Main Menu

Ethel's Get Grinds

I just checked out the Tasty Island food blog and the latest blog entry features the wonderful Ethel's Grill in Kalihi. And then I heard the Honolulu Advertiser recently did a write-up on Ethel's too. So I was thinking if I saw those guys at Ethel's because I've been eating there kinda often the past couple months. So I figure I share my Ethel's pics too. First, if you get lucky, you might get one complimentary plate of the Tataki Sashimi. Nice cuts of seared ahi in a ponzu sauce...I think. Before time the Tataki used to come with warabi (baby fern shoots), but maybe was too expensive to keep up this ingredient in a complimentary dish. I was so happy when the guy put em in front me and said, "on the house." The garlic chicken was recommended by Judge Yamanoha DNA who is a garlic chicken lover. He thinks this is one of the best he's had. Lightly battered boneless fried chicken pieces drenched in some kind of a garlic-ee, shoyu-ee, mirin-ee sauce. Then my good friend who works at the shipyard told me to try the pork chops. My friend folks used to go Ethel's all the time after work and his favorite pau hana grinds was the pork chops. The pork chops was plain and simple. Two hunks of deep fried pork-o-licious magic with the edges all crispy and salty. No forget to suck the bone...mmmm savage! Last but not least, the mochiko chicken was crunchy crumbly and was just right mochiko chicken flavor. It came with this ono ponzu sauce for dipping the piping hot pieces of boneless chicken inside. Stuffed to satisfaction is what I was after these meals. Ethel's give pretty big portions for a decent price. If you like eat there, go early morning or late afternoon because always get choke long line during lunch hour. Btw, for you fiber fanatics, the guy said they only serve hapa rice (brown/white mix).
Tataki Sashimi Garlic Chicken
Fried Pork Chops Mochiko Chicken

Forty-Niner Drive-in Breakfast Grinds

The other week I was in the Aiea area kinda often in the mornings. Was lucky for me because I got to go try more stuff at Forty-Niner Drive-in. In the past, I had their fried rice and teri burger. Both were ono and reminded me of small kid time going with Dad to the little diners and saimin shops late at night. So this time I tried some different stuffs. The Portuguese sausage, egg and fried rice plate was sholid and big portion. I think they gave 6 pieces Rego's Purity PS. The Belgian waffle was crispy on the outside and light airy on the inside...almost like the Belgian waffle at Original Pancake House (Kapiolani/Dillingham). And finally, the smoke meat and eggs looked small kine funky at first with the big slices of shiitake mushrooms, but when you take the meat, onion and shiitake all at once and dip em in the egg yolk, was bust the mouth smokey goodness. I not sure if other places on Oahu serve smoke meat and eggs for breakfast, but I hope more places serve this winnah combo. If anybody know, I like know where.
Portuguese Sausage, Eggs and Fried Rice
Belgian Waffle
Smoke Meat, Eggs and Rice

I Don't Know Which Ramen To Choose

The other day, my friend asked me one real hard question. He asked, "Goma-tei Tan Tan Ramen or Tenkaippin Paitan Ramen...if you had to eat one for the rest of your life, which one would you chose?" I was thinking so hard going back and forth, back and forth, I thought my head was going explode like the people in that movie Scanners (warning you the link is gross). After about a week, I never decide yet. Both are delicious in their own way. Goma-tei get the hearty sesame flavor broth and their noodles are just right chewy. Tenkaippin get that rich velvety broth that almost taste like they put heavy cream inside. I not sure if I'll ever be able to choose, but I leaning towards Tenkaippin...I think...for now.
Goma-tei Tan Tan Ramen Tenkaippin Kotteri Ramen

Dried Abalone by Alicia's Market

About 5 or 6 years ago, my Father-in-law asked me if I could try find him dried abalone. I said, "dried abalone...what's dat?" He told me in his hanabattah days, plenty boys used to carry around a hunk of dried abalone in their pocket. Throughout the day they used their pocket knife to shave off thin slices to munch on. When he was telling me about the dried abalone days, he had the nostalgic tone in his voice and twinkle in his eyes, so I knew it meant a lot to him to taste it again. So I went all over Chinatown, the fish markets, poke shops and called some local seafood distributors, but everyone had the same answer, "nobody make dried abalone anymore." He was pretty disappointed when I told him no can find, but I told him I would keep an eye out for it. All the years passed and then couple months ago, my bro told me that Alicia's Market (#1 limu poke in the WOW Grinds blind taste test) had dried abalone. I went the next day and picked up some pieces. The guy at Alicia's said they started drying their own abalone again recently. I not sure if this is the same thing my Father-in-law had back in the day, but was tasty. Had a sweet salty glaze on the outside...more on the sweet side. The meat was slightly chewy, but still tender enough so your teeth sink in easily. And then had that oh so ono oceany flavor that abalone usually get. I still gotta take some to my Father-in-law...hopefully soon. Would be nice if it brings him back to his hanabattah abalone days. Btw, Alicia's Market making abalone poke too. 

Good to have family visit from the mainland

Couple weeks ago my cousin from California came to Hawaii for a week long vacation. I never see him for about 2 years, so was unreal good to reconnect with him...and was even better that he wanted to try all kine local grinds. Here's some pics of some of the places we took him to grind. He said everything was "so good" and his favorites were Alicia's Market Limu Poke/Smoke Tako Poke, Helena's Shortribs Pipikaula, Sorabol Steamed Kalbi, Zippy's Chili Loco Moco and Boots and Kimo Mac Nut Pancakes.
Limu/Masago/Tako/Raw Crab
Alicia's Market
Lemon Drop Crunch Cake
The Alley
Pumpkin Crunch Cake
The Alley
Oxtail Soup w/Ramen
The Alley
Champion Malasada
Shortribs Pipikaula
Helena's Hawaiian Food
Garlic Edamame
Kanpai Bar & Grill
Lup Cheong Fried Rice w/Egg
Kanpai Bar & Grill
Shoyu Poke
Keeaumoku Seafood
Shoyu Poke
Ono Seafood
Garlic Prawns
Romy's Kahuku Shrimp
Strawberry Cream/Melon Cream
Shimazu's Shave Ice
Misoyaki Butterfish
Tadashi Restaurant
He said for sure, he like try
Highway Inn beef stew next time
I sorry, but at some of the places,
I got too excited about the grinds
and I forgot to take pics...
-Side Street Inn Pork Chops
-Sorabol Steamed Kalbi
-Taiyo Ramen Kim Chee Fried Rice
-Boots and Kimo Mac Nut Pancakes
-Zippy's Chili Loco Moco

California Grinds Adventure

Thanks to all the relatives who took us to all the wonderful places to eat in California. Everything was so ono and different kine stuff too. We never even get to all the places we was planning to go. Shucks! I guess that's a good excuse to go again and have the California Grinds Adventure Part II. I wish some of the places would open up shop in Hawaii someday. Anyways, here's the rest of the food pics from our California Grinds Adventure. Hope you enjoy looking at them as much as we enjoyed grinding em.
Chicken Katsu - Katsuhana Cheeseburger - The Habit Ambers U-Pick Cherry Farm
Amber's U-Pick Cherry Farm Corned Beef Sand - New York Deli Chicken Soup - New York Deli
Pastrami Sand - New York Deli Dry Soda - Bristol Farms Boylan Root Beer - Bristol Farms
Chicken Pot Pie - Mimi's Cafe' Pot Roast Beef - Mimi's Cafe' Fresh Strawberries - Tanaka Farms
Fresh Veggies - Tanaka Farms With Grilled Onions - In-N-Out Cold Ramen - Santouka

Breakfast Grinds by Gardena Bowl

Gardena Bowl Coffee Shop
Gardena, CA

Another place we went on our recent trip to Cali was Gardena Bowl Coffee Shop. My relative, who's been going here religiously for must be over 30 years, took us here. Thanks Torp! He said about 5 years ago, Gardena Bowl changed owners, but the food still winnah. The first thing we had was the bacon fried rice with sunny side up egg on top. Ono homestyle fried rice, kinda like my Aiea Aunty makes. It's a wet style fried rice and I think oyster sauce based, but hard fo tell. Egg was cooked perfect, bust the yolk. The second thing was called something like, the Hawaiian Royale Omelette. It's a 3 egg omelette with char siu, Portuguese sausage, green onions, and some other stuffs on a bed of rice. And then they drizzle teriyaki sauce all over. The portions are titanic size. Could not finish half of these plates. The bacon fried rice was my fave. 

French Dip Sandwich by Philippe The Original

Philippe The Orginal
Los Angeles, CA

We took a trip to LA recently and stopped at Philippe's for some local grinds. Legend has it that Philippe invented the French dip sandwich by accident. Check out Philippe's websitefor the full story. But some LA locals say that Cole's, also in downtown LA, invented it. I hear it's a heated debate over who makes the better French dip. I never try Cole's so I no can compare, but Philippe's was winnah. Light crunchy French roll, dipped in their tasty au jus. The meat was tender and real easy to bite thru. Was ono to squirt the hot mustard on top. The potato salad and cole slaw was perfect tangy side salads. I saw some guys scooping chili on the sandwich with each bite. Ooh, I like try that next time. This one was the beef French dip, but I heard the pork is the best. Only $5.55 each sandwich.

Garlic Shrimp by The Alley at Aiea Bowl

The Alley at Aiea Bowl
Aiea Shopping Center (map)

Garlic shrimp is #3 on the online poll of "What Should Be The Next Grinds Challenge?". So when I went to The Alley recently and saw they had garlic shrimp, I had to stray from my usual order (tasty chicken/hamburger steak) and get this luscious dish. Had about 8-10 decent size shrimps along with rice and mac salad. Was one filling meal even for my bottomless pit opu. The shrimps were cooked perfect and the sauce was just right salty, buttery, garlicky, mild peppery goodness. The bonus was dipping the mac salad in the garlic butter sauce...slurp mmmm!

Beer & Poke by Sam Choy's BLC

Sam Choy's BLC
Nimitz (

Went Sam Choy's BLC recently for some pau hana pupus. Ordered one ice cold Ehu Ale and the shoyu poke. The description of the Ehu Ale reads, "Select caramel and roasted malts gives this smooth-drinking brew its deep mahogany color and nutty, toffee-like finish." The flavor is so good when you sip the beer, then eat one bite of poke, then a minute later sip the beer again. Something about this combination makes me happy....makes me feel fine. Thanks to bruddah Glen at the bar for the excellent service.