Saturday, June 6, 2015

Eating the whole house (Eating House 1849 - Koloa, HI)

Being stuck in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, it's not often we get friends fly out to visit.  Oh sure, everyone says "I want to go to Hawaii" or "I should visit you one of these days" but rarely does anyone ever have the time or the money to do so.   This weekend, we were fortunate to have two friends taking a summer vacation on Kauai.  Taking advantage of the opportunity, we hopped on a 27 minute plane ride and had dinner with them at the new Roy Yamaguchi restaurant Eating House 1869.

I liked the nice open seating and open windows to maximize the Kauai landscape

An homage to the first restaurant open in Hawaii (named Eating House), Chef Yamaguchi has found a new voice in expressing his culinary skills with a Nouveau Hawaii Plantation-style of cooking.  There are lots of reinterpreted comfort foods to be had here at prices that invite both tourists and local residents to have a "Roy's" dining experience without the pretentions of his famous flagship restaurant (I dressed in shorts and slippers).

Not too expensive and very accessible to all on Kauai
Since there were 5 of us dining, I was able to have a fairly extensive tasting of the various pupus and entrees without giving myself heartburn.  The highlights of the evening were (in no specific order):

1)  Szechuan Baby Back Ribs - The ribs tasted like the best bao filling you have ever eaten in the back alleys of Taiwan or Shanghai

I was blown away by how tender the beef was and how flavorful the sticky glaze was
2)  Kamameshi Rice w/Butterfish -  A variation of Roy's famous Broiled Butterfish, this dish takes a 4oz fillet of broiled butterfish and places it over kabayaki sauced mixed rice in a hot stone pot (think Japanese/Pacific Rim food meets Bi Bim Bap).  Get it for the fish, stay for the crispy bits of rice.

My kid ordered this and ended up being the most expensive entree for the evening ($31)
3)  Chocolate Souffle Lava Cake -  The one carry-over from Roy's white linen restaurant and a never-miss ending to a fantastic meal.

Lots of places have this now but these guys do it right
After a thorough two hours of eating and drinking, I feel thankful to my close foodie friend for recommending this restaurant to us and feel excited about this new direction that Chef Yamaguchi has taken.  Here are some of the other offerings we ordered tonight.

Mixed fruit salad with goat cheese and arugula

Sizzling poke appetizer.  A delicious umami bomb!

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Friday, June 5, 2015

Lava Fields, Golf, and a Burger

Last week I found myself in Kona for work.  While most people have an image of Hawaii as being lush and green with Coconut trees and beaches, Kona is closer to looking like being on Mars.  It's comprised of miles and miles of old undeveloped lava fields and located on the side of the island that is dry and arid.  Despite this barren landscape I found a decent place to have lunch, King's Grille. 

This is in the middle of a lava field?

King's Grille is the clubhouse restaurant for a golf course built smack-dab in the middle of the previously mentioned lava fields. Not being a golfer I still wanted try the sandwiches having read that they were generous and affordable by Kona standards. 

Yep, it's definitely a golf clubhouse

Feeling hungry, I ordered the Ali'i Burger ($11.95) which comprises of a burger, cheese, bacon, and pastrami.  I was pleasantly surprised by it's generous size and relative juiciness.  They even got the fries right. 

This ended up being as juicy as it looks

While it's not a place to go out of your way for, if you find yourself in Waikoloa, it's worth checking out. 

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