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Roy’s, Hawaii

Our last meal in Honolulu with both Lobster Dynamite and The Professor was at Roy’s. There are six different locations in Honolulu alone, and we went to the one in Waikiki Beach which is a short drive from their place.

The chef behind this restaurant is Roy Yamaguchi. Born in Tokyo, he worked as executive chef at le Serena in LA in 1979, and by 1984 he opened his own restaurant in LA called 395 North. He moved to Hawaii in 1988 and open Roy’s. There are now 31 Roy’s including 23 in the US, 6 in Hawaii, 1 in Japan and 1 in Guam.

There were a few hiccups with our reservations, but thankfully we didn’t have to wait for long for our table, as we noticed there were a few people waiting. The menu looked wonderful, a mix of everything, ranging from raw seafood, cooked seafood, poultry and meat. Considering there was a lot of raw seafood that I could not eat, I thought I would just order separately from the group. Their food looked spectacular and yes, I was uber jealous.

We started with the edamame which was served with sesame oil and chili – just the way ‘The Mother’ likes it.

‘The Mother’ couldn’t go past the king fish tuna, it was the first time that The Professor had it and she enjoyed it. Lobster Dynamite also loved the freshness of the fish, it did look very very good!

The crab cakes were also delicious – full of chunky crab meat in a spicy sesame sauce.

The lobster roll was also a hit!

That was their entrees, for mains, ‘The Mother’ had pan roasted kona kampachi – big island clams, local vegetable minestrome, roasted garlic – the fish was pan fried, it was tender but yet firm at the same time.

The Professor had the sea scallops – butter wilted nalo arugula, fresh wasabi sourdough fritters, local orange, and seared scallops. I didn’t have any of this, but it looked absolutely divine and no doubt The Professor really enjoyed it.

Lobster Dynamite had the roasted garlic and sesame baked jumbo shrimp and indeed they were JUMBO shrimp!

I on the other hand couldn’t go past the pork belly with buns – tender succulent pork belly which was served with radish, and bao (buns).

They were seriously good, so good that I don’t think I offered anyone some! I could have happily eaten another half a dozen for my main.

For mains, roasted half chicken, Asian herb thai chili, and mac-nut relish, kobacha spaetzle and oxtail cassoulet. It was a rather large serving, larger than anyone else’s on the table. It was rich, the chicken was tender, the spaetzle and oxtail I loved but it was a little on the rich side. It didn’t help that I was full from the buns.

We shared dessert, upside down pineapple cake which was served with vanilla bean ice cream.

The pineapple cake was a bit rich but incredibly delicious.

The chocolate soufflé was another wonderful dessert, it oozed with chocolate, and wow… what a perfect way to end the meal.

It was a wonderful meal with friends. Service was spot on, and food delicious! Would definitely recommend this place but reservations are highly recommended.

Thank you to both Lobster Dynamite and The Professor for your hospitality! We look forward to our next trip together in Vegas! Vegas baby, Vegas!

GA’s ratings: 8 / 10

Roy’s Hawaii

226 Lewers Street

Honolulu, Hawaii 96815

Ph: +1 (808) 923-7697

Roy's (Lewers Street) on Urbanspoon

Rainbow Drive-in, Honolulu, Hawaii

A plate lunch is a must try in Hawaii as I was told by Lobster Dynamite. It is considered as ‘local food’ in the sense that it reflects the fusion of the local cultures and ethnicity. Lobster Dynamite suggested that we go to the Rainbow Drive-in, this place has been around for over 45 years and boasts to serve some of the ‘cheapest and best plate lunches to Hawaii and the world’.

A ‘plate lunch’ consists of entrée, 2 scoops of rice, 1 scoop macaroni salad or slaw. There were many choices ranging from fried chicken, ham steak, bbq steak, cutlets, corned beef and many more. Alternatively, there are also burgers, sandwiches and other miscellaneous items. The description of each food can be found below.

I couldn’t go past the pork cutlet with gravy ($7.25) – and what a generous serving it was! The pork were on the thin side but tender, and the gravy although thick was a wonderful complement. I really enjoyed the macaroni salad.

‘The Mother’ wanted something different; he got the mahi sandwich with lettuce ($4.50) and a side of fries. The mahi sandwich was very simple – mahi, lettuce and that was pretty much it. It was pretty tasty though, very simple and very good.

He also ordered a medium float ($3.00) which he absolutely loved! He glared at me every time I asked for a sip.

Lobster Dynamite ordered the beef with gravy, very similar to mine.

He also ordered a cheese burger which was $2.50! How can he resist a burger for $2.50 he claimed! Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of this as he pretty much scoffed it down before I could even press ‘click’.

Service nill, you  order your food at the counter and wait for you food. Seating is very minimal, especially during peak hour – so come early or come a little after peak hour. Reasonably priced and generous serving. It is quite close to the beach so if there are no seating; you can always stroll down the beach and have it there. Unfortunately for us, it wasn’t beach weather, so we ate there, and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

Rainbow Drive-in

3308 Kanaina Ave

Honolulu, Hawaii 96815

Ph: +1 (808) 737-0177

Rainbow Drive-in on Urbanspoon

Shokudo, Ala Moana, Hawaii

Shopping in Hawaii is seriously fantastic, I wish I bought more stuff. One of the malls that we went too was Ala Moana – pretty cool mall with some high end and low end shops. ‘The Mother’ didn’t really want to shop but thought we could all grab some lunch before we went our separate ways – boys went to the beach and me, hang out at the shops for a few hours.

Shokudo was on Lobster Dynamite’s list. It’s not quite in the mall, it was outside near the parking lot. It was quite a spacious and bright restaurant, loved the modern décor and the food was fantastic at reasonable prices.

The menu vast, we thought we would pick a couple of dishes to share and started with the yuzu Hamachi carpaccio ($13.95) – thinly sliced yellowtail sashimi with yuzu pepper vinaigrette topped with pickled wasabi was a favourite of ‘The Mothers’. The sashimi was fresh, the vinaigrette really gave it a nice touch.

The calamari tempura ($8.45) – tender calamari lightly battered and deep fried served with wasabi aioli was delicious. It had the right amount of batter and it wasn’t oily or sickly and who could say no to wasabi aioli?

‘The Mother’ loves edamame ($3.95) – lightly salted boiled soy beans, they were a great started. I do like them sprinkle with chili though – it gives it that extra zing!

The pork gyoza ($6.95) – Japanese potstickers served with chili soy sauce was a hit, so good that the boys ordered two servings of this. I couldn’t help but steal a couple of them also!

I ordered their lunch bento box – chicken karaage ($8.95) with was absolutely fantastic! Crispy and tender chicken, it went down too nicely with the wasabi aioli. I was secretly hoping the boys didn’t want any and thankfully – they didn’t!

It also came with some rice, salad, edamame and miso soup.

Now dessert, Shokudo is quite famous for their honey toast and even though we were full, we HAD TO get one.

TWO GINORMOUS slices of Japanese white bread, toasted with the centres cut into little cubes and topped with creamy ice cream and drizzled with honey. You can add toppings such as chocolate, strawberry, caramel, sweet red bean and the like but we wanted it plain.

Our jaw dropped as the lady put this on our table – OH MY GOD! It was definitely a generous serving. Even though the bread was toasted, it was still quite fluffy and drizzled with honey and eaten with ice cream it was absolutely divine! We didn’t think we could finish it, but boy were we wrong!

Service was indeed friendly and food came relatively quickly. We were tempted to get the sushi pizza but thought that would have been too much – we needed to make room for the honey toast and I am glad that we did!

Deliciously full, I tried very hard to stay awake whilst shopping and to be honest, that wasn’t difficult as I was overjoyed by all the ‘Sale’ sign!  Lobster Dynamite and ‘The Mother’ went for a drive and the beach and picked me up about 4 – 5 hours later.

If you are in the area and want a Japanese fix or just honey toast, Shokudo is definitely a visit.

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

Shokudo

1585 Kapiolani Blvd

Honolulu, Hawaii, 96814

Ph: +1(808) 941-3701

Shokudo on Urbanspoon

Mochi Ice Cream at Bubbies, and Leonard’s Malasadas, Honolulu, Hawaii

I can’t begin to tell you how much I love this place – Bubbies Ice cream! It’s not your average ice cream but mochi ice creams. Mochi ice cream is a Japanese confection made from mochi (pounded stick rice) with an ice cream filling and these little babies were absolutely frigging delicious!

Bubbies can be found in the University district, apparently where college student hang-out. It does get busy and there aren’t many tables inside. We weren’t planning to dine in, as since Lobster Dynamite lives about 5 minutes away so it made sense to take away.

The place was relatively busy, their specialty I think is the mochi – different types of flavours. The regular mochi flavours are on the left and the specials and chocolate dipped ones are on the right. We bought a dozen and I was hoping the guy behind the counter would give us one of each, but instead two of six different flavours – lychee, guava, chocolate peanut butter, mango, chocolate espresso, green tea and azuki bean.

We cut six mochi into thirds, for Lobster Dynamite, ‘The Mother’ and myself. My least favourite would have to be the lychee and guava. My favourite out of the combination was definitely the chocolate espresso followed by the green tea. The next day I had the chocolate espresso on my own – it was MINE!

Would have liked to try the tiramisu or the strawberry dark chocolate chip! Definitely a must visit if you love ice cream and mochi.

They also had other dessert – ice cream and other desserts with funny names – like ‘come here little girl’, ‘knock me up’ or ‘maybe the bag broke’ – we didn’t try any of them but would definitely be interested next time! lol

A couple of friends have raved about Leonard’s Malasadas, so I had HIGH expectations. Leonard’s Bakery on Kapahulu Avenue in Honolulu is a popular bakery, queues can be long and parking can be a complete nightmare. The attraction is the deep fried yeast dough which resembles a Portuguese version of a donut without a hole – the malasada.

Usually deep fried, and often coated or filled with different types of filings. The traditional is just plain with icing sugar, but on offer were custard, chocolate and the flavour of the month.

We got half a dozen, 2 traditional, 2 chocolate, and 2 custard – it was warm and good but considering I had high expectations it was a bit of a letdown. It was good but nothing special I thought. It was like a warm donut but softer and it didn’t have the hole – it didn’t leave me with any wow factor. The custard was probably better, but it was a little too rich for my liking. I had a bite of ‘The Mother’s’ and that was it, unlike bubbies – I wanted more!

The bakery is nothing fancy, small, and run down. You can order other things besides malasadas – different types of donuts, cakes, cookies and many more but we were here for the malasadas and that’s what we got!

If you are in the area and are curious then definitely get some, but like I said early, I think the mochi ice cream wins for me!

GA’s ratings: Bubbies: 8 / 10

1010 University Ave

Honolulu, Hawaii, 96826

Ph: +1 (808) 949 8984

Bubbies Homemade Ice Cream (University Avenue) on Urbanspoon

GA’s ratings: Leonard’s Bakery: 6.5 / 10

933 Kapahulu Ave

Honolulu, Hawaii, 96816

USA

Ph: +1 (808) 737 5591

Leonard's Bakery on Urbanspoon

Shaved Ice at Matsumoto and Kalua Pork at Ola, Honolulu, Hawaii

On our first day in Honlulu, we went for a drive with Lobster Dynamite and The Professor. We drove to Oahu’s North Shore, walked around and stopped at possibly the most famous Shaved Ice place in Honolulu – Matsumoto. Matsumoto has been around since 1951 – opened by both Mamoru and Helen Momoy Matsumoto.

It is located about 10 minutes drive from the Dole Plantation site on the Northern side of the island, a scenic drive into North Point. We drove past looking for parking and the line was incredibly long! So many tourists, wanting to try this shaved ice, including ‘The Mother’.

It’s a tiny store, I didn’t go in as there were just way too many people. They have a multitude of syrup flavours – anything you can think off they had – strawberry, pineapple, lemon, coconut, banana, coconut cream, pinacolada – you name it! The list just went on and on. You can have the simple snow cone or be super indulgent and add on a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the bottom of the paper cone, or even add a generous scoop of azuki beans. Both ‘The Mother’ and Lobster Dynamite had neither; they just wanted a simple cone.

The shaved ice was HUMUNGOUS! I don’t think the photo really justified it! Huge shaved ice drizzled with syrup – from memory, ‘The Mother’ had melon, lychee and coconut – weird combination I thought but it seemed to work. It was just one sugary / syrupy drink! It was good for a warm day but talk about sugar over doze. I don’t know if I would have lined up for more than ten minutes though, it was good and I understand the fascination but I probably wouldn’t have gotten one on my own. ‘The Mother’ seemed to have enjoyed it but I could tell towards the end he was pretty much over it! lol

I can’t remember what Lobster Dynamite had, but I did prefer the colours on his ice than ‘The Mother’s’!

We drove around the island, stopping at Laniakea to look at the turtles. I think the boys really wanted to go snorkeling, however, weather was just too horrid and I don’t think they had their snorkels with them. Definitely next time… there will be a next time!

Next stop was definitely lunch – Ola at Turtle Bay Resort. The resort looked amazing, we didn’t really get a chance to walk around as our main focus was food! It was past 3pm when we got there, so the restaurant was closed, but they were still serving bar food which suited us fine.

‘The Mother’ and Lobster Dynamite both ordered the Ola slider combo with fries – Kalua pork slider with guava bbq sauce and from memory a cheddar cheese burger.

The Kalua pork slider was absolutely amazing; the pork was incredibly tender and the spices – fantastic!

Thankfully I ordered the kalua pork nachos – not what I expected what nachos would be. Five large thin and crispy corn chips all topped with generous amount of kalau pork and cheese with guacamole and tomato salsa on the side.

These babies were fantastic! The pork, the guacamole, the crispy corn chips – DELICIOUS!

The Professor wasn’t overly hungry, so opted for the cheese and fruit platter which looked very healthy and very tasty!

Overall it was a lovely meal – I really enjoyed the nachos and the pork sliders were fantastic.

Deliciously full, Lobster Dynamite drove us back to Waikiki, whilst I had a quick snooze in the car.

GA’s ratings: Matsumoto: 6.5 / 10

66-087 Kamehameha Hwy

Haleiwa, Hawaii, 96712

PH: +1 (808) 637-4827

Matsumoto Shave Ice on Urbanspoon

GA’s ratings: Ola: 7.5 / 10

57-091 Kamehameha Hwy

Kahuku, Hawaii, 96712

Ph: +1 (808) 293-0801

Ola (Turtle Bay Resort) on Urbanspoon

Honolulu and Teddy’s Bigger Burgers

After what seems to be an eternity, ‘The Mother’ and I were finally heading to Hawaii. ‘The Mother’ has had quite a relaxing two weeks, roaming around HK, NYC and Miami but was certainly looking forward to our short albeit relaxing trip in Hawaii. We were staying with ‘Lobster Dynamite’ and ‘The Professor’ – they have a six month stint in Honolulu and thought we would take the advantage and visit them. I have wanted to go to Hawaii for a while now, 3.5 days was simply not enough but we did manage to eat some wonderful food and I even managed to do a bit of shopping – which was VERY important!

The weather in Honolulu was not kind, I didn’t see the lovely sun like in Miami, it was cloudy and rainy at times but it didn’t dampen our mood. We were here with friends, and we planned to have a good time! Our first evening, we were picked up by Lobster Dynamite and The Professor, their penthouse is absolutely amazing, it was near Waikiki beach and we could see the ocean from where they lived. Some afternoon, we were even dolphin watching, which was uber cool!

We didn’t do much that evening, the next day, we drove around the island, from Waikiki up the centre and around the coast which was nice. Stopped by to see the turtles – very cute!

Had some snow ice, had a very late lunch at Ola at Turtle Bay Resort, and driving back to Waikiki and stopping at Bubbies for some mocha ice cream. All in all it was a superb day of eating!

Lobster Dynamite was very organised, prior to us arriving, he sent us a list of restaurants 18 to be exact, and in 3.5 days, I am proud to say that we ate at 8 of them, not quite 50% but a frigging good effort I thought! So THANK YOU for being a great host and we look forward to our next trip next year to VEGAS! VEGAS BABY!

The evening we landed, we were starving! Lobster Dynamite suggested this burger place that was just around the corner from where he lived – Teddy’s Bigger Burgers, which was opened in April 1998 at the foot of Diamond Head. They claim they only use 100% chilled ground chuck (no fillers or binders) and burgers are hand pattied daily and always charboiled to order. Their produce and buns are the highest quality and are delivered fresh daily.

The menu – burgers of course and lots of it. Pick a type of burger – original, teri, monster double or spud, then ‘awesome toppings’, followed by fries and sides. There also have different types of burger combos to choose from.

I only wanted a burger, so opt for the Original Teddy’s burger, which are all cooked medium and stacked with super sauce, lettuce, tomatoes, onions and pickles unless otherwise requested and added cheese with that.

OMG – it was absolutely delicious! The ‘super sauce’ was excellent! The burger was a little bigger than I thought but it was divine. Tender beef pattie, the bun was also fresh and soft, the sauce trickled down my hands, it was one frigging messy burger but well worth it! It went down nicely and quickly and I could have probably gone for another half!

‘The Mother’ opt for monster double – you can’t see it from the pic, but the pattie is bigger.

The fries were uber crispy, and Lobster Dynamite ordered tots which are like potato gems – crunchy on the outside and soft pillowy on the inside.

It was a frigging good burger, a little fancier than both In-n-Out and Shake Shack but it was GOOD! I’m beginning to think Sydney needs a burger joint like this! My favourite burger place Lotus has closed down, so where can I get my burger fix?

Lobster Dynamite can vouch that it is one of the nicest burgers in Honolulu. It was a perfect way to end the first evening in Honolulu and I can say that dragon and I slept extremely well that evening!

GA’s ratings: 8 /1 0

Teddy’s Bigger Burgers

134 Kapahulu Ave

Honolulu, HI 96815

Ph: +1 (808) 735-9411

Teddy's Bigger Burgers (Waikiki) on Urbanspoon

Tropical Beach Cafe and Oh Mexico, Miami, Florida

One of the mornings I had free, ‘The Mother’ and I went for breakfast at Tropical Beach Café. This place was recommended by the staff at the hotel where we stayed. It’s a Cuban restaurant, family run and offers great breakfast at terrific prices, compare to hotel breakfast.

I wanted something relatively healthy, have been eating quite a lot of bad food, as you do when you are on a work trip, so opt for Clara Salchicha (USD5.99) – egg white, sausage and toast. Generous serving of egg white, the sausage was a little oily for my liking and the fries, well so much for me being healthy! I’m not used to having fries in the morning, so it was a little weird but no doubt I had some. Who can say no to fries?

‘The Mother’s’ meal was SO much better and I had serious food envy! He ordered the chorizo toasted sandwich and it was divine! Toasted focaccia, it burst with flavours and I couldn’t help but keep asking for another bite. I am pretty sure I ate half of his sandwich… Whoops.

Service was friendly, and I think total bill came to USD12 which I thought was very reasonable! Food wasn’t too bad, but I think their toasted sandwiches are infinitely better than the eggs.

Later that day, after I sat on the beach whilst my work colleagues played beach volleyball, we went to Sunset beach for a stroll and some lunch.

‘The Mother’ had walked past Espanola Way and thought it was cool, so we went there had a stroll and stopped for some Mexican food at Oh Mexico. Again, not sure why we picked this place, I would have liked some Cuban food but there weren’t any Cuban restaurant in sight.

We weren’t overly hungry but wanted something to nibble on. Started with complimentary corn chips with guacamole and salsa dip. I love corn chips with guacamole so this was a winner.

We started with Quesadillas (USD 9), tortilla filled with queso fresco, pasilla roasted, and add chorizo for an extra USD 3. I love quesadillas, but this was extremely salty – the chorizo was uber salty. However, eaten with salad and guacamole, it made it slightly better. Shame though, as I really do like a ‘good’ quesadillas.

Also ordered a serve of the chicken taquitos (USD 9), chicken rolled in tortillas, shaved lettuce, onions, queso fresco, japaneo, tomatillo-avocado salsa. These I thoroughly enjoyed, the taquitos were crunchy and the chicken pieces were wonderful and fresh. Probably my favourite out of the two.

Service was friendly, food was good – if only the quesadillas weren’t so salty!

Miami reminded me a little bit of the Gold Coast, where the night life is a must. Unfortunately, considering it was a work junket, what happens in Miami will stay in Miami! We had fun though… that’s all I am going to say and that’s pretty much it on Miami. Next stop… HAWAII! Yay!

GA’s ratings: Tropical Beach Café: 6.5 / 10

2891 Collins Street

Miami Beach, Florida, 33140

USA

Ph: +1 (305) 538 0359

Tropical Beach Cafe on Urbanspoon

GA’s ratings: Oh Mexico: 6 / 10

1440 Washington Avenue

Miami Beach, FL, 33139

USA

Ph: +1 (305) 532 0490

Oh Mexico Restaurant on Urbanspoon