Archive for the 'A Quick Lunch Review' Category


Quick Lunch Review: Downtown @ HiSAM’s Seared Ahi Club and a much needed Update

Hey everyone, long time no see on this blog. HGC is getting more attention now. Anyway, if you know anything about me I have a job at Hawaii’s State Capitol, trying to set up a third blog, and keeping the HGC running and going . . . yes, busy galore. If you want awesome food reviews, and not the ramblings of someone who has too much on his plate check out this HGC Yelper’s Reviews. She is as awesome as the food item I am about tor review. Speaking of that, let’s get to the important thing, the FOOD!

Where I work, luckily a seared ahi club is never too far away!

Quick Lunch Review: Seared Ahi Club by Downtown@ HiSAM

My job at the Capitol keeps me pretty busy, it is stressful, long, but I like it. Keeps my mind agile and my stomach hungry. Thank god there is Downtown @ HiSAM (“Hawaii State Art Museum”) nearby (less than a 3-minute hungry-walk). Downtown is owned by Chef Ed Kenney of Town, in Kaimuki. The menu is light and perfect for the busy lunch crowd of lawyers, business people, lobbyists, and legislators (and their staff!). It is the same style of food that Chef Ed has become known for in Hawaii.

I would just like to bring attention to his Seared Ahi Club, which I have had three times in this past month. All I can say is it is the right portion of food at all the right places. There is enough searing to the ahi to make it light, but it is still the raw. The bacon is there to bring saltiness and crunch, but it does not overwhelm the ahi, but compliments it. The wasabi has enough hint to help the ahi (reminiscent of sashimi-style) and the salad is a good companion to the sandwich. The quartering of the sandwich into fours always means it can be shared with a lunch companion or you can eat each slice in two to three bites. It’s awesome!

From a Yelper who captured this delightful lunch item.

It is so awesome that I run from my office when I take my lunch break that I forget my camera and so must use a yelper’s picture because it is just a perfect lunch for a busy person at work. So if you are new to the Capitol or downtown scene and want a quick bite, but not feel stuffed or overwhelmed (because work does that) head to Downtown and grab a Seared Ahi Club.

Update and Other Random Tidbits:

So just like the HGC blog, this blog will be updated, but randomly and not as frequent as last year (but something tells me you already figured that out from the fact that the last blog post came in November). Anyway, feel free to subscribe and you can get my mad-hunger laden ramblings from time to time without clicking this site everyday at work as you figure out how to waste time. Anyway, I just like to talk about some interesting food things and then go to bed.

Like everyone else one of my NY’s resolutions was to eat healthier this year . . . that went out the door when I started working at the State Capitol. However, my boss happens to be a vegetarian and so it has motivated me once again to go with the Meatless Monday movement. I was able to do it for several consecutive Mondays last year during the summer, but just dropped it. Now with Huffington Post reporting that Sodexo, the world’s premier food services provider, rolling out Meatless Mondays as well, I think there is no excuse for me to strive for it again.

The protest coming to these Sandwich Isles next via 2011 HB77.

Despite my desire to eat healthy and go vegan for a day that does not mean I want my foie gras taken from me. The nice thing about work in lawmaking is you get to see all the bills that go through the legislative process. Some you like, some you don’t care about, and some you pray don’t pass. Like this one. Yes, HB77 aims to ban foie gras from these fair islands.

I think largely, like a lot of bills, there is good intent to curb or reduce a perceived problem. However, I think that a lot of time interested parties have a complete misconception of what is going on and thus it is a “throw the baby out with the bathwater” syndrome. As is with wagyu beef and cows, foie gras and ducks can be treated with all the same comfort and generally produces better foie gras.

This article from Serious Eats takes an in-depth look at a foie gras farm and highlights how the conditions are not the horror stories that people who would like to ban foie gras conjure up. I think the author makes a strong point ending with this conclusion:

If you are against the confinement, slaughter, and eating of all animals, then that’s a different argument to be had at a different time. But to single out foie as the worst of the worst is misguided at best, and downright manipulative at worst. Just as there are good eggs and bad eggs, good beef and bad beef, good chicken and bad chicken, so there is good foie and bad foie. We are especially lucky, because we happen to live in a country where all of the foie produced is good foie.

Quote taken from: The Physiology of Foie: Why Foie Gras is Not Unethical

I really think that this is the same case here is that it presents and easy target that a select group of people are incensed about and that is because they are letting their personal preferences cloud them from seeing the total picture. Anyway, that is just my two cents.


Quick Lunch Review: Kalua Pork Eggs Benedict and Guava Chiffon Pancakes

Alright, so this food really isn’t meant for lunch and it’s not necessarily quick, but well with my lawyering skills and as I bend the rules of my own policies I’m going to talk about the Kalua Pork Eggs Benedict and Guava Chiffon Pancakes found at Cinnamon’s in Kailua.

In my mind it is lunch because when I go there on Sundays it is lunchtime. Secondly, it is quick in the sense that the restaurant gets the food out quick, but the caveat is that the wait can be really long. Cinnamon’s is really popular and is it any wonder when they serve up things like Kalua Pork Eggs Benedict and Guava Chiffon Pancakes. My mouth is watering and my heart is racing as I mention those food items . . . or is it me having a heart attack for eating these things too many times? Oh well, you’ll know for sure if the posts stop coming.

Anyway, on to the food. I love salt. I talked about it here in conjunction with the NPR article talking about “Supertasters.” So the Kalua Pork Eggs Benedict is like a dream on earth. I am one of those people who at the Las Vegas buffet takes the Eggs Benedict, and then stares and pokes at it after eating everything else. So for me to devour these Eggs Benedict says something.

Such a savory treat is then perfectly paired with an order of Guava Chiffon pancakes for dessert. The taste is really evocative of drinking a good guava juice or eating fresh fruit. It really tastes like a good piece of cake. Anyway, if you find yourself in Kailua around breakfast and/or lunch I highly recommend getting a plate of Kalua Pork Eggs Benedict and Guava Chiffon Pancakes.


Quick Lunch Review: KJ’s Fried Chicken

KJ's definitely some ono kine grindz.

So if you ever find yourself on the windward side, in Kaneohe, definitely check out KJ’ s for some fried chicken. It is really good and makes for an excellent, fast lunch.  The chicken is tender and moist, and definitely has the right crunch. The skin of the chicken has a good spice mix and is perfect for lunch heading to the beach.The fried chicken is one the best that local style has to offer, and is great for munching on yourself or sharing with a friend.

Don't go to KFC, go to KJ's! Well, go to KFC if you want the Double-Down.

KJ’s also offers a variety of other fried chicken, such as furikake and Korean fried. Both are good and very flavorful. So if you are tired of fried chicken, give them a go they are good too. I still like the regular fried chicken the best. Nothing says comfort like deep fried, yeah?

The furikake chicken.


Quick Lunch Review: Ichiben’s Shoyu Ramen + 4 Gyoza

Shoyu ramen, perflecty salty and meaty . . .

Lately, when I find myself in Aiea or Pearl City area and I’m craving ramen I head to Ichiben. Ezogiku at Waimalu and Pearl City have frequently gone down in quality as the noodles are too “eggy” or soggy. I like Ichiben because it is fast, cheap, and much tastier compared to Ezogiku.

I’ve gone many times to Ichiben, but I’m going to focus on the Shoyu ramen. Why? Because Shoyu is pretty basic and if you can’t make Shoyu, you might as well give up in the ramen business.  At Ichiben the Shoyu ramen is not too salty, but is salty enough to compliment the four slices of char siu they give you. The noodles are good consistency. Not too thick, not chewy, but strong enough to hold some soup stock as you gulp them down.

These are meh, but can you really eat ramen without gyoza? Not to mention the price . . .

Lastly, this meal is awesome because for under $10 you also get four gyoza. The gyoza is not that great, in fact they are ok. I’m sure they would say them make them fresh like their soup stock, but they still taste like the frozen kind.  That being said for under $10 you can’t beat a substantial ramen plus gyoza.

Oh yeah, the service here is also very good. They are always happy, check on you constantly, and seem to be genuine when they say “thank you.” So I’m thankful I no longer need to go to Ezogiku when I’m in Aiea or Pearl City.

Yep, it was just $9.16, and I was in and out under 30 minutes!


A Quick Lunch Review: Rokakku’s Unagi Set

Quick Line: If you want unagi and are stuck at Ala Moana Shopping Center just go to Shirokiya.

Before I left for my spring trip to Hong Kong and Japan, my friend and I met at Ala Moana shopping center to pick up some trip supplies. I had never been to Rokakku for lunch, and my friend had only been there for dinner. I thought that this mall-restaurant, that is meant to cater to the Japanese palette and the well-heeled shopper would at the very least do a decent lunch.

Looks like unagi, smells like unagi, does NOT taste like unagi!

Lunch was not decent. I would have been better served grabbing a bento from Shirokiya. Rokakku’s unagi just did not taste good to me P-E-R-I-O-D. One of my favorite places to get unagi is at Izuei in Ueno Park of Tokyo. To me Izuei (while it may be Osaka-style) captures the subtle flavors of the unagi, and the sides are just right. At Rokkaku, my unagi was too fishy tasting and was way too dry like it forgot it was a waterborne animal. The kabayaki sauce did nothing to hide this either. The salad that came before on the either hand was drowning in dressing as if to make up for the lack of greens.

The dressing to green ratio definitely indicates the dressing is winning by a large margin.

Now, some of you may say, wait a minute that is Tokyo?! How can a Honolulu, mall-based restaurant compare to an authentic Japanese experience? Normally, I would agree with you, but Rokakku bills itself as “Authentic Japanese Cuisine.” Moreover, Chef Hiroshi is a world-quality chef.  So I can compare and say find somewhere else for lunch. This review says nothing about their dinner.

Lastly, let me say that a week after this lunch I was in Kyoto and Tokyo eating good unagi, trying to erase this lunch from memory.

Look other stuff that came with the lunch set that I could not be bothered to write about because of the bad unagi.


Raiding one refrigerator at a time!

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