It's Good & Healthy Cafe, where the Catering is Great!

OPA!

This past week we held yet another office party luncheon, this time with an exotic Greek/Mediterranean/Middle Eastern theme of dishes from It’s Good & Healthy Cafe, a popular lunchtime eatery on Merchant Street in the heart of busy downtown Honolulu.

Let’s get right to it and check out what’s for lunch, starting with some warm ‘n toasty Pita Bread…


It’s the Good & Healthy Cafe (catering menu) – Pita Bread

Next up, one of my favorites, a fresh ‘n crispy Greek Salad…


It’s the Good & Healthy Cafe (catering menu) – Greek Salad: lettuce, tomatoes, onions, Kalamata olives, Feta cheese & dressing

There’s chicken ‘n rice, THEN there’s Chicken Tarna over a bed of Rice Pilaf…


It’s the Good & Healthy Cafe (catering menu) – Chicken Tarna (flame-broiled chicken) over a bed of Rice Pilaf

It’s NOT “Jai-roh”, IT’s “Yee-roh”…


It’s the Good & Healthy Cafe (catering menu) – Gyro: marinated lamb & beef over a bed of Rice Pilaf

Exceptionally nice pan presentation they’ve given for the Falafel…


It’s the Good & Healthy Cafe (catering menu) – Falafel: fried Fava and Garbanzo beans)

Another fave’ of mine, the Dolmades…


It’s the Good & Healthy Cafe (catering menu) – Dolmades: rice-stuffed grape leaves

Now it’s time to kick things up and turn this party into an all-out BASH, where here we have Tabouli…


It’s the Good & Healthy Cafe (catering menu) – Tabouli: wheat, mint, parsley, tomatoes, lemon juice and olive oil

Gotta’ love all the color, flavor and texture contrasts in this type of cuisine, where from green, crispy and chunky, we go to creamy, nutty and pasty…


It’s the Good & Healthy Cafe (catering menu) – Hummus (Garbanzo bean dip)

Yet ANOTHER favorites of mine here, the Baba Ghanoush…


It’s the Good & Healthy Cafe (catering menu) – Baba Ghanoush: Eggplant dip

Time to cool it down with some Tzatziki…


It’s the Good & Healthy Cafe (catering menu) – Tzatziki sauce (yogurt, cucumber, dillweed)

Contrasting the cool and refreshing Tzatziki, we also have the more nutty ‘n creamy Tahini sauce…


It’s the Good & Healthy Cafe (catering menu) – Tahini sauce (ground sesame seeds)

Rounding it all out, for dessert we have the all-time Greek favorite, Baklava…


It’s the Good & Healthy Cafe (catering menu) – Balava

Mmm-mmm-mmm, everything look’s “Opa-licious”!

Now let’s check out a few plates “Cool ‘n hot off the press”…

In case you were wondering why in that first photo it said “Year of the Rabbit”? Well, we’re a worldly bunch, as while we were enjoying cuisine from the middle East, we also recognize the far east Chinese zodiac all in the same sitting. Where those in attendance at our luncheon who were born in the Year of the Rabbit (Hare), were each awarded these homemade, hand-made plaques as shown next to the plate above in their honor. Big mahalo to diner “FS” for that!

Now, if you can tell us the name of that rabbit, you get extra bonus “SPAM Musubi” points! Hint: It’s indigenous to Hawaii and can often be seen “cruising Waiks”, as well as other landmarks around the islands.

Anyhow, as for our catered lunch by It’s Good & Healthy, I’ll put it you this way, once everyone sat down to eat, the room became almost entirely SILENT. Which as you know is a good indicator that everyone was thoroughly and INTENSELY enjoying their meal! As I mentioned earlier, the wonderful contrast of flavors and textures, as well as that “hot ‘n cold” thing going on, especially with the exotic side dishes and condiments such as the Baba Ghanoush and Tzatziki sauce, takes you on this “magical carpet ride through flavortown”, as Guy Fieri would’ve probably said it.

I could have just as well piled my plate high with the Greek Salad salad alone, been a happy camper and called it a day. Yet having that pita bread and everything else truly kicked-up this meal above and beyond! Especially the individual variety of DIY Pita Sandwiches we could create using everything on the plate.

Such as here, where I topped one of my Pita bread wedges with a swipe of Hummus and Baba Ghanoush, then over that with lettuce, tomato, Kalamata olive and Feta from the Greek Salad, a small piece of Gyro and a small dab Tzatziki sauce…

And here where Diner A looks like he has “everything, including the Greek kitchen’s kitchen sink” in his Pita bite…

Red Pepper, Thabouli, Gyro, Rice Pilaf, Tzatziki… looks ono!..

If there’s any complaint from me personally, it’d be that the seed-in Kalamata olives were EXCESSIVELY salty. Also for the Falafel, while flavor-wise, was EXCELLENT, doneness-wise was a little on the dry side, as was the slices of Gyro beef and lamb. Yet that was absolutely NO PROBLEM, as we had more then enough wonderful side dishes and condiments to help “wet” and jazz ’em up, with my favorite accompaniments being the smokey-tasting, characteristically-textured Baba Ghanoush and of course the cool ‘n creamy yogurt and cucumber-based Tzatziki. So ono.

The grape leaf-wrapped Dolmades were pretty much spot-on, with the rice filling having a complex yet subtle nuance of spices going on, while the grape leaves were very tender and not overly acidic. Winners.

Not to forget dessert, where we end this BASH with some bang-slam-scrumptious Baklava…

Notice the finely-chopped Pistachio nuts topping.

This is up there with the the best Baklava I’ve had to date, tasting very freshly-baked with layer-upon-layer-upon-layer of delicate, “poofy”, lightly-buttered, crispy filo dough. The tasty honey “sauce” had a perfect balance in quantity and sweetness, without being TOO sweet like Baklava often can taste when being “drowned out”, while the nutty filling had a nice “chew” to it. That finely chopped Pistachio topping also was a nice touch. Easy 5 SPAM Musubi for the Baklava.

Summing it up, the excellent quality and freshness of ingredients, authenticity in flavor and attention to detail in each dish, makes It’s Good & Healthy Cafe’s catering service HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Opa!

It’s Good & Healthy Cafe
212 Merchant Street
Honolulu, Hawaii  96813

Tel. (808) 566-6365

The Tasty Island rating (for catering service):

(4) Excellent. Worth another visit or purchase. (Winnahz!)

Related links:
It’s Good & Healthy Cafe – Yelp user reviews

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5 thoughts on “It's Good & Healthy Cafe, where the Catering is Great!

  1. Mmm, Pomai. Your blog is mouth-watering. It’s nice to see you enjoying Middle Eastern cuisine. Do you have much Indian food in Hawaii? It would be great to see your take on Indian.

  2. That place is on our list of regular lunch stops around here. And even better, it’s a family-run place. The dolmades are another favorite of mine — especially considering how labor intensive it is to make.

    I also like their Tuesday special (Imanbiyaldi, sort of a stewed tomatoey eggplant dish)…and the veggie plate…and the gyros, and baklava…it’s a good way to stuff yourself without feeling too guilty.

  3. Pomai, I never thought of you liking Greek food. I been making for office party Taboli, Falafa, Hummus, Balava all homemade for people like different and lighter food now days. Ambrosia (food of the gods) is the best for dessert since it fruit salad Greek Style.

  4. Amy, common’ now, you’re talking to a guy who’s willing to eat Balut. Twice! I pretty much enjoy ALL types of cuisine, save for the extremely bizarre stuff Andrew Zimmern is willing to try. Well OK, Balut is quite bizarre, but not as bad as eating Bufo (Cane) Toad meat. Ugh. NO WAY would I eat that. Other than that, I’m VERY open minded and adaptable. Greek food? LOVE THE STUFF!

    I love the flavor of Ambrosia, yet I can do without the marshmallows, thank you very much.

    Jan, that’s it! It’s the original Robert’s Hawaii “running” rabbit! Robert’s Hawaii’s new logo mascot is more cartoon character-like, sorta’ resembling a yellow-colored “Bugs Bunny” with a lei on. Arigato for noticing and answering that question. 🙂

    Spotty, I’m so into dishes that are hard to pronounce, let alone EVER hearing of before, so I’ve DEFINITELY gotta’ check out their “Imanbiyaldi” stewed tomato dish! Mahaloz for the tip! I understand the owners are originally from Lebanon, and are of Armenian decent.

    Kimba, like other regional middle eastern restaurants, there are very few Indian restaurants in comparison to asian restaurants, yet the list is slowly growing. One of the most popular and established spots is Cafe Maharani, which I have yet to try, although I hear many great things about.
    http://www.yelp.com/biz/cafe-maharani-honolulu

    I reviewed Taj Mahal a few years ago, which you can read about here….
    http://tastyislandhawaii.com/blog/2009/05/16/kaimuki-eats-cafe-tajmahal/
    and more reviews on Yelp here:
    http://www.yelp.com/biz/cafe-tajmahal-honolulu

    While there on Yelp, click on the “Indian” category link to find all the popular Indian restaurants on Oahu.

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