Category: Restaurants

Guatemala

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I’ve recently returned from an amazing and eye-opening trip to Guatemala. And, boy, do I have lots to show and tell!

But what better way to recap than to simply show you a mass of vivid photographs and tell you a compiled version of the “7 Things You Must Know about Guatemala,” according to my own unforgettable experience. Continue reading

Biggest Project Yet: “Strawberry Spree”

Guys, I did it. It’s finally over. Mother’s Day 2012 at Shokudo Japanese Restaurant & Bar was a huge (and not to mention, all-consuming, body-exhausting, & mind-blowing) success! A widespread brunch/lunch buffet of Japanese fare was followed by “Strawberry Spree” Sweets buffet (by yours truly), where 460-something voracious, yet surprisingly pleasant, guests devoured 1800-something servings of 12 different types of strawberry-themed desserts within a span of 5 hours and 3 full-seating turnovers. Let’s not forget that this was, believe it or not, after these bottomless bellies were stuffed with mountains upon mountains of sushi, tempura, udon, salad, chicken, king crab, and God knows what else. All I really want to know is, who are these thoroughly inhuman people with such exigent appetites and where on earth did they come from? Because I have this ever-growing hunch that I must be related to them. After all, there is a most uncanny resemblance between my belly and theirs.Stomach resemblance aside, there may have been little else alike between these wonderful guests and I. Though the picture doesn’t show it (thank God), I slept for a very true-to-saying, painstakingly short-and-sweet 45 minutes. The grueling fun-filled hours leading up to that nap and the even more agonizing joyous hours that followed were wholeheartedly dedicated to baking and assembling a mass amount of the greatest (and most practical) homemade desserts I could muster up and create from scratch. Exhausted as I may have been, and trust me when I say exhausted is a euphemism for the physical state I was in at the time, this project was my absolute pride and joy from unshaped, prenatal beginning to expectant, postnatal forthcoming. It was Mother’s Day, for crying out loud, and this project was my beautifully overweight newborn. Continue reading

The Pig and the Lady

Sometimes, a hiatus is in order.
Life can be much too hectic at times, even for your average 22-year old, college student who loves to bake, cook, and write. The truth is, everyone needs a break, even when it means peeling yourself away from the things you love to do.
These last few months have been both immensely taxing and astonishing to me. I caught a most severe case of Senioritis leading into my first month of my last semester as an undergrad student. Classes were ditched, assignments missed, and I played hooky left and right to no end (until now, that is). Meanwhile, I found love in an unfamiliarly familiar, irrationally justified, and imperfectly perfect person.  And like all other great loves in life, it was completely unexpected. More untimely and unexpected is the fact that I am currently in job-limbo after having made a bold (and admittedly a little impetuous) decision to leave my precious hostessing job at a restaurant that I have come to cherish as my home over the last 3 years. With all that said and done, a hiatus was and still is undoubtedly in order so that I may refresh, venture forth, and excel in the perpetually uncharted future.
And though my future (post-hiatus) may not be as discernible (nor brilliant, dare I say) as that of The Pig and the Lady’s, I still find myself extremely lucky to have experienced this pop-up restaurant phenomenon prior to their break and my own.

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Salt

I’m not a bad daughter. In fact, I fancy myself as quite the opposite. Despite the distance and years between us, my parents and family in Korea are constantly in my thoughts and everyday actions. I am, for lack of better way to put this, my father’s daughter. As a child, I cringed and pouted when people would tell me I either was or looked exactly like my dad. “I want to be like umma, not appa,” I’d repeatedly whine. With this, my younger sister followed in my footsteps and we’d compete to claim inheritance of mom’s svelte and gorgeous physical features. As we’ve grown older, however, we’ve come to realize that while my sister may look more like my dad than I do, she acts more like my mom. Me? I am exactly like my dad.
From our stubby toes and absent-mindedness to our love for foreign languages and moments of silence, we are one and alike. My dad similarly bestowed upon me an appreciation for food in all forms. At the young age of 4 or 5, I had my first taste of gourmet cheese. I will never forget my dad in the kitchen, gingerly cutting the wrapped lump of German Butter cheese (Butterkäse) into generous slivers and placing each over slices of apple with his stumpy, callused hands. The first bite is one I will always remember, soft and buttery flawlessly paired with crisp and subtly-sweet. This flavor was only to be sharply, beautifully contrasted with the various salumi, or cured meats, he then allowed me to try. In addition to the more simplistic joys I grew up eating (instant mac & cheese, spaghetti with meat sauce, or spam, eggs, kimchi, and rice), the more complex and matured flavors of cheese and meats also have the ability to take me back to my not-so-distant, treasured childhood. And though it is always an honor and pleasure cooking for you, appa, if you were here for this upcoming Father’s Day, I wouldn’t think twice about taking you to Salt Kitchen & Tasting Bar. For memories sake. Continue reading

Town

There’s nothing like a good picnic, or a much needed visit to Town, to make an already gorgeous summer day all the more fabulous. Though there are an ample number of restaurants I love and frequent, and even more that I’m still yearning dying to try (I’m late, but Marukame Udon, Yakitori Yoshi, Sushi Sasabune, Nanzan GiroGiro, Le Bistro, Broadway, and Cream Pot, to name just a few), I must say Town is definitely one of my favorites.

A winsome little spot, quietly located in Kaimuki and unpresumptuous in its demeanor, Town exudes a rustic ambiance with modish flare. Their food focus is on locally-grown or locally-available produce, their slogan being “local first, organic whenever possible, with Aloha always.” With their seasonally updating menu, there are always fresh and magical choices to accentuate the best that bountiful Hawaii has to offer.
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A Timeless Mother’s Day

Each year as Mother’s Day dawns upon us, I find myself reverting back to a time when making toast and scrambled eggs for my mom was my life’s greatest accomplishment. This is, of course, not to say that I’ve had too many more, but I think we can both agree that I’ve cultivated my culinary skills a wee bit. Although my mom has always been impressed during her few opportunities to try my slightly more elaborate dishes, I think  we both know that it’s the simplest of dishes (like this one) that bring us the utmost joy and pleasure.
Especially since we haven’t been able to celebrate a Mother’s Day together in years, our fondest memories of Mother’s Day are those that involve an even mini-er me stealthily waking up and cooking some exceptionally magnificent version of toast and eggs, unnoticed. Then, of course, “surprising” mom with the whole self-aggrandizing breakfast-in-bed spiel. Thank goodness for modern technology so that she may enjoy this from Korea vicariously through my blog, as I am sure she is while preparing an even more sumptuous and extravagant meal for the rest of the family. She is quite the extraordinary cook, you know. And despite her modest ways, we all know there’s no competition when it comes to cooking between a daughter and her mom.
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RumFire

Now, this is what you call the quintessential “Spring Break.” The perfect spring break must include the following: a gorgeous beach (check), a gigantic pool (check), bright-colored umbrellas (check), towering palm trees (check), flip flops (check), and clear blue skies (check, check, check! Okay, we get the point). It’s just too bad it’s already over, discordant with everybody’s vacation mode. I know I couldn’t have been the only one clinging to my bed for dear life come Monday morning. Let’s not kid ourselves!

It’s practically torture sifting through these pictures from the not so distant past. Even if RumFire is only a ten-or-so minute drive away. Sure, I may sound spoiled and this may be a tangible luxury, but it certainly serves as quite the opposite when time does not permit such leisurely visitations. However, when time does allow, I assure you, being at RumFire between 4pm – 6pm is truly the happiest hour. Continue reading

Jin Din Rou

After months and months of elated anticipation, Jin Din Rou officially opened their doors to a mob of famished and impatient customers  about a month ago on an already restaurant-laden and culinary-active South King St. Notwithstanding the hegemony of Pan-Asian cuisine in Hawaii, Jin Din Rou immediately enthralled locals and tourists alike for their Taiwanese specialty xiao long bao or soup dumplings (surprisingly, not-so-featured nor readily available in Oahu).


The chaotic and overpopulated restaurant  mirrors the atmosphere of China, while the interior decor and architectural aesthetics embodies the essence of Japan. The initial impression is that of a sensory overload (at least in sight, smell, and sound). The structure of the rather small restaurant is simple yet refined, making it visually appealing despite the manifest lack of space and privacy between cramped tables (minus the more spacious booths for parties of 4 or more, an unfortunate discrimination against couples, which I happen to travel in!). The window displaying their dainty kitchen and industrious chefs combined with the savory fragrance of steaming dumplings only arouse further eagerness and hunger for what’s to come, drowning out the commotion of an equally excited crowd around you. But, alas, is all this hype about Jin Din Rou reprehensible? I know that I, for one, have certainly rescinded my enthusiasm and expectations for the seemingly promising restaurant and its dining experience. Continue reading

Moriomoto Waikiki.

I definitely haven’t been the most diligent blogger lately. I have, unsurprisingly, on the other hand, been quite the diligent eater. I am finally proud to say that I am no longer green with envy of those who’ve experienced the wonders of Iron Chef Morimoto’s new restaurant in Waikiki. I realize that this does not give me absolution from my sin of procrastination and negligence, but allow me to blandish you into forgetting my mistakes, my loyal and lovely readers out there (be there any left).

Being the Iron Chef fanatic that I am and the sushi aficionado that Pat is, going to Morimoto was certainly at the top of our food agenda. The only problem was finding the right time and occasion. Regardless, that problem was answered pronto since it was Patrick’s birthday a few days ago. I surreptitiously made reservations weeks in advance, but unfortunately didn’t come up with a proper surprise plan of execution. Nevertheless, he was indeed pleasantly surprised and quietly thrilled (being the mild and mellow guy that he is).  I, of course, was a little more expressly excited and exhilaratingly anxious to do my wallet some serious Iron Chef damage. Wow, and major damage did we most certainly do.
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