Friday, July 10, 2015

Portuguese Sausage Spam

Well, finally got my hands on the newest Spam flavor exclusive to Hawaii...Portuguese sausage!  A hybrid of two local breakfast favorites.  It's been difficult to find these cans since they hit the shelves, but my mom was able to score some when she went to Hilo, of all places. Props to you, KTA haha.

Although it was pretty tasty (but then again, how can Spam not be delicious?! ) and it did taste like Portuguese sausage, I still prefer eating the original forms of each.  So for those of you haven't tried it out yet...don't feel like you're missing out that much.  Thanks for trying to honor Hawaii's food favorites, Hormel.  But nothing really beats the original good old regular untampered high sodium full of preservatives and unidentifiable pork parts that we just can't seem to live without.  #SodiYUM :)

Love and grub,

Monday, July 6, 2015

Cook and $ave: Fancy Pancakes

I'm a grad student.  Which basically means...I'm poor.  So to save where I can, I cook.  I tell myself it's healthier (although that's not necessarily true haha) and it definitely saves money.  Think about it--every meal that you eat out, you probably spend around $10-$20.  And don't forget about all those frappucinos and lattes you might be definitely adds up.  By cooking as much as possible, I can cut that cost AND have awesome leftovers for later!  Call me cheap, but I call it $mart.

So, there's a place called Scratch Kitchen and Bake Shop that I've been wanting to try, and it has pretty great reviews on Yelp.  Also, the pictures I've seen posted definitely makes my mouth water.  I saw this picture of an item on their menu called "Milk and Cereal Pancakes" and got excited...

Milk and Cereal Pancakes

...until I checked out the price.  $10 for pancakes?  Not bad, but I could make a loooooot of pancakes with $10.  So, I decided to try something out using ingredients I already had at home.  2 apple bananas, a handful of blueberries, yogurt, pancake mix, strawberry jam, and...voila...

I call this "Red, White, and Blueberry Pancakes"
So, I still have $10 in my pocket and my belly is satisfied.  I think I call that...$ucce$$.

Happy eating and $aving!

Love and Grub,

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Sunday, July 5, 2015

End of an Era: Kenny's Closing

Hello again, over a year later!

Today marks the end of an era: Kenny's Restaurant in Kamehameha Shopping Center is officially closing.  To be honest, I haven't gone here in a while even though it's a place close to home.  The food wasn't necessarily the greatest quality and with the prices going up, it wasn't one of my top picks.  But, it is a place that brings back a lot of memories.   I remember going quite often as a kid, since it was one of my grandma's favorite places to dine.  She was a regular there, always chatting with the waitresses and sitting there for hours and hours with her own personal pot of coffee.  I also spent many afternoons hanging out in the Kenny's Burgerhouse, which has now been turned into a McDonald's across the way.  Does anyone remember that?  Feels like ages ago...

After hearing that Kenny's would be closing, my family and I wanted to make sure we got our last chance to dine there.  We went around 8pm on a Thursday night, and as we drove into the parking lot, we could see a lot of people waiting to be seated.  I have never seen it so crowded before.  We decided to go straight to the counter to avoid the line, and surprisingly there were several tables open, but I don't think there was enough staff to serve everyone as it is.  We waited over an hour for our food and the waitresses were running around like crazy.  Well, at least we got to talk and enjoy the last moments in that restaurant--I mean, that's what eating out is supposed to be like, right?  Not just a place to scarf down your food and leave, but to enjoy your company and the surroundings.  My grandma had it right--take a moment, sip your coffee, enjoy life.

My mom ordered corn beef hash and eggs, my dad got the Susie-Q (A teri beef sandwich) and I got a Reuben sandwich.  I must say, my sandwich was pretty tasty, and decently reasonable for less than $10.  The other food was alright, but nothing special.  It's more of the vibe of the restaurant that I think I'll miss the most.  

Corned Beef Hash & Eggs

Susie-Q (Teri Beef with Cheese)

Reuben Sandwich

So...where is a good place to go now for that diner style type of eating?  I guess there's always Liliha Bakery and Zippy's, but it's just sad to see a place that's been around for so long to be closing its doors.  My mom spoke with the manager, and it is possible that they will try to sell the restaurant and the name to new owners, so I guess there is a chance that Kenny's may still be around.  But will it be the same??  We'll see what happens.  Times change, and things come and go, but there will always be a piece of Kenny's Restaurant that will stay with me forever.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Natto Love

There's nothing quite like opening that white styrofoam container and peeling off that plastic film that separates you and your chopsticks from the sticky, slimy goodness of natto.  Perhaps you have your own special techniques of getting past those stringy webs of fermentation, but I personally make circular swirling motions in the air with my chopsticks as if I am about to cast some sort of magical spell...and indeed, it is something quite magical.

For all the natto lovers of the world, this post is dedicated to you.  Here is a compilation of natto dishes I've tried, and I hope you can contribute more ideas and keep the #nattolove alive.  Enjoy :)

1.  Natto + Ahi + Yamaimo + Quail Egg

Natto (slimy) and Yamaimo (also slimy) is an excellent idea!  Add cubes of ahi and a creamy quail egg yolk, and you pretty much have perfection in a bowl.  This was from an awesome sushi place in Hilo, Hawaii called Takenoko.  This place only seats about 8 people, so make a reservation (probably several months in advance).

2.  Natto + Shoyu Poke + Egg (Donburi style)

This is something I concocted at a breakfast buffet in Japan.  I pieced together the finest ingredients they had on the buffet line, and created something even better.  This bowl is evidence that the whole is truly greater than the sum of its parts.

3.  Natto + Spicy Ahi

This is probably my all time favorite combination.  You just can't go wrong with this one!  This picture was taken at home, but here's a tip for eating out (most bang for your buck): I recommend the spicy ahi or mix don at Kuru Kuru Sushi and order natto on the side (ask for no rice).  Instead of giving you the natto nigiri, you'll get a whole bowl of natto that you can use as topping for your donburi!

4.  Natto + Hawaiian Poke Bowl

Paina Cafe was one of the first places that really got me hooked onto natto.  Their regular poke bowls with natto topping are classic, but why not go a step further and get the awesome Hawaiian Poke Bowl (includes kalua pig, lomi salmon, and your choice of poke) and top that off with some natto?  It's not your usual combination, but natto makes (almost everything) better, right?

5.  Natto + Sauteed Vegetables + Poached Egg

This is a creation I made during college when I pretty much threw random ingredients that I had in the fridge together.  Super easy and super delicious!  I sauteed mushrooms, spinach, and onions in butter, put it on top of rice with some natto and a poached egg and breakfast was served :)

6.  Natto + Cheese + Mochi (Okonomiyaki)

Well, sometimes I think I get a little crazy with my combinations.  This looks like a hot mess, but it didn't taste like one.  If I only put some kim chee, then this would've been extra delightful.  I got this from a restaurant in Honolulu that no longer exists, but I think I want to make this at home someday.  Another good okonomiyaki combination that I've made at home before is natto + spam + cheese.  Yum!

7.  Natto + Toast

Normally, natto on rice is a quick and simple breakfast.  But sometimes, you just don't have rice and you have to get creative.  This picture was taken when I was living in Japan and I found myself in this exact predicament.  I added some ground sesame to the natto mixture for added flavor.  An excellent alternative to peanut butter :P

8.  Natto + Tofu

This dish is from a place called Sakura Restaurant in Honolulu, Hawaii but this is easily done at home.  All they did was put natto on top of some deep fried tofu with some green onion.  What's not to love?

9.  Natto + Pasta

Pasta doesn't always have to be about marinara and alfredo.  Natto makes this Wafu-style pasta complete.  Find it at a place called Godmother located in Shirokiya.

10.  Natto + Nabe

I love natto and I also love nabe.  So of course, putting the two together is a whole lotta love.  This one's self-explanatory.  Just make your favorite nabe, and top with natto.  Your belly will be happy.

11.  Black Natto

I ordered this dish in Takaoka, Toyama (Japan) because I had never tried black natto at the time.  It looked kind of scary, but it tasted pretty much like normal natto.  I think you can find black natto at Japanese grocery stores here in Hawaii such as at Marukai, Nijiya, or Don Quijote.

12.  Natto + Curry

At Curry House, while most of my friends order katsu or fried chicken as their topping, I decide to go with something a little different...

13.  Natto + Grilled Mochi

One of my favorite late-night snacks that my mom used to make growing up was grilled mochi dipped in shoyu and wrapped in nori.  Now my new favorite late-night snack is grilled mochi stuffed with natto!  That makes it health, right??

14.  Natto + ICE CREAM?!

Ok, so I only tried this because I love natto so much, but I have to admit that this wasn't the greatest idea.  I got it at a place called Namjatown located in Ikebukuro, Tokyo.  They had tons of varieties of ice cream flavors and of course, I chose the natto flavor.  It pretty much tasted like vanilla ice cream with chunks of natto...but it was worth a try.

So, how much do you love natto?  What is your favorite way to eat it, or are there any crazy combinations that you enjoy?  Maybe you love natto as much as the person who made it their license plate...anyway, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.  I hope you continue to share your natto love! #TeamNatto #NattoLove

Love and grub (and stringy slimy deliciousness!),


Friday, April 18, 2014

Doodle of the Day: Yes We CAN!

Today's doodle is inspired by the Hawaii Foodbank because tomorrow, Saturday April 19th is their 25th Annual Food Drive!  Share grub and share love by donating canned goods and other food items at any of the following food drive locations:
Waterfront Plaza
Kapolei Commons
Koko Marina Center
McCully Shopping Center
Pearl City Shopping Center
Town Center of Mililani
Waiokeola Congregational Church
Windward City Shopping Center

According to their website, they are still looking for volunteers to help from 11:30am, so if you're interested you can get more information here:

Thanks for your support!  Every can counts!
Love and grub,

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Doodle of the Day: Ice, Ice Baby

Today was my last day of classes for my second semester, so I celebrated it with food, of course!  I whipped up this quick food doodle (I'm not sure if ice is considered a food, but it's relevant so yes it's going here on my blog).

Also, because it was the last day of class, we had a potluck. Since I now have slightly more free time, I decided to make a few things to contribute.  I realize I hadn't used my kitchen in a while, and I hadn't even touched my new oven yet.  So I decided to make some muffins as well as my usual go-to-potluck dish of curried salad.

I had kabocha and strawberries that I needed to use up in my kitchen, so I made a kabocha and apple muffin as well as a strawberry chocolate muffin.  I liked the strawberry chocolate muffin in particular, so I'll share how I made it :)

As usual, I tweaked a basic muffin recipe and all I did was basically cut up some strawberries, throw in a dash of cinnamon, and mix in some semi-sweet chocolate chips.  Here's the recipe!

Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins

-2 cups all purpose flour
-3 teaspoons baking powder
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-3/4 cup white sugar
-1 teaspoon cinnamon

-1 egg
-1 cup milk
-1/4 cup vegetable oil

-about 1 cup strawberries, sliced or chopped (dust in a couple of tablespoons of flour)
-3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl, stir in wet ingredients.  Fold in strawberries and chocolate chips. pour into muffin tins with liners.  Bake for about 25 minutes at 400 degrees F or until golden brown.  Makes about 12-16 muffins.

I didn't want to bring just a sweet dish since I personally prefer savory items, so I made a quick curried salad with the ingredients I had right in my fridge.  It's a really quick and easy dish that is usually a big hit at any potluck I go to.  This time, I used brown rice to add to the salad, but I've used other grains such as couscous, bulgur wheat, and quinoa.  Experiment and have fun with it :) I won't add specific quantities in this "recipe" but I'll add a list of the ingredients that I threw in to today's curried salad variation.

Brown Rice Curry Salad

-cold brown rice (I had leftover from the other night)
-1 can of chicken breast meat (from Costco)
-cucumbers, chopped
-cherry tomatoes, halved
-green onions
-cilantro (I only had the dried cilantro on my spice rack, but fresh cilantro is the best)
-curry powder
-plain yogurt
-lemon juice

Hope you enjoy these quick and easy potluck ideas to share with your friends and family.  Happy cooking (and eating)!

Love and grub,

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Doodles of the Day: Kabocha & Ichigo

Well, it looks like I didn't keep up with my New Year's resolution :( but the good news is I have a new doodle to share finally now that school is winding down.  Plus, today will have TWO doodles because I realized I forgot to post a previous doodle from a few months ago.  Hopefully I'll be able to get a few more doodles done during my break from school!

The first doodle features Kabocha, Japanese pumpkin and the Hawaii pidgin word "bocha" which means to take a bath:

rubber ducky!
The second doodle features Ichigo, which means "strawberry" in Japanese.  The Japanese saying "Ichigo Ichie" is from the art of the tea ceremony, and translates to "one opportunity, one encounter" which is a reminder to treasure each encounter because each meeting is unique.  Here's my interpretation of this Japanese saying in ILUBGRUB doodle style:

As always, thanks for reading and supporting ilubgrub :)
Love and grub,

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