that's right, and entire head of garlic! check out this video from Saveur......
here in Hawaii, Japanese restaurants are abundant. Izakaya's are also gaining popularity as well, probably due to the fact that everyone loves booze and shared dishes.... after all, that is exactly what an izakaya is all about.
trying to find something decent to eat, a few friends and i were attempting to figure out what was in the area. i hopped on my phone and scoured my Yelp app..... out of the handful of restaurants we all were ok with, Gazen came up. one friend had been there frequently and suggested we all go..... SHOOTS DEN.
the parking lot is SMALL here, but luckily we found parking right in front. entering the restaurant, there is an up-scale kind of feel because everything around you is handsome wood furnishings. we were seated immediately, and our waitress was very prompt in coming by and attempting to take our order when we had browsed the menu for exactly 9.43 seconds. eventually we settled on the following dishes..... first up, the tofu sampler (up there, looking delicious). it consisted of all fresh tofu, one in a soy milk broth, the next plain (you can season yourself with black pepper and salt flakes), and the last was a black sesame flavor. all were very good. i LOVE fresh tofu.
here is the beef tongue. this must have been hand sliced b/c i noticed that each piece had a different thickness. these were very nice quality, and the seasoning was delicious. when it coats the bed of onions underneath, and you eat everything together, the flavors are superb.
unfortunately, i could not eat this dish: the beef tataki. i was told however that it was very good. try it yourself, and let me know what i'm missing.... haha :)
small simple dishes i find are usually the best. this is the black peppered pork with white garlic sauce. the pork itself is a simple peppered pork cutlet. well seasoned and fine on its own, but the sauce is what really makes this dish stand out. the white garlic sauce is something that everyone at our table was trying to figure out.... is it cream? onion? chili pepper flakes? what else is in there? whatever it was.... it was a hit.
this blurry, overly orange picture is the mushroom miso risotto. i did a bad job at judging the lighting in the restaurant, that is why some pictures look clear, and some look like this. this dish, while it had a nice flavor, did not have a good texture. risotto to me is supposed to be a smooth kind of dish. this however was made with brown rice instead of Arborio rice, or short grain white. the brown rice created a texture that was too chewy, and one of my friends remarked that it was very "toothy". indeed...
fried chicken is one of my weaknesses. i don't know what it is, but i'm always searching for good fried chicken. at Gazen, theirs are expertly fried and drizzled with "home-made sauce".... it was a teriyaki type sauce with a light vinegar flavor. very nice!
this incredibly blurry picture is their Omelette noodle with simmered beef dish. it is fried noodles wrapped in an egg, topped with okonomiyaki style toppings (japanese mayo, seaweed laver, and unagi sauce... it was supposed to have bonito shavings on top, but i guess they forgot those). cutting into it, the beef pieces were not really distributed very well, and i only got one tiny piece of beef - but other than that, this dish was delicious. it is something i would order just for myself!
i'm not a huge dessert fan, but, being that this was a new restaurant to me, i figured i should try some..... here is the fried sweet potato mochi with vanilla ice cream and Earl Grey sauce. the mochi was fried up perfect, and paired with the smooth vanilla ice cream, it was definitely a party in my mouth. the Earl Grey sauce was so good, one of my friends picked up the bowl, and drank it down. yeah, its that good.
last was the warabi mochi and green tea ice cream. the green tea ice cream was good and smooth too, and if you're not familiar with Warabi mochi, it has a different texture than regular mochi. it is more like Kanten, Yokan or Turkish Delight. they are coated in kinako (yay!) and served with some mashed azuki bean on the side. chewy, sweet and delicious, especially if you put them all up in your mouth at the same time. man..... i'm full. how bout you?
Izakaya Gazen 2840 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu, HI 96826
SUN - THURS: 5p - 11p
FRI - SAT: 5p - 1a
yes... this would be my fourth attempt at chili. why 4? i don't quite know. when i'm cooking chili, i tend to stick to a few main, unchanging ingredients, but - i also seem to add in stuff that i think might make it taste good, every time i make it.
hmph..... this makes really remembering recipes difficult. luckily, this time around, i think i've now created a "master" recipe that i'll use from now on! and guess what?.... i actually wrote it down!
CHILI - Round 4
10 oz. Portuguese sausage (Hawaiian Sausage Company brand), chopped
8 rashers of thick cut bacon, chopped
2 lbs. ground beef
1 yellow onion, medium dice
1/2 red bell pepper, small dice
1/2 green bell pepper, small dice
8 garlic cloves, minced
3 large tomatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 bottle of Modelo Negro beer
1 can, 14oz chicken broth
1/2 cup - 1 cup Pace Salsa (HOT)
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp. each:
- celery salt
- smoked paprika
- garlic powder
- chili pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. of each:
3 Tbsp. flour, mixed with 1-2 Tbsp. warm water
- 2 cans, 15oz each, black beans, drained (or 4 cups dried beans, soaked overnight)
- 1 can, 15 oz, corn, drained
on medium/medium high heat = cook bacon in large stock pot until cooked/crispy. remove with slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels. reserve about 2 Tbsp. of the bacon grease, and discard the remaining.
cook the Portuguese sausage in the stock pot until done. remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. reserve 1 Tbsp. of grease, and discard remaining.
on medium heat = take reserved grease and use this to cook the onion, bell peppers, and garlic in the same pot. cook until onions are translucent, then remove and set aside.
cook hamburger in the same pot with any grease that remains. cook until done, drain as much liquid as you can from the hamburger.
add back in the portugese sausage, bacon, onion, bell pepper, garlic.
add in tomatoes, salsa and seasonings. (do not add in flour water mixture yet).
add in liquids - beer and chicken stock.
let simmer for 3 - 4 hours.
at the end, stir in flour water mixture to thicken slightly - try to avoid lumps. also add in beans and corn, and let cook another 15 - 20 minutes.
Eat up and enjoy!
Hawaii is a place known for many things. the beaches. hula. sunburned tourists. and plate lunches.
plate lunches are heavy. plate lunches are quick (usually). plate lunches are belly filling, home-cooked quality meals that everyone in Hawaii is familiar with. "2 scoops rice, mac salad, gravy all over, and followed by a kanak attack" is what enters my mind when thinking of our "plate lunch".
there are TONS of places here to grab this type of meal. the long lasting ones from the "old days" are usually the best ones. after all.... if they've been there for years upon years, they must be doing something right.
these days, i'm rarely in the Leeward area of Oahu. because of this, i have no idea what the eats are like on that side of the island. scouring YELP for some help, i stumbled upon Leeward Drive Inn. people raved about the noodles there, and other dishes as well. i thought, why not? a couple of friends and i decided to check it out.
the outside is your typical take out window set up. there are no tables or chairs around, thus, no loitering! haha. they are strictly about getting you in and out of there. as you can see, their menu is EXTENSIVE. they have breakfast, lunch, dinner, burgers, noodles, ALL KINDS of food. there is literally something for everyone here.
AND..... they have GREEN RIVER! and melon flavored Icee! this makes me wish i was on this side of the island more often......
browsing the menu, their Ultimate Mix caught my eye. i decided to share this with one of my friends, b/c it looked like a ton of food listed there.
AND IT IS! there is rice, mac salad, noodles, fried chicken, kalbi, hamburger steak AND spare ribs. geez! everything was pretty good. my friend said that the noodles at Sato's is better, so i guess i'll have to try it there. i thought this place was pretty good considering the amount of food you get! wow! check them out if you happen to be in Waipahu.....
Leeward Drive Inn94 209 Pupukahi St
Waipahu, HI 96797
An amateur cook with a hunger for food culture,