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Archive for March, 2012

Ichi-ban Boshi, Sydney

This place has been around for as long as I remember. I used to come here after uni or during my lunch break to get my ramen fix. Now days, there are many other places to get ramen – Gumshara, Ryos, Menya to name a few and I have to say, Ichiban Boshi is probably my least favourite out of them all. I think the broth lacks a little something, a punch of flavour and taste. However, in saying that, I have come here many times for their ramen. The lines for Ichiban Boshi are ridiculously long so they must be doing something right?

I was catching up with the lovely suzchef and suggested this place. I was craving for Japanese, not ramen but for their pork katsu-don. The lines were surprisingly ok, rocked up at about 6.20pm, and within 10 minutes we were seated.

I do however like their non-ramen dishes. The pork katsu-don is one of my favourite, but then again, you can’t really get that wrong now can you? Bowl of rice topped with deep-fried pork cutlet, and egg – YUM! The pork cutlet was tender and had the right amount of fattiness, and the egg on top – perfect!

S had the wonton ramen – thin noodles with a generous serving of juicy pork and prawn wontons and choy sum. It looked a little oily though – too much chili oil!

We also shared a serving of gyoza – pork gyoza which we both loved. I love the tang of the sauce, could have easily eaten a dozen of these babies on its own – of course without the pork katsu-don! I am not that greedy!

The unagi with rice is another favourite of mine and the chicken karaage. Unfortunately, it is not a place that you can sit for hours. When and if busy, they do usher you out. Still service is quick and efficient and food is good and reasonably priced.

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

Ichi-ban Boshi

500 George Street, Level 2

Sydney, NSW 2000

Ph: +61 2 9262 7677

Ichi-ban Boshi on Urbanspoon

Categories: Japanese, Noodles, Sydney Tags: , ,

Mochi Ice Cream at Bubbies, and Leonard’s Malasadas, Honolulu, Hawaii

I can’t begin to tell you how much I love this place – Bubbies Ice cream! It’s not your average ice cream but mochi ice creams. Mochi ice cream is a Japanese confection made from mochi (pounded stick rice) with an ice cream filling and these little babies were absolutely frigging delicious!

Bubbies can be found in the University district, apparently where college student hang-out. It does get busy and there aren’t many tables inside. We weren’t planning to dine in, as since Lobster Dynamite lives about 5 minutes away so it made sense to take away.

The place was relatively busy, their specialty I think is the mochi – different types of flavours. The regular mochi flavours are on the left and the specials and chocolate dipped ones are on the right. We bought a dozen and I was hoping the guy behind the counter would give us one of each, but instead two of six different flavours – lychee, guava, chocolate peanut butter, mango, chocolate espresso, green tea and azuki bean.

We cut six mochi into thirds, for Lobster Dynamite, ‘The Mother’ and myself. My least favourite would have to be the lychee and guava. My favourite out of the combination was definitely the chocolate espresso followed by the green tea. The next day I had the chocolate espresso on my own – it was MINE!

Would have liked to try the tiramisu or the strawberry dark chocolate chip! Definitely a must visit if you love ice cream and mochi.

They also had other dessert – ice cream and other desserts with funny names – like ‘come here little girl’, ‘knock me up’ or ‘maybe the bag broke’ – we didn’t try any of them but would definitely be interested next time! lol

A couple of friends have raved about Leonard’s Malasadas, so I had HIGH expectations. Leonard’s Bakery on Kapahulu Avenue in Honolulu is a popular bakery, queues can be long and parking can be a complete nightmare. The attraction is the deep fried yeast dough which resembles a Portuguese version of a donut without a hole – the malasada.

Usually deep fried, and often coated or filled with different types of filings. The traditional is just plain with icing sugar, but on offer were custard, chocolate and the flavour of the month.

We got half a dozen, 2 traditional, 2 chocolate, and 2 custard – it was warm and good but considering I had high expectations it was a bit of a letdown. It was good but nothing special I thought. It was like a warm donut but softer and it didn’t have the hole – it didn’t leave me with any wow factor. The custard was probably better, but it was a little too rich for my liking. I had a bite of ‘The Mother’s’ and that was it, unlike bubbies – I wanted more!

The bakery is nothing fancy, small, and run down. You can order other things besides malasadas – different types of donuts, cakes, cookies and many more but we were here for the malasadas and that’s what we got!

If you are in the area and are curious then definitely get some, but like I said early, I think the mochi ice cream wins for me!

GA’s ratings: Bubbies: 8 / 10

1010 University Ave

Honolulu, Hawaii, 96826

Ph: +1 (808) 949 8984

Bubbies Homemade Ice Cream (University Avenue) on Urbanspoon

GA’s ratings: Leonard’s Bakery: 6.5 / 10

933 Kapahulu Ave

Honolulu, Hawaii, 96816

USA

Ph: +1 (808) 737 5591

Leonard's Bakery on Urbanspoon

Wilbur’s Place, Potts Point

I have wanted to try this place for a while now. The team behind Bourke Street Bakery has a new spin-off, Wilbur’s Place in Potts Point. It’s a small eatery, twenty or so seats, its friendly, and focuses on quality seasonal food. You can dine-in or take away and on this glorious Friday, we decided to dine-in. Unfortunately they don’t take reservations, so come before peak hour and you are bound to get a table.

I was catching up with the lovely D, Wilbur’s place is tucked away in the busy Llankelly place, where room 10 and LL wine and Dine are also situated. They serve all day breakfast, which is a bonus my stomach could not go past  past the suckling pig roll with pickles and dill mayo ($10).

OH MY GOD! Undoubtedly one of the best suckling pig roll I have had. The pork was incredibly tender, the pickles and dill mayo a perfect combination. My only gripe would be that there weren’t enough crackle but the pork…. OMG! It was so good that I don’t think I even stopped to put it down. I just ate and ate and ate! Sorry D! I was way too engrossed in my pork roll. Pity this is not walking distance as I would happily eat this every day!

D on the other hand, opt for the suckling pig plate with white beans and cabbage salad ($14) which was served with sourdough. The cabbage salad and beans looked lovely, the suckling pig also looked tender and delicious. D said it was pretty good for what it is. I think my suckling pig roll wins hands down! Oh my…

Dinner menu changes from time to time, the menu displayed on the website looks pretty good and I am definitely keen to try but how can I resist a suckling pork roll?

Didn’t have the coffee, but D said it was good. Can’t wait to start drinking coffee again.

I was tempted to have the toasted brioche ice cream sandwich with caramel but was in a suckling pig coma and could not fit anything else. In the meantime, if you are in the area, go grab yourself a suckling pig roll – you won’t be disappointed. Not open on Mondays but no doubt I will be back sometimes this week!

GA’s ratings: 8 / 10

Wilbur’s Place

34 Llankelly Place

Potts Point, 2011

Ph: +61 2 9332 2999

Wilbur's Place on Urbanspoon

Shaved Ice at Matsumoto and Kalua Pork at Ola, Honolulu, Hawaii

On our first day in Honlulu, we went for a drive with Lobster Dynamite and The Professor. We drove to Oahu’s North Shore, walked around and stopped at possibly the most famous Shaved Ice place in Honolulu – Matsumoto. Matsumoto has been around since 1951 – opened by both Mamoru and Helen Momoy Matsumoto.

It is located about 10 minutes drive from the Dole Plantation site on the Northern side of the island, a scenic drive into North Point. We drove past looking for parking and the line was incredibly long! So many tourists, wanting to try this shaved ice, including ‘The Mother’.

It’s a tiny store, I didn’t go in as there were just way too many people. They have a multitude of syrup flavours – anything you can think off they had – strawberry, pineapple, lemon, coconut, banana, coconut cream, pinacolada – you name it! The list just went on and on. You can have the simple snow cone or be super indulgent and add on a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the bottom of the paper cone, or even add a generous scoop of azuki beans. Both ‘The Mother’ and Lobster Dynamite had neither; they just wanted a simple cone.

The shaved ice was HUMUNGOUS! I don’t think the photo really justified it! Huge shaved ice drizzled with syrup – from memory, ‘The Mother’ had melon, lychee and coconut – weird combination I thought but it seemed to work. It was just one sugary / syrupy drink! It was good for a warm day but talk about sugar over doze. I don’t know if I would have lined up for more than ten minutes though, it was good and I understand the fascination but I probably wouldn’t have gotten one on my own. ‘The Mother’ seemed to have enjoyed it but I could tell towards the end he was pretty much over it! lol

I can’t remember what Lobster Dynamite had, but I did prefer the colours on his ice than ‘The Mother’s’!

We drove around the island, stopping at Laniakea to look at the turtles. I think the boys really wanted to go snorkeling, however, weather was just too horrid and I don’t think they had their snorkels with them. Definitely next time… there will be a next time!

Next stop was definitely lunch – Ola at Turtle Bay Resort. The resort looked amazing, we didn’t really get a chance to walk around as our main focus was food! It was past 3pm when we got there, so the restaurant was closed, but they were still serving bar food which suited us fine.

‘The Mother’ and Lobster Dynamite both ordered the Ola slider combo with fries – Kalua pork slider with guava bbq sauce and from memory a cheddar cheese burger.

The Kalua pork slider was absolutely amazing; the pork was incredibly tender and the spices – fantastic!

Thankfully I ordered the kalua pork nachos – not what I expected what nachos would be. Five large thin and crispy corn chips all topped with generous amount of kalau pork and cheese with guacamole and tomato salsa on the side.

These babies were fantastic! The pork, the guacamole, the crispy corn chips – DELICIOUS!

The Professor wasn’t overly hungry, so opted for the cheese and fruit platter which looked very healthy and very tasty!

Overall it was a lovely meal – I really enjoyed the nachos and the pork sliders were fantastic.

Deliciously full, Lobster Dynamite drove us back to Waikiki, whilst I had a quick snooze in the car.

GA’s ratings: Matsumoto: 6.5 / 10

66-087 Kamehameha Hwy

Haleiwa, Hawaii, 96712

PH: +1 (808) 637-4827

Matsumoto Shave Ice on Urbanspoon

GA’s ratings: Ola: 7.5 / 10

57-091 Kamehameha Hwy

Kahuku, Hawaii, 96712

Ph: +1 (808) 293-0801

Ola (Turtle Bay Resort) on Urbanspoon

Menya Noodle Bar, Chinatown

Menya Noodle Bar can be found on Quay Street, Prince Centre, Haymarket. I have known of its existence for a while now but have not had the chance to go there. The dumplings next door is always inviting and busy but it is not a part of Chinatown that I go very often.

So on a cold Saturday evening, I was catching up with my brother, F and sis-in-law, O who was craving for ramen so I suggested this place. At 7pm the place was starting to get busy, you order near the door, take a seat and food will be delivered to you.

I have been to the Menya Noodle Bar on Sussex Street many times now, and usually alternate between the Tori-katsu ramen or the tori kara-age ramen or the Menya Curry and tori kara-age. However, that evening, I wasn’t really hungry so thought I would try something different. The agedashi tofu ($6.00) – 3 big pieces of deep fried silken tofu swimming in a pool of sweet soy sauce broth. I love agedashi but I don’t particularly like it drenched in sweet soy sauce. The tofu was soft and silky and although drenched was still quite tasty.

The mini rice bowls ($4.50) was hard to resist. I have never ordered the rice bowls before so opt for the buta mubashi bowl – sliced roast pork with shallots and mayonnaise. The pork was tender and had the right amount of fattiness. It was good!

F ordered the tori kara-age ramen, shoyu ($10.90) – I was secretly hoping that he would order the kara-age so I could steal a piece of chicken! I think I would have preferred the kara-age chicken on the side, so it doesn’t become soggy, but it was still quite tender. The soup was warm, thick, rich and GOOD!

O loves soba, so opt for the tempura soba ($13.90), again the tempura was a little soggy, better on the side I think so it remains crispy. However, I didn’t try this, by the time I was ready to try some, it was gone – she completely demolished it! I can safely say that she truly and utterly enjoyed this dish.

The place was busy by the time we got there, but turnover is quite quick. Menya doesn’t only have ramen dishes, they also have soba, udon, Japanese curries and many more. Food is good and reasonably cheap. As winter is approaching, I can envisage lots of comfort food which involves ramen and Japanese curry.

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

Menya Noodle Bar

8 Quay St Shop Tg8

Haymarket, 2000

Australia

Ph: +61 2 9212 1020

Menya Noodle Bar on Urbanspoon