Brunch at Cheeseburger Waikiki and a famous Loco Moco

On the search for some good brunch… we headed a few blocks down from our hotel and landed at Cheeseburger Waikiki – Fun atmosphere, always filled with fun people and a great menu!!!

Seriously, we had SO many horror stories with the birds in Hawaii. Z hates birds and I’m starting to dislike them too now. They kept trying to steal our food by the pool and around the beach — Z gave them a tabasco drenched fry once and they came even more at force.  One bird even stole our jar of macadamia nuts  while we were in the pool swimming around *sad* And another one actually flew STRAIGHT into my leg from under the bar – totally made me flip my shizz.

Of course we had to order a famous Loco Moco, staple dish of Hawaii, and a side of Portuguese sausage… a cross between chorizo and a sweet chinese sausage :] YUM.  Those are two poached eggs and a fried egg on the side to top the Loco Moco with.

Loco Moco
A bed of Rice topped with our Beef Patty covered with Three Fried Eggs, Onions and Brown Gravy

Right after this picture was shot we put the three eggs on top and mixed it all together eating all the runny gooeiness with the burger patty and delicious and surprisingly light, gravy.

Egg White Omelette with Hash Browns and Whole Wheat Toast

I had tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, mushrooms, spinach and avocados in it.

And of course I had to get a Side of papaya.. SO SWEET!!!!
As much as I can find delicious sweet papaya on the Mainland, it just doesn’t compare to a random half of a small papaya in Hawaii *dies*

After a huge and full belly of delicious spicy Bloody Marys and a list of to-go-to places to play, eat and drink from our lovely waitress Krissy… we headed off to the beach for a few hours before we hit the spa…

We actually went back to Cheeseburger for a last meal… we had our last brunch in Hawaii there the day we were leaving back to NYC…

Of course we got a round of extra spicy Bloody Marys…

And of course I had to get another papaya….

I got another egg white Omelette…. this time with an additional pineapple.. I felt like the addition of the pineapple in it just really enhanced the savoriness of it… YUM!

…and Z got the Cheeseburger Scrambled
Scrambled Eggs, Chopped Burger Patty, Colby Jack Cheese, Sauteed Onions, Diced Tomato.Served with Crispy Hash Browns. With Whole Wheat Toast…

This was really good.. I had been having tummyaches and wanted to avoid lots of cheese before a long flight, but I couldn’t help but take a few bites at the end – I need my cheese fix no matter what :]

We were greedy and our eyes were bigger than our stomachs…. well actually they weren’t cuz we pretty much cleaned off all of our plates.. but we got the short stack of Mac Nut pancakes..

Delicious Buttermilk Pancakes with Macadamia Nuts blended right in

They were SUPER fluffy….. and HUUUUGE.. really thick and dense. There were nuts all over it and inside, but it definitely needed the maple syrup to help cut the density of the pancakes. DELICIOUS though.. just need to share it with someone :]

And then it was bye bye :[

Pinkberry at the airport…

My new buddy, Billy the Pineapple for the planeride…..

Hana No Sato, little hidden Japan in Hawaii

So we were originally supposed to go to Iyasume next door for Musubi…. but it was already closed.. we had dinner at 10 at Sansei but was still hungry for a snack – we’re fatty like that – so we went in next door to the tiny little Japanese shop… Hana no Sato, we were immediately transported to Japan [minus the fact that they were playing early 90s pop, All 4 One, Belinda Carlise.. awesome!!! :D..]

This was SUCH a good idea.. because Sansei was NOT good sushi… [come on, 50% off sushi and menu after 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays ALONG with karaoke?!… sketch] Ok because to this place.

Hot Matcha, freshly made for us.

Unfortunately they didn’t have an alcohol license so we couldn’t get any sake to go with our fish :[

We asked the waitress for local fish that was super fresh for the day… so these were the snacks we ended up getting…

Tuna Sashimi

Super fresh, not fishy taste.  It wasn’t anything spectacular. I like tuna but not a huge fan.  I think that it’s the easiest fish to mask whether or not it’s fresh… but Z was doing the ordering, I was just helping with the eating :]

Abalone Sashimi

This was a real treat – and it was pretty cheap too.. sooo fresh and crunchy.. it was like eating cartilage.  Super fresh, tasted like the ocean without any fishiness… definitely good quality stuff.  The bowl next to it was dipping sauce [like a ponzu/dashi] it also had some of the innards/guts of the abalone in it to mix into and add some more flavor to it. It reminded me too much of gallbladders.. and I wasn’t in the mood for eating something that looked bitter and biley [even though Z said it wasn’t hahaha…]

Uni Nigiri and Yellowtail Nigiri

Both were super delicious.  The yellowtail – so so fresh and tasty.  I find that yellowtail can quickly taste fishy when it’s barely not fresh so this was thick cut, full of flavor and just tasty… and “sweet” not sugary sweet, but sweet fish :] Does that make sense? I don’t care, it makes sense to me – it’s my blog I can describe the way I want.

Look at how BEAUTIFUL that Uni [sea urchin] that is…
Creamy, milky [in a good way] — Z thought his was a tiny bit off but I thought mine was amazing. I did put a lot of extra wasabi on it tho – SOOO freaking delicious. It was some of the largest pieces of uni I have ever seen before – and some of the best uni I’ve ever tasted!!!  I always prefer my uni with a little something something.. some rice, some tofu, something mild to really enhance the flavor and texture of the uni. LOVES.

Toro Bowl

It doesn’t look like fatty tuna, but it just melted into your mouth… I hate it when it’s so fatty that it’s stringy or so chewy that all the fat just melds onto your lips…

What a great snack.. with a few minutes to spare.. we headed back to the hotel to change and to go to dinner….. of course, first I waved by to the Musubi head next door :]

See you tomorrow Musubi….

Iyasume Musubi, the search ends for Spam in Waikiki

After a long search for Spam… which is actually HARDER than you’d imagine in Hawaii, we found Spam Musubi at Iyasume Musubi…. we had seen “spam” on the Ono’s menu but we wanted musubi… — MOO-SOO-BEE — In a small alleyway behind the Hyatt Hotel [around King’s Village] WE FOUND IT!!!! — double thanks to @bnbutterscotch for the heads up :D We came the day before but it was already closed [opens at 6am but closes at like 8pm] so we were up and early for a breakfast of spam musubi the next day!

Look at all of the options on the menu *jaw drops*

And of course we had to hit up the bacon & egg one!!!

I ended up buying one of the shirts :D So cute!! Musubi head!

Memorabilia all over the walls.. including Obama!

Obama was here :D

We ordered and grabbed a table [there are only two inside and one outside] and thankfully we got there early because it got crowded really soon after…. basically right behind us.  Everything is freshly made to order in the back [aside from the stuff you buy from the front] so it took awhile to come out – but SO worth the wait!

Beef Bowl, Curry Bowl, Spam Musubis

The curry was delicious. And even though it’s just like the out of the box curry that I like to make at home – delicious… just wish there was more than a piece of chicken in it.. but didn’t matter because the rice was sticky but still separate. Perfect japanese rice.

Sweet Beef Bowl, up close

The beef was fatty and a little on the sweet side for me… but very tender.. and the rice, oh man I love the rice.

Musubis: Spam Ume [Plum], Spam, Spam Egg & Bacon, Spam Egg & Cucumber

While I loved the sweet tart plum with the musubi.. and as much as I adore bacon [which was a little soft] the cucumber was my favorite.

Fluffy grains of rice… the crunch salty nori… salty hammy spam, the creamy soft egg and the crunch of the fresh crisp cucumber. AMAZING!

Basically this is the first time I’ve had spam. I think I had a piece before a few years ago in some homemade Korean dish/stirfry but that’s about it. Spam has always kind of scared me, but this was SO tasty.. I’m not a ham girl, but I must say… I’m digging the salty ham in can ;D SHHH!!!

Me and Musubi Heads are twins… aren’t we? Hahaha… too funny!!!! I want to steal it home!!

We bought 6 more musubis to go… all spam… :D

Then we shopped around King’s Villa… Village? I thought it was village..whichever.. it was like a little Japan town with tons of touristy stores and a really cool 50s diner selling antiques [like old coke bottles and old barbies!!!]

Molesting the soldier… I’m just a really inappropriate person *for shame*

Spare $ 4 Pot


Ono Hawaiian Food / Waikiki

The one name that kept popping up everytime we asked around for good Hawaiian food in the Waikiki area was Ono Hawaiian Foods. Ono’s. Ono’s. Ono’s. Ono’s. And it helps that Anthony Bourdain [Season 4] has been there as well :] We took a taxi from out hotel and got there right when it opened at 11am.

I have to admit, when I first walked in and sat down… it smelled like… old.  Grungy.  Food.  It was kind of a turn-off and freaked me out at first but definitely let me know that this was an authentic place.  The staff was SO friendly and explained the food to us and taught us how to eat everything.  The whole store was filled with history and memorabilia from thru out the many years. And no worries, I got used to the smell soon after :]

Maui Onion, Tomato Salad, Poi and Chili Sauce
We were SUCH fan of the poi that we ordered another, larger, bowl of it.  The owners just gave us a small tasting in case we freaked out.  It’s definitely dense, but so delicious.  You can’t really taste the taro unless you pair it with something else, the taro flavors come out a lot when you eat it with the pork. POI IS AMAZING. Addicted

Poi is a Hawaiian word for the primary Polynesian staple food made from the corm of the taro plant (known in Hawaiian as kalo). Poi is produced by mashing the cooked corm (baked or steamed) until it is a highly viscous fluid. Water is added during mashing and again just before eating, to achieve a desired consistency, which can range from liquid to dough-like (poi can be known as two-finger or three-finger, alluding to how many fingers you would have to use to eat it, depending on its consistency). – Source

LauLau [Fatty Pork wrapped in Taro Leaves]

Super fatty, moist and tender – holy crap my stomach is gurgling while i blog about this – The taro leaves on the outside are totally edible and cooked down so much it just melts in your mouth… as does the meat.

Kalua Pig, Pipikaula [beef jerky], and Salt Meat Watercress

I actually wasn’t that fond of the Kalua Pig so i wasn’t TOO disappointed when the weather was a bit too wet to go to a luau at Paradise Cove.  BUT… the Salt Meat Watercress was AMAZING.  Lightly salted in a clear broth… super fresh coarsely cut thick watercress and fall off the bone pork.

Tripe Stew

The tripe was tender and the broth was good but it was a bit too tripe-y and organ tasting to me. I’m all about the tripe too, that or I was too full and set on just eating all of my fatty savory pork!

JUST REALIZED, we got jipped from our lomi lomi salmon :[ So sad… I wanted to get some poke and/or lomi and just realized, looking at the menu I took home now, that we were supposed to get it in our combo plate [which the laulau and the kalua, etc… also came on] They also had spam on the menu, but not spam musubi….  which we ended up finding a place for later in the day.

Haupia [Coconut Jelly]

This reminded me of an asian jelly.. definitely a lot stiffer than regular jello… sooo good… but definitely a heavier jello… the coconut flavor was there and it was delicious – very refreshing, slightly sweet – a great small dessert to finish off the salty meal with.

Our neighbors were the cutest old couple who ate almost as much as we did.  The old man was ADORABLE and was telling me how he was so full and that he was gonna take a nap from food coma afterwards.

The sun started coming out a bit after our brunch so we hailed a cab and headed back to the hotel pool to lounge in a hut [the rain was coming and going pretty much the whole week so it definitely was a cooler time for hawaii] and relax for the day.. of course snacks were involved.. and face making


“Hibachi” Chicken Sandwich and Chili Cheese Fries

Afterwards we decided to take a walk around the neighborhood and explore and shop – and shop AND EAT we did :]

Blue Water Shrimp & Fish Market

We were looking around for a snack when a tourist told us that this calamari dish he got was SO good that he had eaten it three nights in a row so far…. so OBVIOUSLY Z and I HAD to get it…..

Macadamia Nut Crusted Calamari

The calamari steaks were SO tender and cooked perfectly.  The macadamia crust was a bit on the heavy side but was seared perfectly and went great with the mango/pineapple salsa that it came with.  It also came with some delicious rice and a half of a corn on the cob. OH AND, for shame, I had some of the salad, which was lightly doused with a ranch-like dressing. OK, pretty sure it was ranch but the veggies were so fresh and crisp I couldn’t resist.

Dole Ice Cream Stand in the Market Food Court

Guava, Mango and Pineapple Shaved Ice with Condensed Milk

Refreshing, sweet and oh so artificial <3 Hahaha I was kind of hoping for some asian-fied shaved ice but this was a nice quick sweet treat!!!

After our snack we headed out to look for Musubi… ended up with sushi and ended the night with karaoke at Sensai.

@ChefSamTalbot’s amazing Imperial No. 9

After high anticipation I finally made it out to the GORGEOUS Mondrion SoHo to Chef Sam Talbot‘s Imperial No. 9! To be honest, I’m tired of going to places that are all hype and decor but total lackluster in food.. This was SO not the case. I have been on a crazy good streak of delicious seafood… especially with just having gotten back from a trip filled with fresh seafood in Hawaii… and now this? Most places would not be able to compare, but THIS is definitely one of the best meals I’ve ever had – especially one that was ALL seafood.

Let’s begin with the chef….

Feel like you’ve heard the name or recognize this gorgeous face?

Of course you have, Top Chef Season 2 where he finished third….

Other things about him… he’s diabetic so he promotes diabetic awareness. This is a big deal to me since both my parents are diabetic, as are many members of my family.

Wherever he goes, Sam’s cooking is always a reflection of his insistence on fresh, healthy ingredients. That is part and parcel of who he is as a diabetic—one who also volunteers extensively with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and who uses his newfound celebrity to increase awareness of the disease. To that end, Sam and JDRF have established an annual series of events to raise money for their fight against juvenile diabetes.

Very awesome. Also, Imperial No. 9 is a sustainable seafood restaurant – how awesome is that?! Makes it even more appealing….

“At the highly anticipated Imperial No. Nine, located just off the lobby, Chef Sam Talbot introduces his sustainable seafood concept with a 150-seat restaurant. A long bar serves as a casual imbibing spot with a selection of handcrafted cocktails by John Lermayer, for which Morgans Hotel Group’s nightlife destinations are famous. The garden building at Imperial No. Nine boasts a timeless setting complemented by an elegant crystal chandelier collection and accented with potted plants and natural ficus trees, all beneath the shelter of a dramatic glass roof. The delicate, over-sized glass sculpture centerpiece, crafted by acclaimed artist Beth Lipman, serves as a reference to Cocteau’s story in which seduction takes the form of an elaborate feast, prepared nightly.”

He’s also the exec chef at The Surf Lodge in Montauk…. haven’t been but if it’s anything close to my meal here at Imperial, it’s a must-go :]

All dolled up and ready to chow down!!!

The gorgeous walkway to the hotel… [looking out towards the street]

Sam next to the gorgeous chandelier….

Ok ok, enough beauty shots of the restaurant and the chef, time to get down and dirty [in an oh so good way] to the main reason why we’re here and I’m writing about this. The food, food, food and THE FOOD!!! Okay, because we DO continue though, I need to apologize for the horribly lit photos.  The room was dark and I didn’t wanna ruin the atmosphere with stupid flashe of light from my camera.. you’re just gonna have to go on my description to make up for my crappy photos.. My b.

Iberico Lardo & Sea Urchin
Charred Scallion, Pressed Stecca, Maldon Salt

The bread was soooo crispy and delicious. Buttery [in a yummy EVOO sort of way], a delicious large slice of lardo and milky delicious uni on top.  There were four pieces and I was MELTING over the amazing bread. Usually bites like this are too much bread but this was just perfect.  Great textures, crunch and creaminess… the tart yogurty sauce that the bites were put on top of was a GREAT addition to the flavors. I love how this was IBERICO lardo, not just regular.. usually you just hear of the jamon and not much else…. YUM

Craving more stecca [the bread]…so we asked for some…

Pressed Stecca

They were steamy hot and delicious!  Just a touch of EVOO and a hint of garlic… soooo delicious and crispy.  Tasted almost buttery without the fatty animal taste. Amazing!!!

Special of the Day: Mussels

To be honest, I don’t remember the specifics of the dish.. it was absolutely freaking delicious.  The mussels were steamed/cooked to perfection. Tender and just super fresh.  There was a light broth of what I’m guessing to be an Italian large leaf parsley and shallots?!?!.. it was very subtle and light.  Great broth to dip the stecca in. YUM!

Slow Cooked Octopus
Jalapeno Soffrito, Lime, Soy

I found this to be perfectly cooked.  I always get slightly nervous with octopus… it can be easily cooked wrong – basically overcooked.. but this was tender and FULL of flavor. Tasted like an asian dish out of my mother’s kitchen or something.. Definitely not overpowering though.

Jumbo Fluke
Frozen Coconut, Chili Water, Chinese Black Vinegar

This was so super unique.. I kind of wanted to try the raw cubed tuna, but what got me was the thinly sliced frozen coconut on top of the fresh fluke.  Not fishy at ALL – which sometimes I find fluke to be, clean but definitely fish tasting… the black vinegar totally cuts through the sweetness and the whole bite finishes off with a touch of heat from the chili water. Clean, delicious and addicting.

Heirloom Blue Corn Shrimp and Grits
Aged Cheddar, NY State Maple Jus, Slow Poached Egg, Coffee Oil This just may be my most favorite shrimp and grits I have ever had.  The grits were fine and creamy… and then the chunks of blue heirloom corn kernels just added so much texture and chew to the dish.  The egg was perfectly cooked, lightly lightly poached, so much that the egg white was just barely past translucent.  The shrimp were fresh and cooked to a tender chew which just added to the plethora of textures and flavors of the dish.  I think this may have been the best dish of the night, and, like I said, the best shrimp and grits I’ve ever had.

Special of the Day: Pacific Halibut a la Plancha
Served on top of a fresh Tabuleh

To be fair, I will say that the first plate we got was cold :[ But they were quick to change it with a plate of freshly cooked tender halibut.  I rarely get halibut that is so succulent and sweet… usually I find it to be slightly overcooked and more stiff – kind of like a swordfish – but this is one of the first and few times I’ve realized that halibut can have a silky soft texture.  The star of the show was most definitely the tabuleh though.  Wait, is that fair to say? I adored it, usually there’s too much cracked wheat, but this was perfection… great balance. AND they have some delicious sundried tomatoes. OMG… amazing!!!…  tub of this please.

We actually wanted to get the seared scallops as well, but our waiter felt like it would be too much food — so not the case, totally could’ve eaten more… but they accidentally still brought it out for us – confused – but afterthefact, I wish we had accepted it or had ordered it anyways….. it looked amazing… and I can always eat more.. I guess that’s why I have to come back again to try the rest of the menu [since it’s sustainable and seasonal, I’m guessing it’s ever-changing!]

Banana Bread Pudding
Maple Bourbon Fluid Gel, Honey Comb Semi Freddo, Nutella

The bread pudding was warm and the semifreddo was cold.  So fun to eat.  The semifreddo was TO. DIE. FOR. Like, literally.  I could NOT get enough of it — slight taste of honey and fluffy like a marshmallow :D  I LOVE banana bread so I was a HUGE fan of this… I could NOT stop eating it

Caramel Corn
Salted Caramel Ice Cream, Sweet Popcorn Powder

This was actually one of our waiter’s favorite desserts.  BTW, I forgot his name but he had sick ass glasses and looked like Lenny Kravtiz… swanky… anyways. THIS WAS SO GOOD.  Salty Ice Cream, reminiscent of Resto’s…. but then more salty a la L’Artusi’s sea salt gelato… OMG FREAKING AMAZING…. I know this is a PG-13? Sort of porno food blog but I want to break out in a song of dirty words to describe this… well this dessert and those SHRIMP AND GRITS [gawddamn I can’t stop thinking about it]  The powder was soft and fluffy like Smartfood Popcorn [okay weird comparison but it’s true]  BUT OMG POPCORN POWDER!!!…

And because I’m sure no one will complain…. :] Another photo of the chef ;D