Saturday, July 28, 2012

Seattle 2012

We recently returned from Seattle, our first trip post-baby! H2 did great! We were so blessed to have the nicest people next to us on the plane rides, so understanding of H2's fussy periods.

Here are some of our best food moments of the trip:

1. Paseo - a friend's recommendation for cuban sandwiches and bowls of chicken/pork with rice and chips, but this place is definitely not a secret! A small place with a few tables, we were lucky enough to find one--the place was busy!


2. Skillet Diner - thanks to yelp for this find. Even on Monday mid morning, we waited for 15 minutes or so. We had the yummy chicken and waffles (so good!) and tasty deconstructed corned beef hash. The hash portion was pretty tiny; Han was still pretty hungry after his meal. Hey Pretty Thing has some great pics of the food!

3. East India grill - in Federal Way, at a nondescript strip mall. Amazing, affordable lunch buffet with great variety. Samosas, naan, tandoori chicken, tikka masala, lamb curry, cauliflower with carrots & peas, curried rice, to name a few. We met a woman there who said she eats there everyday; she also said H2 would be interested in music :) Han's parents thought this place had the best Indian food they've had in the states!

4. I Love Sushi - I really enjoyed this udon. The broth had a strong chicken-y flavor, but it was just what I needed at the time. Yummy and noodles with good texture. 

5. Cafe Besalu croissants - Cafe Besalu won our Seattle croissant battle a few years ago, over Bakery Nouveau and others. On this trip, we tried Honore's and Besalu still wins on balance between flakiness and depth of flavor. We were able to have some with Besalu's homemade nectarine jam, but were unable to get the amazing almond croissants which they only have on Sundays. Thanks to Hawbone's Flickr for the photo below:

Cafe Besalu Croissant w/Nectarine Jam

6. Bulgogi Salad - a great idea! Tasty bulgogi stirfried with onions, atop greens and a light ranch-like dressing. So good!! We got this from a korean street food stand at Pike's Market.

TO COME: Han are now really into Acai bowls. We've been making our own bowls, for friends and family, as well as trying out bowls we find around town. That'll be our next post!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Back to the Future, 2012

It's June 2012. I've read through my blogs from three years ago and I can't even believe it's been so long since I've blogged! It was nice to go back in time and remember our foodie adventures. Han has been urging me to get back to blogging for well... three years!

A little update... We never stopped trying new foodie joints, cooking and enjoying life here in Hawaii. I have alot of thoughts and tidbits to share :) Also, Han is even more "not solo" in that we've had a baby boy 8 months ago (aka H2). He's the absolute love of my life, so I've now gotta post some mommy related things too.

Here's what was going on in our kitchen today:

French Toast with Kanemitsu Bakery Bread

Brunch: French toast with Molokai's Kanemitsu Bakery french bread with some Purity portugese sausage. Sorry, I didn't take pics of this.  Just something I threw together for Han since my dad brought back some of this amazing bread. I also grew up going to Molokai to camp and fish, so I had to honor this loaf :) We tried two different "recipes" to compare using evaporated milk versus condensed milk. We only used about 4 big slices of bread (day old plus air dried a bit) so we made small batches of batter:
  • One egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1/4 cup of evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • dash of cinnamon
Condensed milk version used 1/8 cup of condensed milk and 1/8 cup of skim milk, no sugar or cinnamon. Liked both, but I preferred the evaporated milk version because it was not very sweet and allowed me to enjoy the toast with maple syrup.

Kabocha squash baby food

Our first kabocha squash baby food

Thanks to Champuru's blog for helping me make this for our little one (H2). I was only able to find organic kabocha at Nijiya Market, though. H2 had this for dinner with organic peas, baby bok choy (from dad's garden) and oatmeal cereal. I love making my own baby food, although we use Earth's Best cereals for the iron baby needs now.

For dinner: Stir-fried Turkey with Basil

Over the years, I've collected a few super easy, healthy and tasty recipes that go into my rotation... I'm picky in this area. It can't be much of a fuss and it has to still be amazing (A future blog topic!). Here's something I've recently adapted from Madhur Jaffrey's cookbook, Step by Step Cooking: Over 150 Dishes from India and the Far East, Including Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia. It's also a great use of the ground turkey that I pick up from Costco. So flavorful that a little goes a long way! Here's my version:
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 inch ginger, minced
  • 2 green or red chilies thinly sliced (seeds and membranes removed if you like it mild)
  • 1.25 lbs ground turkey
  • 1-2 cups thai basil, some chopped, some whole
  • 5-6 t. fish sauce
  • 2 t. brown sugar
Fry aromatics together, then ginger and chilies, brown turkey, add chopped basil, fish sauce and sugar. Then right before serving, throw in whole basil leaves until wilted. Ono with hot rice!

Monday, January 4, 2010

HNS Top 25 of 2009

2009 has been a mostly happy, albeit difficult year. We thank God for our family's good health and for His great love for us. That would be our #1. Here are 24 other things that have brought us joy (no particular order).
  1. Best Bread Pudding of 2009: Maple Bread Pudding sans praline
  2. Hiroshi's Eurasian Tapas: Tofu Salad
  3. Grilled Portugese Sausage at Mac 24-7
  4. Pasta Alla Norma, adapted from Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking
  5. The Chocolate Malt from the Little Oven
  6. Mark Enomoto's Tuna Sandwich (winner of Wellspring Church's Sandwich Showdown)

  7. Town Restaurant: Grass Fed Steak & fries

  8. Mexican food from Han's birthday party!!! Including this Mexican Rice recipe from Bon Appetit
  9. Himalayan Kitchen
  10. Han's Steel Cut Oatmeal, based on this recipe from VeganYumYum
  11. Glee!
  12. Movie: Snow Prince, a Japanese film
  13. My dad's salad dressings
  14. Our cute herb garden (now sorely in need of tlc!)

  15. Paninis, especially with grilled veggies, basil pesto & carmelized onions
  16. Food movie: Food, Inc.
  17. Town Restaurant: Croissants
  18. This Roast Beef sandwich, with my dad's smoked prime rib and au jus
  19. Yogi Kombucha Green Tea
  20. Moosewood LowFat Cookbook: Mediterranean Couscous Salad
  21. Stracciatella


  22. Mole Tamales from Mercado De La Raza (available 3x/year)
  23. Fries and dipping sauces from Hank's Haute Dogs
  24. Auntie Ann's Cocoa Crispies Cookies!! (We'll try to get the recipe!)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Zuni Chicken and Bread Salad

This is such an iconic dish and everyone who has a food blog has already chronicled this, but for me, this was a special undertaking. Maybe it was the cozy lighting and the crisp January air outside, but my first experience at Zuni Cafe, consisting of the Olive oil fettunta (yum!), House-cured anchovies, Caesar salad, Zuni Chicken and Bread Salad and the Red Hawk Cheese (Cowgirl Creamery) was culinary magic for me. Needless to say, it left an deep impression on me. I learned how the best ingredients with artful, sometimes painstaking, preparation makes all the difference. It made me a better cook, for sure.

My friend who I shared the experience with bought me Judy Rodgers' book, the Zuni Cafe Cookbook, and I'm extremely grateful. (Being from Hawaii, it is a little difficult to cook many recipes from this book since we don't have the same sources for ingredients, but it's a very interesting read for any cook.)

I made the chicken and bread salad for a small dinner party, along with a minestrone and the barefoot contessa's deeply chocolate gelato and giada's hazelnut gelato. Here are my pics:

The toasted bread with scallions and currants -- I used LaBrea's Roasted Garlic Loaf. You can find dried currants at Foodland's R. Field or at Whole Foods.

Chicken (before turning over, the skin did end up sticking to the pan even though I preheated it!) The chicken was Mary's from Whole Foods.

Salad dressed, waiting for the chicken

My guests really enjoyed this, and I was extremely glad I was able to share a bit of Zuni with them. I also appreciate Judy Rodgers for writing her cookbook, in such a didactic and detailed way, so home cooks like me can relive our memories at Zuni. The recipe is also online here.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Our Macaroons in Paris

Here's a quick pic of the macaroons we got from Laduree, a little bit of a snobby yet gorgeous patisserie/cafe on the Champs Elysees. I believe we tried Lemon, Cassis, Strawberry, Rose Petal, Pistachio and Chocolate. We haven't had a chance to try making different flavored macaroons, since making our chocolate ones last year. Hopefully soon...

Little Oven

One of our favorite places, possibly in this world, is Little Oven, on King Street map. We've been visiting Joyce Harada and enjoying her homey, yummy and beautiful desserts for a couple of years now. Truly, as others have written, Little Oven IS little, and very easy to miss. Look for the shop with the warm orange glow and funky modern light fixture, just past the old Fro-yo bar and parking is in the back, turn right on Kaheka and right again. The hours are W-Sat 7pm-midnight, but you may want to go a little bit later, around 7:30 or 8, as they don't always open right on time. I've been meaning to do a post on Little Oven for so long, but never had the opportunity to take good pictures. We finally brought our camera the other night, expecting the usual casual and relaxed atmosphere probably seeing the same ol' people, but we were greeted by what seemed like a barage of patrons, most of whom we'd never seen before! Little Oven was recently featured in Metromix, a local entertainment guide, and so now the secret's out!

We had the Irish Apple Cake and Irish Tipsy Cake, both $6.50. The Apple cake was like an apple pie but with a biscuit-like crust. Joyce makes some of the most satisfying pastry, from tarts to cobblers to pies. Anything she does with fresh fruit is also lovely. The Tipsy cake was a strawberry layer cake with some sort of liquor between the cake, strawberries and cream, very light and tasty.

Irish Apple Cake, $6.50

Irish Tipsy Cake, $6.50

We can also attest to mostly all of Little Oven's homemade sorbets and ice milks. Strawberry sorbet and ice milk, and the banana ice milk are particularly good, bursting with fresh fruit flavor. In addition to the frozen desserts, we are also huge fans of the lilikoi pavlova, calamansi tart and the mixed berry and peach cobblers.

What is most compelling about Joyce's desserts is that she makes everything herself, you can almost taste the love that goes into it. Some of her desserts have become comfort food for us, they have a simplicity to them that just grows on you. On holidays and at different times of year, she creates special desserts and prix fixe menus. You really can't visit just once.

Little Oven had become such a special place for us that we asked Joyce to make our wedding cake. She created a beautiful cake for us, an amazing lilikoi cake! She is truly talented, and has a whole host of cakes at her website.

Our wedding cake:

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Croissant Tour of Honolulu #1

Croissants never meant much to me, one way or another. They were a banal staple at conferences where refreshments were served. Here in Hawaii we are used to the Costco variety, soft, somewhat flaky, somewhat buttery croissants, similar to the bun stand-ins in a croissant-wich. I actually love the occasional croissant sandwich, especially how the sandwich is never dry because of the buttery, flaky exterior. What I'm getting to is, croissants now mean a great deal to me. On a non-descript 'rue' in Paris, we visited a VERY small bakery named Poilane. World-famous, this bakery was not crowded or glitzy. It paled in comparison to any of the other large boulangeries with famous culinary namesakes. The croissant I was lucky enough to eat was life-changing, unlike any croissant that had crossed my path!

Flaky is an understatement when talking about this croissant. I have actually tried making croissants, in Hawaii sans a marble slab or air conditioning. On a positive note, I ended up with some homely crescent shaped biscuits. The Poilane creations looked like any other in France, but it was so crisp in its top layers, incredibly flaky, tender and beautifully layered on the inside, butter hardening the flat bottom into a crust. I was sure I would never be content with any other croissant after this, and so far it has been true.

Sometimes I visit Poilane via Google Earth, that's how powerful a memory it was for me! I always dream of visiting France again, recreating meals and sifting through our photos. I was lucky enough to have a wonderful croissant this weekend that had Han and I trekking to a few more bakeries to give some Hawaii bakeries a real look. The croissant that has given me hope was from Town, in Kaimuki. What a wonderful croissant, ultra crisp and flaky, soft and gorgeous on the inside! My hope was being restored. We bought a croissant and pain au chocolat at Bakery Boulangerie on King Street. We headed to Manoa to try Fendu Boulangerie and Bakery Manoa's offerings.

These are our findings:

Town croissant - wow! Ultra-flaky, crisp, most like the Poilane croissant! Very satisfying weekend breakfast moment.

Bakery Boulangerie - really good, tasty croissant. Not quite as crisp as I like, but it was tender and flaky. We loved the apricot/peach glaze and sliced almonds. The pain au chocolat, also very good! Nice dark chocolate interior!

Bakery Manoa's (shown left) was a disapointment. It was "alright" having a somewhat flaky exterior but a more dense, bready interior. It also had a slighty chemical taste to the croissant.

Fendu was out of croissants, so we got their chocolate croissant (shown right). The pastry was quite nice, somewhat crisp, quite flaky and buttery! We were not very happy with the chocolate, the chocolate tasted of low quality and there was too much chocolate for our tastes.

We definitely want to do more croissant taste-testing! Pass along any noteworthy suggestions.