Posts Tagged ‘Jo Jo’s Clubhouse’

Kau Kau Kauai

September 1, 2006

Part I | Part II | Part III

OK, so you guys aren’t big on exercise… I get it.

My attempt to foray from my usual food-related columns to an “outdoorsy”-type last month garnered five measly comments all month (four in the last half of the month). It got just as much action as one of my nerdy, computer related pieces before I transitioned to the grindz.

Well, it’s either that, or you are madly in love with me and all of my columns and are just more vocal about the ones with the eats. Yeah, I like that excuse… I think we’ll use it!

OK, you little democratic peeps, you have spoken. Starting this month (and continuing for at least another month or two), I will be covering some of your favorite eateries from our Garden Isle… Kauai.

For one reason or another, I’ve been making many, many trips to the island of Kauai in recent history. Whether it be for business, a wedding at the spectacular Princeville or just for the sheer heck of it, your boy has been racking up the mean mileage. But whatever the occasion, I made sure to equip myself with the trusty camera to capture the moments in time and food for y’all.

To make the most of your day, I would suggest booking an early AM flight to Lihue (if you’re a resident of Kauai, just meet us at the airport and we’ll go get breakfast together). Since we’ll be arriving early, it’ll be perfect timing to pick up our car and head north towards the nearby, and local favorite Tip Top Motel & Cafe.

Tip Top Motel & Cafe Sign
Tip Top Motel & Cafe Sign

Paraphrasing a bit from their pamphlet, here’s a little history on the gem that has been serving the people of Kauai for more than 85 years:

Tip Top originally started as a Cafe & Bakery in November of 1916 by Denjiro Ota, and soon starting baking and delivering fresh bread island wide. In 1925, Denjiro’s creative son Mitchell the took over the business where he introduced pastries, pies and other baked goods that were to become the mainstay of the business. One is the famous pancake recipe which is still used today and another is the Macadamia Nut cookie which was the first Macnut cookie made in Hawaii.

In 1965, Mitchell moved the business a half mile to its present location and built a restaurant, bakery, 34 room motel and a bar. In 1989, Mitchell passed away at the age of 85, leaving the business in the hands of his 30 year old grandson Jonathan, the 4th generation of Otas to run the business.

Tip Top is known for their famous banana/macadamia pancakes, Macadamia nut cookies, and their best seller, the Oxtail soup, but since we’re here for breakfast, let’s get eatin’!

(! – As always, get here early or come during semi-off-peak hours as it’s always crowded, though I’ve been here twice and there was no wait on both occasions…)

Tip Top Cafe morning crowd
Tip Top Cafe morning crowd

Rather than the traditional hand over the shoulder technique, the wait help at Tip Top cutely rolls your order to you on a tray on wheels type contraption.

Meal on wheels
Meal on wheels

On this occasion, we skipped the popular banana/macadamia pancakes and went straight for the hefty items, scrambled eggs, corn beef hash & hash brown, and Loco Moco.

Corn beef hash and eggs with hash brown
Corn beef hash and eggs with hash brown

Loco Moco
Loco Moco

Yum! Another successful morning at Tip Top. Next stop… Waimea Brewing Company.

Tip Top Motel & Cafe
3173 Akahi Street
Lihue, HI 96766 (map)
(808) 245-2333
Open 6:30am-10pm Daily
tiptop@aloha.net

Now that we’ve got the most important meal of the day in our tummies, we should be energized to do something that involves exercise. What do you say? Yeah, I know, not your cup of tea, but c’mon, we’re on vacation! We’re supposed to be doing activities galore. OK, ok, what if I promise more good eats afterwards? I knew I’d getcha with that! 🙂

So let’s head west and do the touristy thing by checking out the Waimea Canyon Lookout.

Waimea Canyon Lookout sign
Waimea Canyon Lookout sign

Since this is a column on food, I’m not going to get too deep into describing the canyon (you can Google it and find all the info you need), but we do have time to kill until lunch, so let’s just pretend you’re with me on this virtual tour of sorts a-ight? 😉

Waimea Canyon lookout
Waimea Canyon lookout

Whew! What a drive huh? And how about that view? I bet you’re hungry for lunch now huh? Well, I’ve got just the place for you! Let’s hit the “World’s Westernmost Brewpub”, the Waimea Brewing Company Restaurant.

Waimea Brewing Company sign
Waimea Brewing Company sign

The Waimea Brewing Company is the self-proclaimed, westernmost pub in the world. To get here, you would drive down that exhausting, winding Waimea Canyon Road, and, instead of turning left to head back towards town, you’d actually take a right (at the West Kauai Technology & Visitor Center). Waimea Brewing Co. will be on your left.

Now I’m not condoning mid-day alcohol consumption by any means, but if you’re a beer connoisseur, you’d enjoy the home-brewed beers at this place, especially after being out in the sun for the past few hours.

Beer at Waimea Brewing Co.

The menu is quite extensive, ranging from pupus like Mango-stout BBQ Ribs and flash fried calamari rings, to entrees like “Jawaiian” Chicken and Coconut Prawns, to burgers to desserts. And this does not include their large drink menu too. On this occasion, I figured the best thing to go with my booze was their “Hawaiian Burger”, a 1/2 pound Angus burger with a thick slice of fresh pineapple & teriyaki sauce served on an onion bun.

The Hawaiian Burger, a 1/2 pound Angus burger with a thick slice of fresh pineapple & teriyaki sauce served on an onion bun
The Hawaiian Burger, a 1/2 pound Angus burger with a thick slice of fresh pineapple & teriyaki sauce served on an onion bun.

Waimea Brewing Company
9400 Kaumuali`i Highway
Waimea, Kauai HI, 96796 (map)
(808) 338-9733
Sunday- Thursday – 11am to 9pm
Friday – Saturday – 11am to 11pm
info@waimeabrewing.com

With our big ol’ bellies, let’s head back to town and see what else we can stuff our faces with. In my July column on Shave Ice, I mentioned Jo Jo’s Clubhouse, a popular Shave Ice hut along Kaumuali`i Highway. Since it’s on our way back, why not eh?

Jo Jo's Clubhouse
Jo Jo’s Clubhouse

Jo Jo’s Clubhouse
Mile Marker 23, Kaumualii Highway (Hwy. 50)
Waimea, Hawaii 96796 (map)
(808) 635-7615

Other notable, but highly touristy stops on the way back are the Kauai Kookie Kompany (1-3529 Kaumuali`i Highway, Hanapepe, Kauai, HI. 96716. Open M-F from 8am-4pm, and Sat and Sun from 9am-4pm. Call 1-800-361-1126 for more info), Kauai Coffee Company (Just past Eleele, on Kaumuali`i Highway, as you head toward Poipu. Open seven days a week from 9am-5pm. Call (808) 335-0813 for more info) and the Kauai Chocolate Company (Port Allen Marina Center – 4341 Waialo Road, Eleele, HI 96705. Call (808) 335-0448 for more info).

OK, so we’ve got some time to kill before dinner. What do you feel like doing? Hit Poipu Beach for some fun in the sun? Do a little shopping in Old Koloa Town? How about we split up and meet back in Kapa`a at around 6PM? Cool? Cool!

*some time later…*

OK gang. Welcome back! Did you have a good time? What’s say we hit up this joint called Lemongrass Grill Seafood & Sushi Bar?

Lemongrass Grill Seafood & Sushi Bar

Lemongrass Grill Seafood & Sushi Bar is a fairly newer establishment in the quaint little town of Kapa`a. The usual hotspot for sushi here is local favorite Kintaro’s, but to be quite honest, I liked the sushi from Lemongrass a lot better (sorry Kintaro fans!).

Editor’s Note: It was recently reported that Lemongrass Grill no longer serves sushi. I called them and they confirmed this. If anyone knows why, please use the Comment Field below to discuss.

With a menu that hinted towards influences from Japan (sushi) and Italy (pasta), the main theme (including restaurant design) was definitely Thai.

On this occasion, we started with the Asian Marinated Chicken Satay for our appetizer, and threw in a couple of sushi handrolls – the Volcano Roll (masago & katsuo bushi on a California roll with a special spicy sauce) and the Spider Roll (deep fried soft shell crab with cucumber) – for good measure.

Note: apologies for the color clarity on these photos, but the lighting at Lemongrass was not all that bright.

Asian Marinated Chicken Satay - served with green papaya salad, crispy fried noodle and spicy peanut sauce for $7.50
Asian Marinated Chicken Satay – served with green papaya salad, crispy fried noodle and spicy peanut sauce for $7.50

Volcano Roll - masago & katsuo bushi on a California roll with a special spicy sauce for $6.75
Volcano Roll – masago & katsuo bushi on a California roll with a special spicy sauce for $6.75

Spider Roll - deep fried soft shell crab with cucumber for $11.50
Spider Roll – deep fried soft shell crab with cucumber for $11.50

We then moved on to our main dishes of Guava Glazed BBQ Ribs and Sauteed Shrimp with Penne Pasta.

Guava Glazed BBQ Ribs - Baby back ribs cooked just right, basted with our guava BBQ sauce, garlic mashed potatoes, and corn on the cob for $17.50
Guava Glazed BBQ Ribs – Baby back ribs cooked just right, basted with our guava BBQ sauce, garlic mashed potatoes, and corn on the cob for $17.50

Sauteed Shrimp with Penne Pasta - A garlic white wine broth garnished with capers and tomatoes for $21
Sauteed Shrimp with Penne Pasta – A garlic white wine broth garnished with capers and tomatoes for $21

Lemongrass Grill Seafood & Sushi Bar
4-885 Kuhio Highway
Kapa`a, Kauai, HI 96746 (map)
Tel: (808) 821-2888 or (808) 822-2288
Fax: (808) 822-1221

As mentioned before, an alternative in close proximity to Lemongrass is the local favorite Kintaro Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Bar (4-370 Kuhio Highway). Another somewhat new establishment is Wahooo (not misspelled) Seafood Grill & Bar, but I did not have a good experience there (rude host, costly and questionable food).

So we’ve gone an entire day with breakfast in Lihue, lunch and a sweet snack out in Waimea, and dinner in Kapa`a, and are almost ready to head back to our crib (hotel or otherwise) for some shut eye. Before we hit the hay though, let’s go for a little nightcap at a local hangout called the Lizard Lounge Bar & Grill in the Waipouli Town Center in Kapa`a.

Lizard Lounge Bar & Grill

With dart boards, video games, pool tables and a full bar, hanging out for hours at the Lizard Lounge is not hard to do. They’re open nightly until 2am. Go check um out!

Lizard Lounge Bar & Grill
Waipouli Town Center
4-771 Kuhio Highway
Kapa`a, Kauai, HI 96746 (map)
Tel: (808) 821-2205
Email: lizardlounge@kauai.com

OK, now we’re really ready for some shut eye. Let’s get our rest so we can start early tomorrow morning (a.k.a. next month’s column) for more eating adventures in Kauai.

No worries gang… I haven’t forgotten about the local favorites like Hamura’s Saimin, Brick Oven Pizza, Ono’s Family Restaurant, and much more! We’ll see each other “bright and early” to cover those and many more in Kau Kau Kauai Part 2.

Part I | Part II | Part III

Shave Ice Ice Baby

July 1, 2006

Something fishy is definitely going on here… The airports have been bustling with college folk and local eateries and nightclubs are a’ bumpin’. You’re no longer alone at the beaches and malls, and there’s an unusually large amount of parties and family functions to get to. And let’s not ignore the fact that you’re sweating profusely like Kalua pig at a luau. Yep gang… like Bell Biv Devoe’s Poison, Summer is in full effect!

So what should we do this summer as the sun torches down on us and parches our tender little, post-winter throats? Nothing. The weather hasn’t changed here in Hawaii since, like, forever silly.

But seriously… Let’s just say, you know, hypothetically, that we were coming out of one of our coldest “winters” ever. Brrrr… And this “Spring” thing also did a number on us. Wouldn’t we be looking forward to Mr. Sun showing his adorable face to us and defrosting our buns? Wouldn’t you be craving a refreshing, beverage-ish snack, that’s both an island favorite and a tourist attraction all the same?

Say no more. The Ed is here to help you.

Shave Ice, as it’s known here in the islands (not snow cones or shaved ice), is the perfect summertime treat to quench one’s thirst buds after a long, hot day in the sun. Yes, it is a bit cliché, but you have to admit, gathering a bunch of friends to laugh and gossip and share small kid time stories, while lapping up this magical frozen water/syrup-py concoction is still good times.

One such place that specializes in this delicacy is the original Waiola Store, located on the corner of Pa`ani and, of course, Waiola.

Corner of Pa`ani and Waiola
Corner of Pa`ani and Waiola

Hidden on an inconspicuous road, and nestled in between homes in a quiet neighborhood, this island favorite sits peacefully on the corner, as sweets-seeking patrons stop by.

Waiola Store
Waiola Store

(! – Not to be confused with Waiola Bakery & Shave Ice, located on Kapahulu Avenue. For purposes of this review, I’ll be sticking to the O.G. – Original Gem – Waiola Store that got it all started)

Waiola Store actually started as a small convenience store, selling miscellaneous knickknacks like sodas, chips, crack seed and frozen goods many moons ago.

Inside Waiola Store
Inside Waiola Store

It wasn’t until they started gaining popularity as a shave ice selling hotspot that they really took off. Now, you can’t find a day when the crowd inside the store compares to the line outside near their specially created shave ice side window.

Shave Ice window at Waiola Store
Shave Ice window at Waiola Store

Waiola’s, as they are endearingly referred to as, is known for their finely shaved ice. You won’t find the rock-hard chunks of ice here. They also offer a vast menu selection with unique flavors and add-ons that you may not see at other shave ice specialty stores. Unique add-ons like mochi balls, li hing mui seeds, lilikoi cream and chocolate syrup.

Waiola Store's ecclectic menu
Waiola Store’s ecclectic menu

On this occasion, I didn’t get too complicated. I just ordered a small cup with mochi balls and condensed milk… strawberry flavor.

The famous Waiola shave ice
The famous Waiola shave ice

(! – That’s something I forgot to mention. If you’re new at this shave ice ordering thing, the flavor should be the least of your worries. To fit in like you’ve been doing this for years, be sure to order your size and add-ons first. This way, they can start preparing it for you. The flavored syrup is added last and, as such, you would order that last.)

Waiola Store
2135 Waiola Street
Honolulu, HI 96826 (map)
(808) 949-2269

Waiola Bakery & Shave Ice
525 Kapahulu Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96815 (map)
(808) 735-8886

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The Island Snow store in Kailua serves up shave ice alongside of their collection of surf/snow/street apparel. It’s a popular stop for those going to one of the many beautiful beaches on the Windward side, Lanikai being my favorite.

Island Snow sign
Island Snow sign

In addition to being able to buy their name brand apparel at the same time as your treat, Island Snow has a few other unique features when it comes to their shave ice flavors. They have catchy names that turn ordinary-sounding flavors into exciting ones. Godzilla Grape, Kuulei Coconut, Da-Kine Lemon Lime and Kailua Coffee to name a few. They also set up their colorful collection of syrups above a lighted counter-top, much like you’d find your assortment of drinks at a fancy nightclub or contemporary bar.

Island Snow flavors
Island Snow flavors

This time, I ordered a regular with no ice cream… Pali Lilikoi & Wacky Watermelon combo. Pretty big eh?

Island Snow shave ice
Island Snow shave ice

(! – All shave ice treats from Island Snow include up to 3 flavors & a scoop of ice cream, unless you don’t want it.)

Island Snow – Kailua
Kailua Beach Center
130 Kailua Road
Kailua, HI 96734 (map)
(808) 263-6339

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What’s a conversation about shave ice in Hawaii without mention of the world famous M. Matsumoto Grocery Store in Haleiwa town, otherwise known as Matsumoto’s Shave Ice?

M. Matsumoto Grocery Store sign
M. Matsumoto Grocery Store sign

Matsumoto’s has the richest history and gets the largest media coverage of any shave ice store in the state and perhaps the world. And though there are many naysayers who claim that Waiola’s or even Haleiwa neighbor Aoki’s is better, you can’t question Matsumoto’s popularity.

Like Waiola Store, Matsumoto’s started as (and continues to be) a convenience-type store. Though, these days, most of their products caters to the tourist and shave ice crowd (sun tan lotion, hats, logo apparel, beachwear, snacks, etc.).

The menu looks like the same one they’ve had since they opened, and the prices seemed to have stayed the same as well. Just $1.30 for a small! Over the years, they’ve attached little one-piecers as they’ve added new flavors like mango, lychee and melona. Funny, but cute. A reminder of the mom and pops feel still present here.

Matsumoto's menu
Matsumoto’s menu

The equipment they use looks quite heavy duty. Is that an industrial strength motor? Wowsers!

Matsumoto's shave ice machines
Matsumoto’s shave ice machines

The photo from my friend’s shave ice came out nicer, so we’ll show it instead of mine. She ordered a vanilla/cotton candy combo FYI.

Matsumoto's shave ice
Matsumoto’s shave ice

(! – Be careful of the killah bees when eating outside. They usually swarm around the trash can slurping on the sweet juices. I’ve never been stung, but you never know… Just be sure you’re not in the area when they are hungry!)

M. Matsumoto Grocery Store
66-087 Kamehameha Highway
Haleiwa, Hawaii 96712 (map)
(808) 637-4827

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Other notable shave ice joints around the state:

Jo Jo’s Clubhouse – Waimea (Kauai)
On the way to or coming back from the long drive to/from Waimea Canyon, you’ll see the bright sign of Jo Jo’s from Kaumualii Highway.

Jo Jo's Clubhouse
Jo Jo’s Clubhouse

Jo Jo’s Clubhouse
Mile Marker 23, Kaumualii Highway (Hwy. 50)
Waimea, Hawaii 96796 (map)
(808) 635-7615

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Itsu’s Fishing Supplies Inc. – Hilo (Big Island)
Known to the locals as “ice shave”, Itsu’s serves up this winner alongside of local style plate lunches, in addition to doubling as as a fishing supplies store.

Itsu's Fishing Supplies, Inc. (Photo by Nancy Vereze)
Itsu’s Fishing Supplies, Inc. (Photo by Nancy Vereze)

Itsu’s Fishing Supplies Inc.
810 Piilani Street
Hilo, HI. 96720 (map)
(808) 935-8082

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Scandinavian Shaved Ice, Inc. – Kailua-Kona (Big Island)
Across from the Palace in town, this shaved ice has ice cream in the middle. (Mahalo for the info Wendy & Jay!)

Scandinavian Shaved Ice, Inc. (Photo courtesy jatbar.com)
Scandinavian Shaved Ice, Inc. (Photo courtesy jatbar.com)

Scandinavian Shaved Ice, Inc.
75-5699 Alii Drive
Kailua-Kona, HI. 96740 (map)
(808) 331-1626

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Tasaka Guri Guri Shop – Maui Mall, Kahului (Maui)
Yeah, I know, this is not really shave ice, but we can’t pass up the chance to mention this famous sweet, sweet, juice, soda and condensed milk concoction can we???

Noelle, Kelvin, Hillary, myself, Grant and Shari outside of Tasaka Guri Guri
Noelle, Kelvin, Hillary, myself, Grant and Shari outside of Tasaka Guri Guri

Tasaka Guri Guri Shop
70 E Kaahumanu Avenue
Kahului, HI 96732 (map)
(808) 871-4513

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I know I’ve missed tons of your favorites from around the state. I guess that’s what you get for keeping me cooped up all day here in Mililani. Sorry dudes and dudettes, but be sure to let me have it by posting your favorite shave ice (or any sweets) hotspot in the comments section below. Now stop reading this and get back out there and enjoy your summer won’tcha?