Archive for July, 2012

Koa Pancake House

We’re enjoying getting to know our new Kapolei neighborhood, one meal at a time! Breakfast is my favorite meal to eat out and Koa Pancake House had been on my mind since I kept hearing about it and seeing it all over. There are currently 7 locations on Oahu, including one in my new neighborhood of Kapolei, much to my delight. Since moving here a month ago, I’ve already eaten there twice.

Simply put, Koa Pancake House is cheap, fast and casual. Which is perfect because who wants to spend lots of $ on breakfast, and who wants to get dressed up first thing in the morning? At Koa Pancake House, you won’t find fancy china (it’s all paper plates and plastic utensils) or fussy service (you order at the counter) but you can stroll in with yoga pants and slippers and enjoy a satisfying breakfast. The menu is simple, consisting of savory breakfast classics (omelettes, eggs and various meats) and sweet classics (pancakes, waffles, and crepes). Yes, they have crepes!! They also have loco moco, eggs benedict, and a pretty standard lunch menu.

Here’s the Ham & Cheese Omelette ($7.50) which includes a short stack of pancakes. All omelettes and egg/meat entrees include your choice of rice, home fried potatoes or pancakes.

The Denver Omelette ($7.95) with ham, bell pepper, onion, with pancakes, and side order of Fried Rice ($2.95).

Corned Beef Hash & Eggs ($5.95) with pancakes.

Scottish Bangers & Eggs ($6.25) with home fried potatoes. Bangers are basically thick sausages, served sliced and grilled here.

Waffles with Strawberry & Whipped Cream ($6.50).

Coffee is only $0.95 and a small orange juice is only $1.00 y’all!

Honestly, the food is pretty average. The pancakes and omelettes are nothing you can’t make at home, and the corn beef hash is probably the canned kind,  but that’s OK by me. Breakfast is one of those meals that tastes good no matter what. To me, there’s something about going out for breakfast that’s special, because it usually means that it’s your day off and it signals the start of a whole day that you get to spend with the people you love. You could say Koa Pancake House is a favorite date spot for my husband and I.

MENU: View the menu on their website.

Koa Pancake House Kapolei
91-590 Farrington Highway
Kapolei, HI 96707
808.693.8855

Breakfast Daily 6:30a-2:00p
Lunch Daily 11:00a-2:00p

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Waipahu Eats – Leeward Drive-Inn

We recently moved out of our tiny Honolulu apartment into a slightly bigger place. More space on a budget usually means looking outside of Honolulu, and we found our new neighborhood in fast developing West Oahu. We’re excited to discover all the area has to offer, from dining to beaches and parks. As for the dining scene, it probably won’t take long to try out every restaurant in Kapolei (there’s not that many since the area is still developing), and I’m eager to explore neighboring areas like Waipio, Mililani, Waikele and Pearl City. Waipahu is high on my list too, since it’s an older area, there are lots of hole in the wall local favorites for plate lunches, Filipino food, etc.

One such place Leeward Drive-Inn, gets the thumbs up from BIL2, a local boy from Waipahu, so of course we had to check it out. They’re located on the corner of Farrington Hwy and Pupukahi St. in the heart of Waipahu, where you won’t find a single tourist in sight. They’ve been in business since 1964 so you know they’re doing something right. On the menu you’ll find all the plate lunch usuals like loco moco, fried chicken, fried noodles, as well as breakfast, and some Korean BBQ items too. And a drive inn is not complete without green river (basically lime flavored sugar water with copious amounts of green food coloring – love it!), lilikoi drink, and icee floats too!

After you order your food from the window, there’s a spacious eat-in area on the side of the building.

Here’s the Fried Pork Chop w/ Gravy Plate ($8.45). First of all – WHOA – look at the amount of food on this plate! Three seasoned crispy fried chops smothered in gravy, served with 2 scoops rice, mac salad, tossed salad, and fried noodles.

The Ultimate Mix Plate ($9.95) consisting of kalbi, fried chicken, sweet and sour spareribs, hamburger steak, fried noodles & rice. Again, WHOA. A quick fried chicken review for anyone who cares: Leeward Drive-Inn’s chicken skin is not as crispy as compared to Tanioka’s or Zippy’s, but the meat is juicier. The seasoning is more “Western” style, which the best way to explain might be to say that I would probably pair this chicken with ketchup, whereas I would pour shoyu over Tanioka’s and Zippy’s chicken. One’s not better than the other, just different and yummy in its own way.

Sure, it’s not the healthiest place to eat, but for a good ol’ plate lunch craving, you can get your fill at Leeward Drive-Inn.

MENU: View the menu on their website. (As of current, prices seem to be outdated on their web menu – most items have increased by $0.50-$1.00).

Leeward Drive-Inn
94-209 Pupukahi St.
Waipahu, HI 96797
808.671.7323

Mon-Thu 4:30a-11:00p
Fri & Sat 4:30a-12:00a
Sun 5:00a-11:00p

Baby’s 1st Birthday Pool Party

We attended the 1st birthday party of a friend’s son. Hosted at a community rec center in Hawaii Kai, It was a summer pool party decked out in fun, cheery colors and lots of treats for the kids.

Every local party has a pupu station with favorites like boiled peanuts and shrimp cocktail.

Well guess what? this one even had a pupu station for little kids with baby crackers and Gerber snacks!

Lunch was a catered feast of the usual local favorites: maki sushi, Chinese chicken salad, fried noodles…

Breaded fish, shoyu pork, kalbi, chicken, and Okinawan andagi.

There was a sweet treat buffet for the kids

and a shave ice station, perfect on this hot day. Hubby and I shared a rainbow cone with strawberry, pineapple, and blue vanilla flavors.

It was easy to see how much love and thought went into the preparation for this gathering, from the handmade banners to the homemade cake pop favors. The proud Mom and Dad gave a short speech and thanked friends and family for their support through the past year, which reminded me how blessed Hubby and I also are for the loving support system we have as our own family grows. It seems like just yesterday that my friend and I were silly college girls at the UH dorms, and it’s been a joy seeing our friendship through her wedding a few years ago, her pregnancy, my pregnancy, and now, celebrating her son’s first year of life.

Happy Birthday to the adorable baby boy!

Sunset Cocktails at House Without a Key

House Without a Key at Halekulani has a different ambience at breakfast, lunch, and evening time. Breakfast time is quiet and relaxing, before Waikiki beach starts filling up with beach goers. Lunchtime is bright and you can watch the stand-up paddlers on the ocean, or the bikini-clad tourists walking by.

In the evening from around 5:30pm, guests dressed in sun dresses and aloha shirts begin to fill the seats as sunset gives way to the cooler night air. Guests order Mai Tais to sip on while a traditional Hawaiian trio and hula dancer grace the stage with beautiful but unobtrusive entertainment. I love the restaurant during each of its periods, but it’s especially lovely at night. I met up with some friends just as they got off work for some pau hana cocktails and pupus.

I treated myself to a Le Mint ($7.00), a frozen lemonade drink with fresh mint leaves blended right in.

and we shared some appetizers: Coconut Shrimp with Orange Mango Sauce ($16.00)

Caesar Salad ($12.00)

Striploin Steak with Chimichuri Sauce, served with French Fries ($39.00)

The food menu is somewhat limited here, but the ambiance and views are the main draws of this restaurant. If you have an evening to spare or special guests from out of town, try starting out with cocktails here before progressing to dinner nearby (Wolfgang’s or Roy’s, perhaps).

MENU: View the menu on their website.

House Without a Key
Halekulani
2199 Kalia Road
Honolulu, HI 96815
808.923.2311

7:00a-9:00p daily


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