Hello Oahu!

Hello Oahu!

They say “Ono” means delicious in Hawaiian. On my very first trip ever to Hawaii; I can say I definitely had lots of “Ono” eats in Oahu. Join me in this blog post as I reminisce about some of my most ono eats in the islands.

Beachside Bliss

When one thinks of Hawaii; one thinks of tropical weather and the water. Thanks to my hotel; BeachComber Waikiki I was able to soak up the sun and enjoy lots of good eats right by the pool.

Right at the lobby of the Beachcomber; is the Hawaiian Aroma Caffe; a lovely caffe known for açaí bowls, coffee and other treats.

The first thing I got to try here is their Acai Bowl.

Their Acai Bowl consisted of strawberries, pineapples and blueberries all piled on top of frozen açaí. It was a nice, icy treat perfect for a sunny day!

I got to try Hawaiian Aroma Caffe for breakfast too and it was once again pure beachside bliss.

They have various waffles that they serve here and I chose to get the Guava Waffle. This lovely waffle was topped off with fresh fruit, maple sauce and whipped cream. I also got to try their Morning Feast. This was a fulfilling plate consisting of two eggs, three bacons, three Portuguese sausage, salad and toast. It went perfect with their Coco Choco Mocha drink.

Hawaiian Aroma Caffé is well know for their coffee and I loved their drinks too! Their lattes are super smooth and so tasty! So Ono!

Hello Kitty Snacks

Aside from tropical weather and the beach; did you know Hawai’i has lot of Japanese jnfluence? I saw this while visiting the Shriokiya Japan Village Walk at the Ala Moana Center. It was here that I found the most amazing Hello Kitty waffles from Kulu Kulu.

The Hello Kitty Waffles are offered in a variety of flavors and we chose to get it in red bean and matcha. Not only were they super cute; they were super ono too!

Breakfast Bliss

I shared some breakfast bliss already earlier with my experience at Hawaiian Aroma Caffe but I got to have even more morning delights when I visited Liliha Bakery.

Located at the Ala Moana Center; I had breakfast here before a shopping day. My morning feast consisted of Loco Moco and a Country Style Omelette with Portuguese sausage!

Loco Moco and Portuguese sausage are well know Hawaiian treats and so I had to make sure I had some during my trip. Here at Liliha Bakery they did it right! The Loco Moco gravy was perfectly thick and went well with the runny egg! The Portuguese sausage was also just right!

Farm to Table

We hear “Farm to Table” all the time now but Hawai’i puts a different meaning to it! When I visited Tropical Farms; I experienced the true farm to table with their famous macadamia nuts!

The farms has a variety of macadamia nut trees and you even crack your own nuts. They have a variety of macadamia nut flavors such as Kona coffee, caramel glazed, Maui onion and honey roasted!

Fine Dining Hawaii Style

Live. Love. Aloha.

It was a treat yourself kind of trip with experiences at not one but two restaurants by two famed restauranteurs; Michael Mina and Roy Yamaguichi!

Mele Kalikimaka! I had the most lovely Hawaiian holiday meal at Michael Mina’s Stripsteak in Waikiki!

Here we were treated to their Signature Duck Fat Fries Trio that came with truffle aioli, sriracha ketchup and garlic herb oil. My favorite dipping sauce was the truffle aioli.

We also had their Waipoli Greens that consisted of shaved vegetables, beet noodles, kukui nuts, Pomegrante molasses. The beet noodles were so unique and added for a nice touch to this salad.

Last but not least we had the most delicious entrees and sides. We had the Washugyu flat iron and Miso Scottish salmon along side their mac and cheese with black truffle and Parmesan and spicy fried rice with five spice pork belly.

The experience at Stripsteak was truly one of the best steak house experiences I’ve ever had!

My other one phenomenal fine dining experience occurred at Roy’s Waikiki! Roy’s Waikiki is by celebrity chef Roy Yamaguchi. I had been wanting to try a Roy’s for awhile now and was so happy to try it at the place where it all started; Hawaii!

Our meal here started with Braised Short Rib Tacos with Avocado Crème. With its crispy shell and tender short rib filling; this was one great starter!

Next up we had the Waipoli Greens. This butter leaf lettuce salad had blue cheese remoulade, spiced maple bacon and stuffed croutons! I loved the sweet dressing and the savory croutons. They matched perfectly!

For the entrees; we had Garlic Buttered Filet Mignon, “Chinese Style” Steamed Opah, Slow Braised Honey Mustard Grilled Beef Short Ribs! Each dish was huge and very fulfilling!

Last but not least we had Roy’s Melting Hot Soufflé! This was a double treat because it was served with Hawaii’s famous Lappert’s Ice Cream! I loved the overall rich chocolate being combined with sweet vanilla!

Whether it be a simple cute breakfast by the pool or a lovely dinner by some of Hawaii’s most famous chefs; I had the most amazing time for my first ever trip to Oahu.

My trip to Oahu was truly filled with “Aloha” in every bite! All the places I tried were so “Ono.” Mahalo Hawaii for one unforgettable food journey!

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Hello Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute Matsuri Festival!

Hello Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute Matsuri Festival!

The Matsuri festival is an annual festival held at the Japanese Cultural Institute in Gardena, California. It’s a festival that celebrates Japanese culture and heritage and brings the community together for fellowship, friendship and good food.

The year’s festival was a lot of fun and offered some of the tastiest cuisine ever.

The Yakisoba booth was right up front and made for quite a welcoming booth for those entering the festival. Not only did the delicious aroma of the Japanese noodles attract visitors; so did the loud chants and songs of the vendors at the booth.

The Chicken teriyaki booth was one of the most sought after booths of the festival. Their chicken baos were fabulous and a tasty and true hit!

Spam musubi is always a favorite dish in Japanese and Hawaiian culture. I saw a lot of folks buying the snack and I too could not resist purchasing some of the authentic Hawaiian treat that they offered.

There were also lots of sweet desserts for folks. Aside from shaved ice, they also had taiyaki, imagawayaki and Okinawan andagi! Imagawayaki flavors included an and blueberry. I loved how fresh and hot the imagawayaki and andagi were. The sweet deep fried andagi buns were delicious!

I loved coming to the Matsuri festival this weekend. It was an awesome time having a foodie trip around Japan right here in Gardena, California.

Hello King’s Hawaiian Grill @ Dodger Stadium!

Hello King’s Hawaiian Grill @ Dodger Stadium!

Take me out to the ballgame….for some Hawaiian food!

Dodger Stadium says aloha via King’s Hawaiian Grill! Located at the left field pavilion at Dodger Stadium is King’s Hawaiian Grill. This is the second season that the Hawaiian favorite is back and they’re offering several ono (that’s delicious in Hawaiian ;)) dishes that’ll make you feel like you’re in Dodgertown, Hawaii!

No Dodger game is complete without a Dodger Dog and at King’s Hawaiian Grill they have a very special version. The Hawaiian BBQ Dodger Dog is served on King’s Hawaiian hot dog bun and is topped off with smoked pull pork and King’s Hawaiian original sweet pineapple bbq sauce!

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I loved the smoked pulled pork and the nice sweet pineapple bbq sauce that was smothered all over! It’s definitely a taste of the islands in a very unique way; Dodger style.

One of my favorite Hawaiian treats is dole whip and they have not one but three different versions at King’s Hawaiian Grill. Choice of dole whip flavors are pineapple, raspberry and strawberry. I can’t pass up on a classic pineapple dole whip and it turned out to be the perfect treat for a hot, spring baseball game!

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Best of all the dole whip comes in a souvenir Dodger hat helmet. You can choose from Dodger blue or pink! I bleed Hello Kitty pink 😉 and so I had to choose a pink one :).

In addition to offering all these delicious dishes; King’s Hawaiian has partnered with Dodger Legend Steve Garvey for special events at the King’s Hawaiian Grill throughout the Dodger season. 

Saying aloha at Dodger’s Stadium via King’s Hawaiian Grill will truly make you feel like you’re in paradise in Dodgertown.

For more smiles, please see my Yelp review on King’s Hawaiian Grill!

Hello Island Flavor Cafe!

Hello Island Flavor Cafe!

Summer is in fill swing. Sun’s out and it’s time for some vacation fun. An island vacation would be perfect. Perhaps Hawaii? 😉 If a Hawaiian vacation isn’t in the plans any time soon; have no fear because Island Flavor Cafe in Torrance is here to bring Hawaii to you.

Island Flavor Cafe is a new a cafe offering us the most ono dishes ever. (Ono means delicious in Hawaiian). They have all the (Hawaiian) local favorites such as oxtail soup, spam and loco moco. Their breakfast grinds actually includes not one but three loco mocos (regular, roast pork and chicken katsu). They also have daily specials. Some specials in the past include pork lau lau, hamburger curry and sweet and sour spare ribs.

On the day I visited their special was the Beef Curry Stew.

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The Beef Curry Stew is one tasty Hawaiian treat with tender beef, potatoes, carrots and lots of curry sauce. The curry sauce has a homemade feel and it goes perfect with the white rice.

The main speciality of Island Flavor Cafe however is the Furikake Chicken.

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This dish is unlike any other and I was definitely both intrigued and delighted by it. In this past I have had many food dishes such as fries sprinkled with furikake; the dry Japanese seasoning that has sesame seeds and chopped seaweed. It is only here that I got to see it sprinkled over chicken. Their version of Furikake Chicken is delicious! The chicken itself is perfectly fried to perfection. The fried chicken is topped with a nice sweet glaze and sprinkles of furikake. It’s very flavorful and definitely ono.

Hawaii maybe 2,479 miles away from Los Angeles but the taste of the islands is not. Island Flavor Cafe in Torrance will bring a bit of Hawaii to you along with some ono kine grindz 😉.

For more smiles, please see my Yelp Review on Island Flavor Cafe.

Hello Back Home in Lahaina!

Hello Back Home in Lahaina!

It’s always nice to be back home…..

I last dined at Back Home in Lahaina a couple of years back. With life’s busy schedule, I haven’t had the chance to be back until recently during a lunch with friends. I must say I truly enjoyed myself and found myself thinking how there really is no place like home….

Our meals here started off with some delicious appetizers via lumpia and spam musubi.

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Lumpia is a favorite and classic Filipino appetizer. Being Filipino, I was pleased to see Back Home in Lahaina sticking to the traditional Filipino egg roll. Their version was packed with meat and vegetables just like how my mom makes it home. 🙂

For my main entree here I chose to get a combination of Lahaina fried chicken and beef katsu. My combo plate came with macaroni salad, ramen salad and chicken sausage fried rice.

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The Lahaina fried chicken has always been a favorite of mine. With its crisp, sweet batter and tender chicken; this Hawaiian fried chicken has delicious written all over it. The beef katsu was also another crunchy, delightful meat. Both paired well with the fried rice. Back Home in Lahaina has several options for their fried rice and I chose to get it with chicken sausage. It was very fulfilling. Last but not least was their ramen salad and macaroni salad. Both are very flavorful but it is the creamy, soft macaroni salad that wins me over every time! The whole meal just reminded me the comforts of home cooking and happiness with the ohana.

Aside from the drool worth savory eats, Back Home in Lahaina has some amazing desserts. Baked right it house, they have quite a variety. The cookie offering itself is amazing. They have  Kahelani cookies, rainbow cookies, Kylie’s paradise cookies, peanut butter cookies, chocolate crunch cookies, Mauna Kea cookies and Choco-coco oatmeal cookies! There is a cookie for every sweet tooth.

My favorite is the Mauna Kea cookies. The powdered sugar on top of the crisp shortbread is simply to die for!

If you’re more of a cheesecake or person versus a cookie person, than have no fear because there’s plenty of dessert offerings for you too! They have Haupia cheesecake, chocolate delight cheesecake and jello cheesecake. They also have Haupia cake.

The Haupia cheesecake and Haupia cake is great for anyone who loves coconut. The cake is so soft and moist and consists of angel food cake along with some coconut cake. The chocolate delight cheesecake has rich, chocolate mousse that is perfect for the chocolate lovers in the world. Last but not least is the jello cheesecake. This one is my personal favorite. I love the layer of jello on top of the soft cheesecake and crunchy crust.

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To go along with my savory and sweet eats here, I had a nice refreshing glass of passion orange guava. This drink is great for hot days like today.

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Back Home in Lahaina was an amazing place for dining with friends today. From their appetizers to their entrees and to their sweets, there was something tasty for every one! It truly is nice to be back home ;). Being back home makes me smile. 🙂

For more smiles, please see my recent Yelp review on Back Home in Lahaina.

Hello once again to the charming Gardena Bowl Coffee Shop!

Hello once again to the charming Gardena Bowl Coffee Shop!

When I first came to Gardena Bowl Coffee Shop for Easter brunch earlier this year, I instantly became a fan of the charming coffee shop offering homestyle cooking. If breakfast was good, lunch and dinner had to be great as well and I made a note to come back to check it out. I recently came back and indeed their lunch/dinner entrees are just as delicious!

All of their dinner entrees come with green tea and a miso soup.
Their miso soup is delightful. The warm broth is tasty and not salty like other miso soups. I was also pleasantly surprised to see vermicelli noodles in the miso soup. The vermicelli noodles add a nice touch to the soup. It brings a little more depth to the soup.
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One of the entrees, I really wanted to try here was the tempura. A coworker mentioned to me how huge their tempura plates were and my curiosity was peaked! On my trip here with my friend, we ordered the tempura dinner and was indeed impressed. The plating is beautiful and there is a good array of crispy tempura. There is shrimp and various veggies such as bell pepper and zucchini. The tempura was served piping hot and simply delicious!

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The other entree I got to try was the karaage and beef teriyaki This Japanese dish was another winner. Their karaage similar to the tempura was fresh. I loved that the instant crunch at first bite. It came with a tasty potato macaroni salad. The crispy karaage and the creamy potato macaroni salad were the perfect pair. The beef teriyaki in this dish was excellent as well. The tender beef with sweet teriyaki flavor went well with white rice.

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Gardena Bowl Coffee Shop continues to be one of the most charming spots in the South Bay for me. Their homestyle cooking continues to make me smile.

Hello Egg-licious Easter Brunch Hawaiian Style!

Hello Egg-licious Easter Brunch Hawaiian Style!

Happy easter everyone! 🍳😊!

It is far from being a fancy brunch place. It’s a little hole in the wall as many would say but nevertheless Gardena Bowl Coffee Shop made for a nice place for a happy Easter Brunch place.

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Gardena Bowl Coffee Shop is a place frequented by many folks who want to enjoy classic homestyle cooking. Their speciality dishes is a hybrid of Japanese, Filipino and Hawaiian dishes.

For today’s happy Easter meal, I chose to get the Hawaiian Royal. It is Gardena Bowl Coffee Shop’s signature dish. It has Portuguese sausage, chashu, green onions and egg over a bed of rice with teriyaki sauce. It was one hearty meal with plenty of tender Portuguese sausage and savory chashu. The teriyaki sauce adds a lot of sweetness to this dish.

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My mom chose to get the bacon fried rice with eggs over easy. Little pieces of bacon mixed with the eggs and the stir fried rice made for casual yet satisfying breakfast dish. It was egg-licious and equally egg-celent as my Hawaiian Royal dish.

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My mom and I were not alone in choosing this place for Easter Sunday eats as several other families were also there enjoying the Hawaiian fare.
It’s not your typical place to enjoy Easter brunch but for a place that offers homestyle Hawaiian fare, this place was breakfast bliss on Easter morning.
Though this place is simple and small, their savory dishes have made Gardena Bowl a staple in the South Bay and one that is sure to bring more smiles for many more years.

For more smiles, please read my recent Yelp review on Gardena Bowl Coffee Shop.