About Ed Oshiro

Enjoying the journey and observing everyday life in Hawaii.

Opulicious Restaurant

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For this unique locale on the corner of a busy thoroughfare in Moili`ili, 946 Coolidge Street has evolved into a new eating establishment named Opulicious. In this same location a few weeks earlier, stood HK’s Restaurant that was the neighborhood’s eatery for several decades.

But, back to the present. The current owner – Kelli Chun, throwing the shaka – has quite a fun disposition about her. My conversation with her was very enlightening to learn that she also provides entertainment for children’s parties. You’ll notice in the photo gallery, the balloon decoration on the far wall was constructed by her.

During several visits at lunch time, I was quite satisfied with the quantity and quality for the prices of their meals. The beef stew/chicken katsu combo, mini teri beef plate, hamburger steak plate, and cheeseburger deluxe were good in my opinion.

And, I need to emphasize that the patties in the hamburger steak plate were homemade which means I will be back real soon. After ordering the food, we utilized the dining room area and the food came in a timely manner.

Earlier, food reviews that I have read have not been favorable to the food quality, quantity and service. Case in point, after speaking to Kelli to inform her the broth for the saimin I ate was lukewarm, she was very gracious to listen to me and vowed make improvements in that area. As I always say, there are two sides to a situation and the first few weeks of opening are the most difficult in finding competent employees to help you grow.

New eateries need to be given a second chance to show that they are able to sustain the quality, quantity and servicing of their menus especially in this current economic climate. I sincerely hope everyone gives them an opportunity to show what they can really do, and the Moili`ili neighborhood needs an establishment like this one.

Opulicious
946 Coolidge Street
Honolulu, HI 96826
(808) 943-8885
http://opulicious.com/

Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
Mon-Sat 10:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Sun Closed

Zaratez Mexicatessen

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During my previous visits to Zaratez, I’ve tried the burrito plate, mulitas, and the tacos, all of which that will take you to Mexico and you won’t have to pay for plane fare.

According to the couple standing next to me in line who are of Mexican descent from Los Angeles, and who have been living here for a while, Zaratez is the best Mexican food in Honolulu hands down.

But today, during my visit to Zaratez for a snack and to talk story with Paul Zarate, the owner, informed me that his last day of business will be this Friday, October 28th due to financial reasons. Even though Zaratez won 2011 Ilima Award’s Critic’s Choice for the best Mexican food in Honolulu, it could not save it from the present economic conditions.

But, as one door closes, another one opens, with Paul focusing his energies on catering special events and to search for a new restaurant location in the Honolulu area.

Located across the Pan Am building on Kapiolani Blvd., Zaratez will be open today through Friday from 11AM until all the food has been sold.

Please follow Paul Zarate on his quest to satisfy his customers gastronomic cravings on Twitter at @Zaratez and Facebook.

The last picture in this post are two chicken tacos that will be my last order from Zaratez for a while.

Caryn’s Okazuya

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Located on the mauka side of Young Street between Ke`eaumoku and Pi`ikoi Streets, cloistered among the apartment buildings in lower Makiki (Pawa`a), is a plate lunch/okazu-ya establishment owned and operated by Randy Miyamoto.

Conveniently situated on the ground floor of an apartment complex for easy access for everyone, there are several parking stalls to accommodate a good size crowd. I usually time my visits so as to avoid the breakfast crowd, but, still am able to order breakfast and/or lunch. By doing this tactical maneuver I was able to combine breakfast items with their okazu-ya items.

Here at Caryn’s Okazuya, you’ll find that it’s one of the best places to enjoy comfort food and also a brief respite in today’s hustle and bustle.

In the picture gallery you’ll see that each dish, from the fried tofu to the Okinawan sweet potato tempura, the attention to detail to make the food not only visually appealing, but, parlays that to its onolicious taste. In addition to the food, Randy’s assistant, Chris is very accommodating to filling your food order, so please make it down there for a bite soon.

Until next time!

http://carynsokazuya.com/Caryns_Okazuya/Welcome.html

H.K.’s Restaurant

After finding this diner last year, I’ve used this establishment to meet with friends where many meaningful and lengthy discussions took place.

Located across the Moili`ili Field and adjacent to the First Hawaiian Bank on South King Street, this location is very convenient for pedestrians and bus riders alike. Though street parking is available, around the corner on Coolidge Street, there’s a four car parking lot where you can find a parking space if you come early enough. On the next block over in the Diamond Head direction sits the Moili`ili Community Center that sends many a customer to HK’s Restaurant for a meal or two.

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I find the comfort food here very filling and the prices very reasonable. The regular order of the chicken katsu curry plate could feed two people, but, for me, taking a quote from Goldilocks, “it was just right.” The other selections I consumed over the past year are the mini-chili plate with a side order of salad, the chicken hekka plate, their world famous Yum Yum chicken with a side order of their juicy French fries.

But, alas, On September 1, 2011 a new journey begins for the eatery located at the corner of Coolidge and South King Street. The owner has decided to retire and has sold the diner to someone who will hopefully carry on the tradition of onolicious comfort food at affordable prices. For now, we can only hope for the best for the Moili`ili community.

Pho Bistro 2

A hidden gem located just outside the hustle and bustle of Waikiki on the corner of Kalakaua Avenue and Fern Street is Pho Bistro 2. This eatery is a very popular restaurant for the Phở connoisseurs in Honolulu — locals and visitors alike.

Since my friend was sponsoring my lunch today, I decided to order the oxtail Phở, not only for its onolicious taste, but, also for the quantity of the serving. My friend decided on the Phở ga – chicken – with all the basil, bean sprouts as the side condiments.

And, just as fate would happen only in Honolulu, another husband and wife couple that my friend knew sat at the adjacent table. They both ordered the House Special Phở combo that had a selection of different meats with the rice noodles.

Everyone ate their respective dishes in the usual way except for me.

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As you view the pics, you’ll notice that my order came with the noodles served on the side which is an option. By ordering in this fashion, you can have two meals in one. After I was finished consuming the oxtail portion of the meal, I added the noodles to my large bowl of broth and vegetables, thereby creating a two for one special.

We all enjoyed the onolicous food and great conversation during the meal so much that my friend almost missed his business meeting. If you’re lucky enough, you can watch the ducks frolic in the mud stream
next to the restaurant.

Until next time!

Pho Bistro 2
1694 Kalakaua Ave # C
Honolulu, HI 96826-2454
(808) 949-2727

Reviews:

Gyu-Kaku Windward Mall

A short while ago, I met with a friend to talkstory at the Windward Shopping Mall. It has been quite a while since I’ve been to this shopping complex and was very pleasantly surprised at all the improvements Kamehameha Schools has made to their property. Looks like Kamehameha Schools invested a large sum of money to enhance the quality of life for the Kaneohites and the neighboring Kailuans.

Since I arrived early, I walked around and saw many new stores and restaurants with people milling about this complex. What caught my eye was a restaurant with a façade with the “Wow!” factor named Gyu-Kaku Restaurant. Looks like the owners of this establishment also invested a lot of money to make this a successful eatery.

After my talkstory meeting with my friend, I hurried back to Gyu-Kaku Restaurant for a quick meal before heading back over the Pali.

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Since Gyu-Kaku Restaurant just opened, I was quickly seated in one of the 132 seats that are available. My server Misty was very informative of the menu selection since I told her that this was my first time to their eatery. From the miso soup to the dessert, my meal was a very tasteful and memorable experience.

My selection from the menu for the entrée was the “Premium” – see photo above. This selection included miso soup, salad and rice with the entrée. The dipping sauces were flavorful, but, not overbearing as my selections were the Ponzu (citrus) and Tsuketare (soy garlic) sauces. I had to ask what type of rice -– the Ichimaru brand — was served with my meal since it was very flavorful and not your regular variety.

Even though the meal was very filling, I just had to have dessert, and, there was a chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream combo which I almost inhaled once it was served to me.

As a side note, since everyone is health conscious nowadays, the yakiniku stoves have a built in exhaust system that allows the patrons to not have any second hand smoke permeating their clothing.

Please visit this hidden gem in the Windward Shopping Mall, as I will be making a return trip in the near future. You can find more info on Gyu-Kaku Restaurant at their website and their Facebook page.

Golden Eagle Chinese Restaurant

Over the course of the past few years, I’ve been enjoying the food at Golden Eagle Chinese Restaurant located in Moili’ili via take-out and family dinners. Finally, in November 2010, my friend wanted to come here, so, I’ve been coming here for the past few months to experience the food and service IRL.

I was very impressed with the leather bound menu that I seldom see in other restaurants in Honolulu let alone a restaurant serving Chinese food. If this was your first time, and not knowing anything about this restaurant, the menu would be an indication that the food is going to very good.

Your food order is accompanied by Jasmine tea, water upon request, and smiles a mile wide from the owners – Jennifer and George – who are also your servers.

There were other dishes that I ordered over the past few months, but, didn’t have a camera available, so, some delicious photos were missed. Now, I carry the camera around with me all of the time.

Most of the dishes are under $10, and, for that price, you receive a generous portion of whatever you order.

On the surrounding interior walls, there are menus for parties for four or more persons that are very reasonable according to my friend who is very frugal. On sale near the kitchen entrance, there’s a wafer dessert that reminds me of a waffle cone – see pic – which tastes similar to Japanese senbei that is a great way to end your meal.

All in all, you will enjoy your visit whenever you can make it down there. Though the address for this restaurant is 2334 South King Street, their actual location is on the Young Street side of the building, so, don’t get lost. Until next time…

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Hours: Open daily from 10:30AM to 9AM

St. Louis Drive In

Located at the base of Wai`alae Avenue across St. Louis School and Chaminade University, is a locally owned eatery called St. Louis Drive-In. As far as I can remember, this establishment has provided locals and visitors alike with the comfort food that we all crave for from time to time. Many years ago, I worked in the hotel industry with the current owner and vividly recalled our conversation as he was making the transition to take over the ownership of St. Louis Drive-In. I’m glad he achieved his dream, as is the rest of the community.

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Over the decades since then, he has provided a place where we can go to really enjoy ourselves even if for just a brief time during our hectic, stressful day. The menu has pretty much stayed the same throughout the years, but, I’m sure that a few items were added to keep up with the evolving palates.

During my recent visits, I selected items from the menu that I haven’t had the opportunity to consume before, like the Students’ Special that consists of two burgers, a side order of fries, and, a drink ($4.90). Since this was my first time ordering this “Special”, I asked the counter person if I needed a student ID, and she gave me a quizzical look.

For my breakfast visit, I noticed on the menu that there was the ubiquitous Portuguese omelet and two scoops of rice with a side order of macaroni salad, a unique combination I haven’t seen elsewhere, yet. After a few seconds of looking at this combination on my plate, down the hatch it went, and I was very satisfied. I’ll be looking forward to ordering this again on a future visit. The beef stew that has been a menu staple all these years, is always safe to order when you want a quick pacifier. Nowadays, it’s difficult to find a restaurant that has good comfort food at affordable prices. There’s also an okazu-ya located next door, but more about this place next time. See ya!

* Please note that the black specks on the mac salad are pepper, not bugs.

Ono To Go

During the past few weeks, I had the distinct pleasure of dining at the Ono To Go food truck on several occasions. Through the coconut wireless, I heard that the food here is unique in taste, with an ambiance to match, should you choose to eat on location.

From afar on your first visit, you will notice the contemporary art displayed on the food truck, and, as you get closer, the smell of burning kiawe wood for the barbecue permeates the air. As we all know, we tend to eat with our eyes, but, the aroma of the various meats (Pulehu short ribs, chicken, kal bi & pork chops) sizzling on the kiawe barbecue will have your appetite grow exponentially, as it did on my first visit and subsequent visits.

I noticed that to keep a high standard of quality, the homemade chili pepper water is kept on ice as a condiment for the ahi poke bowl.

The food here is excellent with a staff that is friendly and very accommodating. As you view the picture gallery, you will want to visit this food truck as soon as possible to satisfy not only your appetite, but, your curiosity as well.

The On to Go food truck is located in a parking lot of an entertainment establishment on the corner of Makaloa and Sheridan Streets between Walmart and Kapiolani Boulevard. By the way, they don’t take reservations or credit cards, but, they will accept take-out orders via the phone and on Twitter. Until next time…

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/OnoToGo

Twitter:
@onotogo

On the Web:
www.onotogo.com

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Mitch’s Fish Market & Sushi Bar

At times, we have champagne dreams on a beer budget, and sometimes, those dreams do come true.

I was fortunate to celebrate another year on this planet, and, my friends took me to Mitch’s Sushi in the airport industrial area for this occasion. They knew this place was on my bucket list as one of the premier places to eat in Honolulu – Hale ‘Aina Award winner – and now, I can scratch this off my list.

Mitch’s Sushi is a unique place where the core business of this establishment is a wholesale seafood distributor for hotels and restaurants throughout the state of Hawaii. The restaurant occupies the front of the warehouse on the corner of Ohohia and Ualena Streets that includes a five seat sushi bar with a few tables.

We ordered almost everything on the list of nigiri sushi; toro, maguro, hamachi, etc. All of the seafood on menu is flown in from all over the world and the manager can show you the holding tank in the warehouse where the lobster and abalone are kept for optimal freshness.

Mitch’s Sushi has menu service available with a BYOB option, and reservations are highly recommended.

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Mitch’s Sushi
524 Ohohia St.
Honolulu, HI 96819
(808) 837-7774
www.mitchsushi.com