Bestia – Los Angeles (Downtown)

Bestia - Los Angeles (Downtown)

The Astronomer and I traded in Baby for pasta one evening a couple weeks back. With my mom in town helping with June for a few days, we seized the opportunity to enjoy a night out on the town—just the two of us.

We’ve been meaning to return to Bestia for quite some time now, and thanks to Reserve (a “personal dining concierge” app that I highly recommend), we were able to snag a table at the last minute. It’s amazing what a three hour getaway can do for the psyche of new parents!

Bestia - Los Angeles (Downtown)

Upon arriving at the restaurant, The Astronomer and I were led to the hottest seat in the house, literally. Perched in front of the grill and wood-burning oven, we were treated to pizza-tossing, bone marrow-roasting, tomahawk-grilling, and ribeye-searing all night long. It was a splendid performance.

Bestia - Los Angeles (Downtown)

Sommelier Anthony Calian got us started with pours of Bio-Secco Rosé, which he aptly described as “liquid Jolly Ranchers.” My first postpartum drink—mmm, bubbly.

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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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Leonard’s Bakery – Honolulu (Kapahulu)

Leonard's Bakery - Kaimuki - Honolulu

While most people visit Hawaii for a dose of sun and surf, I came for Spam and malasadas instead. Following our “light” breakfast of musubi and onigiri at Iyasume, The Astronomer and I strolled over to local legend Leonard’s Bakery for fresh Portuguese doughnuts served hot from the fryer.

Leonard's Bakery - Kaimuki - Honolulu

According to the bakery’s website, Leonard Rego, the grandson of Portuguese immigrants who came to Hawaii under contract to work in the sugar cane fields, opened his eponymous bakery in 1952. At the suggestion of his mother, he began making malasadas in 1953 in honor of Shrove Tuesday (a.k.a. Fat Tuesday). They’ve been a hit ever since.

Leonard's Bakery - Honolulu

Leonard’s malasadas are served both plain and filled. Over the course of two visits to the bakery, The Astronomer and I sampled a few varieties of each kind. The original malasada ($1), the shop’s bestseller, was light, yeasty, and dusted with super-fine sugar.

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