Burgerology: The Counter

The Counter at Kahala Mall

When I’m feeling fancy, I like to grab a custom built burger from The Counter at Kahala Mall. They’re big and juicy and completely customizable. It doesn’t hurt that they have a full bar, either.

Ham, brie, and cranberry burger

The burgers at The Counter are made with high quality ingredients, and there are about twenty different toppings you can choose from. The menu is actually a form you can fill out, checking all the toppings you want on your burger. I’ve gotten a different combination every time. This time around, I got brie, dried cranberries, black forest ham, and roasted garlic aioli on my 1/3 pound beef burger, all served up on a toasted English muffin. I’m basically a genius. 

Spicy Everything Burger

Geoff got a beef burger with fresh jalapenos, sauteed onions, roasted green chiles, spicy pepperoncini, pepper jack cheese, and habanero salsa. He’s a mad man. Previously, you had to order sides, like fries, seperately, but now one side is included with your burger. We both got sweet potato fries. Duh.

Boozy Shakes

This time, Geoff ordered a Kona Long Board, and I got a Woodchuck Cider. They have a pretty good selection of beers. The very most amazingly awesome selection from the bar is the boozy milkshakes. There’s a really creative selection. I had the Thin Mint. Geoff’s was a caramel something. I don’t remember what it was called, but they both tasted so good. One of these days, I’m going here just for drinks and dessert. The menu is so tempting.

The Counter at Kahala Mall

 The Counter is creeping toward the upper end of what I’m willing to pay for a burger, but for a special occasion or a fun night out, it’s totally worth it. You’re definitely getting your money’s worth. The atmosphere is trendy and relaxed. It’s the kind of place where you can laugh as loud as you want. Go get a burger. Fun, laughs, good times!

Soul de Cuba for happy hour

Happy Hour: Soul de Cuba

Soul de Cuba for happy hour

We’re so excited to kick off an awesome new monthly feature! It’s happy hour, baby!!! Every month, we’ll be featuring a new happy hour spot. It’s the perfect way to try new restaurants without spending tons of money. And a great excuse to have a drink after work. Obvs!

Our first pau hana (the Hawaiian version of happy hour) was to Soul de Cuba in downtown Honolulu. I loved this tiny little spot. It was right around the corner from the office building I’m currently working in, so we arrived just after 5:00, and the place was nearly empty. I wasn’t nervous because it had gotten good recommendations from several people. Honestly, I was just happy that it was so easy to get a table. It was much more full when we left, and there was a band setting up in the next room, so it probably gets pretty lively in the evenings.

Soul de Cuba cocktails

Soul de Cuba features some fancy rums. I’m not an expert in rum, but I do love to drink it. I had an El Presidente, which was rum, pineapple juice, and grenadine. It was sweet but potent, just the way I like it. Geoff had the capirinha, which featured muddled limes. He had three. I guess he liked them. The cocktails were made with high quality, fresh ingredients. They don’t fool around. And the happy hour menu gives you plenty of choices. Our other friends sampled the Cuba Libre and the mojito. They were all great, and only $5 or $6.

They also had a small selection of pupus (appetizers) on their happy hour menu. It’s not a lot, but what we tried tasted amazing, and I peeked at the regular menu, and you’re getting a noticeable discount by ordering during happy hour. Take the opportunity to try foods you might not normally be able to afford.

Soul de Cuba pork sliders

We ordered the lechon (pork) sliders, and they were tasty. Everything there had a lovely hint of spice, and the sauce that came on the pork was no exception. My husband took his to the next level by adding some of the lemon habanero sauce they brought out with our sliders. We loved them. And they were only $4. We also wanted to try the mango and habanero salsa, but they were sold out. 

Soul de Cuba calamare

My friend ordered the calamares fritos. I don’t care for seafood, so I didn’t try them. She loved them, though, and quickly made the entire basket disappear. It comes with two dipping sauces, so you can easily share and keep things interesting.

Soul de Cuba tapa sampler

Another friend also ordered the tapa sampler which isn’t on the happy hour menu. It had tons of food, though, and could easily have been a slow dinner over cocktails for two people. There were some great spicy roasted chickpeas, salami, chorizo, serrano ham, manchego cheese, and roasted red peppers. There was also a fiery roasted red pepper hummus, along with several pieces of toasted bread. It was a feast unto itself.

I would definitely recommend the happy hour at Soul de Cuba. I’m not sure we would have ever gone in there if we had to pay full price, but their happy hour specials gave us the opportunity to try some new foods, and some excellent drinks in a relaxed and colorful atmosphere. Happy hour is from Monday through Thursday from 4-6, so stop in after work one weekday and treat yourself to a little imaginary Cuban vacation in the middle of the week. It will be awesome!

*Top photo by Lindsey Vandolah

Burgerology: Teddy’s Bigger Burgers

Teddy's University Burger

While little Em was here to visit, we stopped into one of her favorite spots in Waikiki, Teddy’s Bigger Burgers. It also happens to be my favorite spot for a high quality burger at a decent price. I love it because their cheeseburgers are awesome, even when ordered sort of plain with only special sauce, but you can also add a few local flavors to jazz things up and make your bigger burger even better. Every burger is made to order, so you can get it just the way you like it.

Teddy's Burger

You have an option of a 5, 7, or 9 ounce burger here, though the 5 ounce is always plenty for me. I’ve tried the regular and the teri burger, and both were awesome. As always, a little bacon never hurt anyone, but if you order an egg on your burger, it might be a bit overcooked. If you’re going to order fries, I’d recommend opting for the spicy fries. I’m not particularly in love with french fries myself, so the extra seasonings really bring them to life for me.

Teddy's Spicy Fries

I know this post is supposed to be about burgers, but I have to say that Teddy’s serves one of the best crispy chicken sandwiches I’ve ever had. I especially like it buffalo style with blue cheese. Geoff is also quite fond of their fish and chips doused in malt vinegar. What a surprise!

Of course, a burger accompanied by a milkshake is sort of the perfect meal. The milkshakes at Teddy’s are amazing, and they’re definitely big enough to share. I’m partial to the chocolate peanut butter shake.

Em at Teddy's

If you don’t get too crazy with the toppings, you can eat at Teddy’s for about $10 per person. This is the kind of place you can stop into on a whim without stressing out about spending too much. It’s an order at the counter sort of joint, but the service is usually very friendly, and the food comes out pretty quickly. Remember, they don’t start cooking it until you order, so if they’re busy, be patient. It’s worth it. You’re going to leave happy. 

*All opinions are my own. I was not compensated in anyway for this post. 

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