Chances are you know who Lanai is... The former radio deejay turned entrepreneur then television star is now venturing into the Hawaii tour business. And who better to take you on a food tour than one of the Great Food Truck Race winners himself?! The Aloha Plate Hawaii Food Tour is an intimate 4 hours spent driving from central Honolulu to Waipahu and back to experience what it's like to be a local, eat local food and learn a few things about Hawaii in the process.
Lanai picks you up in a minivan and the tour begins. He is quite knowledgable about the history, ahupua'a, culture and background of the region here on Oahu. I started to realize that he really knew his stuff after passing through Kakaako and learning about the days when Kamehameha the Great first arrived there too. Seriously, he's done so much research as a local you will certainly learn a few things along the way.
Already provided in the van are bottles of chilled water and a musubi for the drive west. During the drive Lanai gets a feel for your past experience in the islands and your knowledge. Once in Waipahu you make your first stop at the famous Tanioka's Seafoods and Catering. Known for their poke, fried chicken and other local treats you are immersed in the line with the locals as you can peruse the delicacies and freshly made poke.
Lanai picked up poke, pipikaula, shrimp tempura, ahi cakes and li hing pineapple for us to share. After the brief tour of the facility we made our way to the Waipahu Cultural Gardens and Hawaii's Plantation Village.
Here's a gallery of some of items we ate that day. Simply hover over the image and click for the caption.
This is a great experience for visitors and locals. If you are interested in going on an Aloha Plate Hawaii Food Tour visit this link for more info:
Noted as one of the best places to eat in the U.S. by Yelp, Da Poke Shack's original eatery first opened in Kailua-Kona on Hawaii Island. For poke and Hawaiian food lovers you will be happy to hear that they have expanded to Oahu. The 2nd Hawaii location is a bit odd as it's at the corner of a very popular intersection that isn't known for food. You've got a furniture store on the makai side and a bank on the other. But, what you will be happy to hear is that the poke is super duper fresh, the service is full of aloha and I did a taste test to determine my favorite style of poke. So I did all the hard work for you. Just kidding, it's a matter of personal preference but I will break it down for you in this post.
When ordering you choose your portion-size (bowl, plate, sampler) then pick your style of poke. Here's the list of gourmet poke options: Shoyu, Dynamite served with an avocado aioli, Shack's Special with a honey miso, Creamy Garlic and wasabi, Wet Hawaiian which has inamona and sesame oil, Pele's Kiss which is a spicy tuna.
After choosing the portion size and the poke you also pick your starch and your sides. It's just like the super market counter where you tell them what you want and they make it for you/pack it for you.
The sides include: cabbage kimchi, California roll couscous, taegu, seaweed salad, kimchi tako, teriyaki calamari or boiled soybeans. You also have a choice between white or brown rice for your starch.
I have always been an advocate for brown rice, I know some people just can't stand the taste, but I like it and when given the option usually order brown. They also offer one of scoop of each (with or without furikake) if you want to be "good and bad."
I opted for the cucumber kimchi for the nice flavor and crunch. The California roll couscous was good but didn't really have a cali roll flavor, it was more of a imitation crab and vinegar taste, but it was really delicious. The cucumber was very mild and didn't have too much kimchee spiciness but also more of a pickled flavor as well.
May taste test is complete. After sampling all six poke flavors I have a clear winner and one runner-up. But as they say they are all winners. Each does deserve to win and it really depends on your palate, what your craving at the moment and ultimately what type of poke you like. I tend to like poke that is simple, but sometimes I crave something with a bit more flavor. I also like poke that doesn't have fish, like the Tanioka's tofu poke with sea asparagus - BOMB! Anyway, the clear winner of my Da Poke Shack Honolulu taste test is the Shack Special. The silky poke is topped with a sweet and savory sauce and mixed delicately then topped with furikake, super delicious and I loved every bite. As soon as I tasted it I knew this was the clear winner. The runner-up is the Pele's Kiss, a spicy tuna that isn't too spicy has a balance of flavor and not too much creaminess. I like to be able to take the tuna without having to sift through all the mayo and this one is a very well done poke!
If you are headed into town and are in the Kakaako to Ala Moana area swing by Da Poke Shack Honolulu and get a taste of true, local-style, gourmet poke served with lots of aloha!
Da Poke Shack Honolulu
Open Monday - Friday 10:30am-3pm
Located at the Diamond Head corner of Ward and Queen Street
They are also excited to do speciality events, street festivals can catering too.
While visiting Las Vegas last month, on my to-do, or to-eat, list included Secret Pizza and In-N-Out Burger. We arrived at The Cosmopolitan and checked Secret Pizza off our list. Next up, after a cocktail, burgers from In-N-Out was clearly marked on the agenda! While seated at the Chandelier Bar a man in town for work came over to talk to us, I know, no big surprise there. But he did recommend that we try the burger joint upstairs in the hotel. I thought we might as well since In-N-Out was a 15-20 minute cab ride away. I didn't know what to expect, except to pay close to triple or quadruple for a gourmet burger, but I hoped it would live up to my expectations. We ventured up the escalator to find Holsteins Shakes & Buns at The Cosmo.
I ordered The Rising Sun: Kobe Beef, Teriyaki Glaze, Nori Furikake, Crispy Yam, Spicy Mayo, Tempura Avocado. Let me tell you this seemingly fancy teri-burger did not disappoint. At $18 it was a tad bit on the pricey side but I also upgraded to a side salad instead of fries and that added $3-bucks to the tab. But I don't regret it at all. The flavors were phenomenal and the beef so juicy, tender and succulent. I would definitely eat this again and with a vanilla shake. It was a very generous portion, soft fresh bun and I loved the mix of sweet, savory, crunchy flavors and textures. WINNING!
My friend ordered the Gold Standard burger: dry-aged beef sirloin, smoked bacon, aged goat cheddar, tomato confit, baby arugula and garlic chive aioli. It was good, same juicy patty with fresh toppings, but gosh mine had all that flavor and amazing textures. I seriously loved my burger. If you are looking for something a bit more basic then the other burgers are for you.
It's also interesting to note that while you wait for your entrees to arrive you get a small tin of seasoned popcorn. These are delish and you can't stop eating them. In the end we did end up paying about 6-times as much when compared to a single burger from In-N-Out, but they offered a Yelp checkin which included a free beer and the free popcorn. Plus this was the best burger I've had in a long time, so it was totally worth it!
Craving a delish, moist, gourmet, deluxe burger in an upscale atmosphere? Visit http://mypointofheu.weebly.com/blog/seriously-delish-burgers-at-holsteins
To say that last month I traveled a lot is the understatement of the year, so far. I went from Honolulu -> Maui -> Honolulu -> Los Angeles -> Honolulu -> Brisbane -> Honolulu -> Las Vegas! Why so much traveling? Well why not? I love seeing the world, meeting new people, experiencing new things, places and sights.
The he decision to head to Australia came about because my high school friend Avery took time off for his birthday. We opted to go someplace where the weather was nice, we both hadn't been before and there was lots to see and do.
What's really great about visiting Australia is: the value of the U.S. Dollar is a little stronger than the Australian dollar right now, so you get more bang for your buck, signs and spoken language is in English, the people are really nice, chatty and very welcoming and the weather right now is quite similar to Hawaii, so no need to pack too much. In fact, all I brought were shorts, sundresses and swim suits.
Here's a quick look at some of the places to visit in Brisbane, click on the photo for more detail.
Brisbane is the capital city of Queensland. It's also the most populous, with the downtown district, shopping, arts and a cosmopolitan getaway for those who love the performing arts, museums, rivers and more. Also, the contemporary art scene is really awesome in Brisbane with highlights of street art, new media gallery installations and more. See below for some highlights from the museums located just over the pedestrian bridge.
For more on Brisbane and Australia, I recommend checking out www.australianexplorer.com or www.australia.com for more information, guides, maps, things to do, etc.
As always, happy eating and traveling!
The countdown has begun, Nordstrom's flagship Hawaii store is prepping to open its doors to the public on Friday. With a mix of events leading up to the grand opening day, I was invited to the media preview and tour of the brand new store located in the new Ewa wing of Ala Moana center.
As you already know Nordstrom got its start at a shoe store, and while the focus remains on providing the best quality and hottest styles of footwear they also are focused on showcasing local products, designers, beauty, home and design along with much more. This new store literally moved across the street from the former location which was more mauka from Ala Moana Boulevard, the use of natural light and open spaces makes it a bit more welcoming and inviting. The opening gala, benefiting Aloha United Way is tonight (sold out) and on Friday 3/11 they open with a Beauty Bash at 8am and store blessing followed by doors opening from 9:15am-9:30am.
Now you may have figured out by now that I am not much a shopper but I am an eater and lover of fine food. I also got a sneak peek at the new restaurant upstairs and its delicious cuisine!
Here you can see some of the sample dishes they sent out for us to taste. Please click the image below for a short description and price point.
Ruscello will be open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The breakfast menu looks pretty simple with eggs, breakfast sandwiches and etc. But for me lunch is where it's at, I can't wait to try the amazing salads, sandwiches, pasta, pizzas and more. Some of the highlights of the menu (to me) are the Warm Asian Glazed Chicken salad, Ginger Panko Crusted Chicken salad, Citrus Turkey sandwich, Chicken Club with Maple Glazed Bacon sandwich, Spicy Shrimp with Angel Hair Pasta, Seafood di Mare, seriously I think I could eat here everyday for a month! I can't wait to try EVERYTHING!
Happy eating and shopping everyone!