Three months later…

Why is it so difficult to get my act together on this whole blog writing thing?  It technically shouldn’t be so tough to do, but for some reason I can never seem to follow through with it.  My last post was almost three months ago, and in it I had decided that I would start writing since there’s been quite a bit going on recently (at the time).  But as you can see, that still has yet to happen. 

Maybe for some real results I’ll have to set a schedule and stick to it.  Let’s shoot for a blog post once a week.  How about a post every Wednesday?  It’ll be the Weekly Wednesday WordPress Writing Workshop.  How’s that for alliteration?  😀 

Planning Ahead By Looking Back

It’s been a pretty hectic few weeks lately.  There’s been a lot going on in Honolulu, and I’ve been fortunate enough to take part in some of the action.  I’m hoping to be able to recap some of the recent events here on my blog, but you know how that goes with me…  Here’s some of the things that I hope to recap: HIFF Spring Showcase 2013, Joy of Sake Aftertaste 2013: The Bold And The Beautiful, and Waikiki SPAM Jam 2013, among others.

Let’s see if I can actually get this blogging done this time around…

Via Gelato

So, for those of you out there who have been keeping up with my other social media outlets, like facebook, and yelp you’ll most likely have noticed my most recent obsession/addiction: An awesome little truck by the name of Via Gelato.

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If you see this truck pull over and treat yourself to some awesome gelato!

    

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The truck has been on the road for just over three weeks…  Almost a mo.th, and according to my yelp check-ins I’ve been to Via Gelato 11 times at the time I’m writing this blog entry.  According to my stamp card I’ve only been there twice…

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My stamp card

Oh, wait a minute… I already filled and redeemed a stamp card!  I’m not addicted…  I can stop any time I want to!…

You won’t find too many of your standard flavors if gelato here.  Yes there are a couple staples, like chocolate and vanilla, but even these flavors have a twist.  The chocolate is a Fierce Chocolate which any chocoholic would love.  As for the vanilla there have been two different types. One is a Browned Butter Vanilla which is rich and buttery, and a Jasmine (pikake) Vanilla with a refreshing floral flavor that pairs excellently with fruitier flavors.  All of the gelati are made with locally sourced ingredients as much as possible.  Milk from the Big Island, eggs from Oahu, mangoes from Makaha, mint from Waimanalo, and even pikake from the owners own back yard!  Even the cones are hand made!  A quick tip for the cones; get them with chocolate inside.  It’ll help prevent the cone from getting too soggy, and it tastes great!

Not only is the gelato and sorbeto here absolutely delicious, but the young lady, Melissa, who is the mastermind behind Via Gelato, is a total sweetheart.  She’s always cheerful, more than happy to talk story with customers, and always open to suggestions for new interesting flavors. 

Finding the truck may prove to be a little challenging, but you can keep track of where it is by following Via Gelato on Twitter @VIAgelato, on instagram @viagelatohawaii, and on facebook at facebook.com/via.gelato.9.  See you at Via!

Trying new things

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Say whaaaaat?!  Li hing SPAM musibi??  Now they’ve really put li hing on everything!  Well, it’s not bad.  The sweetness of the li hing compliments the usual saltiness of the SPAM. I may get it again since it’s only 10 cents more than a regular SPAM musubi.  We’ll see if it lasts!

Ohisashiburi!!

Yes, it has been quite a while since I’ve last made an entry to this blog, but I’m going to start working on it once again.  I haven’t quite decided what direction I want to go in, but I’m just going to work on getting started, and see where I end up.  More to come soon!  Stay tuned!

Side Street Inn on Da Strip

Where do I begin with this one?…  Most locals are familiar with Side Street Inn, or at least have heard about it.  It started off as a bar on a side street just Ewa of Ala Moana Shopping Center.  This bar was a place that served cold drinks, and hot pupu style bar foods by owner and Chef Colin Nishida.  Some of their more famous patrons included many of the local chefs like Alan Wong and Russell Siu.  As word spread about Side Street Inn more and more people started to show up, and it snowballed from there.  They were so successful that they were able to open a second location in Downtown Honolulu.  This incarnation of Side Street Inn was dubbed Fort Street Bar and Grill because of its location at the end of Fort Street Mall in the Topa Tower.  My friends and I had become regulars at the Fort Street Bar.

A toast of "Purple Nurples" with the staff on one of the last nights at Fort Street Bar and Grill.

Unfortunately the Fort Street location had to close down due to the lease expiring, but luckily the new Kapahulu location of Side Street Inn was preparing to open.  Most of the staff from Fort Street Bar moved over to Kapahulu to open the restaurant which has been named Side Street Inn on Da Strip, while the others transferred over to the original Ala Moana location.

Side Street Inn on Da Strip is located in the Prudential building on the corner of Kapahulu Ave. and Date St.  Across from Starbucks and Snorkel Bob’s.  There is ample parking in the adjacent park and pay lot as well as street parking along Kapahulu Ave.  There is also valet service under the building (enter from Kapahulu Ave.).  Once you come into the building from either the front entrance, or the elevator from the valet parking area, you can’t miss the place.

The grand opening of Side Street Inn on Da Strip was on Sunday July 25, 2010.  The feel of the new establishment is a more upscale sort than the original location near Ala Moana, and the Fort Street location was.

A view of the restaurant from the front.

View from our table in the middle of the restaurant looking to the front.

The Bar: Where the magic happens!

The rear of the restaurant can be divided into two separate party rooms for large private parties and gathering.  As of right now they do not have any karaoke equipment in there, but hopefully they will move some in after the opening rush dies down a little.

One of the party rooms

Just from the decor of the restaurant one wouldn’t be surprised to be served a fancy fine dining meal there instead of the bar food that made Side Street Inn famous.   All of the menu items from the original location are on there as well as some new entree style dishes.

The Menu

It wouldn’t be Side Street Inn without the famous fried rice.  The thing that makes this fried rice different from others is that they use hon dashi instead of oyster sauce for a unique flavor.  The blend of char siu, bacon, peas, carrots and green onions makes for a simple yet very delicious fried rice dish.  The perfect accompaniment to any pupu style meats.

Best Fried Rice in town!

Another flagship item is the pan fried pork chops.  The moist and tender pieces of pork are seasoned and flowered before getting pan-fried in, what I was told, cotton seed oil.

World Famous Pork Chops... Well, maybe not quite WORLD famous...

Because of the grand opening we were treated to a complimentary dish of the Spicy Fried Chicken.  Pieces of succulent crispy fried boneless chicken dipped in a spicy Korean style sauce, and accompanied with some mixed greens.  This dish is another that we would always order at Fort Street.  It was really nice that the restaurant gave it to us on the house!

Spicy Fried Chicken

Another dish we ordered was the Sizzling Ribeye.  Now this is always a flashy dish to order because as it’s being delivered to the table the steak is still sizzling and smoking on the hot metal plate that it comes on.  The aroma of cooking beef and onions fills the air and heads turn to see where all that sizzling goodness is coming from.

Sizzling Ribeye

The Smoked Island Pork is another of my personal favorites.  The piece of pork is salted and smoked, then cut into very thin strips before being served.  The meat is flavorful and salty.  The perfect thing to have with either a musubi, or a nice tall glass of beer.

Another dish we tried was the Misoyaki Chicken.  As you can imagine from the name this chicken was prepared by soaking in a miso based sauce and then grilling.  The chicken was very tender and not dry at all.  The flavor was an excellent blend of the miso sauce and the char from grilling.

Misoyaki Chicken

No trip to a local bar is complete without a dish of Ahi Poke.  The pieces of fish are always firm and never overly fishy tasting.  The sauce that the ahi is tossed with has a nice flavor that matches the ahi and onions well, and the raw onions add a refreshing twist to the whole dish.

Ahi Poke: Ono, you know!

One of my favorite drinks to order when I am at Side Street Inn is the Tanquerey Rangpur and Tonic.

Rangpur and Tonic

Side Street Inn also has their very own beer from Rogue Brewery.  It is called the Side Street Ale.  This beer is a slightly sweet ale.  It’s a change of pace from my usual domestic lite beers, but it is still a winner!

Side Street Inn Ale

So far I have never had any dish from Side Street Inn, or Fort Street Bar that I ever didn’t like.  Chef Colin has created winner after winner with all of his dishes coming out of the Side Street Inn kitchen, and he is continuing to spread the Side Street style now through his new Kapahulu restaurant location.  Side Street Inn on Da Strip is open every day from 3:00pm to midnight.  Go check it out, and enjoy the food and friends at Side Street Inn on Da Strip.