Ala Moana: Shirokiya

Monday, June 30, 2008 19comments No tags Permalink 0

Stuck in a funky rut this weekend. Not sure if it’s the weather or something else. Maybe a little of both.

Just photos and a few words for today :)

The recently open Mochi Cream stand at Shirokiya, right across from Saint Germain. They came here do to a demo sometime last summer, and it was so popular that they decided to take over a small area downstairs and stay for good. My mom was quite happy about that.

I went back a few times during this trip, and there was always a steady stream of customers – never super busy, but consistent.

Clockwise from top left: Cafe au Lait, Kurogoma Kinako, and Chocolate-Banana.

Cafe au Lait

Kurogoma Kinako

Chocolate-Banana

I eat at Shirokiya for lunch pretty often, bentos, ramen and udon, sweets, sushi…anything!

(even spam musubis ^_^)

It’s the closest thing we have in Hawai’i to the basements of Tokyo deparment stores, and pretty spectacular…you won’t often find anything like this on the mainland.

Sushi “bentos” like this average around $12 – not a bad deal.

Inari sushi stuffed with mochi rice

There was a sweet potato & apple pie demo the other day…

pretty cute, huh?

Post-sushi, pre-mochi cream, dessert!

I always end Shirokiya “meals” with a stop over at Honolulu Coffee Co. on the other side of Ala Moana.

Just a quality cup of coffee is all it takes to make me happy :)

Shirokiya

1450 Ala Moana Blvd # 2250

Honolulu, HI 96814

(808) 973-9234

A brief interruption to Hawai’i posts…

Wednesday, June 25, 2008 4comments No tags Permalink 0

If you have a few spare minutes, or like myself, would rather browse blogs than work, swing by to Serious Eats: New York for my article on NYC’s Top 10 Ice Cream Sandwiches. From pumpkin whoopie pies & ricotta gelato to salted caramel gelato tucked between golden brioche buns, and even a panini’ed chocolate pound cake and ice cream duo, we bring you only the best.

All I ask is that you cross your fingers on my behalf: no cavities, no cavities, please! ;)

Sweet Bread in Hawai’i

Monday, June 23, 2008 14comments No tags Permalink 0

On the Mainland, people associate the term “sweetbread” with thymus glands, which, when pan-fried or deep-fried, induce hypnotically glazed eyes, and a lazy grin, perhaps with drool dribbling down mouths agape.

In Hawai’i, the word “sweetbread” is met with the same reaction, by both young and old alike. Only, when you say “sweetbread” to us, we do not think of thymus glands, but in fact, sweet. bread. Sweet. Bread.

Bread that is sweet.

Sweet Bread is the love child of brioche and challah, and a touch of magic found only on our islands. It’s the best of both worlds, coupling the feather-light buttery dash of brioche with challah’s eggy richness. Sweet Bread is quite a sight to see – a golden round, poofy and billowing with a sweet crumb that melts just a tad too easily on your mouth. Effortless.

In Torrance, California there’s a place called King’s Hawaiian Bakery. King’s makes a product call “Sweet Bread.” It is a decent product, but do not get that confused with the real sweet bread!!!

Ani’s Sweet Bread – the original, and best of its kind, is made in Hawai’i and found only in Hawai’i. There are occasional imposters out there, but stick with the Ani’s brand, and you’ll be forever happy. Ani’s makes a cinnamon version of their sweet bread, called “Cinnmon Sensation,” but I would advise against that flavour for it is much too sweet and distracts from all the elements that makes the original so delicious. While the original and cinnamon come in round loaves, Ani’s also makes a variety of other breads in traditional rectangular pans. I cannot vouch for these other flavours in a rainbow of apple, guava, pineapple-apricot, and coconut for I have yet to try them…but based solely on the post at hapa/hale’s blog, I’m quite tempted!

You can find Ani’s at local supermarkets, including Long’s, but…

…we buy ours at the Iwilei Costco, along with fresh poke, and…

…all the Spam you could ever desire. Isn’t Hawai’i great? ;)

Brasserie Du Vin

Monday, June 23, 2008 1 No tags Permalink 0

Baked Oysters

I spent a good chunk of my first post-college summer nestled in one of the patio seats at Brasserie Du Vin. I’d come for lunch or dinner, and then again late in the night. And if I didn’t arrive for a meal or nighttime meet up with friends, then I’d come in the afternoon, alone with a good book. Nothing satiates the dusk hours like a plate of crisp pomme frites and a chocolate souffle.

Opakapaka

The most fun person to dine with at the restaurant, was Kristen H., a close high school friend whom I now see once or twice a year, always back in Hawaii. All summer, we Du Vin’d to the extent where the words had been turned to verbs.

“Would you care to Du Vin tonight?”

“Why, of course.”

And then we’d go shopping at Ala Moana for pretty dresses we neither needed nor could afford (always catching the public Bus – we both didn’t learn to drive till after high school graduation, and were horrible drivers).

Dark Chocolate & Banana Crepes

We’d change into the new dresses no more than an hour after purchasing them, stuffing the ones we previously wore into the bottom of our big black (sometimes it was brown or pink) bags. And then we went off to Du Vin.

New York City is full of restaurant similar to Du Vin – think along the lines of Inoteca, Solex (only with better food), and Spitzers (also with better food, and a focus on wine instead of beer). But it is rare you come across such places in Hawai’i. Okazuyas? Yes. Plate lunch takeout? Yes. Shave Ice stands? Of course!

But casual wine bars with quality food? Few and far between.

And so it was, during this short visit home, that Kristen and I meet once again at Du Vin for a lazy weekday dinner. This time we brought Monica A. along, another high school friend we had not seen in nearly three years. The food was not nearly as good as I remember…though I suspect people are not joking when they say that New York City leaves your taste buds jaded.

But for once it wasn’t about the food, but the diners, and what an enjoyable night we had, reminiscing about our Punahou years, about our weekly afternoon tea outings, and addiction to bread pudding and the importance of good sun protection…

…and even about the time all electric power on East Oahu went out the night before the AP Physics exam while we studied at Taco Bell. Kristen’s mom had dropped us off there earlier that afternoon, never once thinking that the power would die. All cells phones were out, and we could not contact our parents.

We had no car, of course ;)

Brasserie Du Vin

1115 Bethel St

Honolulu, HI 96813

(808) 545-1115

Ichiriki: Japanese Nabe Restaurant

Sunday, June 22, 2008 7comments No tags Permalink 0

(Sorry there hasn’t been much writing in the last few posts – am simply trying to catch up…I’ve already been back in Manhattan for over three weeks! :)

Monday, 5:30pm @ Ichiriki on Pi’ikoi Street

Empty upon arrival, full house by 8:00pm.

Spicy Ahi Shoyu Poke

Cucumber Salad

Calamari

Ichiriki Paper Nabe

Pirikara Spicy Nabe

Both nabe sets came with a similar vegetable and meat combination, orders vary according to broth and meat preference.

Mmmm, so nicely marbled…

Nabe sets range from about $20 – $50, depending on the cut of meat, the quality of food is a fair match to the prices.

Working, working…

Almost pau!

The meal concludes with the option of fresh udon…

…or ramen noodles to be cooked in the concentrated broth.

Ichiriki

510 Pi’ikoi Street

Honolulu, HI 96814

(808) 589-2299