Lani Kai & National Burger Day, New York

Yesterday I was about to post a nice picture of a chicken kebab (coming soon) when I realized that everyone was Tweeting about National Burger Day, and I realized that I wanted to instead find a burger, take a picture of it, and eat it, therefore taking part in this National Holiday I had previously known nothing about.

After work, I went to this restaurant called Lani Kai, which is a beach and area on my home island of Oahu. I had read an article about it, and since I do not have the chance to go home this summer, I got very excited to check it out and quell my homesickness. When I Googled it for directions, I also came across a website called Gilt City, which is similar to Groupon. I found a $40 coupon for $50 worth of food; so Mikayla, her friend Willie, Kiyo and I bought two (yes, they let us use two at one table, amazing!) and headed over to Lani Kai after work.

Mikayla and Willie had already ordered their first round of happy hour cocktails ($8 each): Hawaiian Iced Tea: Vodka infused with tropical black tea, mint tea syrup, and lemon juice (normally $13). It was definitely the best iced tea I’ve ever had.

Kiyo ordered the New York Sour: Rye, fresh lemon and orange juice, with a red wine float. It was definitely stronger than our drinks, but also had a balanced flavor that was sweet, but not overwhelmingly so.

I ordered the Pacific Swizzle: White rum infused with rosehip, lemongrass and hibiscus tea, lime juice, and passion fruit. It was as delicious as it was beautiful. The fresh flowers made all the drinks even more appealing.

Mikayla and Kiyo each got an order of the crab wontons (lump crab mixed with mascarpone cheese in a crispy wonton, served with a creamy mustard sauce) which were half off for happy hour.

I ordered the pork bun sliders (spiced pork belly confit in a house-made bun with Lani Kai secret sauce, pickled Japanese cucumber and bibb lettuce). Usually I don’t really eat pulled pork, even in Hawaii, but I think nostalgia and the happy hour deals encouraged me to order these (and perhaps my by now subconscious wish to take part in National Burger Day). The buns were soft and the pork was cooked perfectly.

Willie ordered the poke (ahi tuna with chilies, sesame, soy, macadamia nuts and cucumber, served with taro root chips).

Then it was time for round two before happy hour ended.

I have to say I was pretty excited about getting a different type of flower in my second round.

I don’t always do this, but I took pictures of the interior because it was so unique for New York and it reminded me of home, so of course I fell in love with it.

Mikayla and I also talked to our hostess for a while because she was from Hawaii too! After two rounds of drinks and an appetizer or two for everyone, we ran out of our Gilt coupons.

Mikayla and Kiyo were still hungry (Willie went home) so we went in search of burgers for National Burger Day!

Near 14th st. & 1st ave we found buy one get one half off burgers (it was the place’s birthday) so Mikayla got a burger with bacon and garlic fries.

Kiyo got a burger with onion rings, special sauce and avocado.

And that is why I forgot to post yesterday: because I got distracted by wanting to post pictures of burgers for National Burger Day. I ended up being able to experience an amazing new place in Manhattan and get burgers (or at least take a bite of Mikayla’s); overall, a great evening for food!

Lani Kai

Location: 525 Broome St., New York, NY 10013 Phone: (646) 596-8778

Lani Kai on Urbanspoon

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