Wednesday, July 31, 2013

honolulu coffee

Honolulu Coffee opened a shop in Osaka recently.

I was also pleasantly surprised to find they are selling cups of macadamia nut flavored coffee in some convenience stores too.

This cup is slightly sweetened, but a nice reminder of home.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

sounds of summer

The sound of summer in Japan is made by the semi (cicada).

They are awfully noisy especially in the morning. Sometimes you can even hear them at night too.

I once saw one on our lanai door and boy did it shake the glass with its chirping.

I've written a pretty detailed post on them here.

Do you have cicada where you live? What is the sound of summer where you are?

Monday, July 29, 2013

on the lanai

The other week, I went to the DIY center to pick up some new dirt for my pots.

After changing the soil, I sprinkled some kale, chard, beets, italian parlsey & cilantro seeds.

Of course, my style of "farming" is just throw the seeds in the ground, if it grows, it grows.

I didn't sprinkle the same seeds together either, it was all "chop suey" (mixed up).

So, I was surprised that something is coming up.

I think these are the chard (I think this because the stems are reddish...)

Oh and while cleaning some soybeans for dinner, I found one sprouting, so I stuck that into the "ground" too.

Hope to show you more as these plants get bigger.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

ogura toast

In Nagoya, you'll find ogura toast on their coffee shop menus.

Toasted bread topped with butter or margarine is then slathered with ogura-an.

Ogura-an is koshi-an (smooth sweet bean paste) that is simmered with some honey then whole adzuki beans are added at the end to keep the shape of the beans.

For this recipe I used tsubuan (chunky sweet bean paste) because it is more readily available.

Ogura Toast : for 1

your favorite slice of bread, toasted
some butter
a dollop of tsubuan

NOTES: The taste reminded me of how my mom likes to heat up her tsubuan mochi in a pan with some butter.

I enjoyed the sweet-salty combination, it went nicely with some black coffee.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

brooklyn roasting company

Not too sure how I heard about Brooklyn Roasting Company, but I do remember wanting to check them out.

Since they were near my dentist, I went after getting my teeth cleaned.

Although the weather was a bit too hot for cappuccino, I was still interested in trying theirs....400 yen.

I enjoyed this cup.

I also tried their orange muffin, which I found out is made by West Wood Bakers. A shop in Nishi-ohashi.

I liked how there were lots of candied orange pieces on the bottom half of the muffin...280 yen.

The cafe faces the Tosabori-gawa (Tosabori-river), and they have many seats on their terrace too.

I'll be back.

Brooklyn Roasting Company
2-1-16 Kitahama
Chuo, Osaka
Phone: 06.6125.5740
Hours: Monday-Friday 8:00-20:00, Saturday-Sunday & Holidays 10:00-19:00

Friday, July 26, 2013

eat this...

Been wanting to try this recipe with purple's perfect for the super hot weather we've been having.

Oh, I also added half a cucumber...

Hope you have a nice weekend!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

oodles of noodles

Since it has been so hot here, I've been choosing lots of "cold foods", in particular, noodles.

You may be familiar with zaru soba, but I wanted to share with you other choices you'll find in Japan.

Like this rei-shabu pasta. Thinly sliced pork is cooked (shabu shabu style) in a broth then chilled. Then, chilled pasta is topped with the pork and lots of veggies.

The dressing was a creamy sesame...Delicious.

Rei-men, literally means "cold noodles".

This particular dish was similar to hiyashi chuka but this version was chilled green noodles topped with ham, cucumber, egg, some banbanji chicken & kim chee.

The dressing for this was also a creamy sesame dressing.

How are you staying cool this summer?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

made in hawaii

Love this "foodie" tote I got from my Aunty M.

It's made by Gary Fujimoto of P55dle, who silkscreens the print and sews each item too.

I also love that this is "made in Hawaii".

Thanks Aunty!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

thanks for today

The humidity has been hideous! We've also been having showers during the early evenings, but this doesn't really alleviate the heat.

Posted this recently on FB, it was the sunset that greeted me when I landed in Osaka on Saturday.

Hope the weather is a little nicer where you are.

Thanks for today!

Monday, July 22, 2013

on the lanai

Well, the lavender & oregano plants that I had on the lanai...dried up!

The mint is barely hanging on...

Good news though, the goya (bittermelon) I planted before going to Hawaii is growing!

Hope this year we'll have nice sized goya to harvest.

Sunday, July 21, 2013


Thank you for the kind comments on yesterday's post.

I made it back safely. Even though the plane was pretty full, I was lucky not to have anyone sitting next to me. I watched 3 movies "Tous les soleils", "One Day" and "Megane". I slept lots too.

When I got off the plane, I noticed this guys shoes...Oh Em Gee.

I think men's fashion here has gone a bit fem. I know it's hot here, but seriously...

Hope you enjoy your weekend.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

when life throws more curve balls...

Last year I told you about what was going on IRL (in real life).

And if I thought that it couldn't get any more "exciting" or "dramatic", I was wrong.

Last Christmas, my Dad broke his arm. I think he was trying to get out of the car and the winds were kinda strong and "whoosh", knocked him over.

They had to rush him to emergency and since it was his dominant arm ended up helping him do "everything".

I think this took a toll on my Mom too. She was supposed to be concentrating on her health, but was taking care of my Dad during the daytime.

She was off her chemo during this period, but I think all the stress of taking care of my Dad may have triggered the cancer again.

They finally asked for help in the home and "L" has been a real gem, taking care of some housework as well as taking my Dad to his appointments.

Fast forward to about a week or two ago, my mom began having some bloating, she had to go to the ER twice and was finally admitted.

They removed an enormous amount of liquid that had accumulated in her abdomen, which was said to be coming from the tumors.

I am torn because my "summer vacation" is rapidly coming to a close, and while I want to be here for my parents, I also have responsibilities to Satoshi too.

I am grateful that Satoshi has always been understanding about this whole situation. I am also thankful that my Mom has had great support from her sibilings as well as great medical care. (Thank you!)

8 weeks really flew by.

When "L" was off, I kept busy by doing lots of the housework.

I also drove my parents to their appointments as well as ran errands for them.

And helped keep my Dad on schedule with his daily routine.

I did have fun as well, I met up with some friends, old and new (Sorry I couldn't meet up with more!)

Ate at some new places and re-connected with some old places

Bonded with (read "terrorized") my "niece" by trying to take photos of her and with her.

And when time permitted, I read. (I can't believe I finished that second book!)

I'm heading back to Japan today. I hope my mom will be able to come home soon.

I'll talk to you again from the other side of the world.

Be well everyone.

Friday, July 19, 2013

in the garden...

My brother started a planter box and put in some Manoa lettuce, taro, roma tomatoes and this husky cherry red.

For cherry tomatoes, these are pretty huge.

What's growing in your garden these days?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

mint water

Remember that mint water I was intrigued with at La Tour Cafe?

Well, I tried re-creating it the other night.

I don't have specific quantities so until I do, I'll tell you what I put into it.

Mint (leaves, stems of only the young mint plants)
4 cups water
zest of lemon
juice of lemon
zest of an orange
juice of of an orange


*you can add the sweetner of your choice, but I just drank it as is

NOTES: My aunties suggested adding a splash of rum or tequila, maybe even blending the whole thing with some ice.

The "texture" of the drink was a little different from the one at La Tour Cafe, but still refreshing. I guess you could strain the whole concoction, but we drank it as is.

I'm making this again.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

eat this...

Kalua Pig Soft Tacos with Pineapple Salsa (with a schmear of spicy red pepper hummus).

You could omit the hummus, but use flour tortillas if you can because the corn flavor kinda overpowers the whole thing.

Still it was delish!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

shiro's saimin haven

We went to Shiro's for lunch the other day.

My brother had their won ton min with veggies. He said their take out portion is WAY bigger.

My Dad had their tuna sandwich. He said it was good but a bit messy.

I tried their supa teri burga...not too sure what made it supa (super), maybe the amount of meat used?

Anyway, I liked that this was a homemade patty. It seemed like it was all hamburger too, no fillers.

I also liked the teriyaki sauce, though it made the bottom bun a bit soggy.

The fries were a bit of a disappointment, you could tell they were the frozen type, they were also kinda dried out when fried.

Still, the prices are still pretty reasonable and it is a great place to eat at.

We'll be back!

Monday, July 15, 2013

eat this...

Dave's Killer 21 Grain Bread.

I think we got this at Sam's Club.

Lots of fiber, low calorie and it!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

la tour cafe

After dinner, we went to have something sweet at La Tour Cafe, which is kinda right across the street from Pier 38.

My brother had their Chocolate Ooze Cake.

My Aunties and I had macarons. Mango and Guava for the two aunties and salted caramel for me.

Their macarons are really delicious.

Something that intrigued me was their mint is kind of like a green smoothie only really refreshing.

I asked the guy behind the counter how they make it and I hope to re-create it soon.

We'll be back. (Thank you Aunties!)

La Tour Cafe
888 North Nimitz Highway
Honolulu, Hawaii
Phone: 808.697.5000
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 10:00-21:00, Friday-Saturday 10:00-22:00

Saturday, July 13, 2013

uncle's fish market

Across the pier from Nico's is Uncle's. The restaurant has a nice atmosphere and a/c as a bonus.

My brother and I met our two aunties there for dinner the other night.

While everyone ordered entrees for dinner, I went with a side salad and this poke tower.

The poke tower was made of uncle's poke (cubed ahi, onions, sesame oil, chili flake, green onion), ahi (yellow fin tuna) tartar, guacamole, masago (capelin roe). I didn't realize this but masago is substituted for tobiko (flying fish roe).

Anyway, it was a nice dinner and the food was really delicious. (Thank you Aunties!)

We'll be back.

Uncle's Fish Market
Pier 38 (no longer in business at this location)
1135 North Nimitz Highway
Honolulu, Hawaii
Phone: 808.275.0063
Hours: Monday 10:00-15:00, Tuesday-Sunday 10:00-21:00

Friday, July 12, 2013

shige's saimin stand

Had been wanting to check out Shige's Saimin Stand for some time now, but didn't have any reason to go out to Wahiawa to do so...until the other day.

My friend Len had business out there and it was the perfect chance to meet up for lunch there.

Len had their small won ton min. He thought it might not be enough, but it was perfect he said.

Since the weather was a scorcher for all things soupy, I had their fried saimin and BBQ beef stick instead.

I liked the sweet-salty flavor, their noodles are apparently homemade which is why they are a bit flatter and thicker than the saimin noodles at most other places and they had a nice chew to them too.

Their beef stick was a bit "gamey" tasting, but I appreciated it being tender enough to slide off with chopsticks.

It was a good chance to catch-up on things. Thanks for lunch Len!

I'll definitely be back whenever I'm in this area.

Shige's Saimin Stand
70 Kukui Street
Wahiawai, Hawaii
Phone: 808.621.3621
Open Monday-Thursday 10:00-22:00, Friday & Saturday 10:00-24:00

Thursday, July 11, 2013


I like discovering new things to try whenever I go to "old" I found this great bento at Tanioka's recently.

A fishcake patty loaded with all sorts of veggies, their corned beef hash patty and two musubi...$3.95 + tax.

Cheap eats and delicious too.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Have you ever tried raclette? It is a Swiss dish which I've actually had in Hokkaido (pre-blog).

Half a wheel of cheese is heated by a lamp and then the melted cheese is scraped (to scrape is racler in French which raclette is thought to be named) off onto veggies and such.

It is a wintry dish for the Swiss but when I had it in Hokkaido I think it was summer.

It was also summer when we had it again for part of our Sunday dinner the other week.

Each person has their own pan and spatula to stick onto or under the heater, think "easy bake oven".

When your cheese starts to bubble, use the spatula to quickly scrape the cheese out of the pan and onto your "toppings".

Along with colored fingerling potatoes, we had sweet gherkins, pickled onions, sun dried tomatoes in oil, sweet pickled peppers and some proscuitto.

If possible, be sure to get cheese that is exclusive for raclette, which I think is made to melt nicely.

We only had this as an appetizer, but I'm sure you could add a salad to make it a meal.

Thanks for a great experience Aunty!

Tuesday, July 09, 2013


Went back to Verde and had their nachos.

This time around I didn't add the steak & barbacoa, but did still add the guacamole ($1)...not sure why but my total came out to $7.85, thought it would've been at least $8.75.

Anyway, I forgot to mention the last time that they have about 9 different homemade salsas ranked mild, medium and hot. The corn medley I tried previously was from their mild list.

This time around I tried their watermelon salsa from "the medium heat" list.

It was a bit too watery for me, I would've enjoyed something more chunky, though it had enough heat for me.

Still overall everything was delicious and filling.

I'll be back.

Monday, July 08, 2013

seat belts

I think it was the end of May that the new "seat belt" law went into effect here in Hawaii.

Everyone in the car has to buckle up, even the guys in the back seat.

If someone in the car is caught without their seat belt on, the driver is responsible and will be fined $92...

Now, if the other people in my car were children I could understand being fined as the driver, but if other adults choose not to wear their seat belts, well, that's their kuleana (choice) and I think they should be responsible to pay their own fines.

So what about pets? I think they should be belted in too.

In Hawaii, a lot of people ride in the back of pick-up trucks, are they belted up too? I doubt it.

And what about the people riding on the city bus?! I don't think anyone except the driver has a seat belt.

In Japan, whenever we ride the airport bus we are asked to "buckle-up" (because it goes onto the freeway). But city buses in Japan do not require you to (because they do not go onto the freeway).

Kinda wishy-washy don't you think?

What kind of seat belt laws do you have where you live?

Sunday, July 07, 2013


Took out the other night from Ramen-ya, which I previously wrote up about here. I had their cold noodle a.k.a. hiyashi chuka.

Mom had their seafood fried noodle...this was massive! and there was a nice amount of shrimp, ika (squid) & fish.

Dad had their mochiko chicken plate...large pieces of chicken thigh, fried yet moist and tender. He wasn't too impressed with their mac salad though.

They don't have a website, but all items on their menu can be made for take-out, which is a good thing.

We'll be back.

Saturday, July 06, 2013


First time eating at the Pearl City location of Zippy's.

They have a huge restaurant area, but really teeny parking. (We usually prefer going to the Waiau location which is just down the road).

Aunty and I had the teriyaki primeburger. This was good and there was just the right amount of "teri". (Doesn't my picture look like a smiley face?!)

I also liked their fries which were quite crispy.

Grandma had their wun tun min...the small was actually quite large and the noodles were stuck together in the clump that they went into the boiling water...eep!

Mom had their small portion homemade corned beef, 1 egg over easy and hash browns...she thought that the homemade corned beef was a bit too salty.

Not sure if we'll be back to this particular location, but I'm sure we'll be back to other locations.

Thanks for lunch Aunty!

Friday, July 05, 2013


Went to check out the live butterfly exhibit at Pearlridge the other day with my Aunty and mom.

$3 admission for adults and kids under 8 with a paying adult are free, I'm not too sure how much kids are without that paying adult though.

I think there were about 10 or 15 of us allowed in their exhibit at one time.

It was a bit unorganized, but once we were allowed inside, it was a very peaceful thing to experience.

This exhibit isn't as large as some that I've seen in Japan, but I think it is a great way to teach kids about the butterfly and its life cycle.

Check it out if you can, it's going on until the 14th of this month.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

happy 4th!

The photo of the fireworks wasn't taken during any 4th of July, it was actually from a New Years as seen from the Halekulani.

Still, I hope everyone has a nice (and safe) 4th of July! Happy Birthday America!

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

eat this...

Chocolate dipped coconut cookie from Cookie Corner...the cookie is chewy and the coconut adds more chewiness.

The chocolate was a nice addition.

Make sure to have some black coffee too.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

honolulu burger company

BFF and I had envisioned Big Kahuna Pizza the other day but when we arrived at their opening time (11:00), they were still hunting for the keys to open the register or something lame like that, and said that we would have to wait another 30 minutes because they were, no.

So, without a "plan B", we got back in the car and headed to check out Honolulu Burger Company. It was the first time for BFF and the last time I ate there was in 2010.

They just opened another shop in Kahala, where Antonio's used to be.

(If you remember, BFF and I didn't have a great eating experience at Antonio's, which I wrote about here.)

This time around I tried their Teri-Kim Burger (teriyaki kim chee)...I think it could've used more "teri", but I like that they actually cooked my burger "medium well" as requested...$8.79 + tax

I also had their small order of sweet potato fries....$3.89 + tax (these could've been crispier and there's no need for the honey mustard dip, which is way too sweet)

Bottled water...$1.50 + tax

A bit pricey, but their food was delicious and there is lots of parking at this location.

We'll be back.

Honolulu Burger Company (UPDATE: 8/2016 this location closed)
4210 Waialae Avenue
Honolulu, Hawaii
Phone: 808.735.5202

Monday, July 01, 2013

hawaii sights

Some sights...


This white one is called Gu Keng Beauty.

And this purple one Taida Bird King.

Surprisingly, both plants' blooms lasted a long time.