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Mahina & Suns {Honolulu}

mahina & sons waikiki restaurant review

Mahina & Suns is a trendy new restaurant in Waikiki, aptly located within the equally trendy and new boutique hotel Surfjack (“Hotel & Swimclub”). The restaurant is by local celebrity chef Ed Kenney, who is renowned for focusing on local, organic ingredients, and reinventing classic dishes of Hawaii (many of which tend to be cultural mashups).

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My boyfriend Kiyo and I took my mom to this restaurant per her request, for her birthday. She enjoyed a gin cocktail with her birthday card.

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I can’t remember what else was in my drink, besides cucumber, but it was light and refreshing, and I liked it a lot.

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Instead of bread (an uncommon free starter snack in Hawaii) we were served salted boiled peanuts. This is a classic Hawaii snack, and a very delicious and addictive rendition. We ate all of these, and I even ate the pickled jalapeño.

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We started by sharing “The Naked Cow,” thin crust pizza with Naked Cow Dairy fromage blanc, uncured bacon, and Maui onion (you can add more toppings; we chose green olives, parmesan and arugula. Take note because this is a stellar combination).

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We all really enjoyed the pizza. There aren’t many good pizza options in Hawaii, as I’ve mentioned on the blog before.

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Kiyo ordered chicken; an usual choice for him. He enjoyed the pan-roasted half-bird, served with hapa rice (white and brown mashup), pickled mushrooms and green coriander chutney.

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My mom ordered the avocado tacos, made with shishito, pickled red onion, and smoked yogurt. I felt that it should have said on the menu that the avocados come fried (I’m guessing my mom wouldn’t have ordered them if she’d known, but she didn’t complain).

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I ordered a starter for my main dish: the butter lettuce salad. It didn’t look like much, but it tasted more complete and interesting than it looked. radish, asparagus, sunflower seed, cured egg yolk, topped with avocado dressing.

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After dinner, we walked around the hotel. It’s very cute! I felt like I was in California, at a Hawaii-themed hotel, rather than actually in Hawaii. There aren’t many trendy places here that actually hit their mark.

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I went back recently for lunch, and very much enjoyed the Wild Salad (although it was just slightly overdressed) topped with garlicky tomato toast, and a fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice.

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Mahina & Suns

412 Lewers St, Honolulu, HI 96815

(808) 924-5810

Sunnyside Pizza {Queens}

Sunnyside Pizza Queens

Whenever I am in NYC, I have to visit Queens. It’s my favorite borough, plus, I have amazing friends who live there. When I was leaving from a quick visit this May, I decided to get a slice of New York pizza on my way to the airport (pizza in Hawaii is pretty disappointing). I chose this place because it was close to the subway.

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I was just early enough to miss the lunch rush. Sunnyside Pizza is small, with just a couple stools for those who want to enjoy their pizza immediately. I was one such person, and the pizza guys talked to me while I ate. That’s what I love about Queens: it’s a real neighborhood, where the pizza guys will talk to you (with heavy New York accents, and in a gruff but friendly way) and ask you where you’re going with a suitcase.

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I know it infuriates some diners, but I ask the staff what to eat when there are too many good options. They recommended a chicken parmesan slice, so I got it. It was amazingly delicious, and I ate the entire, huge slice. If I had been able to save half for later, I would have definitely done that instead, but I knew I would’ve just made a mess. This actually wasn’t quite the classic NYC pizza I was looking for, but I still really enjoyed it.

Sunnyside Pizza

40-01A Queens Blvd. Sunnyside, NY 11104

(718) 433-4040

Kan Zaman, Honolulu

Kan Zaman Honolulu

As you might expect, there aren’t myriad Moroccan restaurants in Honolulu. One of the few is Kan Zaman (which means “Once Upon a Time” in Arabic), located in the heart of downtown. My dad took Kiyo and I out there for dinner right after we moved back to Hawaii about a year ago, and I recently met Kiyo there for lunch. You can sit outside, in the back, and throughout the small restaurant the decor is simple yet perfect. It’s very simple and charming, and you can tell it’s Moroccan, but it isn’t excessive in any way.

The first meal we began with the mezza sampler, which was fabulous. It included (left to right): baba ganoush, warak inab (Lebanese stuffed grape leaves), hummus and taktouka (a Moroccan cooked tomato and green pepper salad). Served with pita bread, this was the perfect starter to share and whet the appetite.

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My second-favorite item was another that we all shared (we shared everything we ordered, which isn’t necessarily what’s intended at the restaurant, but it’s possible and quite easy). Not only does the house-pulled mozzarella with za’atar look beautiful, but it’s fun to eat! Also served with pita, as well as “vine-ripened” tomatoes, which were a little lackluster. I’ve never seen mozzarella like this, and I am a fan (but to be fair, I am a fan of pretty much any and all cheeses).

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We shared two entrees. The first was merguez sausage served over (not much) couscous and steamed carrots, cabbage, pumpkin, potato, chickpeas, onion, tomato and zucchini (I felt like they skimped a bit in serving our portion. Do you see all those vegetables there? I certainly don’t remember tasting pumpkin). The sausage was plentiful and was good, but not the best I’ve had.

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This looks like a plate of just french fries, but actually, it was our second entrée: chicken tajine. Braised with coriander, smoked paprika, cumin, lemon, saffron and olives, it was indeed topped with fries. These were extra tasty since they soaked up the juices from the chicken. It wasn’t the prettiest dish (I especially am wary of all-brownish plates) but it was good. The flavors didn’t pop as much as you might expect, but they were married nicely.

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What I Ate Wednesday: Honolulu

WHAT-I-ATE-WEDNESDAY-NEW-BUTTON-PEAS-AND-CRAYONSHappy WIAW everyone!

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If you follow me on Instagram, you may already know that last week, I had to get stitches on the bottom of my foot. Unfortunately, that means I’ve been mostly out of commission for about 7 days now. Here is a look at a Monday, the week before that accident happened:

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Exercise: I had amped up my runs… which for me, at this point, just meant doing two miles regularly, including hills. Sadly, by the time I will now be able to run again, I am guessing that most of my training progress will be lost. Good thing I hadn’t truly started a marathon training plan yet! I plan to start that August 1.

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Breakfast: quinoa porridge made with almond milk, vanilla extract, cinnamon, peanut butter and raisins. SO GOOD!

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Lunch: I ate random stuff for lunch at work: a macaroon granola bar (I found these at Costco and they’re really good!), mini yakko, homemade chia seed pudding, and a peach Chobani Greek yogurt. This was actually all very satisfying, even though it was just snacks, not a real meal.

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Lunch at Terrace Pointe Cafe, Wynn Las Vegas


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I’ve stayed at Wynn Las Vegas twice; once for my 21st birthday celebration vacation (yeah… it seemed really important at the time!) and once for a work trip when I was working in Public Relations.

Terrace Pointe Cafe The Wynn Las Vegas

I think I had the same room both times. But the first time, there were three of us, and the second, I had it all to myself. It was a wonderful way to work, I must say.

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One day I had lunch with my boss in between events in one of the hotel’s restaurants: Terrace Pointe Cafe. It is one of their more casual spaces and serves breakfast, lunch and brunch. It features bright, cheery decor and views of the pool (but it’s inside).

I ordered the Asian Chicken Salad: Napa cabbage, carrots, daikon, bean sprouts, mandarin oranges, watercress, snap peas, toasted almonds, crispy wontons, sesame dressing. It was a stereotypical “Asian salad” in that the chef unabashedly threw ingredients that sound Asian but are familiar to Americans into one pile (do you think anyone in Asia has ever eaten this? I don’t). However, it was perfectly balanced and honestly quite delicious. I liked how it was almost like a crunchy, salty-sweet coleslaw. At $17 it was a bit pricey, but everything is in hotels and in Las Vegas when you’re on the strip. And, I didn’t mind since work was paying!

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Citarella, The Hamptons

 

Citarella Lunch the Hamptons

Citarella is a gourmet market in New York (Manhattan and The Hamptons). We visited one of them in The Hamptons last summer with my friend Danielle.

 

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It’s the perfect place to pick up lunch; I had a salad from their salad bar.

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Kiyo grabbed a juice (not sure why this picture is so blurry).

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He also treated himself to his favorite: fried chicken. They also have pizza, chips, sandwiches, vegetables, etc. etc… the list goes on! It’s definitely a great staple this summer if you make it to Manhattan or out to The Hamptons.

What I Ate Wednesday: Honolulu

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Happy WIAW! I have once again started to document days for WIAW, and then forgotten about it by the end of the day. But these are all things I ate within the last week:

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Breakfast: avocado toast, made with Ezekial bread and Cholulah hot sauce.

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Lunch: An acai bowl from Island Vintage Coffee in Waikiki in between teaching and taking yoga classes. My dad and I both love this acai bowl (with extra honey!) and we shared this along with the following sandwich:

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a caprese sandwich with a side salad.

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Dessert: On another day, I bought myself an afternoon treat: one kids’ scoop each of Thai iced tea and Nutella ice cream from a new place in Honolulu (full post about this soon). SO GOOD.

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What I Ate Wednesday: Honolulu

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About a month ago, I had a very productive day off.

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It began with breakfast, of course: I had Ezekial bread avocado toast. My favorite!

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I had two back-to-back Skype catch-up sessions with faraway friends, and snacked on a clementine.

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Next, I made beverages to take with me for my day: water and iced nettle leaf tea with prickly pear extract and a drop of lemon essential oil by doTERRA. I’m obsessed with their oils; check them out here.

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Strange Food Saturday: Seal Rocks

strange food saturday chips australia

These are chicken-flavored chips I found in a small convenience store, one of the only food providers around, in Seal Rocks, Australia.

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Seal Rocks is a gorgeous, small coastal settlement about 170 miles north of Sydney. There are not many options for food, but in the one small store, there are many strange options in the chip department. Isn’t the “original” flavor of Doritos Nacho Cheese? Apparently not in Australia. Here it is “salted.” They also had “Roulette,” which means that every tenth or so chip there’s a spicy one (think shishito peppers).

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We opted for this strange flavor: Thai chilli lime.

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They were ok, not bad but I wouldn’t choose them again. They were good because honestly, aren’t all chips pretty tasty? At the end of the day, any flavor is still a deep-fried starch of some sort, which just plain tastes good. However, these were a tad too sweet for my taste.

Island Grill, Kingston [Airport]

Island Grill Kingston Airport Jamaica

When Kiyo and I were flying back to New York City from Montego Bay, Jamaica, we had a layover in Kingston. It was a long layover, so we had to get some food. I already wrote about one of the weird things we ate (see that post here). We also split a dish from Island Grill.

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For a fast food restaurant, it was pretty good. They served traditional Jamaican food: rice and peas (beans), festival (fried dough) and chicken. It was unexciting and slightly bland, but ok for a cheap airport option. It certainly was more fresh and healthy than McDonald’s or other, larger fast food chains!