Posts Tagged ‘sesame chicken’

Finger Garlickin’ Good! – Sugoi Bento & Catering

April 1, 2007

Doesn’t allium sativum sound like some potent ingredient listed on the label of some dangerous cleaning ingredient? Well, it’s potent alright, but believe you-me, it’s far from dangerous. In fact, it’s wondrously edible and delectable at that, and there are three “just gotta” reasons to ingest this here allium sativum: 1) for its medicinal value(s), 2) the notion that it wards off evil and 3) Sugoi’s!

OK, ‘scuse the ambiguous opening paragraph. If you know exactly what I’m talking about, then you’re either a plant expert or a psychic. Either way, I should probably take a few steps back and attempt to clarify some thangs.

Allium Sativum is a species in the onion family, more commonly known by its recognized name of garlic. This tiny, but powerful bulb is used to prevent heart disease and improve the human immune system, and may even aid in cancer prevention. In addition, there is a superstition that says that if you wear garlic or hang it from notable locations (e.g. windows, doors, etc.), it will protect you from evil, vampires in particular.

The vague “Sugoi” reference in the paragraph (which, translates to “wow” or “great” or “awesome” in Japanese) actually eluded to Sugoi Bento & Catering, a popular plate lunch joint, whose specialty is… you got it, their garlic chicken.

[pause for gears in brain to start clicking]

Ahhh, all making sense now eh? Now that we’ve got that squared away, let’s profile “Sugoi” and their famous eats now shall we?

Sugoi sign
Sugoi sign

Located in the City Square Building in Kalihi, this local hotspot has been serving up lip-smackin’ chow to satisfied customers for nearly 7 years. Their #1 seller, by far, is their garlic chicken, which has won numerous awards, including the “Best Plate Lunch” in the annual Top 100 Restaurants on Oahu publication (Honolulu Advertiser) for 4 years in a row, “Best Chicken Plate Lunch” on the island by Lyle Galdeira’s “Cheap Eats” on KHNL News, 3rd Place for “Best Bento” in the 2006 Best of the Best awards (Honolulu Advertiser).

Sugoi's Awards Display
Sugoi’s Awards Display

They also won “Best Mochiko Chicken” honors by Chef Sam Choy and gained national notoriety when featured on two shows on the Food Network: “Secret Life Of… Luau” and “Surf and Turf.”

In other words, making up your mind on what to order there is, well, so easy a caveman can do it (sorry GEICO).

However, if you’ve got a hot date with a vampire tonight or garlic just ain’t your cup of tea, they’ve got a bevy of items to choose from off their sizeable menu.

Sugoi's Menu
Sugoi’s Menu

(! – If you’re not in the mood for garlic, but still want to get a feel for their delish chicken stylings, try one of their other prepared poultry options: spicy, mochiko or sesame. They are made the same way as the garlic chicken, without the need for a breath mint. My personal favorite is the sesame chicken in the bento.).

Sugoi's Sesame Chicken Bento - $7.45
Sugoi’s Sesame Chicken Bento – $7.45

Local boy Zachary Lee is the owner of this great/awesome/wow place, and his kind-hearted, appreciative, good nature is very refreshing. He’s probably going to kill me for publishing this part of our email conversation, but, I wanted to give you an idea of what kind of guy he is:

“That’s really nice of you to showcase Sugoi, I can’t thank you enough. I really like what I do, and it’s nice to see so many customers come to my restaurant, and leave with a happy experience. I try to create a positive environment with my staff, I really feel that is where it starts.”

Keep in mind that this wasn’t part of the interview. It was just informal chit-chat before the real deal. Makes you wanna give him a great big bearhug now don’t it? ๐Ÿ™‚

OK, all together now…

Awwww…

Zack Lee (far right) and his staff at Sugoi's
Zack Lee (far right) and his staff at Sugoi’s

Before you get all mushy on me/us, let’s continue with our interview.

We’re both baseball boys (he at McKinley and I at Kaiser) so he knew a lot of guys from my former team. You know, those who actually played. *grin* And, as I was writing this, a co-worker of mine randomly walked into my “office” and said “Eh, Zack! You know him too!? Cool guy yeah?” The point I’m trying to make is that this “cool” guy (who enjoys golfing, lifting weights, and collecting comics in his spare time) is well regarded and adorned by many.

On interview morning, Zack gave me a chance to try some items from his breakfast menu. I ordered the Two Eggs & (Fried) Rice with choice of Corn Beef Hash. The corn beef hash was prepared in a way I’ve never seen. Panko-crusted and deep fried. Sugoi!

Two Eggs & (Fried) Rice with choice of Corn Beef Hash - $5.50
Two Eggs & (Fried) Rice with choice of Corn Beef Hash – $5.50

Customer favorites also include the Hamburger Steak plate ($6.75), Short Ribs ($7.50) and Yakisoba plates (from $5.95). Zack also tells me that their original bottled sauces (launched in 2005) are doing well:

“These 16-ounce bottles are sealed air-tight, contain absolutely no MSG, and will stay fresh for 6 months! Sugoi sauces go great with anything you love to eat; steak, roasts and ribs, to chicken, duck, turkey and ham, or drizzled over oodles of noodles… even as a salad dressing.”

Sugoi's Bottled Sauce Display
Sugoi’s Bottled Sauce Display

You can find these bottled gems at Marukai, Chili in Hawaii, Star Market, Wholesale Unlimited, Pat’s Island Delights, Menehune Mac Factory, Chit Chat, Foodland, Times, and Sugoi’s as well as their web site: www.sugoihawaii.com (they ship to the mainland US every week). Speaking of their web site, you can also use it to preorder food (must be made at least 2 days in advance), check out their menu and catering prices, and even contact them electronically.

Sugoi’s future, according to Zack, is to expand the menu and bottled sauces, and improve on their current location. Zack would also like to thank all of Sugoi’s great customers for the support and thank the great employees that make up the team.

One more time now: Awwww!

So if you’ve never been to Sugoi Bento & Catering, why not give them a whirl? If you have, give them a return whirl. If this is one of your favorites, become a Whirling Dervish and give them many, repeat whirls. OK, that was lame, but you get the point. Go check um out a-ight?

If you need any more convincing, I’ve got three “just gotta” reasons for you my friends… 1) Wow, 2) Great and 3) Awesome!

Sugoi Bento & Catering
City Square Building
1286 Kalani St. #B-106
Honolulu, HI 96817 (map)
(808) 841-7984
Monday-Saturday 8AM-7PM
Sunday: Catering Only
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Kau Kau Kauai – Part 3

March 1, 2007

Part I | Part II | Part III

Well, we’ve finally made it gang. The 3rd and final part in our Kau Kau Kauai series. Please! Hold back your tears!

In part 1, we spanned the Garden Isle for favorites such as Tip Top Motel & Cafe, Waimea Brewing Company, and Jo Jo’s Shave Ice. The 2nd part of our series took us to Ono’s Family Restaurant, Hamura’s Saimin and Duke’s, among others! Now, we’ll round it all out with stops at such hotspots like the Cafe Hanalei Sunday Brunch, Brick Oven Pizza and Polynesia Cafe.

Those previous Kau Kau Kauai adventures were written under the pretense that you were visiting these places all in a day’s work, when in actuality, each and every one of the Kauai restaurants were visited over the course of many, many visits there. The mishmash was then somehow puzzled together to create a single piece supposedly taking place over the course of one day. If you were fooled, please accept my humble apology. If you were not, but played along anyway, please accept my humble gratitude.

In this final piece, there ain’t no hidin’ it. It’s going to be a feeble attempt at throwing in the best of the rest, if you will, so prepare yourself for multiple breakfasts, numerous lunches, many dinners and miscellaneous treats in between for good measure. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Conveniently located in the Coconut Marketplace in Kapa`a, Eggbert’s is not hard to find.

Eggbert's Sign
Eggbert’s Sign

Out front, they have a sign that boasts about their Loco Moco so guess what dis buggah just haaad to get.

Loco Moco from Eggbert's
Loco Moco from Eggbert’s

Out Honestly, the details are a bit fuzzy (I last visited there in October of 2005), but I do know that it wasn’t bad. As I’m sure with most of you, I only remember bad food experiences very vividly.

Eggbert’s Kauai Family Specialty Restaurant
Coconut Marketplace
4-484 Kuhio Highway
Kapa`a, Kauai, HI 96746 (map)
(808) 822-3787

There were no plans on eating at this next stop really, but after many visitor requests about this place in my previous column, I just had to check things out at Dani’s for myself.

Dani's Sign
Dani’s Sign

I had the $6 Corn Beef Hash with 2 eggs and rice special. The other options for this special were Rego’s Portuguese Sausage (instead of the corned beef hash) and toast or hash brown (instead of rice).

Now because momma always taught me that if I have nothing good to say, don’t say anything at all, I’ll just say that I enjoyed my other Kauai breakfast stops a lot more. I know this is a local favorite, but to me, the portions were quite small and tasted “canned”.

Corned Beef Hash with Two Eggs & Rice
Corned Beef Hash with Two Eggs & Rice

On the other hand, my eating partner Art enjoyed his $6.20 hamburger steak with scrambled eggs & rice combo.

Hamburger Steak with Scrambled Eggs & Rice
Hamburger Steak with Scrambled Eggs & Rice

Dani’s Restaurant
4201 Rice Street
Lihue, Kauai, HI 96766 (map)
(808) 245-4991

Full yet? I’m just getting started my dears. Let’s drive on up to the the Princeville Resort where, every Sunday, they have the popular Cafe Hanalei Sunday Brunch.

Cafe Hanalei Sunday Brunch

The menu and prices are noted as subject to change without notice, but on this occasion, it boasted the following:

Salads:

  • Kilauea Baby Greens with Assorted Dressings
  • Crisp Romaine Caesar Style
  • Chicken Pad Thai Noodle Salad
  • Hawaiian Sweet Potato Salad
  • Kailani Spinach and Chinese Duck Salad
  • Spicy Crab and Kimchee with Cucumber
  • Marinated Heart of Palm and Artichoke
  • Spicy Thai Beef Salad
  • Local Potato Macaroni Salad
  • Thai Style Ahi Tuna Poke

Miscellaneous Salad Items
Miscellaneous Salad Items

Chilled Seafood and Specialty Items:

  • Iced Seafood Display
  • Peel & Eat Shrimp, New Zealand Mussels and Dungeness Crab Legs
  • Horseradish Spiked Cocktail Sauce
  • Fresh Lemons
  • California Rolls with Wasabi and Pickled Ginger
  • Imported and Domestic Cheese Display
  • Assorted Water Crackers and Breads
  • Crisp Vegetable Crudite with Selection of Dips
  • Atlantic Smoked Salmon Display
  • Bagels and Cream Cheese with Red Onion and Capers
  • Grilled Marinated Vegetable Display

Dungeness Crab Legs
Dungeness Crab Legs

Entrรฉe:

  • Fresh Island Catch of the Day
  • Tossed Pasta of the Day
  • Eggs Benedict
  • Chef’s Brunch Potato
  • Carved Slow Roasted Beef
  • Wok Seared Kauai Prawns
  • Moloaa Tomato Bisque
  • Chinese Style Fried Rice
  • Crisp Bacon, Link and Portuguese Sausage
  • Stuffed Roasted Loin of Pork
  • Pancit Noodles with Crispy Asian Duck
  • Seasonal Local Vegetables
  • Chef’s Omelette Station

Chef's Omelette Station
Chef’s Omelette Station

Desserts:

  • Pastry Chef’s Dessert Display
  • Fresh Crepes with a Variety of Fillings
  • Sliced Island Fruits

Fresh Crepes with Cherries and Vanilla Ice Cream
Fresh Crepes with Cherries and Vanilla Ice Cream

As made obvious by my packed plate, I was a fan…

Just part of the damage I was doing to the buffet....
Just part of the damage I was doing to the buffet….

Though the food is good, the highlight of the Sunday Brunch is actually the view. (! – If you come at the right time and request to sit outside, you may be able to get a table with an amazing view…)

Your view from Cafe Hanalei
Your view from Cafe Hanalei

Cafe Hanalei
Sunday Brunch: 10AM-2PM
Princeville Resort
5520 Ka Haku Road
Princeville, Kauai, HI 96722 (map)
(808) 826-9644 – TEL
(808) 826-1166 – FAX

For the next two stops in our never ending day of gluttony, I have to apologize… Thumbing through my photo archives didn’t turn up many results in terms of usable pics. The Deli & Bread Connection, Inc. and Brick Oven Pizza are however, two stops that cannot go unmentioned.

Located in the Kukui Grove Shopping Center, this sandwich joint is always crowded during the lunch hour. They also sell fresh baked bread and, according to their business card, gourmet kitchenware as well.

Two different sandwiches from the Deli & Bread Connection, Inc.
Two different sandwiches from the Deli & Bread Connection, Inc.

Deli & Bread Connection, Inc.
Kukui Grove Shopping Center
3-2600 Kaumualii Highway #1005
Lihue, Kauai, HI. 96766 (map)
(808) 245-7115
(808) 245-3492 – FAX

Long revered as the best pizza on Kauai, Brick Oven Pizza sits conveniently off Kaumualii Highway in Kalaheo. These pizzas are hella fresh and homemade in their brick hearth.

Pepperoni and mushroom pizza from Brick Oven Pizza
Pepperoni and mushroom pizza from Brick Oven Pizza

Brick Oven Pizza
2-2555 Kaumualii Hwy
Kalaheo, Kauai, HI 96741 (map)
(808) 332-8561
Tues-Sunday 11AM-10PM
Closed on Mondays

While we’re here, we might as well cross the street and continue our foodfest at the Kalaheo Cafe & Coffee Co.

Kalaheo Cafe & Coffee Co. Sign
Kalaheo Cafe & Coffee Co. Sign

Not only do they serve delicious coffee from the wee hours of the morning, they also offer fresh baked breads and serve up a healthy menu for lunch and dinner. On this occasion, I ordered up their special of the day: Eggs scrambled with roasted veggies & a tiger shrimp seafood mix, topped with hollandaise sauce & served with hash browns & toast for $10.25.

Eggs scrambled with roasted veggies & a tiger shrimp seafood mix, topped with hollandaise sauce & served with hash browns & toast for $10.25.
Eggs scrambled with roasted veggies & a tiger shrimp seafood mix, topped with hollandaise sauce & served with hash browns & toast for $10.25.

Kalaheo Cafe & Coffee Co.
2-2560 Kaumualii Hwy
Kalaheo, HI. 96741 (map)
(808) 332-5858
(808) 332-5868 FAX
(800) 255-0137 Toll Free
Email: javatalk@kalaheo.com
Open daily from 6:30AM-2:30PM
Dinners are Wed-Sat from 5:30 PM

We’ve finally reached the end of the road gang. Our last stop in this journey of Kauai Kau Kau takes us back north to the city of Hanalei. Located just inside the main entrance of the Ching Young Village Shopping Center, Polynesia Cafe is one of those pleasant surprises you won’t find very often. Billing themselves as gourmet food on paper plates, this little surfer’s-style cafe delivers on that mantra.

Entrance to Polynesia Cafe
Entrance to Polynesia Cafe

Their menu is chock-full of gourmet entrees like Mac-Nut Herb Crusted Ahi or Thai Tofu & Veggie, salads, sandwiches and a variety of Mexican dishes. They even had a dessert case filled with tasty looking delights.

Dessert case at Polynesia Cafe
Dessert case at Polynesia Cafe

On this occasion, we ordered up Sesame Chicken and Chicken Quesadilla and a Lemon Bar for good measure for dessert.

On the menu, the Sesame Chicken was defined as “orange ginger glaze with curry batter” and went for $9.95. It came with mixed veggies and was served over a bed of rice.

Sesame Chicken - orange ginger glaze with curry batter for $9.95
Sesame Chicken – orange ginger glaze with curry batter for $9.95

The Chicken Quesadilla went for $8.95 and came with rice, beans and condiments for the quesadilla.

Chicken Quesadilla from Polynesia Cafe for $8.95
Chicken Quesadilla from Polynesia Cafe for $8.95

I don’t quite recall how much the lemon bar was, but lemme tell ya, it was worth every fattening bite!

Lemon Bar from Polynesia Cafe
Lemon Bar from Polynesia Cafe

Polynesia Cafe
Ching Young Village Shopping Center
5300 Ka Haku Road
Hanalei, HI 96714 (map)
(808) 826-1999

…Annnnd I’m spent!

So there you have it! The season finale, the fairytale ending, the photo finish… You won’t ever have to hear the words “Kau Kau Kauai” and “World Wide Ed” in the same sentence anymore… Well, at least until I work on the prequels. *grin*

Much love for hanging in there with me gang. It was fun! Now… to work on “Munchy Maui” and “Broke Da Mout’ Big Island!” ๐Ÿ˜‰

Part I | Part II | Part III