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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

CornedBeef

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.

Pie

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.

PotatoSkins

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.

PotatoSkins2

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.

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Mexico Lindo

11 Apr
ChileRelleno

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

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.

Nachos2

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.

TacoPlate

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.

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

ChiliCheeseFries

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.

MushroomBurger

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.

PastramiBurger

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.

Anaheim Packing House – Adya

18 Feb

1436583004278Adya

Location:
Anaheim Packing House
440 South Anaheim Blvd
Anaheim, CA 92805

Hours:
Mon – Sat 11am-9pm / Sun 11am-8pm

Eating at Adya was the first and only time I have ever tried Indian food, so I have no point of judgment on which I talk about this food.

Before I left for Utah, I met up with my old Newport Beach Film Festival team for one more night of fun and we settled on Anaheim’s Packing House.

Although I was personally not a fan of the food, the staff was incredibly helpful and friendly, and service was very quick. The food delivered was fresh, hot, and quite beautiful. I just was not a fan of the flavors, but maybe Indian food just isn’t my thing.

One thing I must brag about however is their beer. I am not a beer person at all, but they have an amazing blood orange beer, that although I cannot remember the name of, I cannot wait to get back to Adya to consume it once again.

ChickenPlate

Happy Hour, No Liquor Needed

26 Jun

Aloha Grill

Location:
221 Main St
Ste F
Huntington Beach, CA 92648

**Happy Hour Mon – Fri 4pm – 7 pm / Fri & Sat 10 pm – 1 am**

Fish Tacos from Aloha Grill - Huntington Beach, CA

$1.50 Fish Tacos

I love Aloha Grill! The service was excellent, the food was great, and I loved sitting out on their patio while the sun set. My best friend and I decided to try Aloha Grill after an afternoon on the beach. She ordered their Ma Ma’s Blackened Chicken and I got their Happy Hour Special $1.50 fish tacos. We shared an order of their calamari strips and their Surf City Roll.

Surf City Roll from Aloha Grill - Huntington Beach, CA

Surf City Roll

Now I did not get to try her chicken, but I loved everything else. The Surf City roll was probably my least favorite simple because it was just basic. Nothing bad, just not overly wow. The calamari strips where hot with a perfectly crunchy breading around tender calamari. My tacos were delicious, on top of the fact that they were only $1.50.

Calamari Sticks from Aloha Grill - Huntington Beach, CA

Calamari Sticks

My favorite thing about here though was the happy hour. Here you get the happy hour special without ordering an alcoholic drink. Any drink during happy hour qualifies you to get $1.50 tacos!

Ma Ma's Blackened Chicken from Aloha Grill - Huntington Beach, CA

Ma Ma’s Blackened Chicken

Trendy Pub in Old Towne Orange

22 Feb

Haven Gastropub

Location:
190 S Glassell St
Orange, CA 92866

Hours:
Mon-Fri 11am-2am / Sat & Sun 9am-2am

HavenGastropub

Haven Burger

With items on the menu such as a Charcuterie Plate for an appetizer or Wagyu Beef Cheek Poutine for a main dish, Haven Gastropub was slightly out of my norm. Although everything on the menu I had seen or heard of in my quest for foodie knowledge I do not normally frequent places that offer such things. Now before I hype them up too much Haven Gastropub, although offering some “fancy” dishes such as BBQ Pork Belly flat bread or Pig’s Face, foundationally they are a pub serving up craft beer, cocktails, and classics, like burgers, tacos, and fries. Before I dive into what I got to try, Haven Gastropub can be summed up as trendy enough for young people with well-made food to attract those with a more trained palate. It is nice enough to bring a date and laid back enough to come to with friends.

I came here as an office outing for the end of the year. Thanks to that I got to try a lot more things than I normally would. For appetizers they ordered House-made potato chips, pommes frites (French fries), deviled eggs, and fried pig ears. Strangely enough the item I feared the most from the appetizers ended up to be my absolute favorite. The fried pig ears, although strange looking, were crunchy, and salty, and addicting! If you are a pork fan, you will love these. The house-made potato chips were hot, fresh, crispy, and not greasy at all. The pomme frites, as they were thin fries, which I am normally not a fan of, were very well prepared. Despite their thin cut, they still managed to be crispy on the outside and maintain some sort of potato fluff on the inside. Lastly, the deviled eggs – these were not normal deviled eggs, with a kick to it, this was deviled eggs taken to the next level. Another must try.

For my main course I kept it simple. I ordered their Haven Burger. The burger comes with pickled red onions, roasted red bell peppers, wild arugula, st agur cheese, and their awesome pommes frites. This burger was huge and despite the fact that I over did it on appetizers, I devoured the whole thing. The meat was juicy and cooked perfectly and all of the flavors melded perfectly.

I look forward to possibly going back to try some of their other dishes, and more pig ears, but I do have one complaint. Their service was horrible. I must say they were busy and we were a large group (about 10 of us), but it took them over an hour to get us our food and they weren’t checking up on us or apologetic at all. We were just left alone. This may have been an off day and the food was good, so I won’t hold it against them too much, unless it happens again.

Bread & Barley

15 Nov

Location:

130 North Citrus Avenue
Covina, CA 91723

Hours:

Mon – Wed 11am-11pm / Thur – Sat 11am-2am / Sun 11am-10pm

IMG_20141016_194322356

Puck Bacon Cheeseburger

Bread & Barley is a fun little pub that deserves to be in a downtown college community. It reminded me of something you might find near UCR. With thick wooden, tables, large TVs, and walls covered with their many tap beers.

IMG_20141016_194332586

Bread & Barely Cheeseburger

Now I am not a beer drinker, but Bread & Barely, with it’s rotating taps, is a beer drinker’s dream. My friend ordered a pumpkin spice type beer and it was actually quite good, although I am no where near qualified to judge. To complement their massive drink menu, they offer a fairly limited and simple menu. However, despite it’s size does not lack in flavor and variety. They offer several choices of starters, salads, sandwiches, and burgers; simple and not too many choices, but each item appears to hold its own.

IMG_20141016_203506710

On this trip I was only able to try one of their burgers, as did my friend. I ordered their Puck Bacon Cheeseburger which is topped with house-cut bacon, gorgonzola cheese, french-fried onions and BBQ sauce. I was a bit hesitant to order something with gorgonzola, but they did not use too much and combined with the crunchy onions and sweet BBQ sauce, as well as the fattiness of the bacon, it all melded perfectly. The meat itself was cooked perfectly medium and was nice and juicy. My friend ordered their classic burger, their Bread & Barley Burger, which I did not try, but he was very satisfied. The fries were nothing outstanding, but that wasn’t a problem thanks to the quality of the burger.

Overall Bread & Barely was a very nice experience and I would definitely go back if the opportunity presented itself or I turn into a beer drinker.