I spent yesterday in Honolulu running errands before heading to an America concert. I saw them once before in Phoenix, though that was quite a while ago. In fact, I think it was only the second oldies concert I'd ever been to (the first was Paul Simon and Bob Dylan, but I was just a kid then). Anyway, it was a fun show, but videos weren't allowed so I don't really have anything to put here on the site. Plus, I got back kind of late so I didn't have a lot of time to write today's news post.
Anyway, I'm planning to post some pictures of my hew house on Wednesday, so I'll see you then!
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I'm still having issues with a leak on that water filter so I'm looking into getting a replacement part. Sigh... That aside, things are going well. Now, back to restaurant reviews.
Restaurant Review: Russo's Coal Fired Italian Kitchen
Location: Ewa Beach
My dad is from New York and he taught me what makes a good pizza. So, every time I move to a new area, I make a point of finding the best pizza. Russo's is the closest to my new house, so it's the first place I tried.
First, the basics. Russo's is a pretty nice restaurant and has a full range of Italian food in addition to the pizza (though I can't comment on it). It can get pretty busy around dinner time though, so don't be too surprised if you have to wait a bit.
Now for the important part, the pizza. It comes in three sizes. Medium (12"), large (16"), and XL (28"). I find the lack of an 18" slightly annoying, and it's too bad they don't have Sicilian pizzas as well, but that's just nitpicking. Russo's makes a pretty good pizza. I wouldn't put it in my top five, but it is the best pizza I've found in the area so far. The highlight is definitely the sauce (slightly sweet, with a bit of basil). No complaints about the crust or cheese either (no specific high points though). It's a good, if not amazing, pizza at a price that, while a bit more than I'm used to paying, is actually pretty good for the area.
So, overall, Russo is currently my top choice for pizza in the Ewa / Kapolei area. It doesn't compare with my favorite places back on the mainland, but they don't deliver across the ocean so I'll take what I can get.
Restaurant Review: Brick Oven Pizza
As part of my quest to find the best pizza place in the Ewa / Kapolei area, I decided to give Brick Oven a try. To start off, they've got a nice interior and a large selection of sandwiches if you're not in the mood for pizza. But why would I not be in the mood for pizza?
Speaking of the pizza, they've got an excellent crust and will brush it with garlic butter for a nice extra touch. Unfortunately, the crust is really the only high point. The sauce and cheese, while not bad, are decidedly average. And then there's the cost. Any way you look at it, their pizzas are on the expensive side. Which wouldn't be so bad if they also weren't so small. They have three sizes but their "large" (at somewhere around 14") would barely qualifies as a medium anywhere else. So, while I didn't dislike Brick Oven Pizza, I can't really recommend it when there are other places nearby with bigger and better pizzas for less money.
Just when I think I'm just about done setting up this house, something or other comes up... Yesterday I finally got my bed frame. Today I've got a second visit from the plumbers schedule to fix a couple leaks on the water filter they installed earlier this week. Early next week my dryer will get installed (about time too, as it's been sitting around in my entry hall for the past week waiting for the proper vent) and I should get a couple replacement parts to make my toilets flush better. And then there's my coffee table and end table... I have no idea when they're going to come. But they're not especially important.
Anyway, time to start catching upon restaurant reviews. Here's a couple for tonight, with more to come on Friday.
Mid September: Eating Out:
I spent the first half of the month running back and forth between my parents' condo in Honolulu and my new place out west setting things up, unpacking, and the like. All that work continued for the better part of a week after I moved in (right after that Hawaii 5-0 event). Because of all that, I didn't really spare much time to cook, or even go to the grocery store, so I ended up eating out way more than I probably should have. So here's some reviews.
Restaurant Review: Rico Rico Chicken
Type: Peruvian Chicken
Location: Honolulu, King Street
Rico Rico is one of those place I walk past all the time, so it was inevitable that I try it out eventually. The first thing you should know is they really only serve one thing, chicken. Unless you go on Sundays, when they have an awesome ceviche. As for the chicken, you can get a whole one or just a part. It's good quality chicken and they certainly know how to roast it. But whether or not you like Rico's will really come down to what you think of their spice mix. It's a little hard to describe, with a bit more of an herb taste than most. I like it anyway, though I can't say it's my favorite.
A chicken plate comes with rice (with its own unusual spice mix) and for a bit extra you add on sweet and salty fries, which are pretty great. If you want some dessert, they've got some good homemade ice cream as well. The flavors vary by day, most are typical, a few are pretty unusual.
On a side note, most of their business is takeout. They do have a dining room, but it's paper plates and self service, nothing fancy. It does keep prices low though.
Overall, if you like roast chicken, Rico Rico is worth a try, though the spice mix isn't for everyone. Personally, I like the ceviche even better. Too bad it's only available on Sundays.
Restaurant Review: Iyo Udon
Type: Japanese Udon
Location: Honolulu, Ala Moana Mall
Iyo Udon is a sanuki udon restaurant, much like Waikiki's awesome Marukame Udon. In fact, it was probably Marukame's success that encouraged them to open Iyo here. Anyway, Iyo is pretty typical sanuki udon, which is a good thing. If you've been to Marukame or another sanuki udon restaurant you know what to expect. Watch them make the noodles while you wait in line, choose between several different udon dishes (including zaru, niku, kamaage, and bukakke), grab some tempura or rice balls to go with them, pay, and enjoy. The food is excellent, very authentic (just like in Japan), and really cheap (expect to spend $3 - $5 for your noodles and a dollar and change for each side).
The real question is how Iyo compares with Marukame. While both have all the standard udon dishes and tempura items, they each have a couple of menu items the other doesn't. Prices are nearly identical, so it'll mostly come down to personal preference. I give Iyo a slight edge for making grated ginger one of their standard add-ins (along with green onions and tempura flakes). Plus the lines aren't as long as at Marukame (yet). Really, though, I love them both and we'll happily eat at either (defaulting to whichever is closest at the time).
See you later!