Brunch at Yogur Story, Honolulu

Hurrican Bowl Yogurstory

Yogur Story is one of my go-to breakfast spots in Honolulu. I’ve written about my breakfasts/brunch there twice now,  and here’s another occasion. When Kiyo and our friend Austin were visiting me, we went to Yogur Story for brunch.

Brunch at Yogur Story

Kiyo had the pig fried rice; I think it was called the Porker or Oink-something. They don’t have this on the new menu, so I can’t find it online but it had a lot of pork in it, if you couldn’t guess by now.

IMG_2092

Austin had one of the American-style dishes, a grilled ham Benedict on an English muffin over roasted fingerling potatoes, all topped off with Hollandaise sauce, of course.

Deconstructed Hurricane Bowl

I can be a total weirdo sometimes, demonstrated by how I ordered my Hurricane Bowl (a take on the Korean Bibimbap): with all the toppings on the side. All I can say it sometimes I feel like I need to be in control, and I wanted to dole out the pickled vegetables, beef, sprouts and sauce, myself. Also, I don’t care for mushroom so I didn’t want those on there!

Continue reading

Beyond Sushi, New York

Beyond Sushi Special Rolls

My whole life, I haven’t liked seafood. While I love salty food, there is something about the actual fishiness of seafood that just makes me gag. This dislike caused me to miss out on one of the cutest foods out there: sushi. I’ve always wanted to like sushi. It is visually appealing, and popping it into your mouth piece by piece always seemed fun. When I first moved to Hawaii, I even went through a phase where I secretly tried to eat sushi at home (stuff that my mom and sister brought home for their own take-out lunches or dinners) but that usually just ended up in me gagging or even throwing up. I just couldn’t do it; until I found Beyond Sushi.

Beyond Sushi Interior

A super small restaurant and take-out counter, the East Village location seats only about 18 at most. They have recently opened another location in Chelsea, which I haven’t yet visited. The brick walls are lined with large images of the sushi you can order, which I love. It’s a unique way to display the menu and whet the appetite of the diners, and it also proves that the colorful sushi is actually beautiful art.

Beyond Sushi Lemonade

My first time to Beyond Sushi, I began with a basil cucumber lemonade, which was as refreshing as it sounds. I could probably drink this every day, since it wasn’t too sweet.

Beyond Sushi Black Rice Rolls

Kiyo and I each ordered an 8-piece roll. You can order your sushi with the standard seaweed wrapper or with a soy wrapper, which is what I got. I like seaweed in small doses, but I find it too fishy and slimy in large quantities. Kiyo had the “Spicy Mang,” which is black rice with avocado, mango, cucumber and spicy veggies, served with toasted cayenne sauce.

Beyond Sushi Avocado Rolls

My roll was the “Sweet Tree,” made with six grain rice, avocado, sweet potato and alfalfa sprouts, served with toasted cayenne sauce. This sushi was so delicious! I love avocado and sweet potato together; it sounds like it’d be too soft, but it’s not (another example of this odd pairing is the sandwich I had at Nectar last summer). The rice is nutty, the sauce is just slightly spicy and the alfalfa sprouts add just a hint of freshness. Maybe it’s partially due to the fact that I’ve always wanted to like sushi, but I was immediately obsessed with this roll.

Continue reading

Egg Salad Lettuce Wraps, Astoria

Egg Salad Lettuce Wrap

One of the simplest meals I make at home is egg salad, which Kiyo abhors (he hates eggs in general and mayo makes him squeamish) but I love. My theory is that my love of egg salad and potato salad stems from my mom’s side of the family; my grandma makes the most delicious Russian potato salad that includes celery and eggs. When I was just in Minneapolis visiting her for Russian Easter, I kept sneaking bites of the potato salad from the fridge- it was supposed to be for Sunday dinner but I just couldn’t wait, it’s so yummy!

Egg Salad Lettuce Wrap Bite

Of course egg salad sandwiches are delicious, but I dont’ tend to buy bread. I like to make little bibb lettuce wraps and fill them with sprouts and the egg salad (this also works well with chicken salad). Usually I mix up the hard-boiled eggs with some mayo and spices – garlic salt or celery salt, onion powder, mustard powder, etc. It’s super simple, fast and gluten-free as well!

Afternoon update: After my dad read this post he sent me this text message… so cute!

“Egg salad’s from my side; specifically Grandma Tallie! When I was a small boy in the early 1960′s, she used to take me to Bloomingdale’s to an upper floor where they had a fancy lunch counter… And we’d share an egg salad sandwich! I got hooked.”

Sunday Brunch at Orchids, Honolulu

Brunch at Halekulani

Sunday brunch at Orchid’s at Halekulani is literally the best hotel brunch I have ever had, and I’m not just saying that because I’m biased. The large, open aired room boasts stunning ocean views (it opens onto a lawn that is literally feet from the water) and during Sunday brunch, a harpist and / or flautist softly play calm music. The buffet is comprised of so many stations it is difficult to decide where to begin: salads, soups, cheeses and meats, sushi and other Asian specialties, pancakes, pastries, ice cream and more. The food is best described as a mix of American, Asian and Hawaiian.

Brunch at Orchids Halekulani

Whenever I am home, I try to get into brunch one Sunday. It is always packed since it’s so popular. These pictures are from when Kiyo and Austin (pictured) visited me; Mikayla tagged along that morning. We had a brilliant idea to ask for mimosas made with guava rather than orange juice. They looked pretty and tasted great!

Brunch at Orchid's Halekulani

Having brunch at Orchid’s is like Thanksgiving: you starve yourself for a few hours beforehand because you know you’ll just want to eat nonstop one the festivities begin. This plate consisted of a cheese blintz, eggs benedict, taro pancake, chicken, rice with soy sauce and bacon.

Cold Soup Halekulani Brunch

I also tried one of their chilled soups; I don’t remember what it was exactly but I’ve never tried anything at this brunch that I didn’t like.

Dessert at Orchids Brunch Honolulu

Dessert is definitely a course in its own right. I tried to arrange myself a pretty plate of cake / pie / pudding / fruit and lilikoi (passion fruit) and guava syrups.

Continue reading

What I Ate Wednesday: Astoria & New York

Yesterday was a long day at work plus I woke up before 6 AM to work out, so I ended up being pretty hungry and eating a lot of protein. When I woke up I ate a tablespoon of Justin’s chocolate hazelnut butter, which tastes like a nuttier version of Nutella (it’s addictive). Then I ran 5.5 miles and did some core exercises. For breakfast I had an apple cinnamon Chobani Greek yogurt with my new favorite granola, pumpkin fig by purely elizabeth. Tea is creeping back into my life now that it’s getting so cold, and I had a mug of organic roasted dandelion root tea with lemon, along with my yogurt. Between meetings at work I snuck a large handful of almonds and organic raisins, 2 ounces of my favorite deli meat, Boar’s Head Cracked Pepper Turkey Breast, and a Pamela’s dark chocolate chocolate chunk gluten-free cookie.

Very late in the afternoon, I finally ate my lunch: organic mixed greens with cherry tomatoes, broccoli sprouts and Newman’s Own Lite Honey Mustard dressing, and a karmal candy for dessert. For dinner I had one scrambled egg with Trader Joe’s ketchup and two slices of their bacon, which I love. While I was cooking I snacked on a couple garlic-stuffed olives, and for dessert I ate three more double chocolate cookies. I couldn’t help it, they’re so delicious and I may be addicted to chocolate. In my defense, they’re not very big and they’re semi-healthy.

Not pictured: Yogi Echinacea Tea and Yogi Caramel Apple Spice Tea.

Total estimated calories: 1400

What did you eat today?