Honestly, my first memories of Cleveland were a blur. Between moving continents at such a young age and generally being obtuse to the general world, I can't remember much. There is however, one movie scene - not even an entire movie, that I do remember. It's the silhouette fight scene from Forced Vengeance. While on a 45 minute hold today, I came across the picture above and a bunch of childhood memories came flooding back.
Anyways, I then found the scene on youtube. Check it out...it's pretty badass considering it's 30 years old. The music doesn't suck either. Oh, and I love Vitasoy.
Wally Ho's Garage and Grill
While visiting the USS Arizona Memorial, we found this fun little place where a lot of military and locals eat at. It's a former gas station that was turned into a restaurant. There is still a working garage attached to the side of the restaurant. The front hald of the restaurant is set up like a gas station convenience store.
Gimmick aside, the food we had was very good. The Loco Moco (rice with gravy, hamburger and eggs) was very traditional. They made their own burger patties and their own gravy. My biggest complaint was that the food was overly salty. (a common problem in most of the meals we had on the island) The Garlic Korean Chicken was AMAZE tho! Salty but amazing.
Wally Ho's Garage & Grill
98-381 Kamehameha Hwy
Aiea, HI 96701
I am pretty sure I drank about 2 liters of water after this meal.
Amy's Least Favorite Meal
Ono came highly recommended by a few of the locals we met. It is considered really traditional Hawaiian food. This place was small and the staff wasn't rude, but they definitely knew that if we didn't like it, there's 10 people waiting to take our spots.
There was NO/none/zero options for vegetarians...so Amy got a boiled taro for dinner. I ordered the Combination plate with Kalua Pig and Laulau.
My meal came with a host of sides, like raw onions with sea salt, pickled peppers with chili water, poi (mashed taro root paste with water), pickled tomatoes, rice and coconut cake.
The kalua pig was my east favorite. It was simply salty although it had a nice aftertaste. The laulau was SUPERB though. Easily my favorite Hawaiian food item...perhaps ever.
Laulau is pork wrapped in taro leaves and steam/baked in underground ovens. The leaves gave the over salted pork some flavor profile besides salt. The meat falls apart and the juices left from the steamed/baked leaves/pork fat is divine. Sure, it may look like a giant booger, but it's damn tasty.
Amy found the poi to be inedible and I thought it tolerable at best. The tastelessness of the mashed taro mixed with water really made the consistency hard to swallow. (literally!)
All in all, it was a great learning experience in traditional Hawaiian food and how to eat it. I enjoyed the laulau and Amy enjoyed her boiled taro. Lesson learned.
I'd recommend this restaurant to anyone who wants to try real Hawaiian food. Just don't be a vegetarian.
Ono Hawaiian Foods
726 Kapahulu Ave
Honolulu, HI 96816
Another local favorite we tried was Leonard's Bakery. They specialize in malasadas (Portuguese style donuts) that are slightly crispy on the outside but still soft/fluffy on the inside. This particular bakery is known for making them fresh on the spot.
We got half a dozen, 2 cinnamon, 2 li hing sugar, and 2 macademia custard filled – it was warm and good but considering we had high expectations it was a bit of a letdown. Honestly, it was nothing special. I would say that this is a pass.
I did learn that li hing sugar is tho...sugar mixed with li hing mui (dry salted plums), so the mixture is sweet and tart.
933 Kapahulu Ave
Honolulu, HI 96816
So I got married 2 Saturdays ago and we immediately left for vacation that Sunday night. Arriving in Hawaii at 4am, we basically started eating immediately and didn't stop til we arrived back in Cleveland. Here's proof of our gluttony...
Breakfast on 1st day
Egg and Cheese Crepe
Mango and Fresh Cream Crepe
They are a chain, but it really started the trip off proper.
Crepe House - Waikiki
2490 Kalakaua Avenue, Suite 6
Honolulu, HI 96815
Gotta try the Poke Salad...I got it extra spicy and it was slammin'! The inside seating was a bit too Hawaiian cheesy to me (and it stank a bit like mildew and fish sauce)...so we enjoyed our snack outside.
Hawaiiana Cafe - Waikiki
260 Beach Walk
Honolulu, HI 96815
BACK ALLEY FOOD STAND?! I'm all in!
While we were wondering thru Chinatown, I came across a back alley food court...and I went bonkers on that shit. There were Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Hawaiian and Filipino foods represented. Plastic chairs and tables galore!
Sweet and sour pig knuckles (top left)
Hawaiian chicken stew with carrots and potatoes (top right)
Filipino style adobo pork (lower left)
The food court entrance was on Maunakea St. You have to walk thru a mini bazaar to to get to it. (NOTE: they are mostly open during lunches and close around 4-5pm.)
Obviously with my Carni-meal over, we had to find something for Amy for have. On our way back tot he hotel, we stopped by Ruffage Natural Foods, which specialized in organic vegetarian/vegan meals. Amy got the Veggie Burrito. She devoured it...so it must have been good.
Ruffage Natural Foods
2443 Kuhio Ave
Honolulu, HI 96815
Two days later, we went back for breakfast. Amy and I shared a Vegetable Sammy and a Peanut Butter Smoothie. Both were excellent. The preparation and presentation was simple but packed a ton a flavor. Definitely worth a try!
I have been craving a proper Japanese breakfast since my last visit to Japan. (8 years ago?!?) So when given the opportunity to try out a decently rated spot near our hotel, I jumped at the chance.
Amy ordered the Japanese Breakfast with only a soft scrambled egg. They gave her a salad as well and she really enjoyed the combination of pickled vegetables and the egg with rice.
I ordered the Grilled Salmon breakfast that is considered pretty traditional. I also added a side of natto with raw egg, so I could really put this baby over the top. The salmon was grilled well and the pickled vegetables added the perfect amount of saltiness and sourness to cut the oily fish. The natto was good. Not great. You could tell it was the frozen type but the with the right amount of green onions and nori, it still came together.
Yoshitsune (inside the Park Shore Hotel)
2586 Kalakaua Ave
Honolulu, HI 96815
In no particular order, other than what comes to mind...
1. Amy and her kettle corn
2. My Moms
3. John Reed making me laugh
4. Gandolf the Grey
5. Board meetings at the CH
6. The Justice League...and Kid Flash
7. Liga Privada cigars
8. Community. Don't f@ck it up, NBC.
9. Bear Boat Russian River Valley pinto noir
10. My body finally getting used to waking up at 6am
11. Chili Peppers Fresh Mexican Grill
12. Glenlivet 21, Macallan 18 and Johnnie Walker Blue (trust me, it's all one thing.)
13. Subway footlong oven-roasted chicken subs with extra peppers
14. Everyone i've met through W.E.
15. Tatuaje cigars
17. The color changing wall behind the Hudson sushi bar
18. Mr. Dan and his mutant power to fix anything
20. George RR Martin...although it's more of a love/hate relationship.
21. Downtown lunches with JBM
23. Sunday night dinners at home
26. The Walking Dead
27. Chris revamping entire menus and then making bar shelves in one night.
28. The McKenzies
29. Skyline with Zimm
30. My iPhone
31. Halloween costume making with Amy
32. Li Wah's dim sum not getting any worse
33. Jeremy building my humidor
34. Waking up
35. Arie Shapiro and Ron Goldman
36. Masterpiece Mystery
38. Washington Enterprises
39. 20 minute naps
40. Eddie's Grille...nostalgia Americana
41. Sup Sam Yee, Karl and Master T
42. The Toons
43. Chinese dinners with the Family
44. Jason M.
45. Wonton Gourmet
46. Pallotta's Bakery
47. Coffee Colony
48. Down range time
49. Reconnecting with my Hong Kong peoples
50. Bill Murray
51. Partagas Cigars
52. Really great friends...you know who you are.
53. The ability to travel
54. Saffron Patch in the valley
55. Handel's Ice Cream...especially Graham Central Station!
56. Adam Jorgensen's crazy tattoo skills
57. Candied bacon
58. Vanilla bacon bourbon manhattans w/ real maple syrup
59. Great Harvest Bread - especially the cinnamon apple bread. Insanity in a loaf!
60. Seoul Garden - repping Korean food in Cleveland
61. Kimchee Chronicles
63. Finally finishing my bug out bag and car kits
64. The Booty Bandit
65. Mid Autumn Festival Ball
67. Sam and Marco
68. The Wedneday night Half Priced Sushi crowd
69. Sydney Bechet
70. Blue Mountain Coffee
71. Kuma's proper Japanese gyoza
72. Sherlock on Masterpiece Mystery
73. The first 2 months of Wine Club
74. Monster By Mail
75. LifeFactory glass bottles
76. Pyrex food containers
77. Mario Batali
78. Karaoke Wednesdays
79. Mitchell's Ice Cream...their new local flavors are amazing.
80. The Swizzle Sticks Band
81. The Tony Koussa Jr. Band
82. The Survival Mom Website
83. Kwong's hot and sour soup
84. Marrying Amy
85. Ricky Pun's new attitude
86. Joss Whedon
87. Our house, especially, our kitchen
88. Getting beers on tap
89. Everything Amy has done for me
90. Having good jobs
91. FM 91.5, the Great American Songbook
92. Scrabble with Amy
93. Holiday traditions
94. Holmes on Homes...for scaring the $h!t out of me.
95. Game of Thrones and the entire Song of Fire and Ice series for ruining any chance I had at happiness and productivity.
96. Still enjoying martial arts after all these years
97. How I Met Your Mother...although there were some suspect plot lines.
99. The fact that you are reading this
100. Everything Amy has done for Otani's
Let's be real...Karl Lagerfeld is probaby one of the coolest people in the entire world. So when she decided to share her blog with me, I had to read every word. Amy and I are definitely Lee-Doty fans.
Here are some of my favorites:
Blood Orange Creamsicle Floats
Braised Sausages with Caramelized Onions and Grapes
and Johnny's Burgers. I want to try this place sooooo bad!
i will unabashedly admit that i jack photos all the time from other people's sites. i also do try my best to mention where i get them from...but these amazing food pics have eluded me to their true master. Out of sheer coincidence, i was able to find What Katie Ate... and at first, i thought someone else was also really into these great pics. It took me scrolling through a few pages to come to the realization that this was the artist. Anyways...check out her blog. These are just a small collection of the great pics she has. (The recipes are very well thought out too.)