November 29, 2009

I was first introduced to Mongolian BBQ when I was attending college in Los Angeles.  Someone told me to check out a Mongolian BBQ restaurant in Westwood (near UCLA), and ever since then, I've been hooked.  When I came back to Hawaii, I tried the Mongolian BBQ restaurant in Kaimuki but it wasn't the same (it has since closed).  I've also tried the Mongolian BBQs at Hickam AFB, Kaneohe MCBH and Camp Smith (for some reason, the military folks love Mongo), however, they didn't have that same taste as the place I went to in Westwood.  Then I heard that there was a Mongolian BBQ restaurant in Pearlridge.  I had serious doubts that a restaurant in a food court in a mall could satisfy me, but to my surprise, it's the closest thing I've found to the place in Westwood.  It's called Great Khan's and it's located in the food court in Downtown, on the second floor right next to the theatres and monorail stop.

There is a lighted sign in the restaurant that tells you how it works.  Basically, you place your order (one bowl for $7.99 or one bowl plus soup and rice for $8.99), grab a bowl, fill your bowl with meat, veggies, and sauce, take it to the grill, and enjoy.  

They have 4 different meats to choose from - pork, beef, chicken, and turkey.  Because you are free to fill your bowl with whatever quantities you wish (so long as it fits), they tell you not to "push down the meat" in an attempt to fit more in your bowl.  

They have a nice selection of fresh veggies - cabbage, bean sprouts, tofu, carrots, and mushrooms, just to name a few.

The employees will put on the sauces for you - you just need to tell them what you want.  I chose the bbq sauce, sesame oil, and garlic.  

The chef puts the noodles on for you.  I can't figure out what kind of noodles they use.  My friend thought it was spaghetti noodles but I think they are special mongolian bbq noodles.  

Here's what my bowl looked like prior to cooking.

Each bowl is cooked on a round grill.  The chef puts the noodles onto the grill first, then empties the rest of your bowl on the grill.  He then puts the noodles back in the bowl and cooks the meat/veggies first, then adds the noodles at the end.  Throughout the whole cooking process, he's moving the food around the grill, instead of staying in the same place, hence the round grill.

Here's the finished product.  My original plan was to save some for the next day's lunch, but it tasted so good that I ended up eating the whole thing.  

 Try Great Khan's Mongolian BBQ for a tasty meal before the movies, or after a long day of holiday shopping.

Great Khan's Mongolian BBQ
Pearlridge Downtown
(808) 488-8288

November 28, 2009

After opening up in the islands a few years ago and hearing so many good things about it, we finally went to .

We went to the P.F. Chang's in Hokua, which is also the first location that opened up in Hawaii. We arrived at about 11am, and it was pretty empty.

Since I've heard people rave about the Chang's Chicken Lettuce Wraps, we decided to give it a try, and it was quite good!

I ended up ordering Chang's Spicy Chicken. It was good--spicy and tasty (and also tasted quite similar to a fast food restaurant's Asian chicken).

DH ordered the Asian Marinated New York Strip and he enjoyed it.

DS1 ordered the Kids Honey Chicken. It was quite a lot of chicken, and the sauce was good!
We all ended up getting dessert, and we each tried one P.F. Chang's mini desserts.

DS1 devoured the Great Wall of Chocolate.
DH got the Strawberry Cheesecake.

I got the S'Mores.

I thought the desserts were just the right size. I usually never order dessert when I go out to eat since I'm always so stuffed, but after seeing how these desserts were indeed mini, I thought I could definitely indulge a little!

Overall we thought the food was good, despite being a bit pricey and not being "authentic" Chinese.

The best part about our visit was our server. She was EXCELLENT!

She's a mom herself, and she did a lot of little things that really made our dining experience special. Whenever DS2 started to get fussy she'd come by and offer to see if there was anything she could do, and when I was packing up, she saw that I had so much to pack and carry that she gave me a big P.F. Chang's take-out bag to stuff everything in.

We're fortunate to usually experience good service whenever we dine out, but on this visit to P.F. Chang's the service was exceptional.

Despite the "okay" food, I'm sure one day we'll go back, and it's all because of the service.

P.F. Chang's China Bistro-1288 Ala Moana Blvd # 110, Honolulu, HI 96814, 808 596-4710

November 24, 2009

It was a holiday, so we decided to take the entire family out to lunch at in Waipahu (Waipio).

Every time I've been to Big City Diner I've ordered something different, and so far I haven't been disappointed. On this visit I ordered the Big City Club with Garlic Fries.

DH ordered the Big Burger, and also ordered it with Garlic Fries.

Since DS1 loves pancakes, he had the Big Silver Dollar Pancakes with Bacon from the keiki menu. Check out those huge pancakes--and that's off of the keiki menu! I don't even think I could eat all of those pancakes!
The food was great (especially the garlic fries) and the service was excellent!

I can't wait to go back!

Big City Diner 94-800 Ukee St.,Waipahu, HI 96797-4044, 678-8868

November 20, 2009

This past weekend, Windward Mall celebrated the Festival of Giving - two days of special store discounts, giveaways, and entertainment. Non-profit groups and schools were given the opportunity to raise money by selling $5 tickets, with 100% of the proceeds benefiting the organization. Ticket holders received special offers and discounts to select merchants.

The Mall was also celebrating the grand opening of its newly renovated Food Court - the Pa'ina Ko'olau. The renovation was the second and final phase of the Mall's comprehensive renovation.

Here's a picture of the entrance to the new food court. The food court is tastefully decorated with tile throughout. About half of the establishments have opened so far, such as The Cookie Corner, Blazin Steaks, Hot Dog on a Stick, Papa John's Pizza, and Subway.

On Sunday morning, the mall was crawling with parents and their children. They all wanted to meet Curious George who made a special appearance, thanks to PBS Hawaii.

PBS Hawaii put out a table for the kids to make their own Curious George headbands.

And here's Curious George at Story Time.

Curious George was signing autographs!

Some of the kids brought their Curious George dolls with them to show how big of a fan they are.

Although the Festival of Giving is over, you should head on over to the Windward side to check out the newly renovated mall and food court. There is something for everyone.

Windward Mall
46-056 Kamehameha Highway

Mon - Sat 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.


November 18, 2009

Yes, I enjoy going to chain restaurants, and is one of our favorites. Here's a look at our most recent visit at the Waipahu (Waipio) location:

The complimentary bread.
The Bloomin' Onion. So unhealthy but soooooo addicting! I ordered the Grilled Chicken and Swiss Sandwich.
DH ordered the Mushroom Swiss Burger. DS1 ordered the Boomerang Cheeseburger.

We all enjoyed our sandwiches/burgers and the service was really good.

I can't wait to go back and eat more of the Bloomin' Onion!

Outback Steakhouse: 810 Ukee Street, Waipahu, HI 96797, 808-671-7200

November 17, 2009

I remember the first time a friend of mine told me to try chicken cutlet several years ago--I thought "yuck--why would I want gravy on my chicken katsu?"

Well, we went to Grace's Inn and I tried the Chicken Cutlet, and ever since then, the Chicken Cutlet has been a favorite of mine.

So on our way home from Toys "R" Us one day, DH and I went to Grace's Inn in Aiea to pick up some plate lunches.

I ordered the Chicken Cutlet, of course.

DH ordered the Chicken Katsu Curry.
The food was really good, and we both ended up with lots of leftovers.

Grace's prices are reasonable, and the portions sizes are generous.

I think Grace's has some of the best chicken katsu (and katsu sauce) on the island, so whether you want it "plain," or with gravy or curry, I would recommend Grace's Inn.
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Grace's Inn: 98-820 Moanalua Rd # 2028, Aiea, HI 96701, 484-2028

November 16, 2009

There is a retail spot across from the Convention Center that can't seem to find its niche.  It used to be a Dunkin Donuts and Catch of the Day, and then XOXO, a chinese restaurant.  Now, it's Ojiya.  Seems like a bad luck location since restaurants come and go, however, I hope this one stays.

Ojiya is located on the mauka side of Kapiolani Boulevard., just past the Kapahulu Avenue intersection.  It shares a parking lot with Roxy/Quiksilver surf shop.  The parking spaces closest to the sidewalk are reserved for Ojiya customers.  It looks like the entrance to the restaurant faces Kapiolani Blvd (see below), however, the entrance is actually on the side facing the parking lot.

The inside of the restaurant is quite large with lots of tables, however, I've heard it gets quite busy as the night rolls on.  

We started with a 3-item sashimi platter - salmon, ahi, and kanpachi for $13.

Next up was the tekka maki roll ($5.80).  Look at the size of the ahi!  

Here is a picture of the clams ($9.80) - the size of the clams were rather small but the broth was very tasty.  

The agedashi (fried tofu) was delicious.  I'm normally not a big fan of tofu but the sauce it's served in adds a pleasant flavor to the tofu.  $5.80

One of their specialties is their yakitori sticks.  To order these, you need to indicate the quantity of each on a little slip of paper that they give to you with the menu.  We tried the teriyaki...

and the bacon-wrapped asparagus...

Surprisingly we had room for dessert.  Good thing we shared the green tea ice cream, since they give you a generous serving of it, along with a little cookie.  $3

I definitely plan to revisit this establishment, since there were so many things on the menu that we didn't get to try.  It's ideal to go with a group of friends, that way you can try more items.

Ojiya Restaurant
1718 Kapiolani Blvd.