Grindz of the Day: Byron's, Pancakes & Waffles, L&L, Coco Ichibanya, Zippy's, Yummy's and Kahai St. Kitchen

First up for today’s edition of “Grindz of the Day”, we have a Strawberry Slush Float “Shake” from Byron’s Drive-In.  Another one of many signature items a coworker of mine absoluted RAVED about and insisted I try it.  Well, apparently they got my order wrong, as even though I specifically told the cashier at Byron’s I wanted a Slush Shake, it turns out I was given a Strawberry Slush Float.

Not knowing the difference or bothering to ponder it, and without anyone with  me to tell me otherwise, in retrospect, this is indeed a Slush Float and not a Slush Shake, as you see the Vanilla ice cream floating on top of the Strawberry Slush…

Hey, who am I to know? Looks close enough to be a shake to me. The ice cream was soft enough. Besides, what the heck does a Slush Shake look like? Well, after taking a minute or two to thoroughly stir it, THIS is what a Strawberry Slush Shake should look like…

This, as my coworker explained, the Strawberry Slush Float and Slush Shake are the same thing, save for the Shake being put under the mixer to combine it evenly.

So how is it? WAY TOO SWEET for me. The combination of the artificially-flavored strawberry syrup, even though diluted in the slush, when combined with the also-sweet Vanilla ice cream is like a one-two punch. My coworker confessed she has a major sweet-tooth, so that explains her deep affection for this concoction, yet for me, pass. I barely could finish half of it before tossing it. I gotta’ say though, the Strawberry Slush itself had a nice finely-crushed ice texture, kinda’ like a “Liquid Shave Ice”.

How’s that for a new concept, eh? “Liquid Shave Ice”! Take all of those exotic Shave Ice flavors like Li Hing Mui, Pistachio, Coconut, Bubble Gum, etc. and, instead of the “usual” Shave Ice (a solid state snow cone), offer Slush!

Speaking of Shave Ice, along with my sweeter-than-Willy Wonka Strawberry Float “Shake”, I ordered another Hawaii favorite, a Loco Moco…

Thankfully I went with the mini version, as I could barely even finish this.  Honestly, I haven’t had a Loco Moco for quite a while for the simple reason that’s it’s way too much indulgence that my dwindling metabolism and aging body can barely afford anymore, as really, lots of the foods I feature on this blog are. Yet for now we wont’ dwell on that, enjoy the moment, and live for today. Grindz of the Day that is.

But yeah, the classic “loosen the belt buckle” Loco Moco here from Byron’s, that begins with a bed of white rice, topped by a house-made beef burger patty, which is then topped with an egg (sunnyside-up always my choice) and then smothered with brown gravy, while being accompanied by a scoop of Mac’ Sal’.

As you can tell, the burger patty was griddled (fried), not char-grilled as I always prefer. Yet aside of that shortcoming, it was cooked to medium perfection, being very moist and nicely seasoned.

Of course the most crucial element of a Loco Moco is the gravy, and Byron’s pretty much nails it. Deep, rich, thick and beefy, although I must also note it did taste like it could be based on that packaged “just add water” McCormick’s stuff. Which I really don’t have a problem with, as I enjoy packaged gravies, even though one reader once said “you lose all credentials” when I once said that before. Whatevahz.You go spend 10 hours making stock to make gravy. I’ll be ready to eat in minutes.

One thing I really like as a finishing touch on my Loco Moco are sauteed onions, which obviously Bryon’s doesn’t do, but that would have been great.

One of the best  parts of eating any gravy-laden plate lunch is when the gravy “kisses” the mac salad…

You get that creamy, rich mayo’ combined with the beefy flavor of the thick gravy, put some of that on your fork and lick it like, oh never mind. Just, mmm-mmm-yum, so ono! I think this very notion is what inspired Zippy’s to add “Mac Salad Sauce” to their Chili Moco. Brilliant!

Summing it up, I give Byron’s Drive In Loco Moco a solid 3 SPAM Musubi, while their Slush Float “Shake” gets 1. Surely you sweet tooth’ers will think more highly of it.

Staying on topic with the theme of “indulgent and decadent”, moving on to our next “Grindz of the Day”, we have some plates Diner A and family enjoyed a few weeks ago at the new Pancakes & Waffles in City Square Shopping Center in Kapalama. First off we have a Fried Rice, Eggs and Breakfast Links plate…

Good to see they use round paper plates, and not them dreaded non-eco-friendly, sterile and unfashionable white styrofoam clamshell containers.

Next up, what? Hamburger patty, eggs and brown gravy over plain ‘old boring white rice not enough to excite that inner Loco Moco desire deep within you? Then you need to hook up with a Fried Rice Loco Moco…

Be still my beating heart! Insane.

Next up, the last time we visited Pancakes & Waffles, it seemed all the rage here wasn’t their Pancakes or their Waffles, but actually more people around us were eating their Fried Chicken. So Diner A satisfied all our curiosities by ordering that on this visit…

These are some substantially-sized clucker thighs, as you see compared in scale to Diner A’s hand here….

They be T-Rex thighs.

Instead of Honey Butter, he opted for Ranch dressing as a dipping sauce for the fried chicken…

I suppose one way to look at it is, well, at this point, no sense ordering a diet soda and tossed green salad to accompany this meal. lol

Look at how juicy and tender the meat is…

While the battered crust is super “crisp’ety-crunch’ety” and well-seasoned….

IIRC, Diner A commented that it reminded him of Woolworth’s famous fried chicken. Remember that? That was one of the best things about going to Woolworth’s. As soon as you walk in the store, the combined aroma of scented candles, new clothes, coffee, popcorn and fried chicken would almost literally smack you in the face. Loved that! RIP Woolworth’s.

Anyhow, like our experience at Pancakes & Waffles, Diner A’s weekend brunch there with the family also was a 3 SPAM Musubi affair. Oh, and not to fret. They went to the beach afterwards to swim it all off.

Moving on, we get some stuffs from L&L Drive In/Hawaiian BBQ/whatever they call it, starting with this bowl of Saimin…

That looks to me like Japanese style Ramen Chashu. Check it out..

Like seemingly 90% of Hawaii’s restaurant industry uses, I’m going to guess these noodles are sourced from Sun Noodle Factory…

I got a sip of the broth, which tasted like your standard Dashi and Shoyu broth, while not getting much added flavor from the Charsiu (roast pork).

Summing it up, Diner A gives L&L’s Saimin 2 SPAM Musubi. Cheap, decent and satisfying.

The classic accompaniment to Saimin is a Hamburger, which Diner A added to his L&L Drive In meal here…

Personally, I’d pay extra to make it a ‘Deluxe’, as my burger MUST have Lettuce, Tomato and Onion on it. Cheese too, of course! Plain like this just doesn’t work for me. Biting into it, not much excitement going on…

Pretty much a plain-old griddle-cooked hamburger that I’m putting way too much writing effort into. Sorry to waste your bandwidth and time having to download these last two pictures and read all this blabbering. lol

Nah, but at least he gave it 2 SPAM Musubi, as the burger patty was moist and well-seasoned,  and of course it went quite well with the decent Saimin from L&L.

Getting a little more “exotic”, Diner E tried L&L’s Fried Shrimp Sandwich…

I don’t know why, but of all the dishes featured so far on today’s edition of “Grindz of the Day”, this Shrimp Sandwich is the one I crave most right about now. I think because I haven’t had shrimp for a couple of weeks now and could really go for some at this moment. Besides, honestly I’ve never had a Shrimp in sandwich form before, which I’m sure some of you will blast me for that.

The bite shot doesn’t reveal much, as evidently the shrimp tails in here are very small…

What is this, an Opae Sandwich? lol  Still, Diner E actually really enjoyed it, giving it a very solid 2 SPAM Musubi, which is favorable by his super-critical standards.

Speaking of chain restaurants (L&L Drive In continues to expand all over the US and internationally), next we have a Tonkatsu Curry takeout plate from Coco Ichibanya Curry House

This generous portion of Tonkatsu and beef-based spicy curry and tsukemono comes in at a wallet-friendly $6.75.

Their curry tastes similar to the store-bought S&B brand, with a subtle sweetness to it that is typical of Japanese curries. If you go to Tokyo, you’ll find curry houses all over the place. Even their “spicy” curry isn’t hot at all. Notice it doesn’t have any kinds of vegetables in it, but acts more like a gravy for the tonkatsu and rice than as a stew.

The tonkatsu itself was right on point. The panko was evenly coated and deep-fried to “GBD” perfection, while the boneless pork was flavorful, moist and tender.

What’s nice is the specially-made takeout container is partitioned to isolate the curry “gravy” so it doesn’t make the crunchy tonkatsu soggy while in transit.

Summing it up, a very solid 3 SPAM Musubi for Coco Ichibanya Curry House’ Tonkatsu Curry takeout plate.

One last note on this place, I noticed lots of folks in there ordering the curry that had fresh grated cheddar cheese sprinkled on it and melted over, which looked GOOD! I’m so going to try that next time!

Still on restaurant chains, now we’re back at zippity-zip-zip Zippy’s for one of their Facebook coupon specials, the $5 Spaghetti Fried Chicken plate…

Zippy’s Spaghetti isn’t going to put Assagio’s out business anytime soon, but for what it’s worth, it works. You get that, plus fried chicken, plus mac salad, plus toasted french bread for just $5? Can’t go wrong!

One more chain restaurant, we’re back at Yummy’s Korean BBQ, this time with a Kalbi & Chicken Katsu mixed plate…

Yummy’s is getting a bit pricey as far as plate lunch joints go, as this mixed plate rang up to almost $11. Still, I must say their 4-choice banchan is, well, YUMMY! I especially love their Korean Potatoes and Korean style Potato salad, which are two of the choices on this plate. They also do really good job at making Chicken Katsu. My only complaint is Yummy’s Worcesterhire-based katsu sauce. Pass. Not to worry, as I have lots of my own Japanese Tonkatsu sauce to use on it. Kalbi is solid. Char-grilled and smokey-tasting with a deeply-marinaded sauce. Overall a very solid 4 SPAM here. The banchan makes it.

Finally, we’re back at Kahai Street Kitchen, one of our all-time favorite haute plate lunch haunts, where today we have this delicious-looking plate…

This is Kahai Street Kitchen’s special of the day, Baked Chicken in a Boursin Cheese Cream Sauce and topped with Tomato Provencal. It’s served with a Tossed Green Salad with Kahai Street Kitchen’s EXCELLENT house dressing and steamed “Hapa” (brown and white) rice.

Price of admission? $7. Just seven bucks! You’d easily pay at least four times that price for a dish prepared exactly the same way at a white table cloth restaurant. Actually, the folks from our accounting department ordered this in bulk for a party they were throwing. Needless to say, everyone told me they LOVED it, which I’m not surprised, as Kahai Street Kitchen always delivers. Nao and the gang there REALLY know how to cook!

That’s all I’ve got for now. After posting this, it’s made me hungry, so I’m off right now for yet another “Grindz of the Day”!


16 thoughts on “Grindz of the Day: Byron's, Pancakes & Waffles, L&L, Coco Ichibanya, Zippy's, Yummy's and Kahai St. Kitchen

  1. That Korean plate givin’ me the ono’s for Gyukaku’s Bi Bim Bap… and that chicken brings back memories of AVA’s (in Larkspur CA) sous vide then fried chicken with spicy slaw. Williams Sonoma now has an immersion cooker for home use… though it will set you back 8-bills plus another 2-bills for the vacuum sealer but boy does it give me a food woodie!

  2. oh my god pomai…the money shot would be the fried chicken…that’s just out of this world tasty. everything else, man i seriously love! LOL man move some of those places over to my new office here in berkeley…LOL 🙂 excellent write up with tons of mouthwatering pics 🙂 it’s been what….4 years since i’ve been to hawaii (oahu)…..methinks it’s time to plan a trip or something 😀

  3. Pomai, you made me head to 7-11 and get a cola slurppie and head home add some ice cream to it since Byron do not have other flavors.

  4. Pomai, I had a dream last night that you had a small appearance on Hawaii 5-0 tv show. Well you are a well known person in Hawaii in blogging. Funny I dreamed it was your shadow that appeared in the show since you the so what mystery blogger

  5. Amy, so I showed up as a “mystery blogger” in your Hawaii 5-0 tv show dream eh? Well, in reality, I don’t think the Hawaii 5-0 producers will have any use for food bloggers in their script. Perhaps I can blog about their catering on the set if they invite me!

    Kelike, hmmm, a cola Slurpee vanilla ice cream float sounds pretty good actually! I think it would taste better than the strawberry slush combination. Has 7-Eleven ever had a rootbeer Slurpee? That would be even better to make a float with.

    Raph’, you definitely gotta’ look me up if/when you come to Oahu for a vacation. I’m thinkin’ lunch or dinner at People’s Cafe, one of my favorite Hawaiian food restaurants. I’m confident you and your girlfriend/wife will LOVE it! The best in, e-e-ehem, “world renown Hawaiian cuisine”. Ha!

    Ryan, wow, an $800 immersion cooker, eh? I was just asking folks on Yelp on how to make the “perfect musubi rice”, where I mentioned the rep from Tiger rice cookers told me the best rice cooker to buy is the new Induction heat models. Tiger and Zojirushi makes them. DQ’s got ’em. They run about $300, but he SWEARS it makes the best rice he’s ever had, including from Japan.

  6. Hmm, it’s been a couple of years … I think it might be time for a return trip to CoCo Ichibanya (although I already have more places I want to go to than meals I can eat this trip!).

    And as someone with my own metabolic issues, that hapa rice sounds like a pretty good idea to this hapa!

  7. I have such fond memories of Woolworth fried chicken, ahhh, good times! I have a soft spot for Yummy’s and love their panchan. I always make it a point to eat at a Yummy’s at least once on each visit. Their potato salads and seaweed salad are my favorites!

  8. For those with a Sam’s Club membership, try the melon dream at their take out section. It’s like a honeydew melon slush with soft serve ice cream.

  9. T’anks eh, Pomai. I read your blog all year and when I stay come back to Honolulu I got to go eat at a lot of da places I when read about. So now da family t’ink I only come home fo’ eat. LOL

  10. eleki, well, that’s one of many great reasons!

    momona, thanks for the Sam’s Club Honeydew Melon Slush with Soft Serve Ice Cream tip! That actually sounds very “Japanese”, as creamy melon drinks are very popular there. And for good reason… it tastes oishii! (think melona bar, which is actually Korean).

    Carol, I really want to get a consensus on what everyone’s memories agrees is what Woolworth’s Fried Chicken REALLY tasted like. I have my own very, VERY vague memories of it. To my vague memory, the fried chicken currently offered at Foodland and Safeway deli counters is VERY similar to what I remember Woolworth’s Fried Chicken. Am I wrong on that recollection?

    Debbie-chan, Hinode now packages and distributes a product labeled “Hapa Blend Rice”, a (obvious if you understand the Hawaiian word “Hapa”) blend of white and brown rice.

  11. Yes, I have wonderful memories of the Woolworth’s fried chicken! After I hit a certain age, I lost my taste for anything chicken except fried chicken or smaller pieces like wings. But, it needs to be fried, grilled or served cold with ginger sauce.

    Most of the time, the fried chicken at Foodland and Safeway is way too dry. I remember the Woolworth’s chicken being on the moist side. Star Market had a decent fried chicken in the deli section.

    Thanks to Carol for mentioning Woolworth’s. I worked in Waikiki when Woolworth’s was still there and they had Filipino food in the deli section. To their credit, they made food for the working people.

  12. Pomai- I remember the Woolworth’s fried chicken as being a darker brown color…almost reddish, like Pioneer Chicken (are those still around?) But anyway, my memories of eating Woolworth’s chicken is that the batter/skin was the star. I would peel all of that off and eat that first. Piping hot! And full of flavor. And more batter-like too.

    And not too forget Bryon’s iconic roof! Love that place.

  13. Pomai-talk about strolling down memory lane. Your comment about Woolworth’s really struck up some vivid images…the smell of brand new merchandise and the fried chicken! I remember it being more on the bright “orange” side and always wondered whether it was because of food coloring or because it was always stacked up underneath heat lamps that illuminated it well. It definitely made you drool whenever I would pass by.

  14. StuP, my coworker who recommended trying the Strawberry Slush Shake also spoke highly of Byron’s Shrimp Burger/Sandwich.

    Midge, this was a “heavy” post.

    Paki, it was all about the “ambiance” at Woolworths!

    Debra, notice the center part of the roof at Byron’s is missing panels.

    Momona, while I’m not a fried chicken “regular”, the few pieces I’ve tried from both Foodland and Safeway’s deli were FANTASTIC. Crispy outside and super-moist and tender inside and seasoned well. Must have had good timing.

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