Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Reflections 2009

This Christmas was, at the same time, the most enjoyable and the most disappointing. Experiencing the wonder of the holiday through our son's eyes was an unforgettable experience. From the Christmas carols at church to the Honolulu City Lights display, he cherished every minute of it. One specific memory I will have of this Christmas was when our son went to see one of my mom's friends. She gave him a present and told him he could open it. Our son held it in his hands, looked at it, and with conviction told her, "No, I am going to put it under the tree. I have to wait for Christmas." Moments like these truly warm a parent's heart.
On the flip side, I posted this tweet about the irony of the season. The few times I decided to brave the mall, I saw nothing but greedy, rude, self-absorbed, opportunistic individuals obsessed with consumerism. Thankfully, I did most of my shopping very early or online, thereby avoiding most of the madness. Still, I find it disturbing that this, the "season of giving", seems to bring out the worst in people. When will we learn to appreciate our friends and loved ones over the spending and sales?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Café Kaila | Honolulu, Hawaii

Let me start by saying that I WANT to like this place, I really do. The food is excellent and I'm all about supporting local businesses, but my wife and I have had one too many bad experiences that will likely keep us from coming back. So what happened? Well, once we waited almost TWO HOURS for our food. Granted, it was crowded at the time, but TWO HOURS?! I could have walked across the parking lot to buy groceries at Foodland, gone home, cooked myself a meal, and consumed it in less time than that. Another time, our waitress seemed like she didn't want to be there and it was pretty obvious she didn't want us there either. Excuse me, but I thought it was nice to have customers in your restaurant. Today was the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back. The waitress asked my wife if she would like a refill on her plantation iced tea. My wife politely said, "no thank you, it was a little sour." So here comes the kicker... the waitress goes to the back of the restaurant to where the other employees are hanging out and says, "yeah, like I purposely put in the sour sauce." The rest of the staff then went on to make other comments about sour this and sour that, all within earshot of where we were sitting. WHAT. THE. #*$@?! I don't know if we've ever been treated so despicably.

Café Kaila
2919 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu, HI 96826-3503
(808) 732-3330

Wifey ordered the Lox, but asked to sub avocado for the salmon. Everything was really fresh. Like I said, the food is excellent.

I ordered a spinach and mushroom omelette, but ended up with spinach and onion. How you mistake "mushroom" for "onion" is beyond me, but still, it wasn't bad and I probably would've overlooked it had we received better service.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Happy Hearts Mochi + Roy's Restaurant | Honolulu, Hawaii

This past Friday was wifey's birthday and I wanted to do something really nice for her. I started by ordering a sampler from Happy Hearts Mochi. Then it was off to an early dinner at Roy's in Hawaii Kai.

Happy Hearts
748 Hoawa Street
Honolulu, HI 96826
(808) 382-5714

6600 Kalanianaole Highway
Honolulu, HI 96825
(808) 396-7697

I'm pretty sure this is the best mochi you will find anywhere on this island. It's made fresh and with lots of TLC. Renee (@surfchik4jesus), the owner, was nice enough to wrap it up with a "Happy Birthday" sticker and delivered the package right to my door! You just can't beat that kind of service. I ordered a Sampler with 1 peanut butter, 2 pumpkin and 1 hazelnut chocolate. The pumpkin is a seasonal flavor available around the holidays.

I made dinner reservations at Roy's based on a recommendation from Lesli Ashburn (@macrohawaii).

Even before you order, they bring you a nice little dish of edamame. It was tossed in a sauce that had just the right amount of sweet and spicy.

Wifey ordered herself a Key Lime Pie Martini to drink.

A couple of friends of mine happened to be working that evening so they hooked us up with this complimentary appetizer. There was pork in it so guess who got to eat both ;)

Lesli specifically mentioned a vegetarian sushi that the Roy's in Waikiki had prepared for her, so we had to ask about it. It was packed with bok choy, asparagus, and other veggies and topped with a garlic aioli.

We also shared the Tomato salad. Heirloom tomatoes atop a bed of watercress, onion and goat cheese.

We asked our server for vegetarian entrée options and she said they could do tofu in place of the poached fish. It was topped with a cilantro pesto and drizzled with hot oil. I took a bite and actually preferred this to the fried tofu she had at Alan Wong's.

I ordered their Surf N Turf special and it was just massive. Two "bomboucha" beef ribs, four shrimp skewers, a piece of grilled salmon (hiding in the back), rice, and kim chee. I enjoyed the different flavors of the dish and despite it's size, didn't feel overly full afterwards.

For dessert, we ordered the Caramel Crème Brûlée. The custard tasted very much like dulce de leche.

They also brought out a special birthday cake on a personalized plate, which I thought was a nice touch. This dessert is called their Chocolate Decadence Cake. It was more like a block of rich fudge than a "cake," but it did live up to its name - it was both chocolaty and decadent.