I love ramen... In fact, I love any soup with noodles and yummy broth. Be it ramen, udon, saimen or Pho I am down to try it and slurp away. You must imagine my excitement when I heard a new ramen joint was coming to town. Alas, I was busy emceeing the Passport to Luxury Ala Moana event the night they had a media tasting, but after seeing all the delicious, drool-worthy, photos on the internet I had to stop in and try the food! I give them two enthusiastic thumbs up! Service is friendly and accommodating, the food is affordably priced, the flavors are bold, well-rounded and the broth - oh my gosh the broth is so good!
When you have time to visit: go early, be prepared to wait outside and come hungry - the place just opened last weekend and its a hit already!
Golden Pork - 1279 S. King Street, Honolulu (just before Choi's Family Restaurant).
If you are a kama'aina like me, born and raised in the islands you probably would never consider going on a food tour unless it's on another neighboring island or you are entertaining out of town guests, right? Well, I had the chance to go on my very first food tour EVER and I was surprised to find that out of the six stops we ate at I hadn't been to 4 of the featured eateries. I knew that it was an eating adventure so I only had a banana for breakfast and was prepped to get my walking shoes (AKA slippers) on and tour the Ala Moana/Keeaumoku area by foot.
Our journey began at Yogurstory off of Keeaumoku and we ended up near Ala Moana Center. Here's a look at how it went and what's involved in the Aloha Food Tours experience.
The Ube pancakes came out for us to share. This is Yogurstory's signature dish - as you can see it's very visual, photogenic and has a unique flavor. The first time I had it I didn't think it was all that good, but this time (under the helm of a new chef) I liked it much more. The pancakes are light, fluffy and the sauce is a slightly sweet ube, coconut blend and its consistency is really good. I can see why everyone loves it!
Next up, we ventured around the block to a food truck that's been getting a lot of buzz, but I haven't had the chance to try it yet - Kau Kau Grill. You have to stay tuned to their social media to know where they are at. Whether it's in downtown or near Kaheka or Keeaumoku they apparently sellout quick!
The Kau Kau Grill chefs made us each a very special mixed plate with bbq ribs, garlic shrimp, fresh island poke and mixed green salad. This was the standard meal of the day. The ribs were fall off the bone amazing, the shrimp well cooked and perfectly seasoned, the poke was fresh and tasty and the salad wasnt your typical iceberg lettuce or cabbage mix it was actually good quality fresh greens! Fantastic! *note don't eat the rice cause there's more food ahead!
Full yet? I know I am - we stopped in at a place I had never been before Musubi & Bento Express where only 2 people can fit comfortably on the inside. They make their food fresh and the musubi is still nice and warm when you get it. One of the visiting guests said "This is the best Spam I have ever had in my life."
Lastly, after all the walking and eating it's nice to end the day with a cool, refreshing and delicious shave ice treat from another place I had never been to - Ailana's. This little gem features some fresh and all-natural shave ice flavors along with ice cream and other fun toppings. I want to try their breakfast too, it looked ono.
And there you have it, my first official walking food tour and I am glad to see it was right here in Honolulu. Mahalo to Pam Davis for inviting me as her guest and thanks to Ryan for being so open to having locals jump in and experience this awesome opportunity. Aloha Food Tours first launched in 2013 and over the past couple of years food tour operators have come and gone, but Ryan is still chugging away trying to find fun, innovative and delicious ways to show others where and how the locals eat!
Originally founded in 1980, Island Air continues to offer Hawaii travelers another option when it comes to air travel between the islands. I was invited to attend a special trip to the island of Lana'i courtesy of the air carrier to get a feel for the airline, its employees, the future of travel to and from Lana'i and the added benefits of flying Island Air.
You may be surprised to learn the average one-way fare of an Island Air flight is $62. Although notably, smaller than a large jet aircraft most planes carry just over 60 people and the airline is posturing itself to order a new fleet in the soon-to-come future. The President and CEO, Dave Pflieger, boasts that the airline employs a team with "heart and excellent customer service." But add to that human contact and service with a smile, the airline also offers convenient airport charging stations, free WiFi, safe, reliable and a friendly atmosphere for travel.
With 5 months on the job Pflieger, who is a former attorney, commercial and military pilot, has high hopes for the future of the airline. The world-renowned, billionaire owner of Island Air, who also owns 98% of the island of Lana'i, Larry Ellison has made a commitment to invest millions of dollars in the company along with possible airport renovations and bringing in new planes. Over the next 7 months flights will continue to fly in and out of Lana'i, during this time from (June - November) both major hotels Manele Bay and the Lodge at Koele will be closed for renovation, but it's important to point out that the island is still open. There are still shops, restaurants, a movie theatre, the golf course, beautiful beaches, hikes and other amenities that are still available to tourists, travelers and kama'aina.
For more on the airline, its flight schedule and more visit: https://www.islandair.com
It's hard to believe that it's been 10 whole years since Shokudo first opened its doors in Honolulu. The mix of Japanese-fusion meets asian cuisine is celebrating this month by offering a Honey Toast special. But this isn't your momma's honey toast, it's a Maple Bacon Honey Toast! AND with each order a little envelope is hidden underneath the toast, under wax paper, in the envelope are prizes ranging from $10 in Shokudo gift card all the way up to $1000 dollars cash. It's the restaurant's way of saying thank you for all the years of support and patronage.
But before I get to what I won after ordering the honey toast, lets talk about how it tastes. The order is huge, 3 whole pieces of toast, and topped with delicious maple ice cream. It's sweet but not overwhelming. There are also bacon bits within the ice cream and on the toast. The toast has a nice cinnamon toast and butter flavor and is toasted perfectly... then the inside is chopped into cubes and topped with the heaping scoops of ice cream and two large slices of fresh cooked bacon. On top of all this your dish will come with a salt shaker. You may wonder what is this for? Like me I thought it was a mistake, but if you sprinkle a few flakes of salt atop the ice cream and toast it adds a nice compliment to the sweet and creamy ice cream. Something very different and also keeps the dish from being too sweet, adds crunch, texture, a hint of salt and contrasts the sugar.
Holy moly - you'd never believe it but some onolicious grinds are being served everyday at a golf driving range over in Aiea, yup a driving range. Don't let the casual setting, open air, tables and rustic look of the place fool you - the best plate lunches, pizzas, local dishes and combinations are available from the takeout window daily from 8am-9pm. Recently launching a new chef and the Inferno pizza over and pizza makers, you can grab and go, sit and relax or order takeout and enjoy a nearby picnic, or just take it home and eat leftovers the next day.
Here's a look at some of the staple dishes and some items that are part of the secret, off the menu, menu. Note: if they have it they can likely concoct your greatest fantasy - like the Pizza Burger, Pastele fries, and any combo pizza your heart desires. They also offer catering options, homemade cucumber kim chee and service with a smile.
Pizza Burger and Fries - cheese burger patties, tomato, lettuce, secret sauce and fries are sandwiched by pepperoni sausage mushroom pizza. This is amazing! It's on the secret menu and you have to ask if they are able to make it. Honestly, this is not for the faint of heart and for anyone watching their waistline, but the flavors are taste is really really good!
Pastele Stew - this is a regular menu item and its the best pastele stew I have ever had. The sauce is nicely seasoned, served with perfectly cooked tender meat, finished with a great tomato fresh relish and creamy corn mac salad. MMMM. The egg doesn't come on it normally, but you know what adding an egg to everything usually makes it better and this was phenomenal.
When you think of P.F. Chang's... Chinese food may come to mind, however they are in the midst of a culinary evolution and are hoping to break all stereotypes. The restaurant chain is located in Waikiki's Royal Hawaiian Center, although I do miss the convenience of the Ward location, the food is still really good, the service is attentive and the location is nice with a good open air atmosphere, lots of seating and nice cool trade wind breezes.
Recently, launched on to their daily menu, P.F. Chang's is now serving up some unique sushi rolls with the help of Honolulu-born Chef Grant Kawasaki, better known for his culinary adventures on Hawaiian Grown TV and Hawaiian Grown Kitchen. The restaurant has created 5 rolls that highlight local flavors, local ingredients and are very appealing to the eye. You might be wondering, why is this chinese restaurant serving sushi? Well the concept is to create more of an Asian bistro feel, showcasing foods from other parts of Asia like Japan, Vietnam and Korea. Expect to see some new items on a consistent basis and if they are popular they will stay, if they don't work then they will disappear.
Here's a look at the new sushi rolls that are great for sharing and are packed full of flavor:
Mahalo Roll - this was my hands-down favorite: deluxe version of the Cali Roll: Crab, cucumber, topped with avocado, tobiko, won ton strips. Topped with kabayaki sauce, creamy sesame sauce and dynamite sauce. This roll had a great fresh taste, nice crunch from the wonton and creamy crab. I liked how it had a lot of textures and the flavors all blended well together.
Shaka Roll- this was very different, they call it a "one of a kind" - Hawaiian ahi poke, sweet onions, fresh limy, cucumber, avocado, kaiware sprouts, enoki mushroom, topped with a lomi salmon relish, served with poke sauce, wasabi aioli, and inamona roasted nuts. Not my favorite of the bunch, but I could see how this would be a fan favorite for someone who likes poke and Hawaiian food flavors.
P.F. Chang's Waikiki is located at 2201 Kalakaua Avenue, open 11am-11pm.