Amazing dumplings!! Yep, I traveled 21 hours to Singapore and had to sample a restaurant that has made soup in noodles an addiction. Din Tai Fung is known for it's authentic Taiwanese xiao long bao (soup dumpling) and is heralded around the world for its impressive lineup of dim sum style offerings. Now with master locations in Japan, South Korea, China, Hong kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia, Thailand, the mainland U.S. and of course Singapore, they truly share their food with the world.
The moment you arrive the restaurant is crowded and bustling with diners and servers. There is a significant line of people waiting to get in and each are given a number and a menu to preorder their dishes. As a larger group we didn't have to wait too long for a table, thankfully. Everything is ala carte from water to the dumplings, vegetables and bao buns. Service is quick, efficient and they don't bother with small talk or extra chit chat. It's fast paced and the food comes out steaming hot - literally.
Broken into appetizers, soup dumplings, steamed dumplings, greens, noodles & wontons, buns and soups the menu is big! We pretty much ordered all the XiaoLongBao available and a triple order of the Truffle Pork XLB. I love truffle but the pieces of truffle within the filling were barely enough for me to taste and there may have been some truffle oil in the soup but it wasn't strong enough for me to proclaim this the best dumpling ever. In fact, I think I preferred the traditional pork or pork & crab. The shao mai is delicate and expertly made. I also lo lo lo loved the Vegetable & Pork Wontons in Spicy Sauce (don't worry the sauce wasn't spicy it was more flavorful). The noodle was so delicate and fresh, the ingredients were tender and meaty and the sauce was perfect for dipping everything in. This was outstanding to me!
When you see a Din Tai Fung be sure to stop in and try the XLB and Wontons.
Enter into a world of dots, dots, more dots and mirrors... One of the most celebrate artists of all time is not only a lady, but also of Japanese descent, now 88 years-old Yayoi Kusama is a living legend known for her mixed media work. What started on canvas and merged into sculpture, then video and performance art has also evolved into an experiential exhibit. You may have seen images in Honolulu of pink blobs with black polka dots in and around town, then photos of people standing in a room with lights and more dots that appear to go on into infinity. These installations and exhibits were started by the Japanese artist originally from Nagano and who later moved to New York to hone her craft.
An award-winning artist, novelist and anti-war advocate Kusama's works have circled the globe. Her art is often inspired by her obsession with dots and infinity, but with that she also focuses on love, life and dreams. The engaging installations are installed in a room with dots everywhere or within boxes that are lined with mirrors. I saw this exhibit on the last day of the installation in Singapore (National Gallery Singapore) and the lines seemed to snake through the museum all day long, even with a reservation. Upon entry and display of her earlier works you see how her obsession with dots began. Her creation of painted nets sparked the design that she would craft for her entire career. Then in the 60's the mirror rooms began. Aimed to allow a person to stand in a room with infinite possibilities and on an endless journey now guests are limited to 12-20 seconds in the room and most are not alone as I was with 2 other friends. So over time the element of what the art work was truly created for may be lost but the supply and demand has gone up. I would rather spend 12 seconds in a room with others than wait any longer in a line to stand in the room for 60 seconds.
In the end, it was a great experience and I would highly recommend visiting a Kusama exhibit if it comes to your area. It is truly unique and a great show for all the senses.
You can find her exhibits:
October 2017 - January 2018 The Broad, Los Angeles
March 2018-May 2018 Art Gallery of Ontario
July 2018 - October 2018 Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio
I've landed back home in Hawaii and realized I jaywalked on my last night in Singapore. Don't worry, I wasn't arrested, nothing happened and everyone is home safe and sound. Actually all the things you may have heard about strict punishments, intense laws and over organization in Singapore didn't even dawn on me until after I left. The "city state" is so immaculate, perfectly developed and well executed that you learn to appreciate how organized everything is. From the unbelievably spotless mass transit to the rich culture and extreme diversity -- Singapore truly is a land of opportunity for people of all races and at the forefront of sustainability.
Overall I was very impressed by the kindness of the residents, the immense melting pot of cultures (mostly Chinese, Malay and Indian), the delicious and affordable foods and the impressive attractions for visitors and locals alike. From museums, to parks, to national monuments there is so much to see, do and explore along the streets of Singapore.
Because it is a peninsula, Singapore is bustling with ships and cargo making its way in and out of the second busiest port in the world. Most of the people there speak English (largely in part to the former colonization of the region by the British and the subsequent free trade policy) which makes it fairly easy to communicate. The dollar is different there (conversion= $1 Singapore Dollar equals 0.74 US cents) and the money is also very clean, crisp and mostly white. The mass transit seats are so clean and sparkling new you could eat off of them and there literally is no litter anywhere, well I saw a napkin on the ground once near a shopping mall.
I will have upcoming blogs featuring the highlights of my trip. This blog is kind of an intro to the location, where I went and what to do. In the end, be prepared to be amazed, wowed, eat A LOT, and there are many opportunities for shopping, sightseeing and a bountiful community of cultures.
Like many north shore communities in Hawaii, Paia is charming, hip, cultured and fun. I love to walk through the streets and discover new places to shop, browse and dine at. For a few months I've been eyeing up the delicious plates at Paia Inn Cafe and finally had a moment to sit down, visit for brunch and try a good amount of their specialities.
Paia Inn Cafe is located along the makai end of Paia Inn, you walk along the corridor and find yourself in this cozy outdoor patio.
A few years ago, while I was in television broadcast news, I did a story on the inn and its long-standing history. I always thought the location was stellar and the vibe was a great combination of chic mixed with rustic. I was delighted to see they transformed the back patio into a lovely, al fresco, open-air, outdoor dining area complete with live entertainment. To cut straight to the point -- this place is super cute!
A great place for brunch, this hot spot is open everyday 8am-1pm. When we visited Eric Gilliom was performing live with his acoustic guitar and strong voice it created a soothing soundtrack for the morning meal.
The eatery showcases freshly made juices and also invigorating juice shots. Currently, they are BYOB. If you bring in your own bottle of bubbly or wine they will discreetly provide you with cups and whatever else you need. The menu is plentiful and offers a good range of breakfast items, brunch delights, eggs, salads and sandwiches. I had heard that the prices were really high, but was surprised to see they were pretty standard as far as diner and brunch (restaurant/cafe) entrees are concerned.
First of all, the dishes are beautiful and very photogenic. They are each bursting with color, freshness and are generous in portion-size. I was a little jealous of my friend who ordered the smoked salmon avocado toast. it was almost too pretty to eat. The serving is good, the toppings are overflowing and the lox tender and fresh. The only critique I have is the avocado had a mild bitter/metallic flavor almost likened to the prepackaged/bagged guacamole you buy from mass produced outlets. $17 ($14 +$3 for lox).
As an Eggs Benedict afionado, these were spot on! The Foccacia bread is nicely toasted and has a good crunch, the prosciutto is a lovely salty, crispy element, eggs are poached perfectly, the hollandaise is on-point and its served with house potatoes and a small side of fresh greens. $17
Not going to lie, my Lox & Eggs scramble was not as pretty as the other dishes, but it sure was delicious and such a hefty portion. Served with fresh avocado, white truffle, cream cheese, potatoes and greens this was so large I couldn't finish it all. The truffle has a nice earthy element, while the cream cheese adds in a comforting milky cream essence and the avocado helps to breakup the meatiness of the lox. This would also be really great on a crisp bagel $16.
The Breakfast Board is killer! Served with avocado, pork belly, lox, boiled egg, pickles vegetables, seasonal fruits, tomato crudo and crackers this was a beautiful presentation, nice and hearty and all of the items complimented each other. You had some salty, fatty, sour, sweet, fresh, crisp, I loved the elements and would also like to make this at home, it's great for sharing and if you order this just for yourself you may need a takeout box. $19
Overall, this was a stellar meal. The service was excellent, our waitress was well informed, attentive yet not overbearing. The atmosphere is beautiful (the sun was blocked by the umbrellas and trees) but it can get a little steamy as the cafe is in the open air. I made my reservation online via Open Table and noted that we were celebrating a birthday, but nothing was mentioned, noted or addressed, which was fine but mildly disappointing. They are currently working on getting their liquor license so you can expect some craft cocktails and brunchy beverages possibly in the works.
If you're in the mood for a delightful brunch with beautiful, fresh, vibrant food I would highly recommend this cafe as one of my Ono Eats choices on Maui.
Paia Inn Cafe
93 Hana Highway
Paia, HI 96779
*My understanding is they offer a 10% off Kamaaina Discount Monday-Thursday.
Congratulations are in order, as the new Foodland Farms Ala Moana prepares to celebrate its 1st Birthday! I attended the sneak peek before they opened one year ago and it really is a great location for shopping, dining, happy hour and more! To celebrate this special occasion the team at Foodland has prepped some new dishes and brand new food items (for purchase starting 8/31). I had the chance to sample some of the new additions (before they were even available) that are unique to this location only. I was really impressed; you can tell a lot of thought, care and time was spent crafting these dishes -- they will wow your tastebuds, appeal to your palate and are pretty easy on the pocketbook.
To honor their 1st birthday they will also offer a special luau themed menu of items only available 8/31-9/4 to coincide with the Labor Day weekend festivities. Then from 8/31 on you'll find about 30 new items in the store to enjoy! Below you'll find a few of the highlights being offered along with a description of each dish.
I really enjoyed the combination of local flavors and island themes here. It may be a bit overwhelming when everything looks so delicious but having these added options really makes this location very diverse and pretty entertaining too.
Other notable new items also include:
Local-style Fried Saimin
New Housemade Sausage flavor Green Chile Habanero
Vanilla MacNut Nitro Cold-brew Coffee
New Antipasti at The Bar
Health Bowls at HI Steaks
For more details on the new poke recipes stay tuned!
Foodland Farms Ala Moana Center (located on the Ewa Wing, across from the new Shirokiya).
1450 Ala Moana Boulevard
Honolulu, HI 96814
Disclaimer: Views expressed are my own, honest and humble opinion.
Nearly ten years ago my friend Jenn brought me to a tiny brunch spot in Waikiki that had recently opened its doors. Barely able to keep-up with the demand Cream Pot has grown into a notorious, highly sought-after and famed breakfast spot on the outskirts of Waikiki. Bursting with flavors which include house-made caramel and rich dark chocolate this eatery serves up fresh crepes, french toast, benedicts and their famous soufflé pancakes.
With its victorian interior, secret garden-esque exterior and a visible line outside and inside, you're better off making reservations before heading over. Servers are dressed in chef's coats and the owners are bustling through seating, bussing tables, cashing people out and grabbing beverages for guests.
Despite the hectic scene and the long wait for those who didn't call ahead of time, it is quaint, charming and delightful. A must is the soufflé pancake. The are offered with a variety of toppings, although my fave and the most popular is the mixed berry. The two hockey puck sized pancakes are light, fluffy, milky and tenderly sweet yet custardy. The flavor whisks you away to another place and the fresh berries offer a mesmerizing freshness mixed with tart and tangy. There really isn't a need for sauce or syrup, they are simply topped with fresh whipped cream and ready to devour. Believe me when I tell you these Soufflé Pancakes from Cream Pot are worth every cent and are definitely Ono Eats!
Cream Pot - located in the Hawaiian Monarch Hotel
444 Niu St, Honolulu, HI 96815
Hours: · 6:30AM–2:30PM
Phone: (808) 429-0945
Disclaimer: Views and opinions are honest, my own, not solicited nor compensated.
1200 Getty Center Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90049
Open everyday except Monday
I recently ventured to a new destination. While on a quick trip to Los Angeles I decided to hop on over to Sacramento. The hour-long flight was short and sweet, and while I didn't know what to expect the airport that welcomed me was brand new, contemporary in design and offered free WiFi. This is starting off great, I thought to myself.
Sacramento is the State Capital of California and while it is a bit slow going and desolate in certain areas there is a great sense of history here. Old Sacramento represents the famed gold rush era which is now sleepy and mostly quiet with historic railroads, charming bars and nicknack stores to browse, while new (downtown) Sacramento is similar to any other downtown business district.
I stayed in Woodland which is mainly a farming town in the County of Yolo, yes YOLO! With a robust food and agriculture economy, Woodland is known for its fertile soil, growing population and close proximity to Davis, Napa and Sacramento. In Yolo County melons, sunflowers, peppers and gourds are amongst some of the fresh produce grown here. In fact, half of the vegetables grown in the U.S. are grown in California. Lucky for me, I was given an all-access pass to checkout a local farm that showcased some of the best melons I've ever tasted.
As part of a special "Field Day" farmers, growers, plant breeders, chefs and other agriculture enthusiasts were invited to see, taste and walk through the crops. As you probably know, consumers want pretty and perfect fruits and vegetables. It's unlikely you'll purchase a banana if its got brown spots on the outside or a melon that is imperfect in shape and has unusual markings. These plant breeders are experts in their field and work day in and day out to create the most delicious, nutritious and best looking produce to sell to the consumer.
With an emphasis on sustainability, reducing world hunger and protecting our natural resources it was eye-opening to witness the passion, enthusiasm, love and care these horticulturalists have for produce. I learned that melons come in all shapes, sizes, colors and flavors. One of the breeders' daughters actually named a honeydew variety "Flavor Journey" because of its immensely sweet/juicy flesh and the journey that the delicious fruit took you on while eating it. We also learned of a new lettuce that combines iceberg lettuce with romaine lettuce. This was brilliant as it has the flavor, size and color of romaine and the durability and texture of iceberg - perfect for cooking, lettuce cups/wraps and more and as far as nutrition it sits right in-between the two lettuces.
We also toured the labs where they test the nutritional content of the produce, identify its genetic makeup and also conduct evaluations to determine the health of the plant and efficiency of the farm. Like humans, plants are susceptible to diseases, biotechnology is utilized to breed naturally occurring pest-resistant plants; therefore less pesticides are needed and less of an impact is made on the environment. While given free reign to tour the property and meet the staff everyone was thrilled to have us and share their experiences! It was a joyful day tasting delicious fruits and vegetables and learning about modern agriculture.
View the slideshow below for a look at the Field Day highlights.
Mahalo to Monsanto Woodland, California for the tour and to the breeders and researchers (who have worked there for 10-30 years) for sharing their time and knowledge.
For more information visit monsanto.com
My Point of Heu is a personal blog, opinions expressed here are my own. Content herein is by no means an endorsement nor sponsored. Two nights room and board were provided by Monsanto Company.
There's nothing better to cure your hunger than a Spam Musubi! The delicious grab-n-go item found mostly in eateries, convenience stores and mom & pop shops in Hawaii has it all. It's a sliced patty of Spam, sitting atop a mound of rice, wrapped in nori (seaweed) and sometimes it comes with other added toppings like egg, furikake or additional meats (hot dog, chicken, katsu, etc).
When I am craving a snack, or something that will tide me over until a well-defined meal, I grab a Spam Musubi. My favorite is when the Spam is slightly well-done, topped with teriyaki glaze and the bigger the nori the better, but from time to time the meat, rice and nori ratio can change, depending on where you get your Musubi.
The BEST musubi I've ever had is a bit debatable, but a solid option that is made perfectly comes from Musubi Cafe Iyasume. However, this place is so busy that sometimes you have to wait for your musubi. On the date I was aiming to records my Ono Eats video, there was (at least) a 30 minute wait for one musubi. Sadly, I was hungry and couldn't wait. So I opted to grab something that was fast and easy. 7-Eleven has great (affordable $1.50-$2.50) musubis but if I am going to splurge just a bit Foodland is my go to.