Scratch Kitchen & Bake Shop

A few weeks ago, Ev and I decided to visit Scratch Kitchen for breakfast.  Located in Chinatown, Scratch is one of my favorite places for breakfast.  We’ve tried their lunch and dinner menus, but breakfast is by far the restaurant’s best menu.  You can look at my previous review of the restaurant here.

DSC03757Whenever we come to Scratch, Ev loves to order something from Scratch’s baked goods menu, which changes daily.  This time we ordered this individual-sized bread pudding.  It had chocolate chips, something savory (bacon?) and was dressed with a bourbon sauce.   I forgot to note the price on this one, but Scratch’s baked goods usually range between $4-$6.  So worth it.

DSC03759I almost always get the BLT Benny, Scratch’s version of an eggs benedict, which never disappoints.  However, this time I tried to switch it up a bit and decided to order the Sivle ($11).  If you have a sweet tooth (and I do), you’ll love eating this treat.  The Sivile comes with a thick slice of banana bread,  two pieces of bacon, a peanut butter gelato, banana sliced in half and brulee’d to create a nice caramelized candy top, salted dolce du leche, and candied peanuts.  I thought the brulee’d bananas were a really creative touch.  The only thing I’ve ever had brulee’d was crème brulee, so banana brulee was a little mind-blowing for me.

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Finally, Everett ordered the Caramelized Onion, Mushroom & Goat Cheese Breakfast Strada ($12).  I had never had a strada before and it reminded me of a savory bread pudding.  The strada was served on a thick tomato basil marinara-type sauce next to three smashed potatoes and a small side of salad mixed greens.  My taste buds may have been thrown off by the super sweet dish I was eating, but the strata was just ok for me.  It was well executed, but I  prefer other dishes instead.

Scratch is open every day from 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.  According to their website, it looks like they don’t do dinners here anymore.   Walk-ins only, no reservations.

You can find a copy of their full menu on their website: http://www.scratch-hawaii.com/

March of Dimes – March for Babies

On April 25, 2015 Ev, Connor and I participated in March of Dimes’ March for Babies in Waikiki. The firm was one of the major sponsors of the event, and as such, all the firm’s employees and their families were encouraged to participate. We even got new, snazzy Watanabe Ing LLP t-shirts made just for this event.

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Most of the Watanabe Ing gang.

DSC04118Connor is asking, “Where’s my shirt mom?”  Unfortunately, they didn’t make shirts small enough to fit Cain and Connor.  Connor also had a spectacular time playing with all the pine needles and acorns on the ground.

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The march was longer than most of the fundraiser-type walks that I had done in the past and it spanned from Kapiolani park to Ala Moana and back to Kapiolani park. We were hoping that Connor would just fall asleep in his stroller like he had done for the Walk For Diabetes walk that we had done the month before but he was just not having it. He finally went down, but not before about 15 minutes of complaining, crying, and fussing. Oh well, I suppose it could have been worse.

DSC04144 On the other hand, Cain did a good job. He fell asleep quietly and stayed asleep almost through the entire walk. Here’s a picture of Summer and her friends.

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Anu’s niece did a fantastic job too. She did the whole 5k without complaining.

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After finishing the walk, we sat under a tree and ate some orange chicken and fried rice. Overall, a very successful walk. Sad to say, my calf muscles were a little sore the next day even though it was only a 5k. I really need to get into shape. Ugh :p

Side note:  I’m doing a terrible job keeping up with my blog posts and am almost a month behind.  Getting ready for Connor’s party next month is keeping me busy.   Hopefully I catch up with my posts soon.

Japanese BBQ Yoshi

Ev and I pass Japanese BBQ Restaurant Yoshi on the way to work every morning, and I’ve been wanting to eat there for some time now. So, a few weeks ago when my mom was over and we were trying to figure out what to do for dinner, I suggested Japanese BBQ Yoshi.

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Located in the lot next to Krazy Karaoke on Young Street, Japanese BBQ Yoshi had a pretty extensive menu of different cuts of beef,  as well as some poultry and seafood.  Because we had no idea what we were doing, the server suggested that we order one of the set menus (for two people) which has a little bit of everything the restaurant has to offer.  Since there were three of us, we decided to split the premium set menu ($140) and an additional side dish to start.  We figured that if we needed more food, we could at some point order additional food ala carte. However, the set meal ended up being so much food that we ended up not having to order anything else.

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I normally don’t take pictures of the condiments, but I made an exception here because their sauces were so good. In additional to a teriyaki and a sweet ponzu dipping sauces, they also served grated wasabi. I love real wasabi, and it was a really nice touch.

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The meal started with a nice organic salad, Korean nori, three types of namul (pickled radish, daikon and carrot, choy sum, and bean sprout), and a toro sandwich.  The salad was good and the namul was fine.  The toro sandwich was ok in itself, but a little odd to eat at dinner and the Korean nori appeared to be Korean nori straight from the package.  I didn’t think that the toro sandwich or the nori contributed much to the meal so its inclusion in the set menu was a bit strange to me.

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Shortly thereafter, the server brought out a bowl of kim chee, which was very good.  Ev liked this kim chee a lot.

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Next came the one dish we purchased outside of the set menu.  I think it was called jidori chicken.  I thought the chicken was very moist and the sauce was tasty.

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Next, the server brought out Beef tataki with green papaya, ginger, shiso, and shoyu.  At the same time, we also received 4 shrimp in a cute pan of garlic butter (not shown).  When ordering we had a choice between the shrimp and scallops.  We decided on the shrimp because my mom loves shrimp.  The shrimp were a good size and well seasoned.  Also around this time, we also received a bowl of wakame soup (not pictured) which was ok, but nothing special.

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Beef sampler of four different cuts of beef.  Although the slices of beef were small, all of them were tasty.  I particularly liked the ones on the far right, which had a nice marbling of fat and practically melted in your mouth. Yum!

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The next course was the wagyu steak, which was definitely the highlight of the meal.  Just look at that marbling.   For the price of this set, I thought we got a decent amount of beef here. The meat also came with a small assortment of vegetables (onion, corn, pumpkin, Okinawan potato, and mushroom) which were also cooked on the grill, but obviously, no one was talking about the vegetables when we ate this course.

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Next came the Sukyaki beef which was served with yamaimo and a raw egg. According to our server, you were supposed to lightly cook the beef and then dip it in the yamaimo and raw egg mixture. I tried the method once but didn’t care for it so I ate the rest of my meat with the dipping sauces shown above. I thought the yamaimo egg mixture just made the meat slimy.

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Our final entrée of the night was a bibimbap. We had a choice of either a bibimbap or a noodle of the day, which I think happened to be ramen that day.  Since my mom was with us, we decided to get the bibimbap since it was easier to share between the three of us.  I’m not sure whether it was because we were already full by the time the bibimbap came or if just nothing special, but we didn’t end up finishing this course and no one volunteered to take it home.

I apparently also forgot to take a picture of the meal’s dessert, which was three mochi icecream pieces (strawberry, chocolate, and green tea) and slices of fresh fruit.  I was also glad that my mom was with us because it would have been too much food to eat if it were just the two of us.  By the time we finished dessert, we were all really stuffed.

Overall, I’m glad we finally got to try Japanese BBQ Restaurant Yoshi.  My one criticism with this restaurant is that they need to do better job branding the restaurant.  From the signage, I have no idea what the real name of this restaurant is and the only reason why I am calling it Japanese BBQ Restaurant Yoshi is because that is the name they use on Yelp.  Also, for a restaurant that has the words Japanese BBQ in its name, I found the fact that they served Korean nori, namul, and bibimbap very odd.

Japanese BBQ Restaurant Yoshi looks very modest from the outside. Passing this restaurant all these months, I would have never guessed that this restaurant would be serving such premium cuts of A5 Miyazaki wagyu beef. For the three of us we ended up spending about $200 after tax and tip. While the meal wasn’t cheap, the quality of the meat was much better than the cheaper yakiniku places such as Gyu-Kaku or 678. A number of people compare this restaurant to Yakiniku Hiroshi, but unfortunately I have never been there so I am unable to compare the two. Obviously, unless you are rolling in money, this is not a restaurant that you can go to every day. But, still it’s an enjoyable place to go once in a while when you want to splurge on something nice.

Happy Mothers’ Day

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Yesterday I celebrated my first Mothers’ day as a mom.  These past 10 months with Connor has made me realize just how difficult being a parent really is and has given me a new found appreciation for the many sacrifices my mom has made over the years.  Being a single parent couldn’t have been easy for my mom, yet she did it whole-heartedly without complaint.130112ote_299This year Ev and I invited our immediate families over for brunch at our house.  We served waffles with strawberries and whipped cream, omelets, bacon, hash patties, hash browns, and fruits.  It was a good day filled with good food and great company.  I am truly blessed to have such great mothers in my life.

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Chef Zone

A few months ago, Ev and I were looking for somewhere to buy a set of rimmed baking sheets, and we happened to come across Chef Zone, a wholesale club in the Mapunapuna geared towards food service businesses.  At first, I thought you needed a business license to shop there, but I later found out that it is open to the general public.  Just go to the counter and sign up to be a member.  The best part? Unlike Costco and Sam’s Club, membership is free!

DSC02390Walking around, I seriously felt like a kid in a candy story.  Selling 6,000 products in a 45,000 square foot warehouse, Chef Zone is so much fun to browse.  They also have the hugest walk-in freezer that I have ever seen.  Seriously, it’s huge.  Everett calls it the Costco for foodies.  It’s also a lot less crowded than Costco and Sam’s Club, at least for now.  🙂

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Chef Zone has an entire section dedicated to restaurant supplies and equipment. We easily found the rimmed baking sheets that we were looking for and picked up a few disposable plastic tongs for Connor’s birthday.

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Chef Zone seemed to have a strong emphasis on local foods, which Ev and I appreciate.  Their produce and pricing was good, as long as you were willing to buy in bulk.  You could even buy grass-fed paniolo ground beef for about $3.20 a pound!  Many of the items in Chef Zone come in sizes you typically don’t see in regular grocery stores or even at Costco.  Example: Need a case of 46oz cans of Hawaiian Sun Guava Nectar? Or how about a $35 box worth of Bloody Mary cocktail mix?  Sure thing.

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If I was forced to say something bad about Chef Zone, its organization in some areas could use a little work. For example, what do fortune cookies, chef aprons, and aluminum pans have in common, aside from being next to each other in Chef Zone?  Your guess is as good as mine.

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Chef Zone would be a perfect place to go if you needed to feed large amounts of people. It makes me want to throw more parties just so that we can shop here.  We are definitely coming back here to purchase supplies for Connor’s birthday. I can’t wait.