Burgerology: Waikiki Beachside Bistro

Burgerology: Waikiki Beachside Bistro

Burgerology: Waikiki Beachside Bistro

I’d never really consider myself an adventurous eater, but I’m not afraid to pop into a roadside diner or eat lunch at a beach side concession stand. Sometimes you get a nice surprise. Today I stopped in to the Waikiki Beachside Bistro, located next to the police station,  to try their cheeseburger and fries. This place is owned by a mainland concessions company, but I happen to know that it’s managed by a couple of local guys who are passionate about food. After all, they were supposed to cater our wedding.

Burgerology: Waikiki Beachside Bistro

I ordered a cheeseburger with no veggies, but you can try the Kapahulu Burger which is piled high with all sorts of accoutrements including fat onion rings. The burger was good, great grill flavor, but not necessarily spectacular. There was a nice savoury teriyaki sauce that added a great depth of flavor.

The fries were a step up from fast food, and there was ketchup and mayo at the condiment bar, so I got to make my own fry sauce. That always makes things better.

Burgerology: Waikiki Beachside Bistro

 They also serve plantation iced tea, which is lightly sweetened with a hint of pineapple juice. It’s perfect for a hot day at the beach.

I appreciate that Waikiki Beachside Bistro, along with all the concessions they manage, uses compostable plates and cups. It may add to the ridiculous Waikiki prices, but it’s good to know they’re making an effort to avoid styrofoam.

Those ridiculous Waikiki prices are the biggest drawback of eating here. I don’t really think this burger is worth the price I paid, but it is terribly convenient, and the view can’t be beat. There’s nothing like having your lunch steps from the Pacific ocean.

Burgerology: Waikiki Beachside Bistro

I’d say Waikiki Beachside Bistro is great in a pinch when you’re at the beach and hungry. The food is good, but the prices are not so great. Still, you’ll be full and happy, and that’s pretty awesome.

Sunday Brunch: Sweet E's Cafe

Sunday Brunch: Sweet E’s Cafe

Sunday Brunch: Sweet E's Cafe

Sweet E’s Cafe is a lovely little spot in Kilohana Square, near our house, and their food is absolutely wonderful. They’re only open until 2:00 every day, so you know they do breakfast just right. Another sure sign of a great restaurant is a long line, but we learned today that if you get there right at opening time, which is 7:00 am, you can walk right in and get a table. By the time we left at 7:45, the line had already started.

Sunday Brunch: Sweet E's Cafe

Geoff ordered the traditional eggs benedict (again) with hash browns. I’ve had this before as well, and I can attest to its excellence. I recommend getting the roasted potatoes, though. I’m sure the hash browns were great, but the roasted potatoes at Sweet E’s were some of the best I’ve ever eaten. Don’t miss them.

I picked something sweet and decided to order a waffle. You can get it with fresh fruit as well if you’re into that sort of thing. It comes with that giant mound of whipped cream, regardless. The waffle was just right. Crisp on the edges and fluffy in the middle with pockets deep enough to hold plenty of syrup, but not so fat that you can’t get your mouth around it. There wasn’t a speck left by the time I was through. It was heavenly.

Sunday Brunch: Sweet E's Cafe

I love the charming ambiance. It’s very cool and beachy, even though it’s a mile out of Waikiki. The walls are decorated with black and white family photos. It’s a fun, intimate touch. The service is friendly, and the prices are very reasonable. The only problem is that long line I mentioned earlier. There’s nowhere to wait inside for a table, and sometimes there’s a grumpy security guard that comes and scolds you for standing in “the wrong place” while waiting to get a seat. It’s extremely annoying to not be allowed to stand in the only bit of shade for no apparent reason.

It’s definitely worth getting out of bed early to eat at Sweet E’s. If you haven’t been there yet, you must check it out. And don’t forget to order the potatoes. 

Burgerology: W&M Burger

Burgerology: W&M Burger

Burgerology: W&M Burger

While many may claim that we live in paradise and don’t have anything to complain about, I take exception in a few areas. Hawaii certainly is beautiful, and I feel quite lucky to live here, but that doesn’t change the fact that I haven’t been able to go to Sonic since August of 2009. Being in the middle of the ocean, a lot of major chains just aren’t willing to take on the expense of opening a restaurant in the middle of the ocean. No Five Guys burgers or Carl’s Jr. A place to get a great, old-fashioned, greasy, paper bag kind of cheeseburger is not that common.

That’s what makes W&M Barb B-Q Burger so special. It’s just a simple burger stand on Waialae Ave. You walk up to the window at one end and order your burger, and they cook it right then and give it to you in a paper sack at the other end. There are no tables anywhere. You take it home, or eat it in your car. And it’s heavenly. I hear this place has been around since 1940, so they know what they’re doing, and I don’t think they’ve made many changes. I say, go where the experts are.

Burgerology: W&M Burger

I ordered a simple cheeseburger with bacon, no relish. Of course, I should have said no lettuce as well, but it looks cuter for the camera this way. You can order some extra fixings on yours, or try one of their other types of burgers. You know I like to keep it simple. I love the thin, well-seasoned patty and the crisp bacon. I got to have mustard, mayo, and ketchup on my burger without even asking. It’s an amazing burger for $4. So much better than McDonald’s or Burger King.

Burgerology: W&M Burger

They also have some surprisingly decadent dessert choices. I skipped fries this time and got the chocolate mousse cake because chocolate. Hello, beautiful! The dense cake is topped with a thick chocolate mousse and a layer of chocolate ganache. I was not expecting something so luscious at a little wooden burger stand next to a hardware store.

W&M doesn’t have a menu a mile long or kitschy decor or a bar with tropical cocktails. They do one thing, and they do it better than anyone. Delicious burgers, fast and cheap. Sometimes it’s exactly what you need. Next time you’re on Waialae around lunch time, be sure to stop in. They’re only open until 4:30. Get your perfect greasy burgers while you can. You won’t regret it.

Happy Hour: Bar 35

Happy Hour: Bar 35

Happy Hour: Bar 35

The next time you’re in Honolulu’s Chinatown, I absolutely insist you check out the happy hour at Bar 35. They have a gajillion drinks for super cheap, and gourmet fusion pizzas to feed your face. This can all be consumed in an outdoor seating area surrounded by bamboo with Madagascar day geckos climbing all over the walls. The whole thing is basically awesome.

Happy Hour: Bar 35

Happy hour is from 4:00 to 8:00 most days, which makes it so easy to get to. You’re not trying to squeeze in your drink order in the five minutes between when you get off work and when the good deals end. You have plenty of time to try a few different things. Geoff had three different beers from three different countries, Tahiti, Australia, and Canada. He also tried a local beer from Maui, Wailua Wheat, which he quite enjoyed. They have over 150 international beers to choose from, and many of them are only $4 during happy hour.

Happy Hour: Bar 35

If you’re a long time reader, you know I hate beer. Often times this means I either have to order the one cider, an expensive cocktail, or some boring single mixer well drink. Not at Bar 35. They had two pages of cocktails on special for happy hour. There were about ten Skyy vodka martinis for $3.75 and another five choices with Belvedere vodka for $5. I have the geisha, the Hotel Street, and something with berry and lychee that had an adorable name that I have since forgotten. There were all on the sweet side, which doesn’t bother me a bit, but definitely unique and refreshing.

Happy Hour: Bar 35

We also ordered the three cheese crostini with bacon and the French Kiss pizza which featured brie, ham, and pesto. The food selection is not extensive, but what they do offer is high quality and extremely tasty. It’s definitely more of a bar than a restaurant.

We went here once before on a Friday night, and it was packed. But early on a Tuesday, the back patio was very quiet and the inside was empty. I think I prefer the outdoor seating, but there’s definitely some cool stuff going on inside as well. Our service was great. We ended up staying much longer than I had originally intended. And with such great prices, it wasn’t actually that painful to get the bill after so many drinks. 

Happy Hour: Bar 35

I would definitely go back to Bar 35. I love that you never have to order the same drink twice. It’s such an amazing value for such a hip place in such a trendy part of town. I’m so glad I discovered their happy hour. Cheers!

Sunday Brunch: Barefoot Beach Cafe

Sunday Brunch: Barefoot Beach Cafe

Sunday Brunch: Barefoot Beach Cafe

Waikiki is full to bursting with overpriced hotel restaurants serving the same tired surf and turf for the last thirty years. But sometimes, really great and truly affordable food can be found in the most unlikely of places. The Barefoot Beach Cafe in Kapiolani Park may appear to be just a beach park concession stand, but they’re actually serving up a lovely breakfast menu just steps away from the Pacific Ocean.

Sunday Brunch: Barefoot Beach Cafe

I ordered French Toast, made with Hawaiian sweet bread, which was perfectly creamy on the inside, just the way I like it. The portion size was generous and I walked away feeling quite happy.

Sunday Brunch: Barefoot Beach Cafe

Geoff ordered the Eggs Benedict, which came out looking lovely. There was a nice little pool of hollondaise and a side of fried potatoes. The food here is not revelatory, but it’s really good, especially when you consider where it’s coming from. It easily stands up to any hotel restaurant, and the price is much more friendly.

Sunday Brunch: Barefoot Beach Cafe

If you want to enjoy an early morning walk on the beach, may I suggest you make your way a bit past the strip and enjoy a breakfast by the waves at Barefoot Beach Cafe. The service is prompt, the food is tasty, and the view is unbeatable.

 

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