While in the area yesterday, I dropped by Poke Stop in Waipahu to pick-up lunch, hoping to see if there were any “Triple D-ish” stuff happening there. This coming hot-off-the-heels of our recent visit to Hank’s Haute Dogs. When to my unexpected delight, chef and owner Elmer Guzman happened to be in the house!
Super nice guy, and he was more than happy to talk with me about the taping with Guy Fieri and the ‘Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives” a.k.a. “Triple D” show taping at his newer Poke Stop location in Mililani.
Being the fan that I am of the show, the first and foremost question I had for Chef Elmer was “What did Guy eat!?” Turns out this was easy for him to answer, as he went as far as creating custom t-shirts for sale of each dish Guy ate. Now that’s “MONEY”!
Let’s check ’em out, starting with the “Kapakahi Poke”…
This shirt design includes a description of the dish, including an English translation of the Hawaiian word “Kapakahi” which literally means “the best of both worlds”. Yet when used in context of pidgin english slang, “Kapakahi” can also loosely mean “anything goes”, “all mixed up” or “scattered”. For example, “Whoah, look braddah’z house, stay all kapakahi, laddat’.”
Ironically, I had a sample of their Kapakahi Ahi & Opihi Poke the last time I was here…
Kapakahi Ahi & Opihi Poke
Gotta’ say, ‘dis buggah’ was broke da’ mout’ winnahz! And I’m not really an Opihi fan, but when combined like this, along with the garlic, green onion and seasoning, it’s really ono. Great flavor and texture contrast.
Moving on to the next dish, Guy also tried the Furikake Salmon Poke, as illustrated by this tee…
The actual Furikake Salmon Poke bin label indicates “As seen on Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives”…
Surely a fish Guy hasn’t tried before is O’io, or Hawaiian Bonefish…
Finally, the fish of ancient Hawaiian royalty, Moi…
That one’s my favorite. Very, ehem, “playful” design!
Speaking of which, that’s what I ordered, which I’ll get to in a bit.
One more Triple D tribute tee is Poke Stop’s “Da Guy” design..
Notice the likeness of Guy’s spiked “do”, shades and goatie, with just a silhouette of the Triple D logo.
All of these shirts very nicely done. Hats off to the artist! Want one? They’re $15 each at Poke Stop.
Chef Elmer told me he’s working on a brand new website for Poke Stop, so right now their website is down for construction. While I forgot to ask, I’ll assume he’ll have these shirts for sale online when it goes back live.
Speaking of Chef, here’s the man, the myth, the legend…
Here, Chef Elmer shows a map they just put up that will pinmark customers from abroad who were lead to Poke Stop by Triple D…
Such is the scale of being on a nationally-televised TV show. It’d be really cool if they had a flat screen computer monitor up on the wall displaying Google Earth, and pinmark it that way!
At the center of those t-shirts is a montage of photos taken during the Triple D taping…
I asked Elmer why Triple D taped at Mililani and not Waipahu, which is just around the corner from Highway Inn where they also taped at, and he said primarily because the newer Mililani location is bigger. I’m guessing that gives the crew more room to handle all the production equipment without knocking stuff over.
If you watch ‘No Reservations’, there was an episode in I think Thailand where Bourdain’s cameraman knocked down a shelf of stuff in a restaurant they were filming at, and the owners did not look happy. lol
Here’s Guy spraying his signature “Guy Ate Here” stencil on the wall at Poke Stop’s Mililani location…
Now that we all know what Guy ate at Poke Stop, only thing to do next is tune in to the Food Network on May 3rd, when Poke Stop will be featured on Triple D!
Well, that’s not the ONLY thing to do next, as we are here to EAT, right? Along with an extensive regular menu, they also have a few daily specials…
In another irony, I actually ordered the deep-fried Moi before Chef Elmer told me that this was one of the dishes on Triple D’s menu. But really, it doesn’t take much deciding in picking this when it’s just $10 for the whole fish. Albeit a smaller one, yet more than adequate!
Here’s how it looked…
Watching them prepare it, it looked like it was dredged in cornstarch before hitting the deep fryer. Notice the requisite whole fish cross-hatch score marks, which helps it to cook evenly and also makes it easy for the diner to pluck the meat off.
Here it is after a drizzle of Ponzu, Hawaiian Chili Peppah Watah and a squeeze of lemon…
Come to papa…
The super moist Moi meat pulls right off the bone and onto the fork.
Check it out, it’s like “buttah”….
You know what? Let’s just say aloha to da’ bones, pulling it out in one fell swoop!…
Now it’s ALL MOI MEAT, baby, skin ‘n all!…
Sitting in that citrus-laced Ponzu and Hawaiian Chili Peppah Watah sauce, buggah’ stay broke da’ mout’ winnahz!…
It was seasoned with just the right amount of salt and pepper, while that crispy cornstarch-battered skin added fantastic texture contrast to the delicate, clean and flavorful Moi meat beneath it.
They say in ancient Hawaiian times, Moi was reserved only for the Ali’i or royalty, and if you were a layperson caught eating it, it would mean death. Well, thankfully times have changed, as this is one mighty tasty fish. Wherever I dine, if whole Moi’s on the menu, whether it’s steamed or deep-fried, chances are I’ll pick that over any other seafood dish.
And you gotta’ dig the “local touch” they do by providing Hawaiian Chili Peppah Watah for the dish, which is becoming more and more rare to find nowadays…
This is like Hawaii’s version of Tobasco, made simply by pickling the VERY HOT Hawaiian Chili Peppers in a solution of water, salt and vinegar. Folks like to add it to plate lunches, fish, grilled meat or just about anything that’s good with some “heat”.
The simple, crispy and fresh Mesclun Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette married well with the complexity and depth of the Moi, while the brown rice provided an adequate starch foundation to it all.
Overall, I give Poke Stop’s Fried Whole Moi a Triple-Delicious 4 SPAM Musubi.
Now Diner A’s $5 Poke Stop Steak Plate? That was another story!…
We’ve all heard the saying that you get what you pay for. Well, this took that saying to a whole new level, or should I say reduced it to a much LOWER level. While the seasoning was fantastic, consisting of what tasted like crispy onions, garlic, salt ‘n pep’ and green onions, the steak itself was TOUGH AS A RUBBAH SLIPPAH! OMG! It was really bad.
Seriously, if you have a rubbah slippah around the house that’s clean enough to do it (yeah, right), try bite into it, then notice your teeth immediately get rejected from proceeding to bite any further into the firm rubber, quickly rebounding your jaw back open. That’s exactly how tough this was, I kid you not.
Part, if not all of the problem is you can see there’s practically no tenderizing fat marbling or sections of it at all within this cut…
I’m guessing this was either top round or X-TREME lean chuck roast; either of which came from cattle that was being fed basketballs as their daily diet. lol
As it stands, this wasn’t even worth $1, as it turned out almost entirely inedible. So bad I’m not even going to include it in this writing’s total SPAM Musubi scores. It’s essentially DQ’d, but we MUST let chef know so he fixes the problem or just takes it off the menu and sticks with the better quality Pulehu steak on the regular menu. Or maybe it’s just Diner A’s fault for being a cheapskate. lol
Thankfully Poke Stop has TOTALLY REDEEMED THEMSELVES with their supah’ ono Oreo Cookie Cheesecake!…
Did I hear God suddenly stop the music in Heaven as we all take hold of this beaut’?!!! Oh yeah, you know you wanna’ piece of that, I know you do. I do!
The texture was sorta’ “mousse-ish”, having an airiness to it, while it wasn’t too rich, which I always appreciate when it comes to desserts. One thing I can’t stand are things that are so sweet I’m ready to make a dental appointment the next day. This wasn’t like that at all, while also not being overbearing with chocolate. It was basically exactly what you’d expect an Oreo Cookie Cheesecake to taste like, and a mighty fine one at that. Just add a glass of milk and I’d be set!
If there’s just one thing I would have asked for is that the crust be more crisp, as it was on the soggy side, but ah, minahz. This is still, ehem, “in it to win it”!
Summing it up, Diner AC, Diner C and yours truly had a bite and we all unanimously give Poke Stop’s Oreo Cheesecake 4 SPAM Musubi.
Once again, don’t forget to tune into the Food Network on May 3rd to catch Guy’s Triple D hit-up Poke Stop in Mililani!
95-040 Farrington hwy
E-4 in the Waipahu Town Center
Waipahu, Hawaii 96797
95-1840 Meheula Prkwy
Mililani, HI 96789
Follow Chef Elmer Guzman on Twitter:
The Tasty Island rating:
(4) Excellent. Worth another visit or purchase. (Winnahz!)
• Poke Stop on KHON2 with Manolo Morales (part 1)
• Poke Stop on KHON2 with Manolo Morales (part 2)
• Waipahu Eats: Poke Stop – The Tasty Island
• Poke Stop (Waipahu) – Yelp user reviews
• Poke Stop (Mililani) – Yelp user reviews