Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Macaroni Grill

MG06.JPGMG01.JPGThere are a bunch of new restaurants opening up on the top floor of Ala Moana Shopping Center, the first of them being Romano’s Macaroni Grill. At a guild BBQ last week a bunch of us decided that we needed to pay the new place a visit, fueled by the discovery that one of our friends works there.

Jonny Schleif used to be my best friend’s boyfriend back in… well, millions of years ago. He worked at the legendary Trattoria (legendary for good-looking waiters!) for 12 years, & after it closed down this past March, Jonny ended up here at the Macaroni Grill.

Nice place, Jonny.


TT18a.JPGTT18.JPGSo I got this message from Staci stating that she was up for some shabu shabu if I felt like going to the Mandarin. It had been 8 days since Aoyama closed, & we’d both been walking around with empty spaces in our hearts (or stomachs, maybe.). A long time ago, when we did our Great Shabu Shabu Search, Tokyo-Tokyo was one of the places we visited, & it had come in second to Aoyama only because Aoyama was at least as good for half the price. There had also been these gorgeous hand-glazed dishes (those are wasabi leaves, btw.) from Japan that I couldn’t get over, & the manager, after checking their inventory, had graciously given us permission to take ours home. Hey, I ask first, ok?

Bistro Sun

After we found out we had no shoot yesterday (of course, we didn’t find out till we were on location), my client decided to take us to lunch… Now, this client seems to know my taste in food pretty well. Maybe because he’s originally from Japan, or maybe because he’s always having to entertain his own clients, but he really knows all the good eateries around town.

This time he introduced me to Bistro Sun on King St. near University Ave. (across the street from Jr. Lou & T flower shop). Apparently the “flagship” restaurant is in Osaka, and this Hawaii store opened 6 months ago. The sign outside said something like “Italian Fusion Style” so I was skeptical at first but then I remembered I like Pietro, which is definitely not Italian food in my book but I love it nonetheless.

Tenmusu @ Shirokiya

Tenmusu will be back at Shirokiya Ala Moana this Tuesday. Yay! Mine never make it out of the store, they’re just soooo good to eat hot and fresh! For those of you who don’t know, Tenmusu is a musubi with a deep fried shrimp in the middle, drizzled with a little sauce. I can’t wait to get in line!

Bacon & eggs.

P4.JPG So it’s early morning, & I decided I wanted a scone. I’m not a sconologist, & I actually don’t like scones from that local scones place that won some kind of scone award. Too much butter. I like good, dry, chalky baking soda. Yeah, told you I don’t know what I’m talking about. But that’s what I like. My favorite scones are from The Patisserie.

I also hate raisins. My favorite scones are raisin scones from The Patisserie. Yeah, I know, there’s something wrong with me. I pick out the raisins, though. No, I don’t like the plain ones. Stop it.


G7.JPGNo, we missed the Happy Hour 50% Off Special, but we are planning to go back super early another day. The shabu shabu place had given me the runaround about a table (They figured out we’re Americans!), so we went for yakiniku. Gyu-Kaku is a cool, open-late restaurant near Ala Moana that has great rice. They really do; I’m picky about rice. I got it from my ex-husband. I gotta have good rice.

When I go to Pietro’s, I find the proprietary atmospheric shout-outs (“Irrasshaimasse!”) annoying, but somehow in Gyu-Kaku it’s ok. Maybe it’s the dark wood, low lit, den-like ambience. Or maybe it’s just the correct inflection/pronunciation. I dunno. When the servers turn in orders, they shout “Order onegai shimas!” & the kitchen responds “Hai yorokonde!” I actually like that. Great psychological attitude booster.


I was having lunch with my co-workers in our lunchroom. A new engineer had just come on board, fresh off the plane from Fresno, & while we had picked up a bunch of Bacalao salad & pasteles from The Pastele Shop, he was eating the crappy spaghetti from a nearby plate lunch place. We had asked him if he wanted us to pick up something for him, & he had declined.

During lunch, one of the managers said, “Pasteles are kind of like tamales.”

The new guy said, “But with seaweed in them right?”

I sigh.

Pastrami sandwiches.

While we’re on the subject of sandwiches…

I have had the best pastrami sandwich of my life. Better than Patisserie or Saint Germaine. Better than public school lunch enhanced by classroom-induced starvation. Ok, so maybe there aren’t a lot of places to get a pastrami sandwich in Honolulu. It cost my roommate & me 12 bucks & we split it because it was huge.

I would have taken a picture for you guys but… I was hungry.

A Taste of New York. In Kaimuki. By the Pill Box Pharmacy. It is etched forever in my mind.

I think I should go lie down now.

Birthdays are just an excuse

I planned my friend Jason’s birthday dinner (Jason gets birthday “dinners” rather than birthday “parties” because he doesn’t like to drink. Fair enough.); he wanted food that was cooked & I wanted Japanese (that’s what it came down to) so I thought: teppanyaki!
My sister & I used to tend bar at On The Rocks Cafe in Waikiki (now gone). We had this regular—a loud-mouthed, Jack drinking, bullseye killing (we had dartboards), party-crazed beast who used to grace us with his company most nights. When I say company, I also mean he brought all the Tanaka of Tokyo workers with him. This birthday dinner was an opportunity to go see Rich at his place.

Rich is one of the most professional guys I know in F & B. He is a veteran of old school service ideals & dogma, & I have total faith in a good experience in his hands.

The Cheesecake Factory

“Cheesecake Factory at 6:30” was what I was told.

We arrived at 6:30, though our friends got there at 6 to get in line for a table. I’ve heard that the fare at Cheesecake Factory is similar to that at TGI Friday’s, which is a little heavy for my taste, but I figured I could get a salad. And I was going for the company, anyway.
It took about an hour & a half to get seated. I think I destroyed a few brain cells trying to remember everyone I knew who had said they worked at this place. Rylen moved to Vegas. I lost Joylani’s number. I had deleted Patti’s number. Oh well. At least I was really, really hungry by the time we got our menus.

Service was great. Our server was not only good-looking (hey, it counts!) but also knowledgeable about the menu & specials. Keeping company was a little more complicated, & trying to hear what the person sitting next to me was saying became tedious enough after awhile that I resorted to people watching, which one can get in abundance in Waikiki.

Outside I had heard a guy in a blue aloha shirt saying very loudly to his party, “No gratuity. No gratuity required.” That bothered me a lot. Waikiki’s a great place to stiff your server if you’re from out of town, because you’re probably never coming back to this restaurant any time soon (& in the case of this particular restaurant, the wait alone guarantees that). I despise people like that. Sometimes Japanese can hide behind the excuse that they don’t know about tipping, but these folks were Americans.

Those people ended up seated on the table next to ours.

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