Monday, January 25, 2010

Let's talk Hawaiian

We love Hawaiian food.

One of the best things about living in Seattle is that there is a large Polynesian presence in the area. Aaron grew up with several Polynesian families that he loves very much and then served a mission in the Riverside, California mission. His first area was heavily Polynesian (mostly Samoan) and it strengthened his love of the culture and built many life long relationships. He loved the food so much, he went from a svelte 185 to 200 in three months. Polynesian food is where 6-packs (abs) go to die but at least you'll be in heaven!

Lucky for us, a few weeks after we relocated here 4 years ago, a Hawaiian restaurant that we have grown to love opened in Federal Way where we lived. It was the grand opening on our 5th anniversary, and we loved everything about it. It is family owned (like most are) with a great Hawaiian atmosphere. They cook authentic Hawaiian cuisine and the ambiance, which is always a perk but never a necessity, is great.

They are super friendly. So friendly in fact that they remembered us 6 months later after we'd moved farther away. Then they recognized us 6 months after that at the Taste of Tacoma. Who does that? I can't even remember my neighbor's name. Downside is that it's a little pricey and the portions can be on the smaller side. This is a good date night location.

*It's called Pac Island Grill located at 2012 S. 320th Street, Suite H Federal Way, WA 98003.

Here's what we love to order at Pac Island:

  • Pu Pu platter - this gives you a great assortment of appetizers. We love us some coconut prawns and the lumpia is so so good. Spam Musubi is the best we have had in a restaurant!
  • The Big Island Deluxe or Hawaiian BBQ special - This gives the most variety and is on the larger size.The Kalbi ribs are super yummy.
  • Locco Moco - It is a hamburger pattie grilled with an egg on top served with medium grain rice and smothered in gravy. It is a staple in Hawaiian food and is awesome!
  • Haupia Pie - It's fantastic. Some of the best I've had. The Macadamia Nut Cheesecake is also the bomb.
*Next on our list of absolute faves is Bobby's Hawaiian Restaurant located at 13014 Hwy 99 So. Everett, WA 98204.

So there we were, sitting on our couch in Florida watching the food channel. Diners, Drive-ins and Dives was on and the last restaurant showing was Bobby's. We were flabbergasted. Why did we not know about this when we lived here before? After it was over we sulked. We just sat there and sulked.

When we moved back, it was the first on our list of places to go. It's a bit of a trip to go to Everett, but I promise it's worth it. It was on the Food network after all. We're not huge fans of the show, but it is a great resource. Sadly, Guy did not give this place it's due because we sensed that he didn't like Hawaiian food in general. He obviously didn't know what he was missing!

Prices are great, portions are large and service is very friendly. We really love this place, and it's teetering on the top of being our favorite. We were super excited to see "Bobby" there after recognizing him from the show. We definitely felt a bit stalk-ish while we were talking all excited and hush-hushing when he went by. Unfortunately, we've only had a chance to get there one time, so we are anxious to go back to try more items! A little birdie also told us that there might be one in Lynnwood?

Here's what we love to order at Bobby's:

  • Mochi Chicken - Holy freak'n cow this is amazing. We were sitting there about to order our usual when a family style plate came out for the next table over. The smell was incredible. We ordered it quick. Best decision ever.
  • Spam Musibi - We actually make this in our home (we'll show you how in a later post). It's rice and spam (usually marinated in Aloha Shoyu/soy sauce or teriyaki) wrapped in seaweed often served with or furikake (a Japanese spice mixture). Don't knock it 'till you try it. You would never know that spam could actually taste good, but this is a staple in Hawaiian culture and my eight year old daughter loves it like nothing else. Begs for it even.
  • Kalbi Ribs -The best we have ever tasted here.

*The other day we saw a coupon in the Entertainment guide (we love this book) for Aloha Hawaiian Grill located at 18016 71st Ave S., #102 Kent, WA 98032. It's really close to IKEA, so all the more reason to head over there. It really hit the spot. Cheap prices and good portions too!

Here's what we like to order at Aloha:

  • Island BBQ combo -the ultimate meat platter
  • Hola Chicken combo -this includes the Chx Katsu that Carrie adores. Super crispy and their sauce was the perfect mix of sweet and salty.
  • Musubi - really really good here
  • Lau Lau - we haven't tried it yet, but will soon. Everyone that walked in the door ordered it.

*Saimin Says (no website) located at 26218 pacific Highway South Kent, Wa 98032 is also a really cool place. They are inexpensive and the food is good. We enjoy their musubi, spam and eggs and saimin. It is very authentic and provides a no frills dining experience.

*If you want really fast Hawaiian food we would suggest L&L. We're really not big fans, but if you're looking for a quick fix, they are popping up all over the area. The portions are big and the prices are inexpensive. The BBQ plate, Chicken Katzu and the Spam Musubi are pretty OK. Interestingly enough The L&L in Hawaii (where it is based) is much better!

Here are some others that we have yet to try but have great reviews:
Kauai Family Restaurant - on the Food Network, too!
Kona Kitchen

Okay folks, that about wraps it up. If you love Hawaiian food like we do, these are amazing places to taste the flavors you know. If you are a new-comer, definitely break out of the ordinary to experience a little peak at this amazing culture and amazing food.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

We're a good mix

Intro please....

Aaron: OK, so I love to eat and I love to cook. I really love hole-in-the-wall restaurants and take pride in researching and knowing the best places to eat. Places where the quality is good and where the food is original and not "pre-fab." It is always more satisfying to go somewhere that is not a chain, or where the "ambiance" is not more important than the taste.

My mission is to share a little piece of my culinary persona. I love to find new and exciting ingredients, try to re-create dishes I have eaten in restaurants and perfect recipes from cook books. I love the idea of perfecting a dish or at least working towards that.

I grew up in the South and we never called it "soul food", we just called it good food (although the food has become a part of my soul). I am a 1/4 Italian and remember the taste of my Grandma's(Mom-Mom's) meatballs and spaghetti when I was growing up and have spent a lifetime trying to recreate that taste. I love Asian, Polynesian, Mexican (because of my time in Southern CA) and most ethnic foods.

Carrie is the baker; I don't bake. Let me say though, Carrie can bake and that is just one of the many things I love about her. I think that while in PA, she secretly became Amish so she could learn their baking secrets. She inspires me and indulges me on our culinary journey.

Carrie: I'm a wife, mother, business woman and photographer. My life is full, which means there is nothing better than coming home after a hard days work to shrimp spring rolls and Japanese fried rice made by Rowdy.

I love my husband's food. I love that he can cook well. I love that he spends 3 hours in the meat aisle at the grocery store. I love that to him, the best DATE night is going to the grocery store; the Asian markets, the Indian store we drove by last week, the produce stands that bring fresh fruits and vegetables from local farms. These experiences, the searching for the best ingredients make us excited to cook, and we hope that everyone does or will feel the same way.

Weekends for us are a time to experiment. It's a time when we can look at our favorite cookbooks and make those recipes our own. We plan ahead. We grocery shop only 1x a week. We don't buy hamburger helper. We never limit ourselves to trying new things and new flavors. Our conversation is never "What should we have? Meatloaf or macaroni and cheese?" Instead it's, "Are we going for Thai or Italian?"

I'll be the first to admit that my husband is a bit more excited about food than I am sometimes. However, once I have savored that bite of perfectly marinated steak topped with sauteed chanterelle mushrooms, I am grateful for the God-given gift of taste buds, and for this inspiring food journey of ours.

What to expect: We'll have different kinds of posts on here. Just to name a few... restaurant reviews all around the Seattle area with meal recommendations, tips and tricks in our own kitchen, recipes, and must-have ingredients to keep in your pantry to make that gourmet (or just plain good) meal at home.
Related Posts with Thumbnails