There’s a lot to like about Side Street Inn. From the bold cooking to the generous, family-style portions and warm smiles all around, it’s no wonder that Colin Nishida’s spot has been packed since opening its doors in 1992.
In his article for Food & Wine, Jonathan Gold aptly described the place as “An aggressively multicultural house of big eats that just happen to be served on shared platters, lubricated by oceans of beer.” Sounds like good times, right? Right!
The Astronomer and I, along with our friend Luscious Liana, dined at the newer and fancier Kapahulu location on an evening when we were feeling especially hungry. As is generally the case, we ordered way too much food and had a blast doing so.
The first dish to arrive was “Da’ Famous Pan Fried Island Pork Chops” ($23). Seasoned and coated in a mix of garlic salt, flour, and corn starch then pan-fried to golden brown, the pork chops were “Crispy on da’ outside, Juicy on da’ inside!”—just like the menu promised. A little dip of ketchup and these chops were good to go.
Continue reading ‘Side Street Inn on Da Strip – Honolulu (Kapahulu)’
I recently attended a delectable eight-course “Aloha Friday” lunch prepared by a trio of Maui-based chefs using prime ingredients from the Hawaiian islands. Held at Acabar Restaurant, the event was hosted by the Maui Visitors and Convention Bureau to give L.A. food writers a literal taste of Maui’s vibrant culinary scene. From start to finish, I was seriously impressed by the flavors, techniques, and of course, aloha spirit.
Making the trip from Maui were Michael Lofaro (bottom row, right) of Humuhumunukunukuapua’a at Grand Wailea, Riko Bartolome (bottom row, left) of Cane and Canoe at Montage Kapalua, and Kyle Kawakami (top row, left) of Maui Fresh Streatery food truck. Oscar Torres (top row, right), executive sous chef of Acabar, rounded out the stellar lineup. Each chef was tasked with preparing two courses this afternoon.
Chef Michael Lofaro kicked off the good eating with a pristine ahi tuna tartare dressed in a ginger-lime vinaigrette and punctuated with cucumbers, shiso, and parsley.
Continue reading ‘#MauiChefsLAX: A Taste of Aloha in Hollywood’
Shaved ice is terrific, Spam musubi and plate lunches too, but if I had to choose my favorite grindz, it would be pokē—no doubt about it! Delicious things happen when super-fresh local seafood meets Asian aromatics. Mmm…
Using Dylan’s fantastic guide as a starting point, along with some good ol’ advice from locals in-the-know, The Astronomer and I were treated to the freshest, most flavorful pokē throughout our Hawaiian stay. I couldn’t get enough of the stuff and required a daily fix, at least.
Here are the five spots that really hit the spot, in alphabetical order:
Foodland – Multiple Locations
This local chain of grocery stores boasts an incredible seafood section stocked with beautifully prepared pokē sold by the pound. As evidenced by the two images posted above, Foodland truly is “Hawaii’s Home for Pokē.”
Continue reading ‘I ❤ Pokē: Five Honolulu Spots that Hit the Spot’
Hawaiian plate lunches are a beast of a feast. Generally comprised of a protein, two scoops of white rice, a scoop of macaroni salad, and oftentimes, a slick of gravy or chili, it’s the kind of meal that sticks to your ribs and then some.
Opened in 1961 by Seiju Ifuku, Rainbow Drive-In was a must on my list of Honolulu haunts specializing in classic local fare due to its long history and superb reputation. The Astronomer and I, along with our friend and Oahu resident, Luscious Liana, lunched here on our second day in town.
When the restaurant first opened over 50 years ago, the menu featured just four items: hamburgers, French fries, a chili with rice plate, and a “barbecue steak” plate. While the number of offerings has grown substantially since the start, the ample portioning and low prices that guests have come to expect remain the same.
After poring over the menu, I took my friend Misty‘s advice and selected the “Chili Dog Plate with 2 Wieners” ($7.25). I swapped out the standard two scoops of rice for French fries, but the mac salad was a must. The homemade beef chili paired excellently with the fries, while the creamy mac salad offered a cooling contrast.
Continue reading ‘Rainbow Drive-In – Honolulu (Kapahulu)’