Monday, December 29, 2008

A few days late (Da Kitchen Express, Maui)

This wasn't exactly what I had in mind, but I guess it kind of satisfied me. I've been to this particular Da Kitchen in Kihei before, so I really wanted to try their other location in Kahalui by the airport. But if you read my earlier post (Jonny's Burger Joint), you know that we didn't make it in time and they were closed when we first arrived. After being disappointed the first night, I had to get my fix on some "local" type food. All we were eating up to this point was fine dining. By no means am I complaining, it's just that once in awhile you crave some hearty local food that sticks to your ribs :) Da Kitchen serves decent food, but it was not how I remembered it :( The last time I was in Maui I actually ate here twice in the same trip and was pretty happy. I've heard that this particular location wasn't as good as the Kahalui location. Hopefully next time I'll arrive earlier and make sure that I try the other location.

Loco Moco
I was really craving a loco moco eversince I stepped off that plane and what I got was slightly disappointing. This behemoth of a Loco Moco was not what I remembered. I remember Da Kitchen's loco moco being much better! I felt that this one was almost like a meatloaf on top of rice instead of a hamburger patty. The meat was too dense in my opinion. Maybe my preference has just changed....hmmm. I don't know. But I think I have this tendency to compare loco mocos to the one in Las Vegas of all places. The loco moco served at Aloha Specialties is da kine!

Won Fat Guy's Chow Fun
Hey...who they calling fat? Seriously this was a lot of food! I have to say this much... Da Kitchen serves up enormous portions! Mrs. Gohan for some reason ordered the Chow Fun. I thought for sure she was going to go for the saimen, but I guess I was wrong. As far as the Chow fun goes, personally I don't care for sweet entrees. I love sweets in general, but just not for main dishes and this dish in my opinion was a little too sweet.

Da Kitchen Express
2439 S. Kihei Rd.
Kihei, Maui, HI 96753

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy 2nd Anniversary! (Spago, Maui)

While we were planning our babymoon, we figured the perfect time to go to Maui would be late September early October. That way "Mrs. Gohan" wouldn't be too far along in her pregnancy and uncomfortable to travel and that way our babymoon could also coincide with our wedding anniversary. Before we took off to Maui I had made reservations at these different restaurants and I didn't know which one to choose for our Anniversary dinner. Since we both have never been to Spago's in Beverly Hills, we decided that Spago's in Wailea would be a perfect time to dine at Spago. Our reasoning was that we didn't know how good the other restaurants on the Island were going to be and we figured that the quality of Spago's had to be top notch.

Initially pulling up to the Four Seasons in Wailea it brought up a lot of good memories. We hadn't been down in the Wailea area for a long time so it was nice to see the area again. But I have to say, the Four Seasons doesn't make it easy for non guests to visit. The parking for non guests was quite a walk! The one great thing is that all the fine dining establishments in Maui stated that it was perfectly appropriate for me to wear short pants. And Spago was no different. You got to love that! Eating at a fine dining restaurant in shorts!

Once inside, the first thing that struck us was the amazing view! It definitely was a million dollar view. And we were lucky enough to get a really nice table so that we could view the sunset. The unfortunate thing was that day was the only cloudy day of our entire trip. But that did not take away from the beautiful sunset. It just made it more dramatic. I would have to say there is no other place that I'd would have rather been that night. Spending our Anniversary together at such a beautiful place! What more could I have asked for?

Million Dollar View!
This was the view from our table. It was absolutely gorgeous! And the atmosphere was great! What a way to celebrate our 2 year anniversary. Perfect location, perfect trip, perfect person to share it with!

Big Swell IPA
That evening I was in the mood for some beer and our waiter suggested this local beer. It was an IPA called Big Swell from Maui Brewing Company. I really enjoyed the smooth and bold flavors. It had a nice hoppy taste!

Kobe Beef Angel Hair Bolognese
Wow...Wow...Wow!!! This dish was just phenomenal! This dish lived up to every expectation. The rich bolognese sauce was oh sooo delicious! The flavor of the kobe beef provided the perfect richness and tenderness that matched the terrific pasta. Although they call it angel hair, the pasta was definitely a lot thicker than your typical angel hair. The texture of the pasta was indescribable and the flavor was the best. A waitress informed us that they infuse red wine into the pasta to give it that backdrop. What ever their secret is, they hit a home run on this dish!

"Mrs. Gohan's" food aversion was still bothering her and thought of having beef still did not appeal to her. And because the night before she had eaten the Monchong, the only dish that appealed to her was the salmon. Although the salmon was very tender and moist, personally I felt that it was pretty standard and nothing outstanding.

Molokai Yams
The Molokai Yams were a part of my main entree. I found the color very beautiful but I'm not a big fan of sweet potatoes. I felt that it had a similar taste to sweet potatoes and that turned me off. I only took a couple of bites :(

Caramelized Pork Chop w/Maui Pineapple & Papaya
I settled on the Caramelized Pork Chop with Maui Pineapple and Papayas. The pork chop was definitely very succulent and it went very nicely with the pineapples and papaya. I've tried pork chops with apple sauce before, but I've never had this combination before.

Fuji Apple & Maui Pineapple Crumb Cake w/ Brown Butter Macadamia Ice Cream
This dessert with long ass name was worth every word in its name :) You can just taste every morsel of both the Maui Pineapple & Fuji Apple with every bite. And I can't forget the brown butter macadamia nut ice cream was oh sooo delicious!

Kona Coffee Cheesecake
On this trip my wife was really craving coffee. I guess being back on the Islands reminded her of that one trip we took to Kona, where we went coffee tasting. Ever since she has been pregnant she cut out ALL types of caffeine. So on this night she deviated from her plan and splurged and ordered the Kona Coffee Cheesecake. I told here that having this tiny amount was just fine and that she did not have to worry. It was very yummy! Most importantly my wife was happy :) Happy 2nd Anniversary!

The Four Seasons Resort Maui
3900 Wailea Alanui Alanui
Wailea, Maui, HI 96753


Monday, December 15, 2008

Tasty local food (Honokowai Okazuya, Maui)

I was in need of finding some tasty local food and Honokowai Okazuya definitely fulfilled my needs but also left my wallet a little lighter. I thought by eating at a local place that it would be a lot cheaper than eating at a "touristy" restaurant. Man, was I wrong. Although this place was definitely a local joint it sure didn't seem that way as far as their prices went. I just couldn't get over how expensive food was in Maui. Our lunch was just under $30. Unbelievable! But the cost aside, the food was definitely ono(Hawaiian for good/delicious). From what I've gathered, the original owner who opened up this okazu-ya (Japanese term for a restaurant that serves foods that accompany rice) got his start at the widely acclaimed restaurant in Maui....Mama's Fish House. There is no question the quality of the food was top notch, especially for an okazu-ya. Tasty local food for sure!

Teri Beef (12oz.)
I would have to say this was probably one of the most tender Beef Teriyaki plates I have ever eaten and probably the most expensive beef teriyaki plates I have ever had served in a Styrofoam take out plate. One way I gauge how much I like a particular restaurant or dish is, I ask myself one simple question, "would I order that again, or will I eat here again?". The answer for this particular restaurant would be, yes I would order this dish again, but only if I was in Maui. Because there is no way I'd pay that much for a take out anywhere else.

Chicken Katsu
This too was way overpriced! But again we have to take it for what it's Maui and everything seemed to be pretty expensive here in Maui. The chicken katsu (deep fried chicken with panko) was really good though! The chicken was nice and crispy on the outside and the chicken itself was nice and moist. There was a nice balance between the amount of batter used. It was very nice!

Honokowai Okazuya
3600 Lower Honoapiilani Road
Lahaina, Maui, HI. 96761

Monday, December 8, 2008

I'm glad we didn't cancel! (Lahaina Grill, Maui)

This was actually one of the dinners we were contemplating on cancelling our reservations. Man, were we glad that we didn't do that! I probably expected the least from Lahaina Grill out of all the restaurants we dined at in Maui. I don't know if that had to do with how good we thought it was. I have to be honest, when we first walked in I was still a little skeptical. There was hardly anyone in the entire restaurant. Granted we were there mid week and during the low season of tourism, but still. There was only one other table seated when we arrived. But soon after we got seated all my fears were quelled. I learned later that the person who was waiting on us was Lahaina Grill's sommelier. His name was Richard Olson III. The service that he provided was absolutely impeccable! And his recommendations were spot on! After we returned home we were thinking about all the places we dined at and we both felt that Lahaina Grill actually was our favorite. I'm just glad we didn't cancel our reservation!

Sweet Kula Corn Soup
The area of Kula in Maui is renowned for it's fruits and vegetables, so when I saw that Lahaina Grill was serving a Sweet Kula Corn Soup, I jumped on that. The soup was delicious but not what I was expecting. It had more of a spiciness to the soup rather than being sweet from the corn. The corn was actually the back drop to the soup and really wasn't at the forefront. Nonetheless, this soup was excellent!!!

Chef Arnie's Homemade Meatballs
The pasta was cooked perfectly and the meatballs were great, but this had to have been the most expensive penne pasta dish ever! Every meal in Maui was outrageously over priced! That has to be my only complaint of Maui. Lahaina Grill was no exception. As far as the food good this might have been one of the only places which warranted the prices. Other restaurants seemed to rely on their spectacular view, but Lahaina Grill has no view and solely relies on their food and service.

Center Cut Veal Chop
This dish was on the recommendation of Richard Olson III. The center cut veal chop was very tender and the herb truffle risotto was to die for. I polished my plate clean. I left Lahaina Grill full and happy!

Sunken Chocolate Cake
There's nothing that makes me happier than having a great meal from start to finish. There are too many times when I dine at a restaurant and I leave unsatisfied because of the dessert. Lahaina Grill actually did not disappoint us at all. The flourless chocolate cake came out warm and was not overly rich nor was it too sweet. And when you add Kona Coffee ice cream.....Wow!

Lahaina Grill
127 Lahainaluna Road
Lahaina, Maui, HI. 96761

Monday, December 1, 2008

Happy Turkey Day! (Los Angeles Athletic Club, Los Angeles)

This week I'm diverting from my "babymoon" dining posts from Maui. I'll get back to those next week, but for the mean time I'll share with everyone how me and my family shared our Thanksgiving Day. For the past several years now, my family and I have been spending our Turkey Day lunch at the Los Angeles Athletic Club.
It works out very nicely. Everyone gets to spend a little time together before everyone heads out to see other sides of the family. Although, I do miss how our Thanksgivings used to be. I miss having Thanksgiving at my mom's. I used to love waking up in the morning and smelling all the food cooking. I even used to enjoy helping my mom with getting ready. But the LA Athletic Club is a very nice place to share an afternoon and I still get to spend some time with my family. And besides no one has to clean up :) This year, I even sneaked in some of my own gohan (rice) in a zip lock bag :) "Mrs. Gohan" says I'm ghetto for doing that, but hey, I got to have my rice! And believe me, it made lunch that much better. And besides, my nephew and brother both appreciated it :) Like always, the food was plentiful and very delicious. And after stuffing ourselves, me and my nephew went upstairs to play a little basketball and played a game of H.O.R.S.E. Luckily, I could still beat him :) Maybe in the next year or so I won't be so lucky. This year like every other year, there was plenty to be thankful for and this year was no different. I am truly thankful for everything in my life especially my family!

All the goodies!
To tell you the truth, I skipped this whole section and went straight for the Roast Beef & Turkey, but everyone was saying how delicious everything was :)

Roast Beef
The Roast Beef was cooked perfectly and it was seasoned very nicely. Luckily, I got to get both an end cut and also on my second serving I got a center cut. It went perfectly with my gohan :)

The Turkey was very tender and moist as Turkey can get. The gravy was also very delicious as well. And this too went well with my gohan :)

Los Angeles Athletic Club
431 W. 7th Street
Los Angeles, CA. 90014