Murphy’s Bar & Grill

3 Jun

Murphy’s Bar & Grill

2 Merchant St

Honolulu, HI 96813

Hours: Mon-Fri  11am-2am / Sat & Sun 4pm-2am


Corned Beef and Cabbage

My fiancé and I ended up at Murphy’s Bar & Grill one night, simply because we were desperate for something new. (Despite being a huge fan of Diner’s Drive-Ins, and Dives, I had no clue Murphy’s had been featured. ) He’s a fan of microwave shepherd’s pie and my family always makes corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s day, but we had never been to an Irish restaurant. Murphy’s wasn’t the best choice for a first experience.


Shepherd’s Pie

Walking into Murphy’s it was cute, very welcoming and very clean, but nothing like we imagined. That can easily be over looked and didn’t factor into my disappointment with this place. Our server was fast, friendly, and attentive. All of my disappointment comes from the food.


Potato Skins

We started off our meal with potato skins. They were cheesy. They were cheesy and that is all I can say about them. The portions were small, the potatoes were burnt and sour cream became the saving grace of the dish. Not a good thing usually.

I ordered their corned beef and cabbage with mixed veggies and mashed potatoes. I LOVE corned beef and cabbage. Salty, fatty, flavorful, it is normally amazing. This corned beef however was try and tasteless. The cabbage was minimal. The veggies were under seasoned and the mashed potatoes were over whipped.


My fiancé decided to get their shepherd’s pie. He was happy with the flavor of the meat, but the potatoes were grainy and unpleasant to eat.

I’m torn on whether I’ll be giving Murphy’s another try.

Taco Kabana

27 May

Taco Kabana

1121 Union Mall

Honolulu, HI 96813

Hours: Mon-Fri 6am-9pm / Closed Sat & Sun


Taco Kabana is a cute little taco shack located right outside my office building. Every day at lunch there is a line out the door of people waiting to get a piece of their selective menu.

Taco Kabana serves up tacos, burritos, and quesadillas with your choice of meat, steak or chicken. No rice. No beans. No fuss. Good sauce.

Now I have only had their steak tacos and a steak burrito and I was more than happy with both.  Their tacos a little reminders of the great LA street tacos I’m used to, just less greasy. The meat is tender, they don’t overdo the cilantro or onion, and the hot sauce is flavorful not just hot. The burrito was amazing, packed with meat, veggies, and hot sauce. I ordered this on my way home, after a long day at the office and I devoured the thing before I made it in the front door.

To top it off, everyone I’ve encountered at Taco Kabana is happy, friendly, and welcoming.

Ohana Bento & Sushi

19 May

Ohana Bento & Sushi

1154 Fort St Mall

Honolulu, HI 96813

Hours: 7am-6pm 7 Days a Week


Dynamite Ahi

Ohana Bento & Sushi has become my go to sushi spot, when I’m at work. I’m still not thrilled with the sushi spots I’ve found here on the island, nothing that compares to my dear Sake Sushi,  and if I’m grabbing sushi for dinner, I’ll hit up Ninja Sushi, located on the other side of my office building, but for a quick lunch Ohana is my spot.

I’ve tried a few of their rolls, but my go to, and favorite is their dynamite ahi. The roll is an ok size for the price. Normally, but not always, they are generous with the ahi, which for the most part is pretty fresh tasting. The roll has a good amount of spice and it takes care of things when I’m in the mood for a little sushi. It’s also nice that they accept credit. You won’t be so lucky with a lot of lunch options on Fort Street.

Be warned however, if they don’t have your roll ready it can be a bit of a wait.

My Experience with The Baker & Butcher

9 May

*Full Disclosure: I have done an event with The Baker & Butcher, but will be as honest as I can

The Baker & Butcher

1111 Bishop St, Ste 112

Honolulu, HI 96813

Hours: Mon-Fri 6:30am-3pm / Closed Sat & Sun


My experience with The Baker & Butcher has been just that, an experience. I work right across the street from their store front and had them bookmarked on my Yelp for weeks to try, but never got around to it, until I booked them to work at this year’s BBB Torch Awards. I figured if they are going to serving guests at an event I was working, I should know what I’m feeding our guests.

For my first go round with The Baker & The Butcher I ordered their Butcher’s Cut Sandwich, which is Beef Au Poivre, roasted shiitake, cognac aioli, and slow cooked onion. I hated it.

I was expecting a hot, at least room temperature, sandwich and this was cold. I felt like it was loaded down with condiments and lacked flavor. My first thought was, “Crap, how do I give them a bad review? I have to work with them!”

The following week I had my first face to face meeting with the owner and was taken aback by how kind he was and the passion in his words when he spoke about his food and what they were producing.  Again, “Crap, how do I give them a bad review? They are nice and passionate about food.” The next week I decided I needed to try them again.

The following week I ordered their Pork Tenderloin Banh Mi, black garlic aioli, pickled root vegetables, and cilantro. Now it is not the same experience as eating a traditional Banh Mi, but the flavors are there and it was quite good. The sandwich left me hungry, so maybe not worth the nearly $8 it cost, but it was a sandwich I could enjoy.

A few weeks later we held our Torch Awards and The Baker & Butcher fed our guests before the actually awards ceremony. During the award ceremony the BBB staff got to chose between enjoying lunch from one of our two caterers. For some strange reason I found myself craving The Baker & Butcher, so that’s who I went with.

They had a Baker’s Cut, along with other sandwich options, but I wanted to give it a second chance, this time knowing what I would be getting. That made all the difference. The sandwich worked perfectly. The condiments worked well with the bread they use and the mushrooms and meat were excellent. Although I began hating their sandwiches, I now find myself craving them and I cannot wait to sink my teeth into some of their backed goods.


The Butcher’s Cut

Lemongrass…It’s OK

30 Apr


20 Kainehe St

Kailua, HI 96734

Hours: Closed Monday / Tues-Sun Lunch: 11am-2:30pm & Dinner: 5pm-8:30pm


His & Her Size Pho

Lemongrass was one of the first restaurants my fiancé took me to when I arrived here. I have tried their grilled pork, pad Thai, rare steak pho, house special wings, and spring rolls.


Rare Steak Pho

Their grilled pork and noodles was the first dish I had here. The pork was tender and flavorful and the portion size was good.

My fiancé’s go to dish is their pad Thai, but I’m not sure if that’s for the flavor or the varying  degrees of heat they offer. I personally find the pad Thai unmemorable, but my fiancé likes making it unbearably hot.


Pad Thai

Our go to order at Lemongrass is pho and spring rolls, like with most places. The pho is ok, most times, inconsistent flavor has varied almost every time we go, but the best thing about Lemongrass pho is their sizes. Unlike most pho places where their small, medium and large are all about the same size, at Lemongrass their small is little, and their large is huge. I always struggle to finish my pho, so their small is perfect, while my fiancé, at most places is left hungry, he loves their large.

Their spring rolls are ok, a slightly stronger taste than I prefer.


Spring Rolls

Their house special wings are supposed to be their hot chicken wings. They were different and juicy, but not necessarily flavorful or hot.

An always redeeming quality for Lemongrass is their exceptional service. Their wit staff is always helpful, kind, and welcoming. Service is pretty quick and normally very attentive.

Seven Brothers

22 Apr

Seven Brothers

Kahuku Sugar Mill

56-565 Kamehameha Hwy

Kahuku, HI 96731

Hours: Mon-Sat 11am-9pm / Closed Sunday


Bruce Irons

Seven Brothers burgers will be my burger lifeline on this island the next three years, even if I do have to drive almost an hour to get to it.

I have eaten my way through a good chunk of burgers here, as you will soon see, and most of them are a pretty big disappointments. There have been a few notable places such as Teddy’s, which has become a regular spot for me, The Counter and The Honolulu Burger Co, but Seven Brother’s satisfies that burger hole left in my heart by all the wonderful California greasy spoons.

Now their burgers are much more elaborate than my usual thousand island dressing, cheese and lettuce burgers which long for, but they have that flavorful, handmade taste, where each element compliments each other that I have been longing for. Doesn’t hurt that this is one of the only places I have found on this island that uses thousand island dressing


Shem Burger

My go to burger is there Shem Burger. It is guacamole with diced tomatoes,  lemon juice, two strips of bacon, and  American cheese, plus thousand island dressing. It is a messy wonderful experience and my mouth has begun watering just thinking about it.

Now for a throwback to my Utah days. Their burgers don’t come with fries, but more of a soggy potato wedge type thing. Now don’t get turned off by my use of the word soggy, they are amazing, well seasoned, a little crunch around the edges, but in no way the type of crunch you’d expect with traditional fries or wedges. They reminded me a lot of the fries I grew to love in Utah. To top off the Utah flashback, they are served with delicious fry sauce!

If you are ever in Oahu, traveling along North Shore make sure you stop by Seven Brothers.

Mexico Lindo

11 Apr

Chile Relleno

Mexico Lindo

600 Kailua Rd

Kailua, HI 96734

Hours: Sun-Thurs 10am-9pm / Fri & Sat 10am-10pm

Mexico Lindo has some of the most delicious well prepared looking food, with some of the blandest tastes and saddest service. I’ve been to Mexico Lindo twice, but only because I was living in denial that the food had to be better.


Nachos – 1st Visit

We started off our meal, both times, with nachos. Here lies the proof of inconsistent preparation. Our first encounter with the nachos was a cheesy mess. Yes, everything was bland, but the abundance of cheese at least made it an enjoyable experience. Our second go at the nachos was unrecognizable, neatly prepped and sparsely topped. Rather than digging through endless cheese we were left with empty chips.


Nachos – 2nd Visit

As far as main dishes go we have tried their crispy tacos and chile relleno. The chile relleno was ok, battered and cheesy, well dressed, but bland. The rice and beans that come with all their plates, look amazing, taste like water. The tacos are so sad. Please fry your own shells if you’re serving hard shell tacos and you’re not Taco Bell.


Crunchy Taco

Now onto the service. It was in no way bad, but clearly fake. The waitresses are with their fake smiles and fake politeness, do enough to deserve your tip, but not enough to make you comfortable asking for a refill or extra salsa.

The one possible redeeming quality this place may have would be their margaritas. They look really good, but I haven’t tried one yet.

Windward Food Trucks

4 Apr

Black Bean Burger

One of the first places I ate at after moving to Oahu was two food trucks, parked on the side of the road, while driving down the Windward coast.

The first truck was Sandy Girl. They had a small, yet healthy and flavorful menu. I ordered their grilled cheese sandwich with avocado, tomatoes, and sprouts. It was AMAZING. One of the best grilled cheeses I have ever had and wish I could find this truck just to get another one.

My boyfriend ordered their black bean burger. He is never a big fan of meat substitute


Grilled Cheese

meals, but he was so happy about this burger. He said it was flavorful and strangely juicy.

To go with our meal we got a lilikoi (passion fruit) shave ice from Country Shave Ice. It was the best shave ice I have ever had. The ice was light and so soft. The flavor was pure passion fruit juice and one of the most amazing things I have ever tasted.

This was a perfect meal to end a nice day driving down the coast…Now if I could only find them again.


Lilikoi Shave Ice

Yamas Mediterranean Cuisine

28 Mar

Yamas Mediterranean Cuisine

1020 Keolu Dr

Kailua, HI 96734

Hours:  7 Days a Week 11am-9pm


Zucchini Fries

Sushi, pizza, burgers, I have been disappointed by many a dish on this island, but the one thing that never seems to fail is Greek. Before moving here I had enjoyed a gyro or two, but since relocating I’m enjoying a my Mediterranean dishes probably weekly, and although I would have never guessed Hawaii would become my Greek paradise, I’m not complaining.


Gyro and Garlic Fries

Yamas Mediterranean Cuisine was one of my first Greek stops on the island and it left me more than happy. My boyfriend and I started off the meal with an order of zucchini fries. The fries were perfectly crisp, the zucchini perfectly tender, and left my fingers grease free. Only thing missing was a perfect side of ranch.

We ordered their gyros and garlic fries as our main dish. The lamb was tender and flavorful. The pita was warm and soft. They added the perfect amount a tzatziki. The garlic fries were perfectly crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. They were topped with just the right amount of garlic.



We finished our meal off with their baklava. I’ve never had baklava before so I have nothing to compare theirs to, but it was slightly sweet, slightly salty, and super nutty with a nice cinnamon touch. It was amazing!

To top it off the service at Yamas was excellent. Our server was attentive without being over bearing. He was helpful in making suggestions and quick on delivery.

A Good Burger, with the Worse Service

20 Mar

The Shack – Kailua

1051 Keolu Dr

Kailua, HI 96734

Hours: Mon-Thurs 11am-11pm / Fri & Sat 11am-Midnight / Sun 11am-10pm


Chili Cheese Fries

The Shack in Kailua was one of the first decent burgers I had after I moved here and as you’ll see those will be few and far between. Despite this being one of the few good burgers I have stumbled discovered the service here was beyond horrible, to the point where I nearly have zero desire to go back.

Before I complain about the service I’ll take some time to highlight the food. We started off our meal with an order of chili cheese fries. The chili, although not the traditional chili I’m use to having on fries was OK. It had a lot of beans and large slices of red onions. It could have used a little more cheese a little more salt, but overall it wasn’t a horrible appetizer.


Swiss and Shroom

For the burgers we ordered the “Swiss and Shroom” burger and their Ruben burger. Both were good, and beautiful to look at, with a good amount of toppings. I will say although the “shroom” was nice and cheesy, the pastrami and thousand island dressing on the Ruben put it over the top and made it the clear winner between the two burgers. As with the fries, the beef could have used a little more seasoning, but I’ve learned in my 6 or so months here I have learned that’s an ongoing problem at local restaurants.

To drink I had a lava flow. For those of you who have not been to Hawaii and don’t know what a lava flow is, it is essentially a pina colada with strawberry sauce. The Shack in Kailua is one of the best lava flows I have had so far. Most places add too much strawberry and over mix making the drink too sweet and very artificial tasting. The Shack delivered a beautiful drink well balanced. The strawberry flavoring was not too sweet or artificial tasting and they did not add so much as to overpower the wonderful taste of a pina colada.


Ruben Burger

Now for the bad. Although we went on a Saturday afternoon, the place was not too crowded and clearly well staffed yet. We had to wait way too long for everything and our waitress never paid attention to us. Once she took our orders and delivered our food she was done attending to us. My boyfriend ran out of soda before he was halfway through his burger yet never got a refill, although he did try to get our waitress’s attention many times. Not once did she check to see if I wanted a refill on my lava flow. By the time we finally got her attention we just wanted our check. She didn’t ask if we’d like to order anything or needed refills, not even a box. It took her over 10 minutes to get us our check.

Although a part of me would like to give the food another shot, I never want to deal with service like this again.