Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Fat Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Wailana Coffee Shop - an old faithful

It's Fat Tuesday tonight and where in Hawaii can you get the best pancakes. That would be Wailana Coffee Shop. Elijah and I went there tonight and had a delicious time.

Breakfast for dinner is always a fun thing to do. There pancakes are served 24/7 and everytime is fluffy, light, tender, moist and flavorful. They serve their pancakes with three flavors of syrup - boysenberry, coconut and maple.

Tonight we had eggs, bacon and pancakes. Elijah loved it so much that he ate his entire "kids" portion of breakfast. Yummy!!!! Grandma had to take leftovers home.

I've been coming to Wailana since I was 13 years old and it still is the best place to get a good, inexpensive breakfast.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Back in Hawaii - Friday, February 20, 2009

Hey Friends, I am back. I know I have been back, physically, for about 3 weeks now and it has taken me this long to get my head back in Hawaii.

The Counter - Kahala Mall (between Chilis and Whole Foods)

Aloha. So today I got a burger at The Counter in Kahala Mall. The California based burger franchise. I first had my first en-Counter burger in Santa Monica, California with my good friend Jojo. Wow, the wait was about half an hour and the place was hopping and it wasn't even lunch time. And I remember, in Santa Monica, was the juicy burger with at least 5 toppings and the crispy sweet potato fries and that I wish they were in Hawaii. And now they are.

The Counter in Hawaii, just opened this week. I brought a friend visiting from Canada, because he wanted a burger. I had the smallest "build your own burger" burger (1/3 lb.), (your choice of one cheese) Gruyeye cheese, (your choice of 4 toppings) grilled onions, grilled chilies, lettuce and tomato, and (your choice of dressing) roasted garlic aioli. When we got our burgers, yummy, juicy, tasty, and big. I only could eat half of my burger. We picked the 50/50 fries selection, 1/2 sweet potato and 1/2 regular, I ordered them extra crispy. Richie ordered a banana shake - the old fashioned way of making it. Everything was delicious. Thanks Richie for a great lunch.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

2009 New York City Winter Restaurant Week

5 Ninth

Tuesday, January 27, 2009 (my last full day in New York City - I didn't want to leave)

Breakfast - coffee with Loretta @ home

Lunch - Cafe Luxemburg on W 70 St./Amsterdam

I had a wonderful lunch with a friend I met in Hawaii, but now lives in NYC. She suggested this restaurant because of the celebrity sightings and the traditional French flair.

So ask me why I had a burger (medium rare) with Pomme Frittes? Because it needed to be done by me.

As I was eating my burger and listening to Susan talk, I stopped chewing and look above Susan's head and sat very still like I just saw a celebrity - because I just did - Liam Neeson!!!! Walking to his table - tall, lean and handsome - his hair was messed by the wind. WOW!!! That was the best burger I've ever eaten.

W 70th is where Susan lives and such a great little block - with cafes, bakeries and Magnolia Bakery around the corner on Columbus. So after I left Susan, I went and met another friend from Hawaii. Bob Goode!!! at Magnolia Bakery for a cupcake and some coffee.

Snack - Magnolia Bakery (on Columbus and 69th)

Vanilla Cupcake (yummy)

I got to catch up with my old buddy Bob and had a wonderful snack.

After meeting with Bob, I needed to meet another friend, but one from New York.

We met in the lobby of The Paramount hotel and it was too early for our dinner reservation, so we went to the 2nd floor bar. Red wine and engaging conversation. Mark was so fun to talk too and he has always been on the phone in the past - but in person even better.

We decided to get to the restaurant and hang at their bar to wait for our reservation time.

Dinner - 5 Ninth (across the street from Pastis in the Meatpacking Dist.)

An hour later, we still had not been seated and a couple of wine glasses later. But it did not matter, because Mark was entertaining. Finally, he went up to the host/hostess and they had tried to look for us, but could not place us...bull.

So we went to our table on the second floor. This building is at least 3 stories, exposed brick and very inviting...but slow on getting a table.

Prix Fixe menu:
Mark - salad
Natalie - Foie Gras (very rich, I needed to have some salad to break it down)

Mark - White Bean & Duck?
Natalie - Roast Pork (rich)

Mark - Lemon something
Natalie - Hot Chocolate (rich)

I have to confess that I don't quite remember the details of the food, but I know that it was delicious and that I ordered too rich of a meal. Yikes. I really enjoyed the evening at 5 Ninth and it was mainly because of the company I was keeping. Mark was really cute.

I know this is a food blog, but I needed to write that down somewhere. Not only cute but very smart. He asked me a question that will stay with me for a long time - "Where are you from?"

Hawaii was my answer, but he was really asking where were my parents from, my grandparents? WOW, how thought provoking - yeah?

After dinner we took a cab to his old stomping watering hole - is that how you say it? To MercBar on Mercer St. What a great bar - I think I saw it on TV once. Everyone knew Mark and wanted to ensure me that he was a great guy. I knew that already. I had more wine. What I needed was to flush the rich food with hot tea. Great night cap and the best thing happened on our way home - it started to SNOW!!!! I love snow. I am a crazy Hawaiian girl that loves snow - because I don't have to live in it. Thanks Mark for a wonderful evening!!!!

What a great trip - I am already planning another one. I just love this place.

2009 New York City Winter Restaurant Week

Monday, January 26, 2009

Breakfast - no breakfast

Lunch - Kittichai
(60 Thompson Street/SOHO)
Papaya Salad
Roast Pork/Pork Sausage
Jasmine Crème/Jasmine Ice Cream

Food - 5
Service - 5
Ambiance - 5

I really loved every moment I was in this restaurant. Yes, I am partial because of the East Asian decor and food. The restaurant is clean, fresh, bright and a delight to the eyes. Autumn colors in the raw silk curtain walls and dark bali wood furniture. It did have a Japanese restaurant feel to it...the cleanliness of it.

The food had a creative twist to the traditional Thai usuals. The portions huge and tasty. The dessert was the winner, it was like eating a pikake mousse, even though it was jasmine. Loretta and I had a wonderful lunch. She will be bringing her husband back.

Dinner – Joy of Sake Aftertaste @ Sumile Restaurant (12th & 9th)
50 sake tastings
Sashimi – maguro

This was very interesting, a sake tasting in NYC. I did feel a little left out, since I did not know anyone there and being by myself. I did get a chance to meet some really nice women that love to drink sake and the NYC planner for the event. The sushi bar was a small restaurant with a bar and 5 tables. The sake tasting was in the back private room. The food was demolished as soon as it got out. So with all the sake tasting and little food, I was pretty drunk, by myself, in New York City....scary!!!!

I had a dinner reservation at WD-50 and decided to take the bus uptown, but did not pay attention and took a downtown bus. I did not realize that I was on the wrong bus until the bus driver as all to get off the bus, because it was the end of the line. Which was Battery Park by ground zero at 9pm. And when I mean all, I was all that was left on the bus. I asked if the bus turned around and went back uptown, but she said that I would have to take the bus across the street. Because I was the only one on the street, I jumped on the next bus that came and just wanted to get closer to uptown. 3 buses later I made it to where I needed to be. I was not myself after that experience, but I am a trooper and decided to stay on schedule.

Dinner – WD-50 @ the bar
Since I had missed my reservations, I decided to have a drink and an appetizer at the bar. Red wine and corned duck on a rye crisp...good but not memorable.
I had heard all the hipe about this restaurant and was not too impressed. Needed a refresh and I just was not in the mood. I will have to give it another chance, the next time I am back in NYC.

2009 New York City Winter Restaurant Week

Continued - Sunday, January 25, 2009
Dinner – Centercut (a new steakhouse across the street from Lincoln Center in the Empire Hotel

Loretta and I did not make reservations, so we had to wait at the bar and we were really hungry, so we ordered appetizers - Onion Soup & Foie Gras spread w/ toast points. The onion soup was a little different from your traditional onion soup - the cheese and bread was on the bottom of the bowl ...yummy. The Foie Gras was smooth and buttery. I was really full by the end of our appetizers.

Prix Fixe menu was a little different than the rest you could pick two items from two courses-
1st course:
Caesar Salad
Potato Soup w/ white truffle oil (deliciously creamy and essence of truffles)
2nd course:
Pepper steak (was done perfectly and wonderfully seasoned)
Sauteed Spinach
3rd course - was given to everyone, that's pretty cute and the cookies were big cookies!
An assortment of cookies (oatmeal, chocolate chip & peanut butter)

Service was considerate, but not too overpowering. Clean and crisp decor, dark woods and black leather chairs w/ big glass pane windows. This restaurant was really smart, because they extended their Restaurant Week prices to the end of March.

Food - 4 (out of 5)
Service - 4 (out of 5)
Ambiance - 4 (out of 5) a great NYC steakhouse - I do enjoy the older ones better though.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

2009 NYC Winter Restaurant Week

Day 4 - Sunday, January 25, 2009
Breakfast - Delivery

The best thing I think about living in New York City, is that you can get anything delivered. Today, I moved from my hotel room at the Hilton to my best friend's home in the Upper West Side.

I woke her up, so she was not quite ready to go out for breakfast, so we ordered it to be delivered. I had a vegetarian omelette and she had a bagel & oatmeal and of course coffee. It was delivered to her front door within 20 minutes after ordering it over the phone. I think that is just amazing. And she does this every morning. I love it. The food was still hot and pretty good.

Overall experience - 4.5
Convenience - 10.5

No lunch for us today, because I went to South Pacific's matinee show, my friend had to work and we were still full from breakfast.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Continued - Saturday, January 24, 2008 - Dinner

Felidia – Italian - East 58th/between 2nd & 1st
Tasting menu, three antipasti:
Quinoa risotto
Celery Salad

Stuffed Roasted Quail
Wine - Amarone

5 types of Italian Cookies

Decided to check out the restaurant of the Queen of Italian food. This restaurant was recommended by my nephew Bram. Lidia is the business partner of Mario Batali in Del Posto. The flavors were refined and clean. No masking but more of collaboration of flavors.

Delicious Italian food and tradition formal surroundings. Dark wood panels and red floral wallpaper. Service was impeccable - we did not know who our waiter or waitress was because everyone served us. Everyone was knowledgeable and friendly.

Snack - since Felidia's was 2 blocks from the famous "frozen hot chocolate" drink and they don't close until 2am, we thought we could endulge a little.

Serendipity 3 - I just love the atmosphere of eclectic craziness and the architecture of this building.