Posts Tagged ‘food’

I love what Bob McGee and the gang at The Whole Ox Butcher and Deli are doing to elevate the local food scene on Oahu. Their commitment to supporting local farmers and ranchers alone is commendable. However, it’s the passion, technique, quality, and flavors displayed in the food that keeps me coming back for more…and more…and more.

For example, the signature Dry Aged Burger is nothing short of amazing and not for the faint of heart. A thick all local beef patty – no fillers here – is perfectly cooked to your liking and sits atop a soft, lightly toasted brioche bun. Topped simply with grilled onions, it’s all the ingredients for a perfect beefy bite. And I do mean beefy as in flavor and texture. I’m salivating thinking about this burger as I write this post.

This is just one of the great things to eat on the menu. Housemade pastrami, porchetta, salumi, headcheese, salads and more await hungry eaters looking for a solid meal in a casual setting. And by the way, the serve a killer breakfast too. You can bet you’ll be seeing more Whole Ox goodness in future “Eat This” posts.

The Whole Ox Butcher & Deli
327 Keawe Street (corner of Auahi)
Honolulu, HI 96813
Phone: 808-669-6328
Hours: Monday – Saturday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Follow them on Twitter and Facebook


Haleakala Braised Lamb and Kula Tomato Ragu over Handcut Pasta from Market Fresh Bistro in Makawao – Just incredible! It takes three days to braise this beautiful piece of lamb and the results are self evident. Tender, flavorful, and served on a bed of delicious homemade pasta. If it’s on the menu, I highly recommend ordering it. The farm to fork experience here with friends Dania Katz of Edible Hawaiian Islands and PR guru Charlene Kauhane made the meal even more special. Menu doesn’t get much fresher than the one here.

We recently took a much needed vacation to Maui for a few days of rest, relaxation, fun, family, friends, exploration and of course eating! And boy did we eat well enjoying a couple family dinners in Kelly’s aunty’s garage in Wailuku, while making the most of the remaining time noshing at new and familiar eateries around the island. I managed to document the entire eating adventure on Foodspotting, however, for this post I decided to reduce it down to the 12 favorite things I ate on the Valley Isle. Tasaka’s Guri Guri Ice Cream would have made list had it not been for the sad fact that they were closed the entire time we were there. 😦 As was Sam Sato. But I digress. Let’s get to the eating.

Teri Beef and Chicken Katsu Plate from Cafe 808 in Kula – A favorite stop of ours for a plate lunch whenever we’re exploring upcountry Maui. Solid food, casual atmosphere, and guaranteed to fill you up. Come hungry!

Strawberries from Kula Country Farms in Kula – Always fun to stop by this roadside market to pick up fresh fruits and veggies. On this day, we picked up some strawberries which were so sweet and juicy. I also managed to snag some delicious beets which were roasted and devoured at dinner. NOM!

Pepperoni Pizza from The Outrigger Pizza Company in Pukalani – I was hoping I’d find a food truck on Maui and it didn’t take long to stumble upon this wood fire mobile pizza oven in the Long’s Drugs parking lot up in Pukalani. Serving up made to order pizzas using the freshest ingredients and cooked in under 90 seconds, I didn’t hesitate to jump in line to order. I liked the texture and flavor of the crust and the tomato sauce and toppings were ono. You can find the oven upcountry on Wednesdays. Check website for business hours.

Cream Horns from Stillwell’s Bakery and Cafe in Wailuku – All I can say is you need this! Creamy custard surrounded by flakey pastry dough and dipped in chocolate. While this would make anyone an instant hero at any party, these also make great omiyage for family and friends…if you’re traveling to the neighbor islands.

Garlic Noodles from Star Noodle in Lahaina – This place was another highly recommended stop on our eating expedition and I’m glad we stopped by. Handmade noodles in a delicious garlic sauce and topped with garlic bits and green onions…need I say more? I didn’t think so. I could eat this again, and again, and again, and again. If you’re hungry, you’ll want to order the large. Sharing optional.

Stick Donuts and Cream Puffs from Komoda Bakery in Makawao – Sometimes you just crave something familiar and comforting. This is a great place to find it. Nothing fancy. Just great tasting and satisfying pastries to start the day.

Mountain Apples from some friend’s tree – One of the real treats of the trip was snacking on fresh mountain apples from one of our aunty’s friend’s tree. I hadn’t had one of these in years and biting into one brought back memories of growing up on the Big Island. If you can get your hands on some at a market or a friendly neighbor’s yard, don’t pass up the opportunity.

Peter’s Signature Maui Cattle Co. Burger from Monkeypod Kitchen in Wailea – Who doesn’t love a good burger and this one is a winner! Great flavor and toppings. The only thing is I wish it came with fries (you need to order that ala carte). I’ve been a fan of Chef Peter Merriman since eating at his original restaurant in Waimea on Hawaii Island. When I heard about his new restaurant in Wailea, I knew we had to go. It is an impressive space with the scent of the wood burning oven wafting through the entire dining room. The menu is focused on local and sustainable ingredients and it’s evident in the quality of the food. A great place for a casual lunch or a romantic dinner. Oh, and there 36 handcrafted beers on tap…served at 29 degrees Fahrenheit. Awesome!

Fresh Opihi – This was definitely a highlight of our vacation. It also the reason why family parties are so fun. You never know what’s going to be served. So fresh, so delicious, so many in my tummy.

Chili Fried Chicken from Pukalani Superette in Pukalani – I’ve heard great things about the bentos at this place, but never had the chance to try them until this trip. Believe the hype. The chili fried chicken was flavorful, crispy and finger licking good. So was the chow fun. Get there early though as things can run out by mid-morning. A great stop for grub before heading up to Haleakala.

Pork Chops from Tiffany’s Bar & Grill in Wailuku – Just look at those pork chops…don’t you just want to lick our screen? Another family favorite for great food and good times. Reminds me of the Original Side Street in…no frills when it comes to looks, but the food is delicious and the menu is huge. Go check ’em now go!

And there you have it. There’s so many great places to eat on Maui I wish I had more time…and money. Please share your favorite spots to grab a bite and why. I’m already working on my list for the next visit. Until then, eat well.


The more I eat, the more I’ve started thinking about where the food I’m eating comes from and who’s cooking it. Are ingredients used grown locally or from the mainland?  Is the protein local or from another part of the country? What’s the story behind the restaurant? And more recently, does the person preparing this meal care really give a “shirt” about these things or are they just going through the motions trying to make it through another shift? I blame it on a client who I traveled with to New York and D.C. years ago. I’ve never looked at food the same way again.

Eating has become somewhat of a spiritual thing for me. But eating local has definitely become a pride thing for me. There’s something enlightening these days about eating a dish so perfectly cooked and constructed from local ingredients on your plate that it’s almost like reaching nirvana…that out of body experience that makes you say…well usually nothing…kind of just leaves you speechless and rushing back for a second bite. And honestly, I’ve found this rush is intensified when local produce and products are involved and moved from farm to table as quickly as possible.

A long intro to help you understand the point of this post…why I’m taking Kanu Hawaii’s “Eat Local Challenge” and asking you to do the same. Between now and October 2, eat locally-grown and make an ongoing commitment to support our local food systems. According to Kanu Hawaii’s website, “Hawaii’s food supply is extremely vulnerable. If barge and air freight to Hawai‘i were interrupted, our islands’ food supplies would last only 14 days. We can build a healtheir, more sustainable and secure food supply with our consumer power.”

So what are you waiting for? Let’s all work to make a difference in Hawaii’s future by starting off with a pledge. For me, I’ve committed that “l will eat all locally-grown food for at least one meal during the Eat Local Challenge” and “I will spend at least 10% of my food budget on locally grown food year-round.” You can participate by eating at restaurants that use local ingredients or buy local yourself from your favorite grocery store or farmer’s market.

In case you’re wondering, I upheld my end of the deal and began today by having lunch at Town, one of my favorite restaurants on Oahu where the motto is “local first, organic whenever possible, and with Aloha always.” What I admire most about Chef/owner Ed Kenney and Dave Caldiero is their commit to using Hawaii ingredients first and their ability to execute a menu of clean, simple, and delicious dishes. The food isn’t pretentious, it’s just damn good.

It was the perfect place to begin the challenge and the food was excellent as always. I was fortunate enough to share the meal with travel guru Rudy Maxa and his girlfriend Ana who were returning to Minneapolis today after a week on the island. We had one of those close to nirvana experiences today. Here’s a few photos from lunch.

Today's menu at Town.

antipasti: long bean, fried okra, fresh flaked ahi.

bruschetta, mozarella, hamakua mushrooms, basil.

Kanu Hawaii Eat Local Challenge Item: local bibb lettuce, mao radish, sweet onion, spicy ulu (breadfruit) chips, avocado-buttermilk

kuahiwi ranch grass-fed hamburger, potato roll, and french fries

fresh squeezed lemonade with parsley juice, mint, and honey

chocolate-hazelnut gelato

Town Kaimuki
2435 Waialae Avenue, #103 (corner of Waialae & 9th Avenue)
Honolulu, HI 96816
Phone: 735-5900 (reservations strongly suggested, walk-in dining on the patio)
Monday – Saturday (6;30 a.m. to 2:30)
Monday – Thursday (5:30-9;30 p.m.)
Friday – Saturday (5:30-10:00 p.m.)
Closed Sundays


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