Posts tagged yelp

Yelp Eats Local Media Dinner @ Sushi ii

Fringe benefits…what can I say?

"They’re awesome."


"They are freaking spectacular," okay? 

Yelp kicked off its Yelp Eats Local campaign this week in support of Kanu Hawaii, a local nonprofit aimed at making Hawaii a model for sustainability through personal commitments made by its users. 

This month, Kanu put on its fourth Eat Local Challenge to date, inspiring people to make the conscious decision of eating local food. When people choose to dine at the eleven partner restaurants (details

But why eat local? It’s sooo expensive and sooo hard to find.

It’s simple. It’s sustainable, especially for our isolated selves; it supports the local farmers and economy; it causes much less pollution; and best of all, it tastes so much better. 

So when Emi first told me about this gathering at Sushi ii, I hummed and hawed over if I should go or not. I am not a fan of sushi. What else could this place possible serve that’s considered “local?” 

I found out, by nipping my distain for sushi in the butt and going, that Garrett and Sabrina serve hopes and dreams on big ass plates of love. 

The dinner started off the right way with a paiai (puh-e-i) topped with sea asparagus, pulled pork and garnished with some naughty bits of yum. The trick is to scoop up the entire tower, dip it in the spicy barbecue-hoisin sauce, and pop it in your mouth.

Trust me, it’s not as easy as it sounds with chopsticks. I obliterated it and any chance of eating it in one bite. Did I care? No! It was damn delicious even in smithereens. 

Next to it was a Sabrina’s own Jamaican jerk rubbed, coconut-crusted mahimahi drizzled with her homemade mango sauce. This piece of fish, the first and probably only one I’ve ever really had in years was excellent. It had a nice cinnamon-y / Thai sweetness to it that had me going in for more. The crispiness of the outside was great too, then mixed with the salad….omg. 

Even before the first course, we were already loosening our belts. But when we saw the size of the first course, we knew it was gonna be a good dinner. 

The table I sat at included Amber-Lynn Hyden, weather anchor at KITV4; Linda Chiem, Pacific Business News reporter; Chad Yamamoto, Super Yelp Elite; Nadine Kam, Star-Advertiser Food/Fashion columnist; and Kristen Whisenand, Yelp Public Relations.

Was I starstruck? Yeah. But they’re all freaking hilarious! Who knew?!

Our courses were broken up with this kaffir lime shooter (non-alcoholic) which was airing on the sweet side. We were served lime slices with our mahimahi, but since they didn’t do much for flavor, Nadine added one to her shot, like a boss (her blog post)

Meanwhile, Amber-Lynn is taking photos with her iPhone like a pro (her blog post); Chad and I are fighting over our husband Teddy’s Bigger Burgers; Kristen is pouring more and more wine; and Linda is working on something. 

Now it is time to be wowed.

The Naked Cow Gorgonzola-stuffed Big Island + Wagyu Beef Slider on a homemade rice bun toasted with Naked Cow Dairy butter and served with Caramelized Onion Sour Cherry Ketchup. 

This is about as gourmet as gourmet gets. 

When you encounter a burger of this caliber, you have to wonder how genius the chef is behind it. This is just ostentatious! 

When you bite into this masterpiece, the crunch of the bun melds with the juicy greatness of the medium rare burger then the spunky gorgonzola (italian blue cheese) hits you and you sit back in your seat and go “mmmmmmmmmmmm.” All is right in the world. 

BUT WAIT. You need to put the ketchup! YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT. Its sweetness is the perfect neutralizer to the gorgonzola and char of the burger. Use it all because guaranteed, Sabrina wont be selling this in a bottle anytime soon. Unless Emi strongly suggests her too.

This watermelon drink is like punch mixed with crack. Addiction, major. It was a great pallet cleanser, and very refreshing. We need the recipe for the next party, please!!!

But what’s next will keep you coming back. And back. And back. And back in the same week. Again. And again. And again. 

Banana Dream Pie made with fresh picked local apple bananas. It is also known as Speechless Pie because once you bite it with your miniature fork, all words cease to form. CANNOT DESCRIBE. MUST EXPERIENCE. 

Chad Y beholds its gloriness. 

Garrett and Sabrina are both truly passionate about their work, just as artists should be. 

Sushi ii (Yelp)
Samsung Plaza
655 Keaaumoku Blvd
Suite 109

Call ahead for reservations because this place is tiny! 

DON’T FORGET to put your receipt in the Yelp Eats Local ballot box! Garrett and Sabrina will donate $10 from every yelper’s meal to Kanu Hawaii. 

Big Island + Wagyu Beef Slider stuffed with local Gorgonzola on a Naked Cow buttered homemade bun with Sour Cherry Caramelized Onion Ketchup. 
Yelp Eats Local Media Dinner @ Sushi ii — Blog post coming soon! 

Big Island + Wagyu Beef Slider stuffed with local Gorgonzola on a Naked Cow buttered homemade bun with Sour Cherry Caramelized Onion Ketchup. 

Yelp Eats Local Media Dinner @ Sushi ii — Blog post coming soon! 

Ruth’s Chris UYE — A Very Happy Hour

Emi, I hate to break it to you, but the secret’s out. Ruth’s Chris Happy Hour (RCHH) is on fire (literally, if you read on) here in Honolulu, especially because you will never see deals like these at an establishment of this caliber. 

Nicole K., David C. and I attended an UYE hosted by the UYE King, Mr. Russ M. and it was fab-you-lust! And being my first time at RC, I lusted for everything on that menu. But the real reason we were here, was for the happy hour food and drink…Mostly the food.

We were the first to arrive since we thought it was at the lounge/bar area (which is tiny). To our surprise, Russ snagged the group a nice side room with one long table and a bunch of booths surrounding it. Awesome!! We get to sit down comfortably and get fat ordering all of this delicious food at happy hour pricing! 

We got to know each other a bit and met Russ’s wife…then the fun began. Our first round of orders were taken. Nicole and I each got a glass of the Cabernet @ $7 a pop. (A little over priced for happy hour but like I said, we’re here for the scrum-didly-umcious food deals.) 

We started with a platter of Oysters Rockefeller, which was a steal at $8 (half price); Veal Osso Bucco Ravioli, which was sadly not specially priced at $14; and Mushrooms Stuffed with Crabmeat, which were also great at $7 (half price).

More yelpers arrived just in time to witness something special because within no time, our’s and Russ’ appetizers were already being served. So glad we came early because I know things would’ve not gone down like that if we had shown up fashionably late. 

First came the OR, which by the way would have sent me to the OR because my jaw was pretty much on the ground. They’re set on fire when they’re delivered…NBD. Topped with Hollandaise, Bacon and cheese, these sizzling puppies were practically screaming heart attack. 

For the record, I am not a fan of seafood (mostly shellfish and the like) but when I saw these, I just HAD to have one. I was amazed at how delicious these were, holy moly! They were very rich so I only had one, leaving two each for David and Nicole, who really deserve them. 

Next was the Veal Ravioli and again, I was just taken away at how awesome these were…basically the reason why I came in first place was because of all the rave about them and I can concur that I could eat these tender discs of love everyday. 

Third were the Mushrooms. Oh my baby fat. I swear shed a tear in anguish while tasting these because if seafood was served like this all the time, I’d love it. Mushrooms happen to be one of my favorite foods now so It was only appropriate that I have one…and then a second. Their crusted with parmesan and bread crumbs and are just perfect. I suggested that we should make them into sandwiches and then we could just complete our lives right then and there.

We digested our food over wine and oogling at the menus. We really wanted to get at the SWEET Pre Fixe 3-course deal they have but we were pretty stuffed so we opted for the $17 Carpaccio (non-HH) and $4 basket of french fries (HH). My neighbor had got it though and everyone at the table was immediately jealous. The smell of the sizzling steak in its bath of butter filled the room with the aroma of food sex. 

More yelpers arrived and we all chatted it up until everyone else’s food and drinks came. We had about 20,000 servers tending to our needs so it was never an issue getting something we wanted or having our plates delivered. 

The Carpaccio is phe-NOMNOMNOM-enal. If you don’t know what it is, it is basically raw filet mignon sliced thinner than paper served with caesar dressing and romaine + parmesan and the most perfect crostini toasts on earth. 

It may not have been on the HH menu but it was surely worth the price we paid. It was hearty enough to keep you content while light enough for you to save room for the real food; however, I probably could have made a meal out of it myself. 

The french fries were not as crispy as I expected they’d be but for some reason they were cooked perfectly! The outside had a nice crisp crust while the inside was light, airy and what a spud should taste like. The seasoning put them over the top and into my favorite fries category. (Thank you for providing ketchup without asking telepathic Polly.)

Overall, our 3-person check averaged out to about $25 bucks a person with tip and a drink which is not bad considering most of their items alone start at $20 without much. This is good because that day’s horoscope warned me of financial doom. I’m glad I got my steal of the century on fine dining in Honolulu before I go bankrupt paying my bills. 

Thanks for reading yet another one of my encyclopedia-reviews. More than you probably wanted to know but living vicariously through this is half the story. Go there and experience it yourself, you will love it.

Addis Ababa: a Restaurant Ready to Blossom

Once a week, Chef JJ Luangkhot (JJ’s French Pastry) opens his kitchen at J2 Fusion to the pop-up restaurant sensation Addis Ababa, a family with roots in Ethiopia to cook what they know best.

Addis Ababa in Ethiopian means new flower and is also the name of the country’s capital. With the track they’re on, Addis Ababa is well on its way to blossom into an excellent standalone restaurant for those of us hungry for something different. 

Justin U. of Epicrew Foodies created an Unofficial Yelp Event (UYE) for us yeeps and some of his peeps to indulge in a cuisine that is fairly new to the islands. For about $32 bucks a head, Riana S. and I RSVP’d because we knew it was the best price to get to Addis Ababa. 

At $2800 a plane ticket, Ethiopia isn’t an easy place to get to…unless it’s on Waialae Avenue, then I think I may have found a short cut. 

The pre-fixe meal starts with a pair of sambussas, aka Ethiopian Lumpia. The darker one is filled with lentils while the lighter one has chicken and are served with two sauces: a sweet-cinnaminy tomato puree and a creamy cilantro-dotted dip that reminded me of Greek Tzatziki yogurt sauce.

Although the lentils were an acquired texture, I liked how it tasted with the sauces. In the end, the chicken sambussa unanimously won hands down. I wanted more though…They were such a tease!

For my main course, I chose to have the Lamb Tibs because (1) that’s what I wanted when I RSVP’d; (2) was recommended by our waiter; (3) because I love lamb. 

The menu also lists different protein options like chicken, beef or fish if lamb is a little too fresh for you. Doro wot (chicken) and beef wot, spicy stews that staples in Ethiopia, are also on there.

As a table, we determined the different levels of spicy and realized that Ethiopian spicy slides right between Korean/Thai and Indian. It sure has a kick as experienced by Riana.

And vegans, fear not because you too can join in the fun by eating a plate of lentils with your hands. 

Using your hands and a piece of injera bread, you’re supposed to scoop or grab different parts of the plate to eat. Taking a bit of practice (unless you hail from the pacific), you can master the five spoons method of chowing down.

Assorted marinated and steamed vegetables and starches like beets, carrots, beans, potatoes, and collard greens surround the entree in a Korean-banchan sort of way which for me was the best part.

I love love love lamb. It was tender and being cut into tibs, it allowed me to pinch a piece and grab a some potato and collard greens while I was at it. The injera bread has a spongy crepe-like texture and doesn’t have much flavor on its own but rather binds everything together. 

Note: I only wish I saved the appetizer sauces to dip my lamb with. 

Riana and I were quite elated that Emi H. and Michael S. joined in on the Ethiopian adventure. Baby Isabel also made a dashing appearance…She is so damn cute, no other words can express it. 

The meal took quite a while to wrap up but finished on a nice note with some coffee which, you guessed it, originates from Kaffa, Ethiopia. 

Riana remarked that it tasted like our favorite Kona coffee served at Liliha bakery. One sip and I confirmed that it was well good. I’m glad I didn’t order one though because I would have been up all night seeing as they roasted the beans and pressed it right infront of us. That buggah was strong.

Being at JJ’s our meal came with a petite chocolat mousse for dessert. It wasn’t spectacular but gave the meal closure. It was rich but was light enough to balance with the freshness of Addis Ababa’s offerings. 

I am so ready to go again…I could eat it everyday! The next morning I felt as if I had lost weight. Looking in a mirror confirmed the contrary but nothing beats the feeling of a skinny day! 

Don’t forget, BYOB!