Tanioka’s Seafoods & Catering

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Waves crash in white noise, something from the Edo period. The landscape is lush and green and the mountains rise above the Pacific in dramatic fashion. Big swells, the shade of the banyan trees, and the Barack Obama Presidential Library. I finally made it, Oahu, one of the several islands that make up Hawaii, I always thought they seemed to be floating, and I have this same feeling now.

I had asked a friend to take me to what islanders might consider an authentic place to eat. So here we are, she usually pushes the gray beamer, but now it stands still, traffic. On an Island this size, there are only so a many routes to take, and this ones under constructions. After some route changes, and sitting in more traffic, we finally make it Tanioka’s Seafoods & Catering.

Tanioka’s sits in a strip mall in Waipahu, an area in greater Honolulu. It sits next to a seven-eleven and sans the palm trees and great weather, for a second I think I’m somewhere on Long Island. The sensation dissipates quickly as we make our way through the door.

Its around lunch time, but from what I hear, you should always expect lines. Fear not the line moves quickly. As we make our way up to the savory selections of seafood, we first pass the dessert case. My friend suggests a cake made up of three layers. The first is haupia, a coconut confection usually consumed on its own, sweetened poi a staple made from taro root, and on the bottom a kind of cookie crust.

We order fish cakes, and a octopus salad. From the various poke selections, cubed raw tuna, we go with one that is interlaced with a savory crunchy seaweed. We grab a six pack and head to the beach. All the dishes are enjoyable, most notably the Poke. Beyond this, on offer is mainly Hawaiin seafood staples, lunch items such as musubi, as well as tempura.

Later in the evening we take the Haupia dessert from the fridge, I decide I will extend my stay after all.

Shuya Cafe

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It’s been a long week when I meet my friend to set out for Friday dinner. It’s been a long week, five days forty hours long week, in an unsatisfying, thankless, soul draining hourly wage length. But here we are on the edge of the weekend, and the feelings held hours earlier are starting to dissipate.

The plan is to get ramen, first choice on our list is Mu Ramen, a top notch destination with communal seating and not enough chairs. Against my protestations, the Infinity coupe moves closer and closer, and then we’re at the front door. One hour wait, nah, not tonight… not the contraception, but plan b none the less…

Plan b is a new ramen place that just opened up on Broadway just a few blocks above Steinway. This is where we found ourselves through the front door into the warm atmosphere at Shuya Cafe. Surprisingly, and to a bit of a chagrin, another ramen place that embraces communal seating. We are seated next to a couple, and truthfully it does seem a bit to close. Close enough where we have to decide if we should introduce ourselves. We half say hello, shit I’m hungry, at this point its close to nine. Glancing over the menu at the ramen my friend tenses up as he learns that all the items have fish stock in them. He’s allergic to change, and trying new things. He’s about to leave, I tell him that I’ll be staying and that he should take a look at the end of the list. Mazemen, a noodle dish, made with same noodles, without soup stock.

We both decide on the Mazemen, as well as the pork bun app. The dishes come out in no time, the food is deeply satisfying, the weeks woes completely dissolve.

The Chairman

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When I touched down in San Francisco I was starving. I didn’t know where I would end up, but I trusted the success rate would be high, considering all I had heard of the touted scene. On arriving to my hotel I was told I wouldn’t be able to check in until 3, so I set out for lunch.

Finding my self in the little Saigon neighborhood where I was staying was good. A quick tour around the avenues near my hotel and I had already eyed several packed venues. Still starving I decided I wanted something quick, so I walked into The Chairman.

The Chairman is a Chinese bun spot boasting many options, and some unique takes. You can get each option on steamed buns, or upgrade to a baked option with larger portion on a roll. I decided I wanted to try a few of the offerings, and I’m a sucker for steamed buns, so I went with three of these. I chose two pork and the one beef option, though they also have chicken and vegetarian to choose from as well.

The classic pork belly was enjoyable, garnished with pickled daikon, and glazed with red miso. Next was the short rib, braised with horseradish mayo and fennel slaw. This was great, but I liked the third bun a little more, and found it to be more filling. Coca-Cola braised pork, cabbage, mustered seed, and garlic mayo. All said and done an exceptional place for a quick bite.

La Palma

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La Palma Mexicatessen sits in the myriad blocks that make up the Mission District in San Francisco. My first time in SF, I’d heard over the years that the Mexican food in the Western part o f the Country is that much better. And while I can’t attest to that, and will likely never cede to this argument, La Palma would make a great case and point.

Wondering off the cool street into this Mexican Deli I was immediately aware of the vast array of authentic Mexican goods. Past the counter the back looks to stretch on forever, though it is limited by square footage I’m sure. The store not only sell tasty Mexican staples but also produces products on site. The most stand out would be the stacks of tortillas.

I ordered a couple of items after quickly deliberating. I decided I wanted a taco, and something I had yet to try. I went with the pupusa…. is this the same as the Salvadoran food that shares its name? I wondered… and then looked it up on Google… it is.

It took about ten minutes for my food to be prepared, I believe to prep the pupusa mostly. As I waited I noticed they also had an item that I probably would have ordered had I noticed. It was a torta, where the bun is submerged in salsa, giving it a completely red color. Pambazos its called, and I have to admit I had some degree of regret not ordering this, however, c’est la vie.

I finally got my order, and made way to the outdoor seating area. The pupusa was rich and delicious, and the taco with pork soaked in salsa, was milder, and the same. I’ll definitely be back.