Posts Tagged 'Buffets'

Baby Shower – Part II

Round two! Actually, this wasn’t my baby shower, but I attended a shower for a friend who is also pregnant and due about a month after me. There’s a little baby boom going on around town.

Hosted at the private Outrigger Canoe Club on the beach by Diamond Head, we gathered for their Sunday dinner buffet. There was an open-air, semi private area set up for us right on the ocean, and we got to enjoy the sparkling sunset on the ocean while enjoying our dinner.

The buffet was a gorgeous spread of salads, grilled veggies, cheeses, sashimi, smoked salmon, clam chowder, fresh fish and a prime rib carving station.

My first course: assorted cheeses, spinach salad, artichoke heart, grilled veggies, potato salad, pasta salad, tomato and feta salad, ginger chicken, and new potato with sour cream and caviar.

Second course: mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, veggies, chicken with madeira sauce, salmon with dill sauce, grilled mahi with pineapple relish, prime rib with horseradish and au jus.

…and my dessert plate (yes, I used the large entree plates for all three courses): macadamia nut cake, fruit cobbler, tiramisu, custard tart, cheesecake, fresh fruits, and chocolate brownie.

I ate WAY too much and sure enough, major third-trimester heartburn kicked in just in time for the after dinner games and activities. The food was worth it though.

Congratulations to the mom and dad to be, who are also expecting a baby girl!

A Peek at Waikiki’s Newest: Five Star International Buffet

While shopping at Royal Hawaiian Center the other day, we learned the Five Star International Buffet which was under construction for some time now was finally open. We had already eaten, but the friendly hostess invited us inside to take a look around. Buffet restaurants don’t usually inspire expectations of elegance, but this restaurant pleasantly defied my expectations. The interior design and furnishings and dimly lit bar counter are modern and stylish. The galley style buffet space is not visible from the dining areas, adding to the sophistication of the space, and the food is elegantly presented. The food is set out in small portions, and chefs in the elevated kitchen space directly behind the food keep a sharp eye out so it stays fresh and replenished. One look at the food presentation and I knew this restaurant was under Japanese management. Unfortunately I didn’t get to taste the cuisine, but I hope it tastes as good as it looks. Here’s a portion of the dinner offerings:

Sashimi:

Ikura with Yamaimo, Pork Kakuni in the back:

Chawanmushi and Nimono in the back:

Assorted maki and nigiri sushi:

Assorted tempura:

Shrimp and Scallop stir fry:

Desserts: 

Some Western dishes including pasta and beef stew?:

In addition, there were also chilled selections including shrimp cocktail, oysters, cheeses and various salads.

Pricing for lunch and dinner:

They have a small private room, so it would be perfect for a special occasion or small company gathering. It’s a little pricey so I’ll have to wait for the next special occasion, but I can’t wait to try it. I have a feeling this is one buffet I’ll leave feeling satisfied, but not overstuffed and hating myself.

MENU: View a sample menu on their website. 

Five Star International Buffet
Royal Hawaiian Center, Bldg C, Level 3 (by Forever 21)
2201 Kalakaua Ave.
Honolulu, HI 96815
808.380.9300

Hours (see above photo)

Treetops Restaurant

After a hike at Lyon Arboretum in beautiful Manoa Valley, our group stopped by historic Treetops Restaurant for lunch. This buffet restaurant is located just before the Manoa Falls hiking trail and Lyon Arboretum and caters towards banquet functions but is also open to the public daily. As you guessed by the name, the restaurant is perched above the lush tropical foliage of Paradise Park and is a great hideaway when you need to replenish some pure oxygen to your stressed-out soul.

Here are some views of the lunch buffet ($14.00 on weekends and $11.50 on weekdays). I’m not sure if the menu differs on the weekends but on the Saturday we went the buffet included BBQ ribs, tempura, oriental style fish, mochiko chicken and to my delight, breakfast items like scrambled eggs, bacon, and little sausages. Also included were miso soup and egg drop soup, iced tea, fruit punch, coffee and tea.

The food and ambience are certainly not fancy (I see so much potential for this restaurant!), but I thought the selections were good and overall an excellent value for the bargain price. There surely is a market for banquets on a budget like school functions and 1st birthday parties looking for an affordable and laid-back venue. Or just a nice pig-out session after burning some calories on the hiking trails like we did. 🙂 On your next day off, come rediscover beautiful Manoa Valley and stop by Treetops for lunch!

LUNCH BUFFET: Weekdays $11.50 adults, $6.95 children 7-12 yrs old; weekends $14.00 adults, $7.95 children 7-12 yrs old. Evenings are for private functions only.

Treetops Restaurant
3737 Manoa Road
Honolulu, HI 96822
808.988.6838
Mon-Fri 11:00a-2:00p
Sat & Sun 10:30a-2:00p

P.S. Some snaps from my Lyon Arboretum hike:

Vegas Eats – Sunday Brunch

The morning after we arrived, we enjoyed Sunday brunch at the French Market Buffet in the Orleans hotel.  I love buffets and I especially love brunch buffets. It combines my favorite meal of the day (breakfast) with a wide variety of savory dishes.

The brunch selections included king crab legs, steamship round of beef and smoked salmon.

My first course: fresh fruits, marinated grilled veggies, cheese, mozzarella and tomato, smoked salmon.

and my entrée course: eggs benedict, pancakes with strawberries and whipped cream, waffles, and cheese blintz with blueberry sauce. I was in heaven!

Las Vegas!

I just got back from Las Vegas! I remembered to pack my camera and laptop, but forgot the cable that connects the camera to the laptop so I couldn’t post on the blog during the trip…

Anyway, I won a free trip to Vegas. I won it! This is by far the biggest thing I’ve ever won so I was pretty proud of myself. It was one of those package deals with air, hotel, and meals included. To be accurate, I won a free trip to Vegas, but had to pay (a discounted rate) to add my hubby on. We stayed at the Orleans which is on Tropicana several blocks off the strip.

Our package included 2 meals a day at the French Market Buffet ($6.99 breakfast, $7.99 lunch, $13.99 dinner, $13.99 Sunday brunch) in the Orleans and you know me, I never pass up a free meal. So we were pretty much all buffet-ed out by the time our trip came to an end. But no complaints; the buffet had a great selection with 7 themed stations, salad bar, and dessert station. As a non meat eater, the buffet was great because it provided more variety and selection than a sit-down restaurant.

Here’s one of my dinners at the buffet. Salad with chickpeas, beets and seafood and chicken noodle soup (I just pick out the chicken).

They had a wonderful made-to-order stir-fry station with a grumpy Chinese man who could make a mean stir-fry. Here’s my veggie stir-fry and hot and sour soup.

We had so much fun on our trip! I’ll write about some other meals in upcoming posts.

Sunday Brunch at Orchids

Our quarterly “board meeting” took place over Sunday brunch at Orchids at Halekulani. This brunch is perhaps the island’s most famous brunch buffet. On special occasions like Mother’s Day, you have to be crazy to think you can get reservations less than a year in advance!

Offerings change slightly every week so a printed menu is not available, but the basics remain the same. There is a salad station with every kind of salad you can think of, 2 soup selections (you can order the hot soup with your server), soba station, and a seafood station (poke, sashimi, shrimp cocktail).

My favorite is the cheese, charcuterie and smoked salmon station. I LOVE cheeses, especially soft cheeses, goat cheeses, and blue cheeses. The homemade smoked salmon is wonderful too, crusted with fresh dill and accompanied with capers and pickled onions. I could just hang out at this station all morning long.

Located in the center of the buffet is the carving station with roasted suckling pig, turkey, and prime rib. Surrounding the carver are hot selections of the day (eggs benedict, breakfast meats, a chicken and fish dish, cheese blintzes, etc). You can also find freshly baked pastries, breads, and Halekulani’s famous popovers in this area. And what buffet is complete without a made-to-order omelette station? They’ve got that covered too.

But what I think sets this buffet apart from others are the dessert selections. The desserts take center stage on a long oval-shaped table, with a separate ice cream sundae station.

Here’s my first course (clockwise from top): Ahi poke, nairagi poke, shrimp cocktail, boursin cheese, brie cheese, some other kind of cheese, Peking duck salad, poke style edamame salad and smoked salmon in the middle.  

And here’s my entrée course (clockwise from top): Prime rib, eggs benedict with crab hash, mini omelette, suckling pig with crispy skin, cheese blintz.

And dessert (clockwise from top): Panna cotta with berries, cream puff, fresh fruits with whipped cream, cheesecake, and strawberry Napoleon in the middle.

Boy was I stuffed. It was a most productive meeting indeed…

Brunch  Buffet: $55.00 per person, $29.00 for children 5-9yrs old
Sundays 9:30am-2:30pm

Orchids at Halekulani
2199 Kalia Road
Honolulu, HI 96815
808.923.2311

Buffet Four Rooms

I LOVE buffets because I love to eat a little bit of a lot of things, if that makes sense. My parents are not so much into buffets because they say they tend to overeat. What makes a buffet good? Is it how many different items it has? Or is it how much of the spread is “the good stuff” (i.e. sashimi, crab legs, prime rib) versus “the fillers”?

My experience at Buffet Four Rooms located in the Mitsui Outlet Mall in Tagajo proved that a buffet doesn’t necessarily need to have a ridiculous number of items or lots of high cost items to make it good. Lunch was 1600 yen per person, and they imposed a time limit of 90 minutes which was more than enough for us.

Four Rooms - buffet hot items

Four Rooms - buffet hot items

Four Rooms - buffet desserts

Four Rooms - buffet desserts

We first started off with the salads and appetizers. Clockwise from top left: Zucchini and Eggplant Caponata, Marinated Tako and Onion, Herbed Cabbage and Orange Slaw, Penne Gorgonzola with Dried Fruits, Miso Caesar Mountain Vegetables, and Okara (a by-product of the tofu making process) and Nanohana (a spring vegetable) with Mustard.

Four Rooms - appetizers

Four Rooms - appetizers

Then, onto the entrees. Clockwise from top left: Spaghetti with Clams, Pizza, Fritatta of Spring Vegetables, Roast Chicken with Cream Sauce, Potato Gnocchi Au Gratin, Hamburger Steak with Demi Glace Sauce, Sawara (mackerel) Fritter with Sweet and Sour Sauce, Garlic Toast, Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato and Basil. Not pictured but also offered were Mini Omelette Rice, Udon with Traditional Condiments, Kakiage Tempura, Minestrone Soup, Chicken Curry Soup, and I can’t remember the rest. And of course, there was a full dessert selection, coffee, teas, and juices.

Four Rooms - entrees

Four Rooms - entrees

My mom and I agreed that the selection was not excessive, but more than enough. Everything was thoughtfully prepared, and I thought each of the appetizers was good enough to serve as an ala carte item on its own (which is rare to see on a buffet). Although there weren’t many beef or seafood items, we didn’t miss it because everything else was delicious and interesting. They had regular large plates as well, but we loved the plates they provide that have six little compartments so the flavors don’t mix – every buffet should have these! How many times have you eaten buffet food with the Au Jus for the Prime Rib poured over everything on your plate? The plates also allowed us to control portion sizes, preventing us from overeating.


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