Snow. Shaved. Where the Throne Stands.

Pa Pa Walk oh man this review is long overdue. This is a Taiwanese Cafe with the best shaved snow (that I'd tried). My friends, better half and I cannot get enough of this place. Their food is decent, has a very home-like feel. Nothing super salty. Their popcorn chicken is delicious. Anyway, this entry is about the dang snowy (because that's what Pa Pa Walk calls it). Soft snowy goodness it is. I have tried all the flavors on the menu and the only one I don't really care too much for is Milk Tea ... only because you can drink it. Yes, the snowy tastes almost exactly like the black milk tea beverage.
Look at the texture, not sheets of snow like Class 302 or La Kaffa. Much finer, softer, delicious. This is a large Mango Snowy (milk flavored snow) with condensed milk mangoes, almond jello/tofu, and rice balls. Most of the time when we come here we order two types but when we're full we'll just order one.
Small Mango Snowy. Cute little cup. Delicious, as always. The mangoes are so fresh every time we order. I bet they captured a Mango Picking Fairy or something because these mangoes are good and plentiful. None of that canned sour mango tiny bits bull crap. Real deal is here.
Green Tea Snowy with condensed milk, boba, rice balls, green tea ice cream and sugar cone. I'm not sure why there is a sugar cone but there is. I don't recall if they serve it with this anymore because the first picture with the square plate is what I think they use now. Before they had this mostly looking leaf plate with the sugar cone. I don't know but it's so good. Enough talking (and reading for you), just go to Pa Pa Walk and devour this soft cold goodness.

Pa Pa Walk
227 W. Valley Blvd., Suite 148-B
San Gabriel, CA 91776

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Snow. Shaved. Journey Still Continues.

The infamous Class 302. This place is way over-hyped. Is it good? The food sucks. The shaved snow is pretty good. They don't skimp out on the toppings of the snow itself. If you don't live in the San Gabriel area I would say come to Class, otherwise Pa Pa Walk will hold the throne for snow.

I personally think Class only has good milk snow. Their mango snow is disgustingly sweet. The green tea is okay but has a strong green tea powdery taste. Not sure if you know what I'm talking about but if you can just imagine crappy green tea ice cream, the type that leaves your tongue with the strange bitter grainy tea taste. This milk snow is huge. If I'm not in the mood for mangoes I just get an all strawberry one. It's good.

The bad thing about this place is the wait and environment. Long ridiculous waits, especially in the summer. Environment: I suppose you can call it cute since they're following the whole classroom theme. The downfall of following this to the dot is how uncomfortable it is. Did you hate your stiff plastic crap chair in school? Well they're bringing back the old school wooden desks and chairs. If you have no ass and find it difficult filling the rear of your pants I'm pretty sure you won't mind but if you got some meat in your trunk you will find this place irritatingly painful. The other issue: the small (for some). Do you hate stinky tofu? Then if you sit indoors you will throw up and throw up again. Those stenches are incubating in that establishment. Besides that go there and try the snow!

Class 302
1015 S. Nogales St.
Rowland Heights, CA 91748

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Snow. Shaved. Journey Continues.

La Kaffa in Rowland Heights. This place is pretty close to Class 302 and a huge plus about this Cafe is that it is not as busy as Class so on busy day you might only have to wait ten minutes for seats. The good? Their milk snow is comparable. Their green tea snow is a little better than Class 302. The bad: the toppings. Bleh. Canned! Canned! Horrible.
You only get to choose two toppings and condensed milk is one of them ... so essentially you get one canned topping. The mangoes were sour and painful to take down. The snow is good though. If Class 302 is friggen busy then you come here.

Is this place worth it? Yeah I guess but only if you don't want to wait for Class 302. Personally, waiting 45 - 60 minutes vs. not much of a wait to get (generally) what you're craving then that's fine. 

La Kaffa
17883-D Colima Rd.
City of Industry, CA 91714

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Snow. Shaved. First Part of the Journey.

Oh Pa Pa Walk, how we enjoy your shaved snow so much. There's so many shaved snow establishments now. Fluff Ice, which is utter crap. La Kaffa, eh. Boiling Point, alright. Class 302, not too bad but only certain flavors are good. I'll break down why I like Pa Pa Walk last by going through these to explain each.

Fluff Ice. Looks like a Yogurtland brother except it's shaved snow instead. They have a bunch of flavors and you get to choose a couple toppings. My friend and I decided to try this in Monterey Park when it was fairly new. I do not care how new or old an eatery can be but dang, how in the world did they manage to convince themselves this trash in the form of ice would sell?

It's like shaved ice and shave snow had a reject child. Horrible texture. Horribly, heavy artificial taste. Oh my goodness slap me for wasting $5. Cute little cup right? Plentiful toppings ... canned crap moosh. Disappointing and to make matters worse they strategically place all the rubbish over the snow so you will not figure out how unappealing it is. Thumbs down. Please make sure to take off your pants and defecate in front of their store for producing such waste.

Even if your life depends on shaved snow do not come here. Wow this place is the sucks.

Fluff Ice
500 N. Atlantic Blvd.
Monterey Park, CA 91745

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Chain. Cheesesteak Comfort.

Okay, to start off I've never been to Philadelphia. I'm not sure what a Philly Cheesesteak is supposed to taste like. Don't take me as someone who is a good judge of this infamous sandwich. What I can say though is out of the chain Philly Cheesesteak joints, my favorite is Great Steak & Potatoes. Not all of them either though. There's ones in particular where the owners and cooks season the meat as it's cooking to add the extra pizzazz to it.
This particular Great Steak in Richmond had Chili Cheese Fries on the menu. I wish I knew they use the cheese goop instead of real cheese because if I knew this information prior, I definitely would not have ordered it. Meh, pass on this weak side.
We don't get anything special. Just the regular Cheesesteak with everything on it. Is it the best thing in the world? Nope. Is it good? Yep. Is it great? Depends if I'm craving it. Nothing great, but try it out if you haven't before.

Great Steak
2439 Hilltop Mall Rd.
San Pablo, CA 94806

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Pastries. Breakfast. Near Airport.

Yeah there were some pastries that Sam Sato's is known for but to be honest we strangely did not have the appetite for the baked goods once we finished. This place was located in an industrial like part of the city. I was a little confused in the beginning because we just saw a bunch of office buildings. Ma & Pa type joint. Nice folks. So anyway, onto the food:
Eh, I'm going to be honest I do not remember exactly what everything was called. But I assume this was dry saimin/ramen with the broth/soup on the side. Add as much or as little as you'd like. We liked the broth a lot but didn't want to get the noodles soggy so we just dipped and double dipped a lot. I'll be honest, this dish was nothing too special but there was this comfortable homemade taste making you want to eat up the whole bowl.
Beef Yakitori Stick. Yeah, about the barbequed beef stick. The meat was tough and reminded me a lot of beef jerky. If I wanted jerky I'd have to say this is good but in terms of yakotori eh. I thought we got more food but I guess not. There were other things on the menu we didn't get a chance to try but stay away from the little meat sticks. Nothing special, I wouldn't recommend it. There's other things in the area but if you want some little fruit turnover pies, small pastries, and some home eating drop by.

Sam Sato's
1750 Will Pa Loop
Wailuku, HI 96793

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Fusion. Carbs. Yum.

Very very delayed post! My Better Half has been visiting on and off the past couple weeks so we've been trying new eateries and I always decide to put off the posts so I won't have to be exhausted at work. Either that or I'm just spending time with her. Which means readers, such as yourself, must anxiously wait (yeah right!) for an update. So back to Maui since I still have not finished. If only our vacation there was as long as it's taking me to finish the series of posts. Haha. So anyway, thank goodness for the Internet because sometimes it's hard to find good things to eat. We found Star Noodle. Not too far from our hotel but the restaurant is located in a very strange, industrial area. Reminds me of Sugar Rush in Walnut because that's a small restaurant, which is also located in an industrial zone.
Here's a picture of the little sign outside. Yum. We came back to the restaurant twice so I'll just consolidate the postings and show everything we tried. Why post for two days anyway? Readers (whoever you might be) will get upset I'm wasting their precious time.
Garlic Noodles. Oh yum. Ever had garlic noodles from Yardhouse? It's like that but more garlic flavor, better, firmer (al dente), thinner noodles. It's quite yummy. The fried garlic has a very good, non-bitter taste because overcooked garlic can leave a bad taste in the food (and on your tongue). Love it. Garlic is very apparent and it is nom nom nom.
Garlic Steak. Mmmm, we tossed the meat in with the noodles and it was an awesome pairing. Don't dump too much of the sauce in unless you really enjoy sodium. Haha. Man it was so good and I love dishes that come out on hot sizzling plates. They're fun and it helps keep the food hot. The meat was tender, good Asian flavor to it and fried garlic topped over the dish. Garlic + Garlic. Oh yes, awesome.
Pohole Salad. These dishes below are what we ordered on the second trip to Star Noodles. This is made with a local vegetable, Hana Fiddle Head Fern. The vegetable is delivered from the East end of Maui. From Hana if you did not gather than from the name of the vegetable. I'm not sure how to describe this vegetable. It's sort of looks like cut string beans but has a more chewy texture. With the addition of the little leafy ends it's like al dente string bean mixed with ... yeah I don't even know, leafy stuff. It required a good amount of chewing but it's good. Both of us did not care much for the little shrimp but the tomato was a good addition. A very fresh tasting salad lightly tossed in soy sauce. We gobbled this thing up pretty quick.
Fried Saimin. This dish was very very light in taste. Fish cakes, egg, spam, bean sprouts. I think this dish uses spam instead of having to add too much salt or soy sauce. My Better Half did not think anything much of this dish but don't get me wrong, it did not suck. The garlic noodles stood out more in my opinion.
Steamed Pork Buns. This is like Chinese Steamed Bun with Roasted Duck dish. Was it good? Yeah of course it was pretty tasty, but there was a little bit too much hoisin sauce which made it salty. This is one of those things you could get in LA so unless you're craving this during your time in Maui, I think it would be safe to say you could skip this.
Chicken Yakitori. Very saucy. Tender chicken of course but my Better Half and I thought we could have passed on this too. When I go to new places I like to do stupid stuff and order excessive amounts of food. Then we have a bunch of leftovers we end up not eating later because I'm still ordering a lot of rubbish at other new places. I'm a bit stupid like that.
Malasadas. Fried Donut pretty much. At first bite it was quite good because it just came out of the fryer. But, I'll have to say I only tried this because I love donuts. I didn't care much for the sauces it came with because the butterscotch tasted more like butter (not the good sweet butter). The chocolate sauce was semi-sweet, which is what I enjoy. I ended up having to use the chocolate sauce to try and consume the remainder of the donuts since they were becoming a bit tough. For the most part though, I wish I tried a different dessert. Donuts always get me. Darn.

I cannot recommend this place enough. The service was great, waitresses were always explaining the dishes to customers if they look confused or seem new. Very attentive, friendly, helpful people at the establishment. The environment is nice because it's Asian contemporary (to match the type of food) and has a very comfortable, social, get-together-with-close-friends feel to it. I could imagine it gets quite noisy during the weekends but why would that stop anyone from eating good food. Price-wise, I guess I could say it's a little bit on the pricey side but the portions match the price and so does the flavor.

Star Noodle
286 Kupuohi St.
Lahaina, HI 96761

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Favorite. Breakfast by the Sea.

Oh man oh man do I enjoy breakfast. Get some sun in the morning, take in the fresh air. Only thing better is being next to the ocean, enjoying the scene and consuming some morning grub. My Better Half and I decided to try out this place for breakfast/brunch. The Gazebo. I do not recall the exact time we got there but we ended up waiting a good ... 30 minutes or so but I think if they had a large location (not in the back of a hotel), then they would be able to seat more people. The cooks and waitresses were just going at it, non-stop, dish after dish. Busy bees they were. We loved this place, it's worth the 30-45 minute wait, I think. Nice people, nice breeze, good food, big portions. Loved it. I think we came here twice during our trip. We wanted to go again but there were just a lot of other places to try. Next time we're in Maui, we'll be here.
French Toast. I like French Toast a lot. Their French Toast something you must get if you're remotely interested in the dish. Not soggy, not too sweet, great with the regular Maple Syrup and great with their Coconut Syrup. I didn't have too much of the Coconut Syrup to be honest because I don't like coconuts that much. Haha. Oh this was good, my mouth is salivating just staring at the picture.
Fried Rice with Spam. Okay, this definitely is not a normal breakfast or brunch dish but I saw a couple other people order this. It's massive (and this is the half order). Big enough to feed four normal people with normal appetites. Was it good? Yes! Nice and dry but still moist because wet fried rice would just be awful. I wish there was more egg chunks mixed in except for being on top but that's fine, presentation is a little better. Taste, not too strong in anything to be honest. Everything was faint except the pepper, that was distinct. After adding a couple dashes of salt throughout, a lot of the flavors were brought out. I suspect they refrained from excess salt and just leave the sodium compensation up to the Spam so it's fine but you know how there's times when you won't always get a piece of Spam on your spoon.
Got this for my Better Half for the side. Their country hash was pretty good. We opted for the sausage patties because we tried the links last time and they're good but why not try other things? Patty had a more robust burnt in taste. You know when fat & flavor get burned onto the outside? Yeah the good "cancerous" stuff. The one where you look at and debate whether you want the awesome flavor or risk getting bad things into your body. Either way, sausage is good. ("That's what she said"). Yes yes laugh it off. Anyway, about this, my Better Half lots to cut up parts of the sausage, cuts up a part of the French Toast/Pancake, dips a little into some maple syrup and then indulges. Mmmm, she has long since converted me. Before I used to just pick up the syrup and let the sugary goodness flow on top of those fresh warm surfaces. Then I just let gobble everything up like a beast from the trash can.

Man ... I want this right now. If you're in Maui, definitely stop by. Awesome people with an awesome view served with a side of great food. I wish the place was bigger but I'm sure they're keeping it small for a reason I love small places like these. By the way, I don't think it matters if you go a bit earlier or later (unless you're the first ones there) because there will be a wait. Enjoy!

Gazebo Restaurant
5315 Lower Honoapiilani Rd.
Lahaina, HI 96761

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Pizza. Made by Awesome People.

Awesome folks indeed! Remember when I said in the last post that Izakaya was a huge expensive let down? Well, we went to walk around Whaler's plaza afterwards just to browse and see if there was anything interesting and planned on trying a slice of pizza from this joint after seeing the positive reviews.
Partially Eaten Slice of Pepperoni. Yeah my fault. I was eager to get something else in my belly and pizza is my comfort food so my better half and I were nibbling on this during the car ride back to the hotel. She was smart and quick enough to stop me from consuming it all. Always sweet of her to remind a retard (such as myself) to take a picture of the food since I'm the retard who figured to start a food blog no one wants to read. Is the pizza great? Nothing spectacular BUT it's still good. I like the cheese and the dough. I think it's a couple notches above Sbarro. The pepperoni let out a little too much oil. If you look in my picture some of the pepperoni looks strangely dry and jerky-like. Well guess what? I took some napkins to those suckers!

Either way, if I just had a couple slices of pizza I would have been much more satisfied here than Izakaya. The best part was the staff. Super friendly, nice and down-to-earth. I was a couple bucks shy of free validation but the owner punched me a validation on my ticket anyway. Thanks, I most definitely appreciate such a kind gesture. Will definitely go back for a slice and chat when I'm visiting. You should do the same. Thumbs up!

Nikki's Pizza
Whaler's Village Food Court
Lahaina, HI 96767

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Not much.

My girlfriend loves nigiri. We're on an island, so I figured why not try a sushi place in Kihei? It received decent reviews by people on the Internet. But who is to say that is even correct? Hell, you don't even need to consider my reviews as anything relevant. All I know is I take all reviews with a grain of salt and just go with an open mind. The only issue is sometimes I get overly interested in the food and over order. Happens a lot and we end up with a lot of leftovers and a high bill. Haha. So we drive to the southern part of Maui to try out this place after a loooong day of driving. It's in a strip mall and it was not too busy when we arrived. However, after we sat down more and more people started coming in.
Salmon Nigiri. The girlfriends favorite. Taste was not fresh, she did not enjoy it. Tasted a bit old or frozen ...? Not sure how to describe it but dissatisfied.
Soft Shelled Crab. I usually like this and I'm not sure how old these were or where they were purchased but these small crabs were pretty much hollow. I would dip it in the sauce and surprisingly the ponzu sauce would get absorbed through the batter and into the gaps in the crab so when I bite down, I get a splash of citrus ponzu in my mouth. Overpriced and ripped off.
Ramen. I'm a fan of ramen. My better half enjoys it sometimes but does not enjoy it to the extent I do. This bowl of soupy ramen was probably the only half decent thing we ate at the restaurant. I don't know what it is but even this isn't anything great compared to ramen you could get in Southern California. The noodles tasted like it was packaged, nothing fresh made in-house nor purchased from someone who specializes in ramen. Shoyu soup base was bland, did not seem like anything was simmering for hours. Fish cake was questionable. Hollow and dry, no density in it ... what was this ... fish jerky they threw into the bowl in hopes it would suck up some of the soup-base and expand? *sigh* DO NOT even mention Daikokuya to me. I will cover that establishment at a later time.
Gyoza. Came with the little ramen set. Typical frozen bulk packaged stuff. Tastes like many of the different dumplings you could find at local Asian supermarkets.
Miso Crusted Butterfish. Yeah ... overly fatty, overcooked, lacking in seasoning/glaze.

Oh my you can't imagine how sad we were. Disappointment to the tenth degree. Cheese! So dissatisfied, I recall we ended up dropping by to try a pizza place in Lahaina, which I'll do for my next review. Seriously, this place was a waste of our money. Perhaps our palates are spoiled by the local sushi places we frequent so often or we have just grown to know what is good and fresh nigiri. What I do know: the sushi and cooked food was not very good here. Worst part: being Hawaii, quite overpriced. We lose!

Izakaya Matsu
1280 S. Kihei Rd., Suite 120
Kihei, HI 96753

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Treats. In the Morning.

What's better than waking up to a nice sea breeze, listening to the oceans crash just 50 yards away, clear skies and having sun rays kiss your skin ever so gently? Nothing to be honest but the addition of having something light and sweet in the morning is always a bonus. My girlfriend and I probably stayed about 6 minutes away from Front St. and ended up here everyday for shaved ice or to try something since there's a lot of places to eat here. Many of the times we misses our chance to try out this small joint because we always ended up here after they closed. So this one morning we were there, at almost 9:00AM.
Red Velvet Cupcake. I am the type who loves cakes and chocolate so what better than a small red velvet cupcake. Yes, the frosting is a lot of sugar in the AM but that's fine because my better half and I always dispose of 90% of the frosting. Call us wasteful but we enjoy our teeth and our taste buds dislike the overwhelming bombardment of sugar attempting to break down our bodies which would only to leave us diabetes and limbless. No offense to anyone but seriously, a lot of people and bakeries focus all this energy in the super sweet frosting. Flavor should be in the cake! About this little fluffy cake: definitely moist but strange at the same time. The cocoa taste was a bit hidden and the texture of the cupcake reminded me of an Asian sponge cake. It definitely is not your traditional cupcake and to be honest I would not buy another one. Just not my preference I guess?
Turkey sandwich with some au jus. The homemade bread is pretty awesome. Almost like your mom made it for you. Fresh chunks of turkey, we both enjoyed this. Very refreshing with local great ingredients. Thumbs up for this one, most definitely.
Currant Scone. So why the scone? Well, my girlfriend and I love tea time/high tea/afternoon tea and we enjoy fresh scones. This one was fresh, but I guess it was sitting out for awhile so it was a bit tough by the time we got to it. Some parts were a little warm still. Either way, this scone was light in taste and sweetness but pretty dense in tense of baking soda. Made me so thirsty!

This place is cozy, the fresh baked bread is wonderful, sandwiches are tasty, and the service is spectacular. I wouldn't hesistant to come back. Just choose your favorite type of pastry though because if you also get a sandwich you might just want to go back to your hotel and sleep until the afternoon. Give this place a try. Is it the best? Most definitely not. Will the service and food provide you with a nice welcoming, home-like feeling? Yes.

Banyan Tree Deli & Bakery
626 Front St.
Lahaina, HI 96761

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Shrimp. MMMMMMM. Great.

Wow. I love this Shrimp Truck. It's not one of those random ones you have to chase down via Twitter or their website. It's in a set location on the Hawaii in Kahului near the college. We sort of passed it but quickly made a U-turn after realizing it was probably sitting with the group of other trucks.
Hawaiian Scampi Shrimp. I usually hate the shells but these shrimp were so large, juicy and full of flavor I didn't care. We just ate this in the car because the scent was so intoxicating. Funny thing is we already had breakfast a few hours earlier. It's too good to pass up, and yes it's worth it to stuff your face and feel the pain of overstuffing yourself afterwards. We just relaxed in the car, and I peeled all the shrimp so my better half could avoid getting her hands greasy. Great teamwork I think, I peel she eats, then she feeds me. The prices might seem expensive but look at the portions and the size of the shrimp! Love it. Go to Maui, go to this truck, drink all the greasy seasoned juices at the bottom too (just kidding that might clog your arteries). Just make sure you drop by this Shrimp Truck when you're in Maui.

Geste Shrimp Truck
Kahului Beach Rd.
Kahului, HI 96732

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Burgers. Cool.

Oh Maui, how I miss thee. So one of the first nights my better half and I were here, we saw an interesting cafe and decided to go upstairs to try it for dinner. Why not? Burgers are always a fun thing to have. We double checked reviews just to see what might be good. Environment was very retro with bar stools and the checkered flooring. Pretty neat. There was a nice live band playing that night too.
Blackened Fish Sandwich. I don't fully recall which fish this was but it was pretty juicy. Blackened nice and spicy. Seasoned very well but the fish got cold pretty quick, but I'll attribute that factor to the heavy winds outside. Overall, I'll have to say it wasn't that bad but I should have just gotten a beef burger. For some reason I just thought I should reduce my red meat intake that night.
Bacon Avocado Burger. I thought this burger definitely had a lot more flavor than the fish sandwich I got. Juicy patty, generous portion, seasoned well.

I'd say the only major downfall of this place is that a small size of fries is not included with your order. Instead, we had to order a side of fries for a couple bucks (which I didn't take a picture of) but when you get the fries it'd be the equivalent of feeding a family of four. This did not sit right with me because we're paying decently high prices for these burgers but many other burger joints give a side of fries with the burgers. I am referring to those corporate chains like Islands, Johnny Rockets, Red Robins. As if you're losing much money by giving out some fries with the burgers. That was my only complaint though. Service was great, food was delicious (and hit the spot), and nice environment. If you're in Lahaina and craving some burgers, come here.

Cool Cat Cafe
658 Front St.
Lahaina, HI 96761

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Lunch. Local Style.

Alright, I'd like to apologize. I completely went off on a tangent with the last post. Was it relevent yes I'd say so. The issue is the post before that one was when I was in Hawaii with my better half. So why didn't I just continue posting stuff from restaurants in Maui ... great damn question. I'm just a fool. Back to Maui restaurants we go.

While we were in Maui I made a huge list of places to try but only getting about 6 days to squeeze trying new good eats, going to parks, beaches, snorkeling, parasailing, hiking, and just attempt to relaxation got a little tough. The very first day we arrived in Hawaii, I was speaking with the guys at the car rental office trying to figure out a local ma/pa eatery. They named a couple, including L&L's, but I specifically said I wanted something more local with a ma/pa feel which I can't find in the states. The two stared at each other for a good minute and both synchronized with a response: Da Kitchen Cafe.

This place wasn't very far which was even better because we were famished. Alright maybe not that drastic but we were quite hungry. The problem with me and trying out new places is I'm going to over order just so I could get a little taste of everything. My better half ordered the spare ribs and I ordered the fried (yes you're reading it right) spam masubi and the Hawaiian plate. When we placed our orders the first thing we thought was "hm, this seems a bit pricey ... hope it's good." And here's what we got:
The Kalbi Ribs. Looks good right? Hell yes it was tastey. Hell yes it was big, it was enough to serve my girlfriend, myself, then probably another person and a half (child). Very tender, very juicy. Generous portions that match the price. We obviously had leftovers. The marinate was a bit salty, but there was a good balance in the sweetness. Definitely just want to drop your fork and knife so you can eat with your hands.
The Hawaiian Plate. There was this weird cut up noodle porridge like thing and it tasted like vermicelli with some Campbell's condensed chicken noodle soup. Dang it was salty. The Kalua pork was tender and juicy, but still very salty. I was diving into the massive rice scoops because of the overwhelming amount of sodium. The lomi salmon wrapped in the taro leaves ... hm ... it personally was not something I prefer to eat. I felt the salmon ended up being overcooked and was a bit tough. My dish not so great.
Fried Spam Masubi. Drizzle with some soy sauce and teriyaki sauce concoction. It was pretty dang good. A little TOO much rice but I think a lot of places have spam masubi that ends up being made in this fashion: 90% rice, 10% spam. I usually toss half of the rice away. This was good though, nothing super spectacular but the panko crust on the outside is very crisp. Yum
Some naughty food porn, courtesy of my hilarious girlfriend.

In the end, I think this place hit the spot real well. We were hungry and we got way more food than we expected. Good local Hawaiian taste with nice, caring local people serving you. Our waitress was just okay but everyone else was significantly nicer, making sure to ask if our food was okay and refilling our water. I would definitely go back because this was one of the best places we ate at during our stay. If you're in Maui or happen to be near one of Da Kitchen Cafe locations, definitely go. You'll come out stuffed. I'll be updating with more places we ate at on Maui Island.

Da Kitchen Cafe
425 Koloa St., Suite 104
Kahului, HI 96732

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Italian Wrap. Thing.

So, a Piadine. What is it exactly? Well, I never knew so the best way to describe it is a wrap that you put together yourself. Get one order of fresh baked flatbread in front of you, some fresh chopped vegetables, a bit of grilled meat, and some sauce. Once in front of you put together in a fashion that suits your eating style. For my better half and I we tried to sandwich it or make a pseudo wrap. I've never had it and recommneded the Steak Piadine and we weren't necessarily hungry at the time so to-go it was! And I regret that I did not force myself to stuff my stomach and try this concoction during that given moment after shopping in Walnut Creek.
Opened up the to go box and the contents were nicely separated. Marinated steak that ended up being a bit over done because the steam overcooked the meat and we let it go cold since we saved this for dinner. Anyway, underneath is basically a bed of lettuce, onion, garlic, tomatoes, and cucumber dressed with a bit of balsamic vinegar. Pretty much it's grilled meat on top of a small salad.
I apologize, I was too slow and trying to get a nice picture of the meat by itself so didn't get to the flatbread before getting a little bit of ranch and meat on it. But wow, it was awesome. Not as awesome as my girlfriend though. She's a wonderful girl. Haha, she put together the Steak Piadine and was feeding me while I was taking pictures!
Look at her doing all the dirty work. I should be ashamed. Here's the vegetables placed on top.
And the great wrap/sandwich/Italian thing right before getting gobbled up by us. It was very satisfying. Not something you'd usually get at an Italian place. I like it. There's a slight tang from the vegetables dressed in the balsamic vinaigrette but it's complimented by the saltiness from the steak and the smooth cream from the ranch. The flatbread was a bit chewy but that was my fault since we got it to go. This dish is a bit big so if anything just cut the flatbread in half, separate the portions and save the other half for later.
Tiramisu. I love this dessert and insist on trying it wherever I go. I personally do not think their tiramisu is anything too special. I prefer mine with enough rum to tease the taste buds and not soak the finger lady cake. Tomatina's tiramisu is heavy on the cream, heavy on the rum and leaves the lady finger cakes soaked. Not much marscapone cheese from what I could taste. I can't say I'd recommend this unless you're really craving it or if this is the type of tiramisu you enjoy ... to each his/her own right?

Tomatina is pretty neat. It's like a better Olive Garden. I think it's a bit better than Pasta Pomodoro too but Pasta Pomodoro and Tomatina are both strict Northern California restaurants. If you're shopping there's plenty of options but considering Italian places usually have big portions, get one entree and share. I think it's worth it.

1325 N. Main St.
Walnut Creek, CA 94596

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Soft. Shaved. Yum.

Yeah, I know what your filthy funny mind thought of when you read that title. Haha, well too bad because I'm going to be talking about shaved ice from Ululani's. Great stuff I must say. It's not the typical shaved ice at the carnival or from the ice cream man/woman that's all tough and filled with loads of artifical syrup. Well, there's plenty of those around so those are not appetizing at all. Actually the night we tried Ululani's my better half and I tried one of those crummy places just down the street. I coerced my Sweet'um to trash it and not waste stomach space of such mediocre treats. I'll be honest, I do not recall the name of the store that we grabbed it from. All I remember was that shaved ice was something I wanted to try on Maui.
Sunset Beach. Yes, please, let's stay there all night far from a camp fire so we can have some more alone time. It was delicious. My better half and I fell in love with this flavor and Ululani's. The best parts: the ice was shaved super super fine, almost snow like (but not quite there) and the flavors they drizzle over the ice isn't just normal concentrate, it's fruit puree. This is such a wonderful treat. Get the large if you're sharing. The shaved ice was great, the employees who helped us were great. Love this treat. Must find a Ululani's if you happen to be close to one. Many happy thumbs up!
I have one quick note to add. The first night we had it was the best, the reason for this is my better half and I don't like the excessive puree poured onto the shaved ice. The guy who helped us our first night almost knew exactly the puree to ice ratio so there weren't spoonfuls that were lacking flavor nor too sweet. But still a great place to go, so if you don't like anything too sweet, just ask them to go easy on the flavoring. If you don't eat it quick enough it'll look like the first picture. Second picture is what it looks like fresh out of their hands. Yum.

Ululani's Shaved Ice
815 Front St.
Lahaina, HI 96761

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French. In A Wall.

Alright ... so Gregoire in Berkeley. Under Yelp it is categorized as French & Gourmet Ghetto. I am definitely unsure of what Gourmet Ghetto would be besides perhaps being a nicer cramped small crappy looking place. Gregoire is nicely decorated. Cute boxes. Super small but lots of places in Berkeley do not have the luxury to be spacious. Staff is quite friendly, because when I came here I had no idea what to order and the cashier just suggested things that were good and what was most popular. Besides his suggestions, Yelpers seemed to rave about the potato puffs so definitely needed to try those. So onto the food:
Garlic Fries. Of course we had to try them. My better half is a fried food (especially potatoes) fanatic and what's not to enjoy about the intoxicating scent of garlic on fresh fries out of the fryer? Only problem? Fries were either too old or a bad batch. Over cooked potatoes are usually just really crunchy. This batch we got some crunchy, some hollowed out, some hollowed out with oil floating in it. Either way, the nice smell was superceded by the horribly disappointing quality of the fries and lack of any attention going into the batch of fries in the fryer. We ended up throwing it away after maybe 1/4 of the fries because we picked out all the edible ones. My significant other did not want to waste it but I just snatched it passed it to the trash can.
Potato Puffs. I don't let hype get to me too much so I had a good idea of what this would be like. I just thought it would be fried a little more but geez, this puff is literally a scoop of mashed potatoes thrown into the fryer to lightly crisp the outside. Taste is nothing special, actually quite bland, and makes me want to just eat a serving of mashed potatoes with gravy.
Steak Sandwich. Keep in mind that Gregoire changes the menu every couple months so I went about, 4 months ago. Anyway, the bread was nicely toasted, meat was tender, and nice tasty roasted peppers. I did enjoy this sandwich. Is it something I would go out of my way for? Not really because this place is really small and pretty busy most of the time. My better half said it was fine but didn't stand out to her either. There's more options considering this is only a block from a small little "food court" and Cheese Board Collective. There's other options nearby. If you're curious to try the potato puffs go for it but to us, it was not something special that makes you smile and want to throw a puff then hope it magically lands in someone's mouth so they can experience a sense of happiness.

2109 Cedar St.
Berkeley, CA 94709

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