Bluenami Burger at Islands

Burgerology: Island’s Fine Burgers

Welcome back to Burgerology: Today we’re checking out Island’sFine  Burgers in Ala Moana Center. 

Islands Fine Burgers and Drinks at Ala Moana Center, Honolulu

We often leave the house with the best of intentions, but we usually end up eating something we shouldn’t before we can make it back home. When Mai Tai bar is full, it’s just too tempting to walk twenty yards to Islands Burgers. Before you know it, what was supposed to be a quick drink after work turns into a huge burger and fries.

Bluenami Burger at Islands

This place is in a mall, so it’s not the hippest, but it’s located on the upper level, and they have an open air lanai. The bar across the “hall” has live music on the weekends, so you can get a table and still watch the band while you eat your dinner. The staff has always been quite friendly, and the food comes out on time; not exceptionally fast, but not slow either. Just baby bear. 

Mangorita at IslandsMangorita at Islands

They have a nice cocktail selection, and they’re pretty expensive, but not the most expensive I’ve seen. There’s a good choice of drinks for under $8. This time I had the mangorita. It was delicious, and huge. There was no need to order a second round. The sweet and slightly tart mango puree complimented the Suaza tequila perfectly. It’s one of the nicest margaritas I’ve ever had. And when our bill came, it was magically a dollar cheaper then what was listed in the menu. I don’t know why, and I didn’t ask. Just in case.

Bluenami Burger at IslandsBluenami Burger at Islands

I ordered the Bluenami burger, which had blue cheese dressing and crumbles. My burger was cooked precisely to my specifications and still nice and juicy. It was a bit skimpy on the blue cheese, and I thought the wheat bun was perhaps a bit too heavy. Maybe I’ll try a white bun next time. I enjoyed it, but it didn’t make me sing. I give it a B. I did love that I could order macaroni salad instead of French fries. For some strange reason, I absolutely love mac salad, and even though I wasn’t really hungry anymore, I couldn’t stop myself from eating it.

Kilauea Burger from Islands

Geoff ordered the Kilauea burger, which was loaded with black pepper. He reports that he thought the black pepper was perhaps overkill, as that’s all he could really taste. He really liked his fries, which had a hint of garlic and still had the skin on.

This is definitely a date night, visit occasionally sort of place. The burgers are in the $12-$15 range, and the drinks start at around $6 for beer and $8 for cocktails. If you get there after 3:00 try and get a seat in the bar area. It’s happy hour from 3:00 ’til close in that section, and you can get drinks and appetizers on special for around $5. This makes the restaurant much easier on the wallet.

Kilauea Burger from Islands

I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to eat here again, but if it was convenient, and I was hungry, I’d definitely stop in. It’s good, but not great.

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Hawaiian Bread Pudding

Ono Hawaiian Bread Pudding and Big City Diner

Hawaiian Bread Pudding

In case you missed it, I live in Honolulu, about a mile away from Waikiki beach. Yes, that was a full on humble brag. I’m poor. There’s not a lot to brag about. Being in the middle of the ocean at one of the world’s hottest tourist destinations has a few drawbacks, though. As in, everything is so so so expensive. We usually eat in which is great because I love to cook, but that can sometimes be just as pricey. Our favorite spot for a relaxed meal without a ridiculous price tag is definitely Big City Diner.

Breakfast at BCD

They’re open for for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, though sadly, you can’t get the breakfast menu all day. They serve all the typical diner fare, but you can also get some dishes with a local twist, like fried noodles or loco moco. Their specials change weekly, so there’s always something new on the menu. And they have awesome weeknight deals to make things even cheaper.

Drinks at BCD

We love the family friendly, laid back atmosphere. The service is extremely friendly and quite fast. Our favorites are the burgers, of course, (we’ll do a Burgerology post on Big City Diner in the future), but they also have a tasty grilled ham and cheese, and awesome cinnamon French toast. We visit three of their many locations on a fairly regular basis. It’s our go to restaurant in Waikiki, and we’ll definitely be telling you more about this place in the future.

Hawaiian Bread Pudding

This has been a rather long preamble to get me to the thing I most want to share, my island inspired bread pudding. They have a dessert like this on the menu at Big City Diner, but this is my own personal take. Bread pudding is extra awesome because you get to use up leftover bread that might otherwise be wasted. And this one is studded with pineapple and macadamia nuts and topped with a coconut rum creme anglaise. (I actually got someone drunk on this sauce once. The circumstances were bizarre indeed, and not likely to be repeated.) The warm custardy bread and the cold boozy sauce are the perfect juxtaposition.  It’s so ono!

If you’re on our island, be sure and visit Big City Diner, but if you can’t get out here, and you want to create a Hawaiian vacation in your oven, give this bread pudding a try. It’s topped with liquor infused melted ice cream. What could go wrong?

Hawaiian Bread Pudding

 

 

Bread pudding images by Monica Szczupider

Ono Hawaiian Bread Pudding
Serves 4
A bread pudding with a Hawaiian flair
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
40 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 250 grams stale Hawaiian sweet bread, cut into cubes (a whole loaf if using King's)
  2. 1 small can pineapple chunks
  3. 1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts
  4. 3 eggs
  5. 40 grams (1/4 cup) brown sugar
  6. 2 tablespoons dark rum or coconut rum (use the dark rum if you have it, but don't buy it special)
  7. 125 ml (1/2 cup) heavy cream
  8. 500 ml (1 cup) whole milk
  9. Coconut rum creme anglaise (recipe below)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 340 degrees. Lightly butter a 2 quart casserole or a nine inch pie pan.
  2. Add your dry bread to the pan. If it's not quite stale, you can leave it out on a wire rack for a while. Mine is always just sort of stale, never truly hard. It's still awesome.
  3. Add the pineapple and macadamia nuts. Try and evenly disperse them around the pan. No need to stir, just let everything settle.
  4. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, rum, cream and milk. Pour this over your bread mixture and press the bread down into it to make sure everything is good and squidgy.
  5. Let the bread soak for 20 minutes before putting it in the oven. Bake for 40 minutes or until everything is puffy, lightly brown, and set.
  6. Let rest until it is just warm. Spoon it onto your plate and drizzle it with plenty of coconut rum creme anglaise.
Notes
  1. This will keep in the fridge for a couple of days, but I recommend reheating it slightly before serving it. The combination of warm bread pudding and cold rum sauce is awesome.
Adapted from Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding from Kitchen by Nigella Lawson
http://awesomeon20.com/
Coconut Rum Creme Anglaise
Serves 4
A luscious boozy sauce to top your bread pudding or whatever else you find lying around
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Prep Time
14 min
Prep Time
14 min
Ingredients
  1. 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
  2. 2 egg yolks
  3. 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  4. 1/4 cup coconut rum
Instructions
  1. Add the cream, egg yolks, and powdered sugar to a small sauce pan over medium heat.
  2. Stir constantly for about 8-10 minutes until the sauce thickens. It will coat the back of a wooden spoon when it's ready. Do not boil.
  3. Stir in the rum until everything is smooth.
  4. Pour it through a sieve into a container, then chill in the fridge until ready to use. (You can skip the straining, but I find it catches any stray bits of overcooked egg yolk and assures your sauce is super smooth. I'm not an expert, so I can use the help.)
Adapted from Bahama Breeze
Adapted from Bahama Breeze
http://awesomeon20.com/

Tiki Town

Burgerology: Tiki Town

*This restaurant has closed. A similar venue can be found nearby called Cuckoo Coconuts. Tiki Town

Welcome to our new occasional series, Burgerology. I have repeatedly proclaimed my love of cheeseburgers, so I’m on the hunt to share with you the most awesome burgers on the island of Oahu. 

Our first burger is from Tiki Town, which is tucked away in my favorite den of nostalgia in Waikiki, The International Marketplace. This joint is exactly as tacky as it’s name implies, which makes it deliciously fun. I don’t care how big their plastic volcano is, I’ll try anywhere that serves a $3.95 mai tai.

Volcano Bar

We’ve only been here during the day, but the atmosphere has always been fun and relaxed. The service is fast and accurate, considering the wait staff all have Japanese accents. They get it right the first time, and quickly. It’s the kind of place where you can laugh as loudly as you want, and no one will care.

Mai Tai

The mai tai is potent and tastes good. It appears to come from a mix rather than freshly squeezed organic pineapple juice and other such nonsense, but for $3.95, I’m not complaining. I also love that they bring you peanut butter stuffed pretzels while you wait for your food, or just to snack on if you’re only having drinks. That’s one of my favorite snacks, so getting them for free is sweet. It’s especially awesome that they’re served to you in a coconut.

Volcano Burger

The burgers are cooked on essentially a big backyard gas grill, so they taste homemade. It’s a good size burger, and mine has always been cooked perfectly with gorgeous grill marks that lend the flavor of flame. I get the classic burger with cheese, and Geoff usually orders the volcano burger with plenty of hot sauce and jalapenos. My only complaint is that they use processed cheese, rather than the real thing. It’s not a big deal, I just prefer cheddar.

Tiki Town Burgers

Another great feature is that they bring you a literal bucket of condiments with your food. I got to put mustard, ketchup, and mayo on my burger just the way I like it, and even better, there was a bottle of ranch dressing for my fries. Genius.

The price is about mid-range at around $9, cheap for Waikiki, and if you only order one round of drinks, you can definitely get out of there for less than $20 per person. It’s a great place to stop into for a midday drink or a quick lunch. 

Tikis

We’ve never been here for dinner or late night drinks, and it’s usually not that busy when we go in. It’s not gourmet. It’s a tacky tiki bar. They have good simple food and cheap drinks, so if you know what you’re getting yourself into, and you don’t take yourself to seriously, you’ll quite enjoy it. We’d definitely go back again.

Geoff at Tiki Town

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