Waiola Shave Ice: Tropical Paradise Treat!

October 26, 2008
Waiola Shave Ice

Waiola Shave Ice

This past week i ended up on the lovely island of oahu in hawai’i. My cousin invited me to try this awesome shaved ice place that apparently has been around for a while. Wonder how i never discovered this place before?!? The place is called Waiola Shave Ice and in my opinion has the best shaved ice i have ever had in my life. Wow you might think to yourself, it must be really good shaved ice. well you know what? it damn is. it damn well is.
Click for a better view of the menu!

Click for a better view of the menu!

This original location (there is two in all) is found on a small side street on whats pretty much one of the local corner shops. there you can buy all your small little snacks and drinks. the side window however is where the action really is. on a sunny and warm day in hawai’i (which is plenty and often!) you’ll find lines and lines of people outside waiting to devour this nice cold chilly treat.

One of the locals biking to get some shave ice

One of the locals biking to get some shave ice

My cousin, as the local that has been here before, already knew what i wanted. it was to be the small cup with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the bottom, followed by mochi balls, shaved ice topped with pineapple and strawberry syrup and a nice thick dash of Li Hing Mui powder to top it all off.

Conclusion. absolutely delicious and refreshing. As you can see, the shaved ice is so finely carved, that it resembles not so much shavings as more like a snowy powder. the result of which, applied with a generous amount of fruit syrup ( in this case pineapple and strawberry), you’ll realize that every single part of the shaved ice is drenched with flavor, tasting more like ice cream/popsicle then anything else. The syrup is itself was strong and well balanced, covering up any possible ice taste.  Topped on the shave ice, is Li Hing Mui. its a traditional chinese food, made from salty dried plum. In the bottom picture, you can see it as a red powder on top of the shave ice. From wiki, “The li hing mui is said to be an acquired taste because it has the combination of sweet, sour, and salty taste. Some people also say that it tastes tart, and some even tangy.” Well that quote is pretty much spot on. I’ve had the actually li hing mui seed plenty of times before, but shamefully i have to say this is the first time i’ve had the powder with ice cream, and i’m so upset with myself that it took me so long to find out!

The syrup penetrates every single part of the shave ice

The syrup penetrates every single part of the shave ice

As i dug deeper down, i finally hit the mochi and the vanilla ice cream. the mochi for those of  you that are not in the “in”, is a glutinous rice which is pounded into a paste and then molded into shape. In this case, the mochi were rectangular shaped. The mochi came out nice soft and slighty chewy, exactly how mochi should be. Along with a nice helping of vanillia ice cream (probably generic store brand), the mochi came out tasting delicious.

You can see the mochi in this pic, probably pinkish from the red syrup

You can see the mochi in this pic, probably pinkish from the red syrup

Scoop of vanilla ice cream at the bottom. still want more!

Scoop of vanilla ice cream at the bottom. still want more!

Now combine the vanilly creamy ice cream, soft chew mochi, flavorful shave ice, and the tangy li hing mui powder into one scoop and wow, AWESOME!

Parking lot of waiola

Parking lot of waiola

They actually have a parking lot for this place that can handle about 10 cars. must be useful over the weekends. But, now that i think about it, it is a pretty big parking lot for such a small mum and pop joint. Maybe it belongs to someone else?

Oh wells. This place as you probably can already of tell, is great treat. the whole cone cost about 3.50, which is about the cost of a starbucks drink and definitely a good change up from all that caffiene.

I’ll definitely be back here again and i hope i’ve managed to convince some of you that will be heading to oahu hawai’i to hunt this little gem out for yourselfs.

Aloha!!

2135 Waiola Ave corner of Paani Street
Honolulu, HI 96805

(808) 949-2269

Yelp site

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Pick your own seafood: A Taste of Hong Kong

October 5, 2008
Shrimp

Shrimp

Hi All. sorry for the recent absence. Work has kept me super busy. I’m sure all of you have been there and understand. =).

As recently as a month or two ago, i headed over to Hong Kong for a friends wedding. While there, i got to experience all the magnificient sites and food that this compact city has to offer.

I'm not sure what this is, but i'm pretty sure we ate it!

I have no clue what these could be

One of the many seafood vendors

One of the many seafood vendors

 

One of the highlights of the trip was the seafood market. my memory is a little hazy, but i believe this market is called Lei Yue Mun, and can be found along the seafront. This place is amazing. Basically you have a long street with seafood restaurants, along with fresh seafood sellers selling their wares. You go to any of the many seafood restuarants first, and get a table. Then you leave the restaurant (remembering their name) and walk and check out all the seafood stores around it. See some kinda seafood you like from any of the dozen of vendors? ask for it, they’ll tell you what kinda good yummy’s you can cook it into. then tell them the name of the restaurant your at and they’ll pack it and walk it right away to the restaurant where they cook it for you. Talk about FRESH and YUMMY! i can just recall one of my friends (or me) looking into the eye of a wierd looking crustacean and saying to it “hi there, your gonna taste yummy in ma belly” . lol. True story with some ab-libs. hahah.

Here are some of the plethora of seafood we ordered. Stuff i’ve eaten many of times before, plus others that looked wierd cook, and even scary when alive!

Steamed Shrimp

Steamed Shrimp

I have no clue what this isWe let our hosts pick our food, them being the more knowledgable about chinese seafood. So we got to try alot of unique ones i've never had before. All i can say is that it was a treat and unique experience eating them all. Of course, the sight of these odd creatures did make me pause a second before eating them, wondering how to bypass all the claws and chitin covered appendages.


I have no clue what this is

Close up of unknown thingie

We got a whole bunch of clams for free cuz we ordered so much!We ordered so much from one particular vendor, they gave us a whole bowl of clams. this picture doesn't do it any justice, but we had dozens upon dozens of clams. All for FREE. FREE i say, FREE!!

We got a whole bunch of clams for free cuz we ordered so much![/caption]

These cost over 10 bucks a piece!

These cost over 10 bucks a piece!

 A special treat were these huge oysters. the shell was the size of my entire hand, while the muscle inside itself was about the size of a silver dollar.  They were steamed with some rice noodles and green onion chives spread over the top with a teaspoon of fried garlic on top. the muscles inside where tender with a strong hint of garlic. delicious. It was quite a sticker shock to realize upon paying that each of these oysters cost over $10 US dollars a peice. ouch!

close up. absolutely delicious and huge!

close up. absolutely delicious and huge!

Cheesey is all i can say about this dish. steamed lobster then put into a mac and spaghettie type italian dish where it was broiled for a bit. this was probably the least favorite of my dish as it was greasy and heavy on the fat.
 
Free Desert! THis was really good!
Free Desert! THis was really good!

To finish off our meal, we got a bonus of ripe fruits. Really made the night of our fantastic dishes. Overall, 6 of us ate this and the meal it self came out to be quite a hefty $240 US dollars or so. I kinda thought being in HK, it would of been cheaper but i guess not. oh wells, it was a unique experience and i definitely enjoyed the whole experience.

 
Sorry for not putting up more descriptions and stuff. just been really busy of late. I’ll try and do a better job soon when things lighten up. until then. thanks for coming to Yummy Monterey Park! See ya next week!

The Hat’s : Pastrami & Chili Paradise

September 21, 2008
Chili Cheese fries. $4.59

Chili Cheese fries. $4.59

Most of you that have been visiting Yummy Monterey Park food blog probably have come to a certain conclusion of my eating habits by now. That being, i am inescapably and inevitably addicted to fast food! But most of all, i love burgers and fries. Theres something magical about holding that burger in your hand, being able to taste all the various condiments found in a burger, differeniating between lettuce, tomato, onion, meat, bun, ketchup and all the plethora of possible combinations found within a neatly packaged (though sometimes messy) wrapper. And to top it off, whenever you feel like you need a slight change in your taste buds, you can switch off to french fries for a quick salty change.

That being said, i would like to mention one of my all time favorite establishments of the burger domain. The Hats. The hats is pretty much an icon of the 626 area  having three locations in alhambra, monterey park and temple city, including 7 more establishments within southern california.  Their first location was established in 1951, which is quite an achievement for a small burger joint.

corner of Valley and Garfield in Alhambra

The Hat's : corner of Valley and Garfield in Alhambra

If you’ve lived in monterey park or alhambra, you’ve seen it. Its that place on the corner of vally and garfield. the one with all the people in front of it at all hours of the day and night. hahah.

Always a constant stream of loyal patrons

Always a constant stream of loyal patrons

Parking lot in the back.

Parking lot in the back.

Click for a closer view of the menu.

Their claim to fame is their “world famous pastrami”. ahem. quite a hefty title to go by. i hope they can handle my critique! hahah.

How would i describe ‘The Hat’s’. one word: ALOT…. (or is that two words?!?!?! i never could bother figuring that out. hahah).  for a decent price, they give you alot of food. i typically only order two things from the hats which are their awesome ‘Chili cheese fries’ and their ‘Pastrami burger’. Sounds good already ya?

Eating chili is a messy affair...

Eating chili is a messy affair...

As you can see, their chili cheese fries that cost $4.59 is anything but little. sometimes me and my buddies would come here for a late night snack. 3 or 4 of us will tackle this single gigantic monstrosity and barely finish it ( of course its just a midnight snack, so we chose not to eat that much). They serve it with a heaping stash of golden cut fries. They use the thick potato cut style of french fries which allows for a higher proportion of potato taste to fried taste in every single chip, which any french fries connoisseur will know is what makes a frie a good frie. 

Look that that thick chili

Look that that thick chili

Now for the perfection da resistance! the chili. look at dat chili  man! i ain’t talking about no frilly little watered down eat before bedtime chili. I’m talking about a heart attack inducing, takes an hour to slide down your throat, can’t sleep with your girlfriend type of chili. Absolutely marvelous. the chili is thick, with plenty of of chunks of ground meat in every bite. the texture is what chili should be, the chili itself isn’t spicy, but has a strong and vapid smell to it, and the color of it is a nice bold cyan red that in my opinion gives the chili a even more pleasant appearance. On top of the chili is a handful of cheddar cheese that melts into the chili giving it even more flavor and fat to go along with your already clogged up arteries. PERFECT!

Patrami burger. dinner for two. $6.99

Patrami burger. dinner for two. $6.99

Now if we really want a meal, i also order a pastrami burger. At 6.99, its pretty expensive considering a burger iself is around 2.00, that would mean the extra pastrami they heap onto the burger is another 4 or 5 bucks. pricey…. i didn’t know the going rate for pastrami was that high. hahah.

As you can see, its pretty big, usuall good enough to split into two. Its a typical burger, however as you can see they add quite alot of pastrami onto it. enough that i can’t quite exactly put my mouth over the entire burger. i gotta tackle it in two bites. lol. the pastrami is overall pretty good. Sometimes i get good moist pastrami and other times i’ve had some lackluster pastrami that was a little on the dry so, so overall its a hit or miss on their part. That being said, even when the pastrami is a little too dry, you could still smell and taste the pastrami, indicating they have quite a good recipe in terms of seasoning and curing the beef.

Stop by sometime, you are definitely in for a treat!

4 outta 4 stars!– Gotta try it!!

The menu and location can be found online their website.

http://www.thehat.com/index.htm

Bahooka’s: The Tiki pirate ship

September 16, 2008

You’ve seen it before. You’ve wondered whats the hype. You’re curious about whats inside. Why that name? and what makes it so intriguing? Dare you go in? or should you just sit back into your nice cozy car seat and drive on by, making a mental note inside your head to visit this place the next time you are free…. like you say you would always do.

I am indeed referring to Bahooka’s, the restaurant with the interesting name and even more interesing outdoor decor. Looks part hawaiian tiki hut, partial robinson crusoe hideaway. Thumbs up for a restaurant that delivers on ambiance. You could tell that the owners of this restaurant wanted to create a special environment for their guests, that of a tropical polynesian paradise, and i do say they nailed that right on the head. Even from the outside, you’d notice the tropical palmtrees and playful fixtures such as the gigantic cruise ship blow horn outfront.

Entering inside is a completely different experience. Everywhere you walk, you see dark wooden furniture, probably mahogeny i’m guessing, with fish tanks. tons of fish tanks filled with an assortment of aquatic creatures from fishies to turtles. From the ceilings dangle shanty colourish lanterns and plastic parrots, anchor chains and wooden buckets. All the while you wonder, am i in a polynesian tiki hut? or the port bow cabin of a pirate ship?

We were promptly seated, slow for a friday night, they were setting up it seems for a birthday party, yet still very few patrons for this time of night. Walking to our table was a treat in itself, as our entire party could not keep our eyes from jumping from the left of the room, to the right of the room, to up top at the ceiling… so many things to see!!!

our table, wooden, was propped up by a gigantic link sea chain. we ordered drinks. what sounds good for our co-worker that just arrived from holland? how about a BAHOOKA BOWL (VODKA). it has flames in it. that sounded good. 20 dollars? sounds pricey, but it feeds two. okay, we’re game.

WOAH!!! its really on fire. how cool is that. omg…. this drink is strong…… we can’t finish it. okay.. we need help guys. this thing is fruit punch tasty and getting us tossed. Its freakin’ strong, and sooo worth the 20. what? you can’t drink our drink because your drink was so good and strong your tossed too? pffft. and you call yourself a mexican… tsk.

oooh, look, foods here. heres your salads. howz it? looks like regular salad to me. bahooka’s special salad dressing? tastes like a lighter version of thousands island dressing to me, but the girls liked it alot. my clam chowder which cost an extra 75 cents was okay. average by all accounts. It had medium thickness with a few half clams here and there, however the overall taste of the meal was lacking.

okay… now here’s the real food. we ordered from the bahooka’s special which was roughly 20 dollars a plate.

i ordered the bbq ribs and 6 oz new york steak (medium well) with a yam. the bbq ribs were pretty good. they had a good amount of meat on the bones, and though the meat didn’t fall of the bones as many other bbq restaurants would claim is the only wayy bbq ribs should be, the meat itself was moist and tender and flavorful even prior to adding any bbq sauce to it. the only gripe i had was that they only gave you a tiny cup of bbq sauce. you couldn’t exactly bombard your ribs with bbq sauce but rather only spread it over one or two sides. next time, i’ll ask for more sauce because the sauce is pretty good itself and you can’t call it bbq without getting your hands a little bit dirty.

The steak itself was average. as you can see, they did a nice job in grilling the steak, but to be honest it didn’t taste like it was really grilled. i’m guessing they may have panned fried it most of the way then finished it off with a quick grill…. or those could be painted on grill marks (kinda looks like it ya? lol) overall,l i wasn’t stoked about the steak. typical steak that was rubbery at times and had some flavor but nothing to write home about. the yam was well…. a yam…. nothing special, if you like yams, you’ll probably enjoy this soft and palatable sweet potato.

my friend ordered the teriyaki chicken. i didn’t get to try it, but just looking at that overall brown color and how she had this smirk on her face as she only managed to finish less than half the chicken, she didn’t like it that much. awwww.. its okay. your too buzzed to notice that chicken ain’t great anyways.

oh wait… what do we hear? someones birthday and the waiters are singing a happy birthday song to them. awww. how typical. what…? its not my birthday dude. no, don’t tell the waiter its my…. sheeeesh….

oh hey, at least we got this FREE awesome flaming shaved ice desert for my *cough cough* birthday . how lets taste see…. it tastes like….. ice…. wow. how cheap. the red and blue coloring was exactly that. coloring, we could not taste anything at all except ice. at least we could have some of that pineapple, which i must say is absolutely ripe and delicious. yay for free desert on my fake birthday!

overall.. .like many people have mentioned before, Bahooka’s is not really a place for the food. its for the ambiance, its for the curiosity, its for the strong drinks and decent prices, and just maybe, just maybe, its for the bbq ribs, extra sauce on the side.

Thanks for checking out Yummy Monterey Park. Look forward to seeing you again soon for another one of my ramblings. =)

4501 Rosemead Blvd
Rosemead, CA 91770
(626) 285-1241

3 outta 5 stars for the food
5 outta 5 stars for the unique environment and decor

Los Angeles County Fair

September 12, 2008

With so many delicious foods that this event has to offer, I had to (as a famous and respected food critic. cough) diverge from our usual 626 food and show you all the delicious and greasey culinary delights of the LA county fair. The LA county fair is going on from sept 5th to sept 28th 2008. thats right, its happening RIGHT NOW. so what are you waiting for? its at the pomona fairplex and only 20 minutes drive from the 626 area. go go go. here the link to the website with directions, admission prices, and all the plethora of different eats. be sure to look at dates and times since they are closed on mondays and tuesdays, not to mention the special concerts and events happening throughout the next few weeks.
http://www.lacountyfair.com/2008/index.asp
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Lets start off with some of pictures of the fairplex. parking is $10 for general admission. If you arrive after 5 pm on wednesday or thursday, the admission is only $5!!!! With that being said, me and my poor co-workers came around 6pm after work on wednesday. be sure to bring a light jacket as its starting to get chilly later on at night.

Blooming Onion. Absolutely delicious

Blooming Onion. Absolutely delicious

Yummy. Blooming onion for $7 with ranch dressing. a good deal and everyone in our group loved it. lightly battered and perfectly fried. a must have on your trip. This sucka is pretty big, can easily feed 5 or so people until you don’t wanna eat no more.

three different tacos

three different tacos

carne asada, pastor, and chicken soft tacos. ehhh. it was so so, for 2 dollars a piece, i was expecting more. Frankly, i could of gotten tastier tacos from any of the local taco trucks in east LA.

Jumbo Hot dog. $8. not too shabby. its a typical hot dog with the various regular fixings like ketchup, onions, relish etc. WHile been humongous, that was the extent of how great it was. Go to your local costco’s for a cheaper dog that tastes almost as good. That being said, it was still a well made and good tasting hot dog, just nothing special about it.

Dissapointing nachos. I call them YUCKchos.

Dissapointing nachos. I call them YUCKchos.

Nachos were YUCK!. chips were kinda pathetic. I was hoping for some home made chips, maybe deepfried right before hand. These chips seemed to be the type you get out of a bag. The cheese was so so. no one touched them so they got soggy real quick. overall a big dissapointment.

Pulled pork and fries. ~ $7.50. this was actually suprising. when my friend brought the food to us, i only had one question on my mind “wheres the bbq sauce?” the pulled pork burger was alright in itself, but this sucka would of been plenty of times better if it came with bbq that drenched the meat. thats how its suppose to come right? without the bbq sauce, it just seemd a tat too dry.

one of the numerous taco stands scattered around the fairplex.

the night time views were spectacular. be sure to go on the lift that takes you up and across the fairgrounds. the ride itself costs about 3.50 per person and gives you a highrise view of the entire fairground. This should definitely be one of the things on your to-do list.

the beer bar is on the other side.

the beer bar is on the other side.

they also have a sizeable wine tasting section in the fair. on one side, they had wine, the other side had a bar that sold various beers and alcoholic beverages from around the world. If memory serves me correct, each wine taste is $3 dollars. ( or it could be $6). huh….. guess my memory starting to suck now eh?

Cholesterol in a bun!

Cholesterol in a bun!

i had to try this… deep battered deep fried whitecastle cheeseburger.

errrgh….. i love fried stuff… but this thing almost gave me a heart attack. every single bite, i felt grease and fat just sliding down my throat. it was not a pretty sight. lol. hey. you only live once right?!!?!?

a little too salty and not enough alchie!

a little too salty and not enough alchie!

Margarita. I didn’t like it. too salty, not enough alcohol. ON the plus side, they had a live mariachi band playing for the audience.

Rocky Road Fudge

Rocky Road Fudge

Big slab of chocolate fudge. $7.

You must try the australian potato fries. basically they are potatos cut into slices and put in batter and deep fried. i guess they are kinda like french fries, but they have a different type of batter and coating that makes it uniquely special. quite a popular side order in australia and one i use to enjoy quite alot when i used to live there. unfortunetly i didn’t order any, even though it was on my to-eat list. sorry, but that white castle burger was slowly killing me and not in the good kinda killing way…. whatever that means.

Churro. $3.00. yummy.

Turkey legs. couldn’t order one cuz i was dying from all the fried food from earlier, but i had it at other fairs and its one of the highlights of the trip. be sure to share. cuz these suckas are HUGE!!!.

wow. this fair was huggggggge. 5 hours was not enough to explore indepth all that it had to offer. besides all the differents foods available (in which i only showed you a tiny portion of), they have artisans fair selling everything from candles to umbrellas. they have numerous rides and games where you can win prices ( the games were actually pretty expensive to play). they had attractions like a hawai’i themed room showing exotic flowers with live dancers doing the hula. too much to talk about. all i gotta say is GO! don’t miss out. go, have fun, and give me a shout out on how good it was.

lates.

5 outta 5 stars.

A must go.

From sept 5th to sept 28th, 2008 (excluding mondays) and tuesdays