Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Sriracha Potstickers Revisited

A while back, we tried some Trader Joe's sriracha seafood potstickers in festive Christmas colors and really liked them. They had a nicely balanced, slightly spicy seafood flavor to them. We found these again on a recent visit to Trader Joe's (still $3.99 for 12 potstickers), but this time instead of red and green wrappers, the wrappers were an orange color made with carrot and red peppers. (The insides were pretty much the same as last time.)

This time, instead of boiling them, we decided to pan fry them since they were potstickers. The ones in the photo on the box looked like they fried pretty well, but we followed the instructions exactly and they didn't turn out remotely like that. They completely stuck to the pan and fell apart when we tried to take them out, so we won't be making them that way again. A was sad because it was his idea to try them this way.

We still like these potstickers. They're not really a meal replacement for the discontinued crispy green curry shrimp gyoza (SO SAD they're gone), but they're tasty.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Chocolate Cherry Whips

If you haven't already guessed from all the yogurt posts, I love trying out different types of yogurt. When we stopped by Target last weekend, they were having a sale on Yoplait and I picked up one that was new to me - the chocolate cherry flavor of the Greek 100 calorie Whips line. I think it was my first time having Greek yogurt from Yoplait in general as well as anything from their Whips line (which I guess is named that because they are supposed to be light and fluffy).

I was a little wary when I first opened the yogurt and started mixing it up. The texture reminded me of some types of frozen yogurt I had before, not very creamy and more like ice. But when I started stirring it more and more, it took on a really creamy consistency, more like what I would expect from something with the name Whips. The texture in the end was actually pretty good, creamy and smooth.

The chocolate and cherry were all in the flavorings of the yogurt, as there weren't any chocolate or cherry pieces in the yogurt, at least not as far as I could tell. It was pretty good though - sweet but not too sweet, with nice hints of cherry that didn't taste artificial. I really liked this yogurt, although I wish I had saved it for dessert or a late night snack instead of eating it for breakfast. It would have worked well for an end of day treat, and I would get this again.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Meatballs and Kelp Noodles

The "warm bowl" in the Destination Thailand series at Chopt caught my eye immediately the first time I read the description, mostly because of the spicy green curry turkey meatballs. I love meatballs, and green curry meatballs just sounded like they would be amazing. I was also intrigued by the kelp noodles, an ingredient I had never had before.

The ingredients in the warm bowl were the meatballs (about 3 medium sized meatballs) and kelp noodles, along with pickled hearts of palm, the tatsoi, purple cabbage, and herb mix, toasted coconut garlic crunch, and a recommended dressing of coriander-chile vinaigrette. Unlike the salad, for the warm bowl they just tossed all the ingredients with the dressing (other than the meatballs and the garlic crunch), and there was no chopping of everything together. On the plus side, this helped the flavor of the pickled hearts of palm stand out more, but it also meant that the flavors of all the ingredients weren't as uniformly distributed as they were in the chopped market salad.

The meatballs here were really good. The spice of the green curry came through, and any heat in the bowl was from the meatballs, not the dressing. The kelp noodles reminded me of glass noodles in their appearance, but they were crunchy and a good match for the crisp greens. I liked this bowl a lot, but in the end, I think I liked the market salad better. The flavors there were just a little stronger, and the chopping mixed everything together just a little bit more which I preferred. Glad to be able to try this though, even if it was bittersweet, reminding me of the demise of Shophouse as we loved the meatball bowl there. At least this one will be around for a few more weeks.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

3 Cheese Wafers

Product name: 3 Cheese Wafers

Price: $0.99 for a 3.5 oz bag

M's quick review: I thought these wafers were okay. They were really thin and light, kind of paper thin, and I expected them to have a little more substance, more like the texture of a wafer cookie but tasting like cheese. There were three cheeses - cheddar, parmesan, mozzarella - so the flavor was good, but I didn't love the texture.
Buy again? Not for me. They were okay, but I like other snacks better.

A's quick review: I definitely liked these more than M. I liked the mildly styrofoam-ish texture to these crackers, and I liked the subtle hint of cheese that I got from each one. Sure, they weren't the best crackers/snacks that Trader Joe's has to offer, but I certainly enjoyed them.
Buy again? Probably not. I wouldn't say no to them, but there are so many good options at Trader Joe's for snacks.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Tacos El Gordo

Three years ago today, we were out in sunny, warm Vegas (at least it was warmer than here). We spent the day at Red Rock Canyon, and then for dinner, headed over to one of our must-stop places in Vegas, Tacos El Gordo, just past the Wynn and Encore on the Strip. We had been there before on our first trip to Vegas together (that's where the daytime photo comes from), but since we never wrote about that visit, we're recapping them both here together.

When we first went to Tacos El Gordo back on our 2012 trip, we didn't know much about them except that they were a branch of a Tijuana taco chain, that the tacos were good, and that we should try the adobada. Adobada is basically pork in a red chile marinade that they cook on a rotating spit. For the tacos, they just shave the meat off the spit and add on some pineapple if you want. In addition to seeing the meat on the spit, much of the other cooking is pretty much out in the open at Tacos El Gordo too, so you can see them cooking all sorts of other meats from their diverse menu, everything ranging from beef brains to pork stomach.

The focus at Tacos El Gordo is obviously tacos, but they also had varieties of fries, as well as quesadillas, sopes, tostadas, and more. They also had a drink machine separate from the regular soda machine that made A very happy because it had horchata along with other aguas frescas.

We were really hungry the first time we went to Tacos El Gordo. We were having a late lunch and we had just walked all the way from the MGM Grand to get tacos, so we ordered a lot. Way more than we should have. We didn't take notes back then so unfortunately I don't remember exactly what tacos we got or every ingredient, but each taco came with a different salsa and toppings (mostly onion and cilantro) based on what type of taco it was. We also remembered to order a plate on the side of the grilled spring onions and peppers which were really tasty.

As for the tacos, I know we got adobada and lengua, and I can see that there was also an azteca (nopal asado) on the tray. I remember there was a taco de sesos (beef brain) because A tried it for the first time on that trip and we have video, but I'm not sure what other tacos made it on the tray. For his first time eating brains, he found them kind of creamy and having an odd mineral-like flavor, but didn't dislike it. It wouldn't have been his first choice for another one, but it wasn't bad.

We liked the adobada taco so much that we got more even though we had just eaten seven tacos between the two of us. The marinated pork was just so good, and the second time, we remembered to get it with the pineapple on top which made it even better. We probably would have gotten another lengua taco also, as we really liked that one too, but we just had so much food at lunch that there wasn't any stomach space. And why did we have no stomach space?

Because, in our hunger and with eyes definitely bigger than our stomachs, we also got an order of adobada fries. To be fair to us, we didn't know that they were going to come in a container that large, but we really should have guessed it since they were $10 (this was 4+ years ago, so no idea what it is now) and at the time, each taco was only around $2. They were basically fries covered in shaved pork, cheese, sour cream, and guacamole in a large styrofoam take-out container. So good, but so much food. We were so stuffed when we left Tacos El Gordo, yet somehow we still rolled ourselves into a Vegas buffet that night since it was our only chance to do so. Maybe not the best planning and maybe not wise, but we did it.

We were a bit more sensible on our second trip to Tacos El Gordo, this time for dinner on this date three years ago. We got seven tacos again - mostly concentrating on adobada, lengua, and chorizo - along with the grilled vegetables, but this time we did not get the fries. It was a much smarter decision. The tacos were just as good as we remembered them, so much flavor, and still so affordable. 

Tacos El Gordo is on our list for any Vegas visit, and we would love to go back again for some more tacos. We're a little upset with ourselves that we forgot that they also have a branch in San Diego and only remembered after we got back home, because we could have gotten some more tasty tacos last fall. There are good taco spots in NY now, more as time goes on, but we still plan to return to Tacos El Gordo on our trips.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

A Dominique Ansel Day

We started off MLK Day by heading down to Dominique Ansel Bakery for some Cronuts. No, we didn't wait in the long line early in the morning. Instead we took a leisurely trip down in the early afternoon and picked up our pre-ordered Cronuts with barely a wait at all. They were sold out of Cronuts for the day and the regular line went for the entire length of the bakery, so we were pretty glad pre-ordering exists. 

This wasn't our first time getting Cronuts from the bakery, although we haven't been pre-ordering as much as we would like because we often forget before it's too late to order for that month. (You have to order two weeks in advance.) We got some last summer when the flavor was blueberry elderflower with lime sugar (which made A's favorites list last year), and this time around, the flavor of the month was golden honey vanilla with lemon sugar. Both were good, but between the two, we preferred the blueberry elderflower one, as there was just so much delicious fruit flavor in that one.

If you've never had a Cronut before, they're a magical creation of Dominique Ansel that is part croissant and part donut. It's layers of flaky croissant dough formed and fried up like a donut. It's filled with whatever cream/jam and then frosted with the second flavor. It's a simple concept that no one else has seemed to figure out how to do. A has tried several imitators, and none of them have come anywhere close to being as light, airy, and delicious as the original.

After our Cronuts, we intended to go get something savory for lunch, but after we found out the place we planned to go for fried chicken had closed down, we meandered up the avenue trying to decide what to do instead. As we deliberated, we found ourselves approaching Dominique Ansel Kitchen. We knew they had some special collaborations over MLK weekend and had thought about dropping by for a snack later if we had time, so since we were already there, we put off our savory food for a little bit longer.

The collaboration was with Wildair, and they came up with two things - an apple pie corn dog and a warm quince apple cider. We didn't order the cider because we were only there for a snack, but they gave out some samples so we got to try it anyway which was great. The cider combined local quince, Red Jacket apple cider, kaffir lime, cinnamon, clove, allspice, and hints of maple and birch. It was cozy and comforting, and if we had been looking for a warm drink, we really would have considered getting a cup of that.

The apple pie corn dog consisted of roasted parsnip ice cream, caramelized gala apples, and almond biscuit in a cornmeal batter, topped with apple cider caramel and potato chip feuilletine. Neither of us could really taste that the ice cream was supposed to be parsnip flavored. A thought it really just tasted like vanilla. The apples were a nice mix of tartness and sweetness, and they made an excellent topping. The potato chips didn't add a ton of flavor, but they gave the dessert a depth and texture that was very similar to streusel with just a mild hint of salt.

We hadn't planned on hitting up both Dominique Ansel spots one after the other that day, but sometimes things just work out for the best. We're glad we were able to try the apple pie corn dog since it was a very limited time offer. It definitely pushed back our savory meal for the day, but in the end we weren't too upset by that.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Final Quantum Meal

Where to go for our last breakfast (and last meal) on the Quantum was a no-brainer: Devinly Decadence. We really enjoyed the breakfast there so much (even if M was limited in what she could eat compared to a normal day) that we had to return one last time.

M stuck mostly with the meat options and stayed away from the eggs, getting a pork breakfast sausage patty, a turkey chorizo sausage patty, chicken apple sausage with a piece of asparagus, a plain yogurt, and a toasted English muffin. Still playing it safe. Knowing that we had a bit of a wait to get off the ship followed by a drive home, it seemed like the best way to do it.

A got more of the roasted sweet potatoes and turkey chili topped scramble, but this time he added a couple buckwheat blueberry pancakes. He figured that the carbs would be good to tide him over while we waited to disembark the cruise. They were a touch on the dry side, but the blueberries gave it enough moisture to be good. He also grabbed a strawberry yogurt to round things out.

That's it for the Quantum. We've got some wrap-up stuff coming up about our time on the ship and the overall experience, but we're finally done!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Final Quantum Dinner

Our final Quantum dinner was at Chic, the third time for A and the second time for M. We were kind of over Dynamic Dining at that point, seeing the same menu, having ingredients substituted everywhere without warning because of shortages, and just the general headaches.

The meal started with the same basket of dinner rolls and breadsticks, but this time, M was thankful for that given her recent troubles. She started off with a dinner roll which was okay. We also got some ginger ales at the table to calm our stomachs with the rough seas.

A started with the plum tomato tartare. It was diced up plum tomatoes with red onion, green beans, herb oils, and sea salt. M was sad that she couldn't try this because it was one of the appetizers we didn't have room for in our order on the first night and it looked really good, but there were way too many raw vegetables to introduce into her stressed system so quickly after her food poisoning episode. The tomatoes were fresh and delicious, and the green beans were cool and creamy. The red onions were nice and sharp, and overall the dish was very tasty.

M got the same Catalan shrimp as her first visit to Chic, but with just the grilled shrimp, figuring that was safer. This was fine, and she was glad they were willing to modify the dish to only give her the shrimp. The shrimp was the best part of the dish the first time around anyway.

For the main course, A once again got the chicken. Does he feel bad about not branching out further? Nope, he knew he liked it, and he wanted to make sure he enjoyed his last meal.

M went straight to the Simple Tastes menu for her entree, choosing the baked salmon with new potatoes and dill hollandaise, but without the hollandaise sauce. What arrived was the same salmon strudel from the first dinner, which she specifically didn't order because of the strudel and the vegetables. When the server returned, she kept insisting that they were the same dish despite M showing her the Simple Tastes menu and the differences in the descriptions. Sure, the dill hollandaise, the part being left off the dish in the first place, was the same, but "new potatoes" didn't look a whole lot like "sweet carrots and green asparagus" to us, nor did the Simple Tastes menu have any mention of strudel.

M and the server went back and forth on this for way too long with the server repeatedly telling her she was wrong, until finally M had enough and was just like, "I can't eat this. I'm sick!" That was the only thing that finally got her to agree to have it redone. Although it still came out with the vegetables, at least they just seemed steamed so the entire dish was pretty safe to eat. The server was a head waiter too, so if the head waiter didn't know the difference between a Simple Tastes order and a regular order, why did the Simple Tastes menu even exist? How could we expect anyone to actually honor what you wanted to order? It was an incredibly frustrating experience.

We decided not to get dessert as M was still recovering, and we also had to pack and go to one last show before our cruise ended. Overall, we were hoping to have a relaxing last dinner, but due to the complete lack of training and empathy from the wait staff, it ended up being an very frustrating experience. As with many things we experienced on this cruise, everything just seemed completely mismanaged and unprepared.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Final Windjammer Lunch

M was still taking it a little easy at lunch on our last full day so I just went to Windjammer for one last lunch. I wasn't feeling very inspired as usual so I opted to just get a smattering of random stuff. I got myself a sausage with mustard, a taco, some more curly fries, and some vegetable stew.

Nothing was overly exciting, and after I finished eating I think we both were pretty happy to be done with the Windjammer for this cruise.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Devinly Breakfast Once More

While M was still taking it easy on our final full day's breakfast, we still opted to go to Devinly Decadence because the options for her were better there. The options were mostly still the same. I got another turkey sausage patty, a piece of Devin's Western Eggs, Breakfast Enchiladas, Turkey Chili Topped Scramble Bake, and another Turkey Sausage Scramble.

There isn't much to add to this post since we've written a few times about Devinly Decadence in the past, and this was still a better, healthier breakfast option than the Windjammer. Hopefully if we ever go on another Royal Caribbean cruise they'll have an option like this on the ship.

Saturday, January 21, 2017


For our last restaurant meal of 2016, we found ourselves at Parm in Nolita. We had spontaneously gone down to the New Museum for the Pixel Forest and because it was the last day to sign up for a membership under IDNYC, and afterwards it was late and we were really hungry. Parm was one of those places we had always intended to go to at some point, and they were close by and open, so it seemed like the perfect time to get some sandwiches.

Although a lot of the menu sounded good, we decided to concentrate on the namesake parm sandwiches. They had eggplant, chicken, and meatball parm options, and after some deliberation, we decided to get the latter two, each as a hero, and split them in half.

Our favorite of the two was the meatball parm. The meatballs had a lot of flavor and were really moist and tender. We're both huge fans of meatball sandwiches, and this one was certainly a good one. The cheese was melted perfectly with just the right amount of "char" on it. The basil gave it a refreshing herbaciousness, and the sauce added just the right amount of tartness and sweetness.

The chicken parm was good too, but didn't seem to have as much flavor as the meatball. The chicken also seemed a tad dry. One interesting thing we noticed was that the chicken that fell out of the sandwich tasted better on its own without the bread, so maybe it was also the bread dulling the flavor of the parm a little bit. The chicken also came with the same cheese, basil, and sauce.

We liked the soft sesame bread used in the hero, and M was especially happy that it wasn't hard, crusty, toasted bread. The soft bread worked really well with the parm. Both sandwiches could have used more sauce though. We thought both were pretty light on the sauce and we had expected a lot more on the sandwiches, even if it would have made them messier. Overall we were very happy with our choice to finally try Parm. The sandwiches are tasty, and they're a good size too. It's definitely a place we wouldn't mind going back to again.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Crispy Spicy Chicken

If you've been reading here for a while, you might remember my love for fried chicken sandwiches. One of the fried chicken sandwiches we've had before but never written about here is the one at Mighty Quinn's. We tried this for the first time last year and thought it was just okay, especially compared to the other BBQ and the dirty frites there, but decided to try it again last weekend on a food crawl walk through the city.

Technically the "crispy spicy chicken sandwich," it consists of a nice-sized piece of fried chicken (which they smoke first) on a soft bun with slaw and pickled cucumbers. Like everything else at Mighty Quinn's, you could also get pickled onions or peppers on the side or on the sandwich if you wanted. The sandwich is topped with a chile-lime hot sauce. The hot sauce had a nice tangy flavor, and it worked well with the flavor of the chicken.

The first time we had this, the chicken was very lightly fried. This time it was much crispier, which we liked better. Other differences from the first time were that the only vegetable that time was pickled celery (versus slaw and pickled cucumbers now) and that last time there was so much hot sauce it was dripping off the chicken in all directions and very messy. All three of these changes seemed to us to be for the better, and we didn't know whether it was because we went to a different Mighty Quinn's location, if the sandwich changed over time, or if we just got a better made sandwich this time around. This sandwich was good. The chicken was nice and crisp, which worked nicely with the crunchy cucumbers and slaw, and the soft bun was good for soaking up all those flavors and the hot sauce.

While it was good, this chicken sandwich is probably not going to replace the sandwiches at the top of our favorite chicken sandwiches list, but it was definitely solid. The BBQ influence makes it slightly different from the others, and variety is always good. Sadly we just missed the end of the meatloaf sandwich days at Mighty Quinn's and never got to try it (sold out on the times we did try and then things got hectic), but at least we got a good chicken sandwich as consolation.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

American Icon Not Very Iconic

For dinner on our 10th night on the cruise, we went back to American Icon. M still wasn't feeling that great, but she toughed it out as best she could. The meal, as always, started with the bread basket. It wasn't any different from the time before.

For my appetizer, I got the salad that M had gotten last time. It was really good when I tried it, and I was really looking forward to having my own. Unfortunately, they ran out of the spinach (shocking!) that was supposed to be in the salad and subbed in shredded lettuce. It was watery and completely devoid of any flavor or texture. It made the salad as a whole feel a bit soggy and bland. I was pretty disappointed.

For my entree I got the Cola Braised Short Rib with Root Vegetables and Mash. I honestly don't remember much about this dish so you can tell how great it was. I'm sure the short rib was tender and the mashed potatoes were fine, but after so many disappointments on this trip regarding the food and lack of ingredients, I can't imagine this being spectacular enough for me to remember it.

In the end I don't think I ordered a dessert, and if not for her post, I wouldn't have remembered what M ate either. It was just another in a line of okay but not great meals. At least we liked our servers.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Windjammer Breadsploration

Since M was still struggling with whatever stomach bug she was suffering from the previous night, I ended up getting out a little later for breakfast and missed the Devinly Decadence time period. I wanted to go to Windjammer anyway, though, to see if I could get M things that would fit BRAT. I was thoroughly disappointed with that and also didn't take pics of what I ate because I was in a rush to get the meager offerings back to M.

We ended up going back to Windjammer for lunch this day as well. After M decided to start skipping all of the not-so-great "fresh baked" cookies earlier in the trip, we'd started avoiding the bakery section until M got sick. I started visiting it more to make sure I could get M some plainer breads while she was recovering, and while up there I also started investigating more of the bread options.

M's mother kept talking about these poppy seed triangles of bread on other Royal Caribbean ships that she loved, but they weren't here. The closest things were just loaves of bread with poppy seeds. On this plate I opted to get a couple slices to see what the deal was. I also wanted some more vegetables so I got some beets and green beans. I'm pretty sure the green beans were meant to be stir fried, but whatever, they were fresh and clean. I also got some rice and topped it with some butter chicken and vegetarian curry. Finally I grabbed a small scoop of chili con carne.

The bread was pretty good, and I could definitely see why M's mother liked it so much. The curry was fairly tasty, but I found that some of the vegetables, eggplant especially, were a little old and tough. The chili con carne was actually quite tasty, but it was also sometimes cool when you got it. The beets and green beans were the clean eating that I desperately needed.

On my next plate I decided that I'd had enough health food and got some curly fries where I witnessed yet more horrible human behavior. Basically some fat lady yelled at the worker for not having the curly fries out and ready when she got there and proceeded to load up two full plates after he finally got it in place. It's this type of disgusting behavior that we saw all over the ship from ultra-entitled guests that really turned us off cruising for a while. I also grabbed some feta and tomato salad and some roasted chicken so that M could try some of it. Finally I got a nice big bowl of watermelon since I love it so much.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Week 2 - Rice

We eat a lot of rice of all types at home, so for the rice challenge, I just looked for something different that I had never made before. Although fried rice was nothing new, I had never made one like Martha Stewart's shiitake fried rice, so I figured I would try it her way and see how it went, maybe picking up some tips that I could use in the future.

The ingredients used (slightly modified from the original) were:

- 1.5 cups brown rice, cooked and set in fridge to cool ($1.50)
- a few handfuls of dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated, stems removed, and sliced ($1.50)
- about a cup of frozen shelled edamame, thawed ($0.90)
- oil for cooking ($0.20)
- 2 eggs, beaten ($0.15)
- salt and pepper ($0.05)
- a couple of spoonfuls of minced garlic ($0.25)
- about a tbsp of ginger paste ($0.25)
- a few shakes of red pepper flakes ($0.05)
- 1/2 batch of scallions, sliced on diagonal ($0.70)
- a few tbsp soy sauce ($0.30)
- lime juice to taste ($0.10)

The total for the fried rice was about $5.95 (completely estimated since I have no memory of what the shiitake mushrooms cost). We ate it with a couple of pollock burgers, but that didn't add more than a couple of dollars. Very affordable dinner.

The steps for making the fried rice (as adapted) were:

1. About half an hour before cooking, set rice to cook in rice cooker, put shiitake mushrooms in bowl of warm water to rehydrate, take out edamame to thaw. When rice is done, stir with spoon and then put bowl into the fridge to cool.

2. Prep: slice shiitake mushrooms, slice scallions (also garlic and ginger if not using shortcut products).

3. Add oil to small skillet and then cook beaten egg in single thin layer until cooked through. Remove to cutting board to cool. Once cool, chop egg into small strips.

4. Add some oil to wok and then add mushrooms with garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Cook for a few minutes.

5. Add edamame and cook for a couple of minutes.

6. Add rice, eggs, scallions, soy sauce, and lime juice. Mix well and cook for a few minutes until everything is done. Adjust seasonings to taste if needed.

This fried rice was simple, but I think the simplicity was a good thing. It turned out a lot more balanced than some other fried rice dishes I've made, where I'm trying to clear out the fridge or just throwing whatever I can find into the fried rice. This would also be really easy to make any time that we had scallions, since pretty much everything else is in the pantry. I would definitely make this again.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Ono Grinds Island Grill

We started our first full day in San Diego driving around and battling in some gyms in Pokemon Go. After getting our gym coins and an iced coffee for A, we were really hungry. We had initially thought about getting some ceviche for lunch but we were way too hungry for that. After doing some research, we came across Ono Grinds Island Grill, which seemed like the perfect choice since we were on vacation to celebrate our wedding anniversary and we got married in Hawaii.

M got the volcano bowl (spicy teriyaki chicken, pineapple salsa, shredded cheddar, sliced jalapeƱos, ginger-garlic aioli, and lava sauce). With a name like lava sauce, we were initially concerned that it might be really, really spicy, but after trying it, it wasn't too bad. There was a nice heat to it, but it was bearable. Overall, the bowl was good but felt a little heavy. It could have used some more vegetables to it, as there wasn't that much salsa (especially compared to A's).

A got the guava BBQ bowl (kalua pork, bacon, pineapple salsa, shredded cheese, guava BBQ sauce, and ginger garlic aioli). The pork wasn't as flavorful as the options we'd had in Hawaii previously, but the flavors were, on the whole, spot on. It was rich and seasoned really well. The pineapple salsa added sweetness and freshness to the dish as well as a small touch of heat, and the guava BBQ sauce added an interesting sweetness as well. Overall we liked both mains, but we thought the pork was better.

All the plates were served with white rice and a choice of mac salad, coleslaw, sweet potato medallions, chips, or soup on the side. We both, of course, went with the mac salad for a traditional Hawaiian plate lunch. The mac salad was creamy but not too laden with mayonnaise. The carrots and celery added crunch to the dish, and it felt and tasted like so many of the mac salads we had on the islands.

This lunch reminded us a lot of being in Hawaii and going out for a plate lunch. It brought back a lot of happy memories, a good way to start a new vacation.