Tag Archive | delicious food

Foodie Friday #FreshCatchKAIMUKI #Hawaii #foodie

foodiefriday

It’s Foodie Friday!

Fresh Catch KAIMUKI
3109 Waialae Ave.
Honolulu, HI 96816
(808) 735-7653
MON to SAT 10:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.
SUN 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

I heard about Fresh Catch from Guy Fieri on the show Diner’s Drive Ins and Dives. As you know I have said before, Guy’s recommendations can be hit or miss. I have gone places that were as awesome as he said they would be. However, I have also gone places and wondered if they cooked a special meal for him and had actors posing as dedicated restaurant patrons ( I heard that happens).

So here we were.

I ordered the poke shrimp and fries covered with pork gravy and cheese.

Hubby ordered the deep-fried sushi roll.

freshcatch

The poke shrimp were okay. The sauce that coated them was too sweet for my tastes. I am used to shrimp cocktail with extra horseradish. Salty and a little spicy. This was not. Poke is okay but I do not envision myself eating it by the pound.

When I tasted the fries covered in pork gravy and cheese my reaction was very different.

WHAT IS THIS DELICIOUSNESS ?

The pork gravy was more of a pork stew. There were big chunks of pork in brown gravy sauce with melted cheese on top. The dish did not look very appetizing and I honestly did not expect it to be a flavorful as it was. I only ordered it because I knew the poke shrimp would not fill me up and I wanted something hot.

Everything about this dish was good. The fries were cooked just long enough that they were not crispy but held up well enough so as not to become mush under the gravy. The seasonings were on point. No additional salt needed. It was such a wonderfully made dish that I still dream about it. If this restaurant was not a 12-hour flight away, I could see myself trying to arrange another trip just to eat this dish.

The hubby also enjoyed his deep-fried sushi roll.

I agree that Fresh Catch is a great place to eat. Guy Fieri hit a home run featuring this restaurant. Personally, I needed to redeem myself because the last few of Fieri’s picks that I suggested to hubby were not up to snuff. I was beginning to lose my “restaurant selection” rights.

If you are ever in Honolulu, you need to try this place. If you did not rent a car, you need to rent one to go here. I am telling you, it is worth the trip.

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Montagues- my favorite restaurant in Greenwood SC

I have come to realize that Montague’s is my favorite restaurant in Greenwood. As much as I would like to say, I like all my local restaurants equally, when it comes to fine dining, my go to place is Montague’s.

While all of the waitstaff and crew do a fantastic job, I think that TJ’s efforts over the past few years have done a lot to change my perception of the restaurant. I used to think that Montague’s was a stuffy place with an air of pretentiousness . cave_snooty.gif

In retrospect, I was rating the restaurant, not based on my own experience, but on what I knew of type of people that frequented the restaurant. I am glad that I saw the error in my judgment. My taste buds are delighted like this. tumblr_m1rkzpHj1n1r6aoq4o1_500.gif

There is a seasonal menu as well as some restaurant favorites. There is also a weekly menu feature that the chef creates based on what ingredients are available. He uses a lot of produce from local famers. I think that is one of the reasons why the flavors are so rich and complex. While I could probably do a post a week about the different dishes I have ordered, this post highlights some of my favorite dishes over the past 6 months.

You will be able to tell from my food selections that I like trying new things. If you have not been to Montague’s, I think you owe your tastes buds the experience. Prices are comparable to chain restaurants like O’Charleys and Outback but the food is way better.
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When I go to Montague’s, I try to get there by 5:30- 5:45pm so that I can get at least one or two drinks at Happy Hour prices. Happy Hour is from 2- 6pm. House liquor drinks and cocktails are half off and there are specials for beer and wine as well. I usually do a screwdriver, pineapple+vodka, cranberry+vodka, or skittle-tini. Nothing fancy, but something to begin the evening. If it is Wednesday (Ladies’ night), then I will split a bottle of wine with a friend. Select bottles are half off all night. Rufino Pinot Grigio (pictured below) is one of my favorites because it is light, fruity and goes well with fish and chicken.

While I am sipping on my drink, I mull over the weekly menu features. So many options. If only my stomach was bigger.  tumblr_m9obwoK6VF1rcfputo1_500.gif

Hands down my favorite dish EVER at Montague’s was the BBQ salmon (BBQ sauce was more like a tomato gravy) over mashed potatoes. This is comfort food at its best. The salmon was perfectly cooked so that the meat was tender and moist. The tomato gravy was a little sweet with a hint of onion flavor. The handmade mashed potatoes were firm enough to be the proper conveyance for all the gravy. Mmm mmmm mmm. Just looking at the picture makes me reminiscent for that tomato gravy.

If you ever see the Scallop mac and cheese on the menu, you should order it. Chunks of scallops and creamy cheesy goodness. What else to you need?

If you like fried green beans (yes that is an actual dish), then you will love fried broccoli. It is the same concept. The broccoli is tossed with flour seasoned with salt and pepper and then fried (I’m guessing that is how it is done). The broccoli still has some firmness and crunch. Best way to get my daily serving of veggies.

I ordered the potato fritters on night because I was curious to taste the sweet relish. This was not the standard relish you might get for your hot dog. This was classy. It tasted freshly made with sweet peppers. The light vinegar helped to balance the fried potatoes. If you like vinegar with your fries, you would have definitely liked this. If you never tried vinegar with your fries, you are missing out.

The stuffed pork chop with green beans and mashed potatoes was good. This is a tasty dish but I do not have that much to say because I am still dreaming about the salmon with tomato gravy.

Bacon wrapped monkfish with fingerling potatoes was also quite tasty. But then again, bacon wrapped anything is good. This was my first time having monkfish. I like the texture, as it is firm white meat. The flavor is mild and paired well with the bacon. Although, I was too stuffed to eat all my fingerling potatoes, they were delicious too.

Last but not least, spinach artichoke dip is my go-to appetizer when I do not want to try anything new. A bowl of hot, creamy spinach artichoke dip is full of chunks of artichoke hearts. I love to eat marinated artichoke hearts. Having them swimming in cheese and spinach only makes it better. The tortilla chips are fried to order and lightly salted. Can you tell I am a fan? Team spinach artichoke dip.

My love affair with Old Main Catering food

It seems that I have a foodie love affair with Old Main Catering. I have at least one blog post each year extolling the great food experiences. I have not had a mediocre experience yet. There is always different gourmet food being offered when OMC caters an event.

Over the summer, I attended several events that Old Main catered and I had to share pictures of my favorites from these events.

In the collage, here are the standouts.

Top left – Teriyaki wings. The flavor was tangy and a little sweet. These were probably the best teriyaki wings I have tasted. Most the time teriyaki can be too sweet and overly salty. With OMC, the balance of savory and sweet left my taste buds wanting more. It was messy to eat, but no one was complaining because it was so delicious.

Bottom left – Fruit water. I liked the presentation and the bright colors of the fruit. Who needs soda when you can have something that is so much more refreshing! Plus, I felt healthy drinking it.

Middle – Banana cream tarts. I have to dissect the dessert for you to fully understand how awesomely good this was. The pie shell was thick, buttery, sweet, flakey, and crumbled in your mouth. It was the perfect pie crust. The banana cream was thick, not too sweet, and had bits of banana in it. The whipped cream on top tasted like REAL whipped heavy cream with a hint of vanilla. And the caramel drizzle was super sweet but there was just enough to compliment all the other flavors without overpowering them. This is what dreams are made of. Sigh….

Top right – Smoked salmon tart. The same pie shell crust for this is as what was used in the banana cream tarts. In this instance, the sweetness of the crust seemed to be intensified in comparison to the savory smoked salmon quiche filling. I was not sure if I would like this because I never had smoked salmon in this way before. Although hesitant, I still tried it because I believe you cannot say you don’t like something if you have not tried it. In this case, I loved it! I ended my dinner by eating two of these tarts. The herbs and smoked salmon came together well.

Bottom right – Tiny apple pie. It was cute and delicious. Wonderful combination! I like bite size confections with hints of spice and fruit and flaky crust.

Bottom right – Key lime pie in chocolate shell. I have mentioned the key lime in chocolate shell before.

The chefs consistently produce creative bite-sized dishes that excite and delight my taste buds. At every event, I was sad that I could not eat more. I know that makes me sound like a little piggy, but OMC food is so good that it is worth a little gluttony.

Excuse me while I look for OMC’s next catered event…

Festival of Discovery – Greenwood SC

It does not take a math genius to know that the formula Good People + Good BBQ = GOOD TIME!

At the Festival of Discovery, the focus is all about tasting the best BBQ. Cooks from the surrounding areas have come together to participate in the Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) sanctioned event. The goal of KCBS is to showcase BBQ and promote those who love to BBQ. Across the US, there are KCBS sanctioned events and participants can receive points for their placement in each competition. Some people only compete at the events in their local area. Others will travel hours to compete. If a team travels the KCBS circuit and enters different local competitions, they can accumulate enough points to have the opportunity to get invited to national premier events like the Jack Daniels Invitational competition.

The KCBS judges take their job seriously. They make sure that all the rules are followed to ensure a fair competition for the $20,000 in prize money. There is a 10 minute window to turn in food for each competition category. Even one second outside of the window, disqualifies the entrant team for that particular competition.

In the past, categories that were judged were hash, chicken, brisket, ribs, pulled pork, potato salad, and a category called “Anything But”. In the “Anything But” category, the submission could be anything but BBQ. For this, one team submitted New England Style clam chowder. Not what you would expect at the BBQ competition, but it goes to show that these cooks are versatile in their culinary abilities.

No gas grills allowed. These grills and smokers use wood and charcoal only. Many of the grilling teams prefer a blend of apple and hickory wood.

How does someone get to the point where they want to compete in one of these competitions? I talked to a few teams to learn more about this type of competition.

One team captain was Chip Youngblood of CD’s BBQ and More. His love of cooking dates back to the days when he was 8 years old watching his parents working at the family own business Somebody’s House in Hodges SC. I like that his team reflects his family oriented origins because his wife, children and grandchildren were all there on the team helping in any way they can. See picture below for some shots at his cooking station.

CD’s BBQ and More is one of the original 7 teams that started participated 12 years ago when the Festival of Discovery was formed. He has seen the competition grow from 7 teams to almost 80 teams in 2012. And after about 4 hours of setup, Youngblood is ready to start cooking.

This is not the only place where he competes either. He has awards from other competitions:

2009 Piedmont Blues & Hash Bash (Abbeville, SC) 1st place Hash 2010 Piedmont Blues & Hash Bash (Abbeville, SC) 2nd place Hash 2010 Piedmont Blues & Hash Bash (Abbeville, SC) 3rd place Overall team Michelob Ultra Invitational Rib Cookoff 2nd place

When it was time for food submissions and Taster’s Choice competitions, there were so many complimentary comments made by tasters. I overheard one person say, “That is the best piece of meat I ever had in my mouth.” Another person commented on the “smokiness” and “tenderness” of the meat. In my opinion, the meat had a mild flavor. The meat was tender and fell off of the bone (just the way I like it). It tasted like a balanced blended mix of seasoning and smoky flavor. But even with all the seasoning, the meat could not be considered to have spicy heat.

Overall, there were a lot of talented BBQ cooks at the Festival of Discovery and I enjoyed trying the different styles of BBQ. I will be in line the second weekend in the next July for more delicious BBQ. I will make sure to look for Chip Youngblood for a BBQ plate also. Super yummy.

http://www.festivalofdiscovery.com

http://www.kcbs.us/index.php

Grits and Groceries – Saylors Crossing

If you don’t know where Grits and Groceries is located, is hard for me to explain. It is in the middle of nowhere between Abbeville and Anderson South Carolina. Yes there is a sign that says Saylors Crossing, but that means nothing to me. All I know is that when I want to go to Grits and Groceries, I have to travel on a two-lane road through a small town called Due West going for some distance through a speed trap at 25 miles an hour. About 15 or 20 minutes on the other side of Due West, there is an intersection with a large chicken statute as your landmark. And this is how you know you’ve reached your destination.

So why would I make the trek into the deep country? For the praline bacon, of course. The praline bacon is delicious. It is scrumptious. It is addictive. It’s sweet, salty, crunchy, and everything you would want a vice to be.

But one cannot live on praline bacon alone. I ordered the big breakfast sandwich. It is basically a couple of eggs, bacon, and cheese on Texas toast. It is way too much food for me, but it was sufficient.

The picture in the top right corner was what my friend ordered. It was rabbit with a tomato based sauce served over grits. I don’t like grits, but I did taste the rabbit and it was good too.

If you want to go to Grits and Groceries, it is best to go in the summer time so that you can sit outside while you eat your breakfast. If you go in the winter time, there is probably going to be a 45 minute to an hour wait because this place is always crowded (and they don’t take reservations). I have talked to people that have traveled over an hour just to eat at this restaurant.

My suggestion is to order the praline bacon definitely. If you feel adventurous, try one of their gourmet specials. Pretty much everything on their menu is good, but something are AWESOME while others are just okay. Did I mention the praline bacon?