…and reduced it until it looked like this. My coworkers enjoyed! And you know what? It also reheats well! The balls weren’t solid rocks after reheating.

I used this recipe as guidance.

Herb Chicken Breast Chimichurri Salad | $14.95
Chicken Breast seasoned with spices & herbs then charbroiled topped with our house Chimichurri sauce over crispy Romaine, sliced black olives, grape tomatoes, thin sliced red onions, corn kernels, bacon bits, and Parmesan cheese.

This was from a lunch order over the summer from Kahai Street Kitchen. I wish they had online ordering, I had to call early in the morning before they opened to order every single dish. The guy was kind of monotone on the phone and then I got to this dish. He then asked me, how do you want the chicken done. I was dumbfounded. I just sputtered out, how can it be done? And he says, rare or medium rare. I sat in silence and he starts laughing and I bust out laughing too. That guy was too much, he was so deadpan in his delivery of it too. Anyway, this was a good salad, lol.

Recipe: Baked Tilapia with Lemon

I’m going to try some new dishes and wanted to get more into Mediterranean cooking/dishes. So here’s to the start of some recipes! This one came out REALLY good. And my gosh, doesn’t it look professional? I don’t think I made a dish look so good before (parchment paper and all)

The yummy mixture before I laid the tilapia filets on top for baking. I wanted to slap myself silly – I bought capers just for this dish and totally forgot to add it. I LOVE capers. I guess it will have to wait for the next time.

I bought the frozen pack of tilapia from Sam’s club, this recipe uses 4 filets and the pack comes with 8. PERFECT.

Right after baking in the oven

Baked Tilapia with Lemon

Ingredients

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small lemon, thinly sliced into rings
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 ounce block feta cheese
  • 1 1/2 pounds tilapia
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika (or standard paprika)
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers
  • Finely chopped fresh parsley or basil, for garnish
  • Fresh ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Chop the tomatoes, shallot, garlic, and lemon as noted above.
  3. Place the chopped vegetables and lemon slices in the bottom of a 9 x 13″ baking dish and mix with 1 tablespoon olive oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Crumble the feta cheese into rough chunks and add it to the pan, tossing gently to combine.
  4. Pat the tilapia dry. Rub it with 1 tablespoon olive oil and ½ teaspoon kosher salt, split between the filets. Place it on top of the vegetables and feta in the pan. Sprinkle both fillets with the Italian seasoning and a few grinds fresh ground black pepper, then add the red pepper flakes and smoked paprika. Sprinkle the capers over the top.
  5. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fish), until the fish is flaky and the internal temperature is 140 degrees Fahrenheit when measured with a food thermometer. Garnish with chopped parsley and remove the lemon slices when serving (or eat them if you like!).

Recipe Credit: https://www.acouplecooks.com/baked-tilapia/

A quick salad I threw together with the fish on top. I know, no can see the fish. It’s there. It’s sooo good! Highly recommend trying this recipe!

Moke’s Bread and Breakfast – Kaimuki, HI

Another post on brunch food. This is probably the last one for a while. And there we go, just like that I’ll probably post one again soon. It’s okay, I like spreading the wealth of information. We tried Moke’s Bread and Breakfast in Kaimuki 2 weekends ago? Not a huge extensive menu but I liked that, they can focus their energies on making what they have…great! It was a nice dining experience and the food was good. I’m not going to go away from this post without sharing some pretty funny upcharges they sneak on you…

Lilikoi Pancakes (2) | $12.95
our light and fluffy pancakes topped with amazing passion fruit sauce

One of the dishes they are known for and rightly so. The pancakes are so light and fluffy and the sauce on top makes it. It’s small kine tart, just enough tart and tastes so good with the pancakes. I would recommend!

Sunrise Breakfast #2 | $13.95
honey butter biscuit, two eggs, and portuguese sausage

Sunrise Breakfast #2 | $13.95
honey butter biscuit, two eggs, and ham

Don’t both these plates look great? Showing you the difference between ham and sausage, honestly I would have chosen sausage. And the biscuit. You see the biscuit? The waiter asked if they wanted their biscuits grilled and that it would be really good. Sounds simple enough right? They charged each person 50 cents for grilling the biscuit. It’s not a big amount of money but like I never would have expected a fee for grilling up the biscuit, it was never mentioned that it would cost extra.

Side of Chorizo Gravy | $3.00

Here is the side of chorizo gravy if you wanted to try it with your biscuits. It tasted good.

Home-made Corned Beef Hash | $16.50 + $1.50 (fried rice upgrade)
made fresh from whole brisket with potato and green onion
served with two eggs, rice or hash browns PLUS
home-made toast (wheat, white, dark rye): I went with dark rye

Here’s my plate. It tasted okay. I didn’t think the corned beef hash was anything special. The fried rice was definitely not worth the upgraded price. The bread though? Delicious! They bake their own bread and I would get this again!

FYI – coffee is $3.95 per cup but they absolutely come around plenty to fill ‘er up. All in all, it was a nice dining experience and I enjoyed it. Just laughed at the upcharge on grilling a biscuit and the $3 for the teeny serving of gravy.

Mixed Plate Friday

Birria Banh Mi | $13.00 (maybe?)
vietnamese inspired sandwich with birria meat, mayo, cucumber, pickled carrots, and daikon (radish), and a sprig of cilantro. served on a toasted baguette and a side of consomme

I wanted to try Cocina De Roja when they opened during the pandemic. A birria banh mi? Sign me up. How was it? Okay, nothing great. I rather just get a regular bahn mi. Also when I go look at their online order site now, it’s not even an option to order so maybe this was pointless?

Beef Stroganoff on House-made Fettuccine | $29.00
mustard sour cream demi-glace

Just sharing a picture of this beef stroganoff from Tango Contemporary Cafe in case any of you were curious how it looked. It wasn’t my dish but it was enjoyed!

Seafood Chow Mein | $12.95

Assorted Dim Sum

I don’t usually crave chicken feet but this time, I did and ordered it. This is the only way I will eat chicken feet, it has to be prepared in this manner. I will not digest any other way. I don’t know why, please don’t ask. I can never pass up dim sum and yes, I like to order seafood chow mein as an accompaniment. It reminds me of childhood so I enjoy it. By the way, this is from Ginger & Garlic. I guess the final question is, do you chicken feet?

Have a great weekend folks.

Lo Mein Showdown!

Yes, it’s another noodle post. Sorry not sorry. I was looking through my pictures and it looks like I had like a pretty long stretch of eating lo mein noodles in the summer. What is lo mein you ask? It’s basically a mixed noodle dish, usually egg noodles with whatever toppings you want. Chinese restaurants usually have it with beef brisket and either choy sum or bok choy. Let’s get into it.

Beef Brisket Won Ton Lo Mein | Around $15.00
Bo’s Kitchen (online order available)

I was super excited when Bo’s found their new location after Ohana Marketplace closed down. We did an office order with them and it went pretty smoothly. The reason why I don’t have this price is because it’s generally a soup dish but they are willing to do it lo mein style. The toppings are great, love their won ton. The noodles were a disaster. I don’t know if it was because they had just opened in this location but the egg noodles were so overly cooked that they were just one big gummy mess. Do. Not. Recommend.

Tossed Noodles with Choi Sum Beef Tenderloin | $10.95
Lee Ho Fook Restaurant (online ordering available)

I consider Lee Ho Fook to be one of the originals for this dish and they always make it great. Seriously. And the price? Can’t be beat! Some places don’t allow you to choose between the tenderloin and tendon and not everyone likes tendon, but Lee Ho Fook lets you choose! Not pictured is the side of soup they also give you with the dish. It’s like the broth they use with their noodle soups. Delicious!

Beef Brisket Lo Mein | $14.00
Kukui Cafe (online ordering available)

This one is my favorite. I can’t explain why, the meat is tender and perfectly seasoned. The noodles are cooked well (ahem) and I like the greens they serve it with. Kukui does not give a side of soup with these noodles but I don’t really need it. They also give you a pretty hefty portion. Winner winner chicken dinner!