Entries Tagged as 'Restaurants and Food!'

There’s nothing like food to get your attention!

Well, it works for me. The topic of food seems like a great way to start a person writing, too! As you can see, I seem to have decided that blogging is a semi-annual thing, or a quarterly thing at best. Based on previously posted items, the former seems to be the adopted definition. So, let’s talk about food; I am always willing to talk about that!

June, I read somewhere, was National Fruits and Vegetables Month! I found that acclamation again — San Mateo Public Library confirms it! They have a beautiful picture to go along with sharing this foodie holiday.

So what? What does this have to do with Honolulu? Well, there is this little “business” that was sitting right in my own backyard, so to speak. O'ahu Fresh logoIf you live on O’ahu, doesn’t the logo on the left look just a little familiar? I’ve seen the van and I thought they delivered to the stores, grocery and otherwise but I was wrong. They deliver to us!

O’ahu Fresh gathers local-grown produce and delivers the items they gather in a bag of goodies to you either every week or every other week, depending on how often you want them. If you work in Downtown Honolulu just pick a spot where they already drop off the bags and add yourself to the list. That’s what I did.

I even called O’ahu Fresh to change my order from bi-monthly to weekly because, “June is Fruit and Vegetable Month!” I was aiming to share this here on Homespun Honolulu because food it such a great topic and O’ahu Fresh would benefit from my blabbering, and I could learn how to make new things, and, um, well, it’s JULY! O’ahu Fresh still benefits, local readers still benefit, I have already learned new veggie things, I am still excited about it, I have a new friend over at Oceanit (where I pick up my bag) so the only one to suffer really is Fruit and Vegetable Month. Oh well.

Local produce

O’ahu Fresh has managed to introduce me to some weird things — things that you can actually eat. “What’s that? Never heard of them!” They may be grown here but they are new to me! Fortunately, the O’ahu Fresh website tells you, every week, what is in the bag that week. The best part is they provide definitions for the strange items and links to recipes for all the items!

Do not let the oddities scare you — if you have your pick-up spot close to work, you can always find someone at work who will eat what you will not, or cannot. I hate tomatoes. I hate cucumbers. I hate lychee. Between taste and texture they are all out the door for me. Blech! However, I have found a recipe that works very nicely with cucumber and I found a recipe for katsup! I love ketchup! There are a lot of recipes for catsup! There are even more recipes for ketchup than there are spellings!

With O’ahu Fresh you are not stuck with just produce. They will bring you dairy products, jams and jellies, coffees and teas, and even meats, if you want to add any of those items to your bag. These are all locally grown items which means that beef is free-ranging, grass-eating cattle (compliments of the Big Island farmers)! They have actually, recently, mentioned fresh fish!

Be still my heart with those dairy products and the beef that is as healthy as you can get beef to be! Love fresh produce, I love my home, therefore, I love O’ahu Fresh! Coming up I will share recipes (mine or theirs) and keep it all with local-grown Aloha in the process. Maybe I will be lucky enough to meet up with some of their farmer partners — that would be cool! ūüôā

Butternut Squash and Curry Corn Chowder with Beans

Sounds gross, I know, but it is sooo good!¬† I know, now you’re looking at the picture below and thinking, “How on earth am I supposed to cut that thing?”¬† Costco has it all pre-cut and wrapped in plastic but then again, your squash will not be as fresh as it would be if you cut it yourself.

Butternut Squash ‚ÄĒ you can cook this thing!

Trust me; the Costco route was looking really good to me, until I saw this video on YouTube:

A vegetable peeler?¬† No way!¬† Way.¬† Amazing — it works quite nicely.¬† The spaghetti squash is much harder to cut than the butternut variety!¬† Besides, the perfect recipe for spaghetti squash has not hit me yet. These “winter” squash could not have come across my radar at a better time — advent lent starts a few days after Thanksgiving and this recipe is vegan!

What follow are the recipe, the instructions, and some helpful suggestions.  You may never buy corn chowder from anyone else again!

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
6 cups butternut squash (1 average size squash), peeled, seeded and chopped into one-inch cubes
1 large onion, chopped
1 small bag of fresh frozen corn (12 oz), defrosted
2 tsp curry powder
garlic salt and ground pepper
2 cans vegetable broth (14.5 oz)
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1 can white beans (16 oz), drained

Directions:

1.  Get out your 5 quart pot and heat the oil over medium heat.  You can substitute all vegetable oil if you are on a Lenten fast that restricts the intake of olive oil.  Add the squash and the onion.  Cook until the onion starts to soften (about 5 or 6 minutes) and add the corn and curry powder.

2.¬† Salt and pepper to taste.¬† I prefer Lawry’s garlic salt and cracked or large-grind pepper.¬† Be sure you do this now or you may end up putting just a little bit too much pepper.¬† You can always add more later.¬† If you think you smell sugar at this point, you are smelling the aroma of the cooking squash — butternut squash is apparently one of the sweeter squash.

3.  Add two cans of broth and simmer for about 25 or 30 minutes until squash is tender.  After about 20 minutes, add your can of white beans and continue cooking for the remaining five or ten minutes.

4.  Remove half of the soup from the pot and place in a blender and blend until creamy and not lumpy.  Please use caution and be careful when blending hot liquid like this.  Be sure the blender cover is on correctly and securely.  If you use the lowest setting on your blender, it will still blend!

5.  Once the soup is smooth, return it to the pot with the rest of the soup.  The beans may have melted but they have added body and bulk to the soup in the process.  If you have a passion for the feel of beans when you eat, you can start with dried white beans like Great Northern instead of the canned beans.  After recombining the soup, add the coconut milk and continue to heat but do not boil.

After the fun of dealing with these new ingredients and the peculiar preparation procedures, the photo below shows you what you get.  Yummy!

Butternut Squash and Curry Corn Chowder with Beans

This soup keeps well in the refrigerator so don’t worry if it makes you too full too fast.¬† It should.¬† You might want to try adding some whole wheat toast with margarine, instead of crackers, to eat along with your nice warm chowder.

As I mentioned above, you may never buy corn chowder again because you will know that yours is better.  There are few things that I make where I will only eat my own cooking.  While this is rare and a very small number, this recipe is trying really hard to add itself to that list!

In Honolulu you can find all of the ingredients you need for this recipe at Safeway Stores and Times Supermarkets.

Safeway’s Open Nature Sausage and Tortellini Soup

Safeway‚Äôs Logo - Ingredients for Life!I had no idea what to do with fresh asparagus.¬† Safeway’s website helped me and now I can deal with it without blinking, much.¬† Every once in a while I peak to see what they’re cooking and I found a really cool recipe that looked good.

Back in March I said I was going to try this after the lenten season was over.  It sounded so good and so easy!  It was easy.  It was good.  It was expensive!

I ignored the recommendations made by the person who posted this and followed the recipe just as it appears on the Safeway site.  The only adjustments that I suggest would be to, first of all, add more broth!  If you keep it overnight, it becomes more like a stew than a soup!   Secondly, sprinkle with a lot of shredded parmesan at serving time.  That parmesan makes the soup!

Safeway’s picture of their Italian soup.

Warning: If you’re going to make this lovely Italian soup, you need to watch for sales!¬† You actually¬†can buy the ingredients that are not necessarily Safeway’s brand!¬† ¬† They were good ingredients, don’t get me wrong, but they add up very quickly.¬†¬†I was on a mission and should have paid attention to sales and/or aimed for more¬†bargain brands!

I had to be sure I did not mess up any ingredients so I could report on this recipe fairly and accurately.  Between that and my Safeway loyalty issues, I ended up buying the ingredients exactly as they are listed.  It was darn good soup!

Try it!  You tweak it, and then share your tweaks!  Please?  Those tweaks can certainly include smart buying tips.  I am always open to that!

Serving Hot Dogs with Aloha

While looking on Google Maps a few months ago, just to see what the King Kamehameha Statue looked like, I saw something I never expected to see.¬† I found the statue, yes, but there was something else in the picture that I thought would be fun to write about.¬† “Hey, that’s the little hotdog stand!”

Of course now I’m going to always think of them as Google-dogs.¬† The gang that serves¬†those yummy hotdogs¬†is always friendly and always smiling.¬† They are usually positioned¬†just off to the side of the statue where the tour buses stop for¬†visitors to see the King Kamehameha statue, Ali’iolani Hale, and/or Iolani¬†Palace.

The hotdog vendors talking to visitors.

I think they should be marked as part of the tourist industry — they are, after all, there to¬†greet the tour-bus passengers who are either curious or just plain hungry.¬† I just thought it was the coolest story to let them know that they’re “on the map!”

Tour bus pulled up just behind the hotdog stand.

“So you saw us on Google huh?”

“Yep!¬† Sure did!”

Kind of makes it sound like they’re a pretty permanent fixture there!¬† Well, yes and no.

There is the story about the meter maid.¬† You know the parking Gestapo — the ones who put those $25 tickets under your windshield?¬† Well that’s how much those tickets used to be.¬† Who KNOWS how much they are now!¬† I don’t plan on letting any meters expire to find out.¬† A quarter in one of those darn meters¬†doesn’t even get you very many minutes anymore!¬† I’m just saying.

Anyway, one day I saw my little Google hotdog friends parked on the opposite side of the street.¬† Apparently they were told to move across the street and pay the meter.¬† What??? But, you’re on Google Maps, they can’t make you move!¬† What’s wrong with them?!?

The hot dog fixings ready to be added to your hot dog.

Okay, okay — I know that sounds a little silly but¬†they were actually told to move across the street and pay the meter.¬† Sigh.

So, we just need to be sure we keep buying hotdogs so they can pay those dumb meters.

I mean, seriously, there are enough lunch wagons paying those meters and enough vehicles paying them when the lunch wagons are gone!¬† Even¬†though I found it a little irritating, the hotdog people took it in stride and moved calmly and quietly across the street and paid the meter.¬† We all would have done that too, but probably¬†not quite so quietly — I wouldn’t have been so quiet about it!

Small Honolulu Rant: “Then I’ll complain for you!” I said.¬† So this is my complaint!¬† So there!

Mom has a hot dog and a Pepsi!

You will be happy to know that it doesn’t hurt the flavor of the hotdogs to be on the other side of the street.¬† Thank goodness they serve sodas and nice cold water too!¬† Mom has always got to have her Pepsi — that’s a must!¬† I, on the other hand, always appreciate a nice, made-to-order, sloppy hotdog!

Mayo, mustard and onions make a great hotdog!

In spite of their Google claim-to-fame, they do move around so you may run into these Google dogs in the heart of Downtown Honolulu during First Fridays or in other places during other forms of Downtown festivities!¬† They are entrepreneurs who feed people — sounds good to me!¬† Besides, hot dogs are always better when served with a little Aloha!

There’s a grocery list “Just for U!”

Just for U display Just in case you missed it, Hawaii’s Safeway Stores have a new program running — for the time being it is just for Hawai’i residents.¬† That little red Safeway Club card has just gotten a little bit better!

I’m serious, your Safeway Club card is going to keep track of the products you buy and keep you in the loop when your favorites go on sale or have special promotional pricing.

You don’t have to clip and carry coupons anymore and it’s all personalized and it’s all done with YOU in mind!¬† Here’s how Safeway explains it:

personalized deals

  • You can get some of the best prices in town with these exclusive deals.
  • Amazing savings on items you buy at Safeway and items you may be picking up at other stores — but now you won’t have to.
  • Unlike coupons, you can use these deals to save again and again.

Once you register with your Club card or phone number, you can go see these exclusive offers online and make a grocery list of your favorites in the comfort of your own home, print it out, put it in your purse or pocket, and off you go!¬† It’s “your online way to save more in-store.”

Safeway staff help shoppers sign up for the Just for U program

It’s just for Hawai’i at the present time but I’m thinking that we are the guinea pigs for this project.¬† I’ll take it! I’m happy to take part in it and I’m also happy to share this with everyone!¬† It is going to be interesting to see just how big this gets and just how fast it spreads across the country!

Leave a comment on this post and be entered to win a $50 Safeway gift card!  

If you leave a comment below, I’ll put your name in our little random drawing to win a $50 gift card, just like the one they’re sending to me!¬† For this drawing, you DON’T have to be from Hawai’i.¬† Free groceries!¬† You can kick start that gift giving early — sign up online and you’ll get a d0zen eggs, for free.

Managers and staff help people understand the benefits of shopping  Just for U

Some of you may have noticed that your shopping receipts at Safeway have been accompanied by coupons for the things you purchase often.¬† Has this been in the works for a while?¬† Perhaps.¬† Are we glad?¬† Oh yeah!¬† I am so excited about this — regular readers know how I love food!

Check out Safeway.com, sign up today, and then go check in with your local Safeway ohana and pick up the FREE dozen eggs you can add to your shopping list right after you sign up.

I can already see the evidence of what I regularly buy.¬† My Tostitos are among the offers.¬† Pepsi is there — based on the volumes I used to buy for Mom.¬† I see bananas.

Fresh asparagus in the produce section of Pali Safeway

This is fun!¬† I wonder if they’ll add asparagus to my list.¬† I just cooked up my first batch of fresh asparagus last night.¬† I can guarantee that I will be buying it often — it was so ‘ono!

“Safeway — Ingredients for Life!”¬† I just had to say that!¬† Come on!¬† Talk to us and share your thoughts, so I can put your name in the drawing!!!

Salad Creations Caters to Our Needs

During the weekend of the Honolulu Marathon we needed to get something for coffee hour at Church.¬† I came up with the brilliant idea of feeding people salad!¬† Salad Creations caters!¬† I didn’t want them to cater the salad, I just wanted someone to make me a really BIG salad.¬† They did!

Salad ordering counter at Koko Marina Salad Creations

I had to go Saturday evening in order to avoid all of the road closures on Sunday morning.

Catered salad packed neatly and carefully wrapped for customer pick up.

The parts were divided and there was more than enough breadsticks and utensils included.  They even gave me three choices of salad dressing!   The best part was those wonderful plastic containers you see with the bulk of the salad in them.  It was amazing that something so simple could keep the salad fresh for so long!

Left over salad after two days.

I took some of the left over salad home and ate it for several days thereafter.  Four days later it was still fresh!  The croutons were a bit soft in spots but still very tasty and the leaves were still nice and fresh.

I highly recommend getting salad from Salad Creations.  You can buy a lunch at the one downtown on Bishop Street but if you want it catered, or created in bulk for a party, check out the Koko Marina location!

Salad Creations
Koko Marina Center
7192 Kalanianaole Hwy., E-123
Honolulu, HI  96825
Phone: (808) 396-2380

Let’s Talk About Food!

To be specific, let’s talk about soup!

Our food-blogging friend, Valerie, does Four Foods On Friday as a blog meme over at Fun Crafts and Recipes.¬† Val usually throws four questions out there for us to think about and answer.¬† More recently, Val has done it a little backwards — she put one question out there, looking for four answers.

Last Friday, Val asked, “What are your four favorite soups?”¬† I thought about avoiding this one because I’m not much of a soup eater, or a soup maker.¬† After thinking about it for a while, I realized that there are some that I like.

I came up with these:

1. Cream of just about anything soup (zucchini and celery are good)
2. My own Corn Chowder (Val’s post reminded me about this one.)
3. Zippy’s Portuguese Bean soup (This one is very popular in our State.)
4. Pea soup was my favorite as a child (I think it was Campbell’s.¬† I don’t remember any ham but I could be wrong.)

There are others I like such as French Onion (if it has a lot of cheese) and Miso soup (when it’s cold outside).

I’m actually talking about this because the lenten season is upon us and I want to see what kind of soup you guys like! So, join in the meme in Val’s Kitchen!¬† Maybe even provide a soup recipe or two — for those of us with soup-deficient menus.

GoVisitHawaii Visits Hawaii

Bloggers love to meet up with other bloggers.¬† It’s always fun to finally get to sit down and talk story in person.¬† The first time¬†I¬†saw¬†Sheila¬†and Andy, it was at the airport as they were moving between islands.¬† The last time, we made an effort to spend at least a little more time and¬†have a conversation that lasted more than just a couple of¬†minutes.¬† ūüôā

Good luck trying to meet for breakfast at Aloha Tower! ¬†But, all is not lost, Don Ho’s Island Grill opens at 10:00 a.m. so we managed it that way.

Andy and Sheila Beal

Andy and Sheila are the most charming couple!¬† They are wonderful people to begin with and they¬†see Hawaii the¬†way most of us feel about it — beautiful and perfect.¬† There is one minor, focal¬†difference —¬†they¬†see the positives we often overlook and close their eyes to the things we¬†ohumu (complain) about all the time.¬† This is not to say that they see things through rose-colored glasses; they just have slightly shaded lenses. ūüôā¬† They are rapidly working their visits to Hawai’i down to a science and I, for one, appreciate their diligence.

Today they’re on their way home again and I just wanted to take a moment to send them off with cyber hugs, well wishes, and a lot of aloha as they make their way home to plan their next trip.¬† Have a safe trip home you two, hurry back — GoVisitHawaii already!¬† ūüôā¬†¬† The coco puffs are on me!¬† If you’re between islands again you have to tell me — they are available “to go!”

Happy Belated Birthday to Jamba Juice

Birthday balloons for nine-year-old Jamba Juice

On Wednesday, January 28th, I was surprised to see these balloons sitting in the middle of the Jamba store in downtown Honolulu.¬† A place that coworkers and I visit frequently, this location is very convenient for us and quite popular.¬† I remember when they opened; I just didn’t realize that it was so long ago.¬† Nine years sounds like such a long time but it has certainly gone by quickly!

And, yes, that is a Jamba surf board hanging on the wall next to those balloons!¬† ūüôā

PB n’ Jamba is my favorite.¬† If you’re avoiding dairy products, you can ask them to skip the yogurt and add more of one of the other ingredients if you like.

Jamba’s website describes this particular drink like this:

PB and Jamba for lunch“The Chunky PB ‘n Jamba is blended with soymilk, vanilla yogurt, peanut butter, strawberries, blueberries and organic granola into a thick smoothie and then topped with whole blueberries.”

I never knew blueberries tasted so good until I got to taste them fresh like this.

Jamba Juice
Financial Plaza
130 Merchant Street #110
Honolulu, Hawai’i¬† 96813
Phone: 808-585-8359

“F” is for Friday, and for Food!

Every Friday Fun, Crafts and Recipes has its Four Foods on Friday thing, and invites readers to play along.¬† It’s fun to participate in this weekly food fun and you even get to learn some interesting things about cooking.¬† I wanted to play this week, so this post is my contribution.

1. Share a recipe for something Italian.

This was my mother’s recipe many¬†years ago.¬† I have never used it because the¬†recipe I use¬†has gone over¬†the top with spices and probably¬†costs more than it should to make.¬† Maybe I should try this one based on its¬†simplicity!¬† I’ll let you guys know how it goes!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs hamburger
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 c Progresso Unseasoned bread crumbs
1 large onion, chopped
1 1/2 tsp Salt
3/4 tsp Pepper
1/4 can Marinara sauce (don’t know the brand)

Mix together all ingredients well, except Topping (preparation of Topping below).  Pack into meat loaf pan.  Pour Topping over loaf.  Bake at 350 for 1 and 1/2 hours.  Pour off grease before serving.

Topping:

Remaining 3/4 can Marinara sauce
1 C  Water
2 T  ea. of brown sugar, vinegar, and spicy mustard

Mix Topping ingredients well. Pour over loaf before putting in oven.

Good luck with it!¬† I’ll let you know how mine comes out!¬† ūüôā

2. Jam, jelly, preserves, marmalade, fruit butter or butter. What’s on your toast or bread?

Smart Balance Omega 3¬† It’s really tasty and makes a great spread for toast — because it has olive oil in it!
3.  What’s your favorite Kellogg’s product?

Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Pop Tarts.¬† It’s not a cereal but it’s a breakfast food and I like them with milk!

4. Do you like liver? What about liverwurst?

No!  Yuck, yuck and double yuck!

I was just talking this morning about how important food is to me!¬† ūüôā¬†¬† I’m looking forward to trying out this noodle lasagna!