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Coming Up

  • Next on 'Ono Kine Grindz:

    The Wedding Cafe, Manoa

    Recently Consumed:

    Zaney's, Downtown Honolulu
    Bob's Bar-B-Que, Kalihi
    Restaurant Yamagen, Moili'ili

    Below you will find a never ending list of restaurants that I want to visit or re-visit:

    Young's Fish Market
    Alan Wong's Pineapple Room
    Cafe Sistina
    Indigo Eurasian Cuisine
    Yakiniku Toraji
    Sushi Masa
    Ono Hawaiian Foods
    Tsukuneya Robata Grill

    If you would like to give me a tip on a new restaurant that is opening up, or give me a recommendation on some of your favorite restaurants, please send an e-mail to:

    onokinegrindz (at) yahoo (dot) com

    The following posts should be completed someday (!):

    New Diner's Drive In
    Border Grill
    Penang Malaysian
    Chez Panisse
    Zuni Cafe
    Indonesia Restaurant
    Boston's North End Pizza
    Happy Inn
    Kat's Sushi
    Fritz's European Bakery
    Makino Chaya
    Singapore/Bangkok Posts
    Chin's Kahala
    Hata Restaurant
    Ebisu Catering Service
    Bubba Burgers
    The Eggberts
    Blossoming Lotus
    Hamura Saimin Stand
    Bob's Big Boy

    WHEW! I hope to have them done by year's end!

    Upcoming adventures

    San Francisco, CA

    Sydney, NSW, Australia

    London, UK
    Paris, France
    Chicago, IL
    Seoul, South Korea
    I won't be able to visit Korea this year.
    San Francisco, CA
    New Orleans, LA
    Buenos Aires, Argentina
    Shanghai, China

    Hopefully, some of you can provide me with recommendations for some good eats!

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« Broken Glass JELL-O® | Main | Okinawan Sweet Potato and Haupia Pie »

October 13, 2004



Kakaako Kitchen is definitely one of those big hit-or-miss joints. When it's good, its fantastic, and when its lame, it's VERY lame.

My favorite is the Madras Curried Chicken (with Mango Chutney)...very nice flavor and texture (i believe it has chopped macadmaia nuts or something in the sauce). Thier 5-spice shoyu chicken is really good too.

However, on another day, I ordered thier Mac nut crusted Chicken Katsu curry, and it was blander than an L&L curry plate...which wouldnt be so bad if it weren't priced so high.

I've never had a problem with thier service. In fact, I've always thought they had among the best and fastest service around. It's nice that they deliver the food to your table outside, and not the other way around.


I also forgot, that another one of my faves here was a Tofu burger on a Taro bun...unbelivably yummy...They dont seem to have it anymore on thier menu though :(

And I also have to give them props for using mixed greens for thier salads, and not just some lame iceberg lettuce based salad. Love that wierdo yellow miso/lemon dressing they have too!


Bread Pudding looks like a real Brit dish. Although I guess it would be served with custard and not vanilla bean sauce in the UK. In France recently I discovered the French call custard, Creme Anglaise - which makes it sound kinda classy. I like. This Bread Pudding is the sorta thing I wish I knew how to cook myself. I'm sure it's not TOO hard. Even for a kitchen-clueless like me.


Hi Mr. Me,

Nice to see you again! Yes, the food at Kakaako Kitchen is very hit and miss. This time it was a miss, but there were many times when it was a hit.

Actually, the one time I had bad service was when I was on my way to the movies at the new Ward Stadium Theaters. We had about an hour and a half before the show started and rather than go to Kua Aina, we decided on Kakaako Kitchen. The three of us had ordered sandwiches and fries. After about 45 minutes of waiting, our order still was not delivered to our table. When I inquired at the counter, our order had not even been given to the kitchen. Our order was rushed and we got it about 5 minutes later.

The sad thing about it was that no one apologized.

That said, you're right in that the service is better than most places, it was just this one instance that left a very bad taste in my mouth.

And yes, I love the 'Nalo greens!


Hi pieman,

To tell you the truth, the vanilla bean sauce that's served with this is actually a bit thick. When left to cool, the consistency is a bit like a thin custard. It's very creamy, and has a really rich vanilla flavor.

Bread pudding is not very difficult to make at all. Here's a recipe that I use, perhaps you can try to make it sometime:

Bread Pudding

12 slices white bread with crusts, cut into fours
1 block of sweet cream butter, softened
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
fresh ground cinnamon to taste

Melt butter over low heat in a heavy bottomed pot. Stir in heavy cream and sugar until well combined and smooth. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Add eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla. Set aside.

In a buttered 8" square baking dish, arrange bread with a slight overlap adding more if necessary (should be about 3 layers high). Add liquid and let stand until slightly moist (most of the liquid should be absorbed). Sprinkle cinnamon on top.

Bake covered for 30-40 minutes at 350°F

The liquid the bread is soaked in is actually a sort of crème anglais (which is made up of eggs, sugar, and milk). If you get to try making this, let me know how it turns out.

FatMan Seoul

The bread pudding looks a winner. Very Christmassy .... now where's my egg-nog?


Didn't think it would that hard. I'll give this a go and when I do, I'll get back to you. We have a new oven a pieman towers that needs a thorough workthrough.


Hey FatMan,

I've never thought of it as a Christmas dish, but now that you mention it, it might actually be nice. In the past, I've made pumpkin/custard pies for Christmas dinner. Great idea...thanks!

Hi pieman,

Let me know how you like the recipe. For added flavor you may want to also consider using some nutmeg. If you want more custard in the bread pudding, you can increase the amount of butter, heavy cream and eggs incrementally (2-3 tablespoons of butter, 1 egg and 1/2 cup of heavy cream at a time should work). Good luck!


Today I ordered K.K's Monday "homemade meatloaf" special. Let me tell ya, it was the crappiest thing I've tasted in a LONG time. I literally took about 4 or 5 bites, and tossed it into the trash. Bland, dry and covered with a "gravy" that idn't even have as much flavor as a storebought Lawry's powdered gravy mix.

It came with a side of mashed potatoes that had a decent flavor and texture (they left the skins in...a nice textural touch), but it was otherwise a complete culinary disaster. The dictionary definition of CRAP.

I remember several years back when this place was consistently good. Now (as I mentioned in an earlier comment), they are more "miss", than "hit". I wonder if they are under a different management or something?


Hi Mr_Me,

For some reason or another, the food at Kakaako Kitchen has been getting worse each time I visit. It seems strange that they get as much business as they do. A few days ago, I went in to have the char siu chicken salad, and the cucumbers and lettuce seemed old.

The only thing that remains consistent these days is the dessert. Lisa's bread pudding is still tops.


Eh. Kakaako Kitchen used to be ono back at their original location. Things went downhill fast when they relocated to Ward Centre. Don't know what happened, but Big City Diner and a bunch of small eateries, including some lunch wagons, are much better.

They're bread pudding is great. I used to work at an independent coffee shop near Diamond Head that carried it.


Here's an idea. How about blogging your favorite lunch wagons? =)



I thought of that before...though I'd have a hard time. Most of them are near they airport area (or in Kakaako) and I only have a half hour for lunch. Maybe the next time I get a few days off I'll take a trip around the Island. Thanks for the was actually something that I had wanted to do. =)



They did a segment on Tsukenjo's Red Wagon (I think it's on Queen St in the business district?) on the Traveling Cafe here in LA. I've never eaten off their truck but it looks like the typical local humongous plate lunches I was accustomed to when I was living there. BTW, they posted their recipe for their famous shredded roast pork plate which looked so good with all of the thick brown gravy over it. You must do a blog on that sometime since you're not too far from that location...


I forgot that KK was originally on Waimanu. Yea they were better when they were in the original location. I love hamburger steak and that is what I would usually order there. Then when they moved I remember I ordered it and it was pretty junk. The crispy fried onions on it was sparse and the patty didn't seem as big. Haven't been back since and its been many many years. I should go by and give it another try but since you are all saying its pretty junk, dunno.



While on the subject of lunch wagons, how about Tae's? I heard about this one--near Daiei Kaheka.



Talking about hamburger steak. Would you know where there would be a good one. The old style with round onions, egg, bread, etc? Not the pure meat with flavoring kind. thanks........


Hi Clinton,

Hmmm, Tsukenjo huh? Well, they used to be near Ward and Queen. They are no longer there though. That spot is now a Z-Home. Don't know where they moved to. I have to find out.

Hi jupiter,

Welcome to my blog! Yes, since Kakaako Kitchen moved the quality of the food certainly has gone downhill. I'm not sure why though...

I've never tried the hamburger steak there, so I wouldn't know if it's still good/bad or not.

Hope to hear from you again!


I used to go to Tae's all the time, but they are no longer in the Daiei Kaheka parking lot during the evenings. I heard that they are only open Monday - Friday, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. I guess I'll just have to wait until one of my days off to find out where they are and when. The food there is excellent though. I'll blog about it when I have a chance.

Hi lance,

Lately I haven't been eating too much hamburger steak. I guess it's because more often than not, you can't find a good HOMEMADE hamburger patty around these days. You might like the one at You Hungry?. The hamburgers there are quite good. Don't know if they serve it as hamburger steak though (I did have the loco moco though).


So I was a bit adventurous today, and decided to see for myself how good/bad the crispy fried sweet chili chicken was. I figured I'd give the folks at K.K. the benefit of the doubt (maybe it was a fluke that Reid's plate was too salty).

Well folks, Reid was 100% on the money with his review. Absolutely terrible. The taste of salt and/or shoyu completely overwhelmed any supposed flavor of "sweet"-ness or "chili". The dictionary definition of "YECCH".

However, I *have* recently found something on thier menu that I think is really good. It's the "Fried Tomato and Tofu Sandwich". It sounded so wierd, I just had to order it. It's actually pretty damn good. The tofu (or the sauce) could use a little more seasoning (maybe a stronger basil flavor or something), but overall it's a pretty good, and original dish.


btw, a few days ago, I saw the Tsukenjo's lunch wagon sitting on the corner of Ward and Queen, in front of the DeZign store. I've never been there though...I've heard so much about them over the years, but have never tried thier food. I only work a half a block away from that corner, so I have no excuse :P

There's also a wagon across the street called "Eagle Lunch Wagon" or something. Anyone try that place yet?


Hi Mr_Me,

The tofu and tomato sandwich sounds interesting. Maybe I'll give Kakaako Kitchen another chance. Hopefully, they won't take 45 minutes to prepare my sandwich.

I haven't been to Tsukenjo's lunch wagon in a long time, but the food there is pretty good. The Eagle lunch wagon that's parked in the little alleyway, I think it's been there a while, but each time I've passed by, I've never seen anyone there. Couldn't tell you if it's good or not.

Good luck.


If you think KK has terrible service, then you haven't been to Mocha Java, right next door. Holy crap, I don't understand how these people stay in business with the absolutely terrible service they have.

70% of the time, when we order takeout from them, they get at least one of the orders wrong. And that's not an exaggeration. On at least 2 different times in the past month, I went there to get some coffee (I try hard to avoid feeding the corporate monolith that is Starbucks), and I literally waited for 10-15 minutes for a simple iced coffee, even when it's not busy.

Makes KK look like McDonald's in comparison.


Hi Mr_Me,

I used to go to Mocha Java back in the day. Haven't been there in years because of what you just mentioned. So nice to see that nothing has changed. The people that own Mocha Java also own a coffee place in downtown at the Dillingham Transportation Building.


Hi! If you like meat loaf, hamburger steak, roast pork, good local food, try Masa's Cafeteria in Mapunapuna. Food is very good and generous portions and very inexpensive. Perfect for the local palate and pocket book!


Hi Edie,

Welcome and thanks for commenting!

I've had the food at Masa's and have to say that it's pretty good. The food that I've eaten was at catered events though. I'd like to try the plate lunches there, but there opening hours don't coincide with my dining hours. *sigh*

Thanks again for stopping by!

G. Wong

KK changed their menu again and my favorite calamari salad is no longer offered. We settled for the hamburger steak and shrimp salad, both were disappointments. We came over from the mainland and made a special trip here too. Bummer.

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