Archive for the 'Restaurant Review' Category

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I ❤ Pokē: Five Honolulu Spots that Hit the Spot

Foodland Hawaii

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…

Foodland Hawaii

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

Foodland Hawaii

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.”

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Rainbow Drive-In – Honolulu (Kapahulu)

Rainbow Drive-In - Honolulu (Kapahulu)

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.

Rainbow Drive-In - Honolulu (Kapahulu)

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.

Rainbow Drive-In - Honolulu (Kapahulu)

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.

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Musubi Cafe Iyasume – Honolulu (Waikiki)

Musubi Cafe Iyasume - Waikiki - Honolulu

I never got around to writing about the trip to Oahu that The Astronomer and I took last April because “morning” sickness hit hard soon after we came home, putting me out of blogging commission for quite a while. But now that Baby June’s out and about (yay!), and all is right with my appetite (double yay!), it’s finally time to revisit the ono grindz that made our stay a fabulous one.

Musubi Cafe Iyasume - Waikiki - Honolulu

The eatery with the honor of being visited the most was Musubi Cafe Iyasume, a shoe-box sized spot serving musubi and onigiri that is adored by locals and visitors alike. The J Gold peeped this place in Food & Wine, and as luck would have it, it was located a stone’s throw from our Waikiki abode. Win!

Musubi Cafe Iyasume - Waikiki - Honolulu

The Astronomer and I visited Iyasume on our first morning in town for a relatively light breakfast of two musubi and two onigiri.

The bacon, egg, and Spam musubi ($2.48) was as tasty as hoped, with the bacon and Spam providing a double savory punch while the egg and rice balanced out the whoosh of saltiness.
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Lincoln – Pasadena

Lincoln - Pasadena

I have the biggest crush on Lincoln. Situated at the border between Altadena and Pasadena in a former machine shop, this delicious and stylish new restaurant from Little Flower Candy’ Co.‘s Christine Moore is my go-to spot for laid back lunches and pastry fixes. Three visits in and I still can’t get enough.

Lincoln - Pasadena

The menu, which is comprised of breakfast dishes (served all day!), sandwiches, and salads, strikes a balance between familiar and innovative. Whether you’re in the mood for classic or creative fare, there’s something for everyone here.

Cecilia Leung | Lincoln - Pasadena

One of the highlights of dining at Lincoln is scoping out the pastry counter. Chef Cecilia Leung always has an enticing spread of cookies, cakes, scones, breads, and muffins available at all hours of the day. Try as I might, I can never limit myself to just one treat (as you’ll see below).

Pro Tip: Follow Cecilia on Instagram to see what irresistible delights she’s currently baking and serving.

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