Monthly Archives: December 2011

[Hawaii] Matsumoto’s Shaved Ice

66-087 Kamehameha Hwy
Haleiwa, HI 96712


I heard about Matsumoto’s from friends, before I even went to Hawaii.  They raved about the shaved ice, how it’s a must try.  So I made my friend stop by on our drive up to North Shore.  You can’t miss it – it’s the only store with a huge line out the front!  Supposedly there’s a Matsumoto’s truck at Diamond Head, but I didn’t see it when I went on my hike.


The line – don’t be daunted.  Even though it may seem long, it actually moves quite fast.  I guess shaved ice appeals to all ages!


The shaved ice menu – so many choices!  Try it with the ice cream.  The various flavored syrups blended with the vanilla ice cream is so good!  Get it with a holder for an extra $0.25 if you don’t want dripping syrupy water all over you. 🙂


Got the small tropical flavor with ice cream, which has lilikoi, guava and papaya flavored syrups.  So colorful and pretty!  Not to mention so refreshing and yummy on a hot day.


The store also sells various Hawaiian treats and souvenirs.  It’s a one-stop shop!


[Waikiki/Hawaii] Blue Water Shrimp & Fish Market

International Market Place Food Court
2330 Kalakaua Ave
Honolulu, HI 96815


I heard that the famous Giovanni garlic shrimp truck at North Shore is worth the long drive from Waikiki, but wasn’t sure if/when I was going to have time to go there.  Then, I met a few Chicago foodies who told me about Blue Water Shrimp & Fish Market in Waikiki, which is supposed to be even better than Giovanni.  Since it’s in Waikiki, off I went!  I will still have to try Giovannis the next time I’m in Hawaii, so that I can compare.


The signage – almost looks like a fish market!  Located inside the International Market Place Food Court.


The 1 page menu.  Prices are really reasonable for the amount of food you get.


The famous garlic shrimp – 6 pieces $7.95.  The presentation is so Hawaiian!  And yes, comes with rice, side salad and slice of pineapple.  The shrimp is really fresh!  I braved my shrimp allergies and tackled the plate but no allergies after the meal, so yay!  Should’ve ordered more pieces!  Nom nom nom…

[Waikiki/Hawaii] Eggs ‘N Things

343 Saratoga Rd
Honolulu, HI 96815


I was looking for a local place for some authentic Hawaiian breakfast, flipped through my Lonely Planet and found this place.  Great food, good service, however, the wait could be horrendous since it’s a small place (seating is only on the second floor).  I waited for 30 minutes, and for bigger parties, I heard the wait was well over 1 hour.  No wonder the coffee shop next door has such brisk business – people get so tired from waiting for Eggs ‘N things.  But good things come to those who wait!  🙂


The long line outside, at 8am


The menu


Guava juice – small $3.95


The different syrups – coconut and guava.  Both are really tasty!  And of course, there’s also maple syrup.


My breakfast: portuguese sausage & eggs.  The eggs were light and fluffy.  Never had portuguese sausage before this and it was yummy!  Comes with a side of salsa.  $8.95


Upgraded to macademia nut pancakes for extra $2.75.  There were macademia nuts inside the pancakes too!  I think they used mochi powder in the batter because the texture had a little bit of the mochi consistency.  Highly recommend this pancake, especially with the coconut syrup!  ^ ^

[Chicago] Blackbird

619 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60606
Neighborhood: Near West Side


Blackbird is owned by the same owners of Avec, The Publican, Violet Hour and Big Star.  It’s located right next to Avec.  I heard it’s very difficult to snag a dinner reservation, if not booked a few weeks in advance, so I settled for a lunch reservation instead.

The restaurant is very bright and airy.  Be warned, portions are a bit small, even for me!

I can’t say enough about the nice foodies I’ve met in Chicago.  While sitting at the counter for lunch, I met fellow foodie Jerome, who suggested that I read Anthony Bourdain’s book, Kitchen Confidential. Great read for any foodie or for anyone who’s curious about the restaurant industry. Thanks for the recommendation Jerome!


Avec has a great prix fixe menu for $22.  I wasn’t really sure what to order, so I placed myself in the chef’s care and went with the prix fixe menu.


Appetizer:  charred baby sepia with green tomatoes, blueberries, chamomile almonds and cynar.  The grilled squid/octopus on top of the blueberries and almonds almost seem like you’re eating breakfast cereal.  Interesting combo and really good!


Entree:  wood-grilled sturgeon with chanterelles, kohirabi, plums, thai poppy jam and brown butter fish sauce.  The fish was perfectly cooked, but I couldn’t really taste the plums or thai poppy jam.


Dessert: bittersweet chocolate cremeux with cashews, butternut squash and bergamot.  Dessert was pretty interesting with the butternut squash.  The chocolate cremeux was creamy without being overwhelmingly chocolatey.  Nice presentation!


And that wraps up my Chicago eats!



[Chicago] Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab

60 E Grand Ave
(between Wabash Ave & Rush St)
Chicago, IL 60611

I found Joe’s due to its high ratings on Yelp.  It’s located just a block away from Mag Mile.  So for you shopaholics out there, this is a great place to stop by after your shopping sprees.  🙂
The original Joe’s is in Miami, hence the stone crabs, with the second outpost in Chicago.  There is also a third location in Las Vegas, located at Caesar’s Palace.  The inside of the restaurant is like a high-end steak house.  Service is impeccable and fast.

I went for lunch, since the lunch special “Joe’s Classics” seems like the best way to sample a little of everything.  There are two “Joe’s Classics”, one features the filet mignon and the other features the stone crab.  Since the restaurant is known for the stone crab, that’s the one I ordered.  For $25.95, it includes a cup of soup, 5 stone crab claws (cold), hashed browns, cole slaw and key lime pie.  It’s a really great price for lunch, considering how much food you’d get.


First the restaurant starts you off with a variety of bread, which are all really good!


The cup of soup – I think it’s crab bisque, excellent flavor.


The stone crab claws!!!  The claws are already cracked for your enjoyment.  The crab itself is pretty sweet and juicy, good enough to eat without any sauces.


The hashed browns (more like scalloped potatoes) come in a separate plate and is pretty tasty too.


This was an interesting take on cole slaw – more tangy than normal versions but went really well with the meal.  Mix it all together before you eat!


Finally, the dessert – the key lime pie is as good as the Yelpers said!