Tucked into the back of the Planet Hollywood hotel in Las Vegas is a creatively named restaurant called Cheeseburger. Seriously. And I really mean that it’s a creative name, because the overall ambiance of the restaurant is not cheeseburgery at all. It’s Hawaiian. But, you know, something about what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
I’ve been to Hawaii once. For a ten hour layover. So, while that island paradise is within the country I have spent most of my life, it is less of a home to me than China and Japan. Yet, I have always been intrigued by the Hawaiian restaurant known as Back Home in Lahaina. Maybe it’s the awesome name that evokes nostalgia for nothing I have any right to be nostalgic about. Or maybe it’s that Hawaiian food is both fascinating and delicious to me. Whatever the reason, I found myself at their Carson location for lunch.
EDIT: This one’s gone, but you can still find Roy’s and its fancy Hawaiian near you. Depending on where you live, of course.
A steak is not an everyday meal. And even rarer than a steak is a little something called surf and turf. It is only eaten on the rarest and most special of occasions. Or when you have a gift card to Roy’s. Roy’s is a Hawaiian Fusion restaurant that I once discovered in the desert of Scottsdale, but that was long before unvegan came to be. This time, I went to the Roy’s in downtown LA with my lovely girlfriend to pay a visit to my friends, Surf and Turf.
Growing up, fast food either meant burgers or Taco Bell. For the most part, this is still true, but more and more I find that not only has the quality of fast food improved, but so has the variety. Chains like Yoshinoya and Jollibee are good examples of this, and recently I experienced another: Ono Hawaiian BBQ. The menu has a lot of Asian-inspired dishes and some things that looked distinctly Hawaiian, but all in the setting of a fast food joint with fast food prices. My eyes quickly found their $5.00 meal special, that included a choice of four different dishes, which were Lemon Chicken, Chicken Katsu, Kalbi Short Ribs and Hawaiian BBQ Beef.
For a pre-movie dinner, I found myself at the Century City food court once again and looking for something new. Some of the competitors in the food court have found the best way to bring in new customers: sampling.
I will sample almost anything put in front of me, as long as it has no vegetable qualities. You wouldn’t buy a car without giving it a test drive, so why buy a meal without knowing how it will taste? Well obviously, this isn’t always possible, but when it is I think it’s great to take advantage.
The Rotisserie Works offered me a sample of their Hawaiian BBQ chicken and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It had a nice sweet BBQ taste with the hint of some pineapple-like fruit. After a few other tastes, I decided the Hawaiian chicken would be filling my belly that evening. The order of chicken came with two sides, and I looked at the menu with mild distaste. All but two of the sides had words like “squash,” and “spinach,” so I ordered their mashed potatoes and mac and cheese.
With a big group, I headed to Vinny’s Pizza in El Segundo. Since we couldn’t fit inside the little place, we were taken outside to an area that looked like it was made for banquets. But this was no banquet, as we quickly learned when we were seated at white plastic tables with white plastic chairs. Since we were such a big group, we ordered a variety of pizzas, including Hawaiian, pepperoni and the dreaded vegetarian for our vegetarian friends.
I’m not usually a “go out to breakfast” type of guy, but recently when I was in Lake Tahoe, going out to breakfast was really my only option. Rather than take my chances with a place I had never heard of, IHOP started calling my name, and I answered.
The wait was kind of long, but I knew it would be worth it to get a hearty meal before spending the day hiking. IHOP was having a special called Hawaiian Pancakes at the time, so my eyes immediately started checking them out. This wasn’t simply an order of pancakes though, the special also included bacon, hash browns and eggs. Amazingly, this special cost less than if I had just ordered eggs, hash browns and bacon (without the pancakes) so I knew it had to be mine. Of all the Hawaiian flavors, I decided to get the Strawberry Passion Fruit. The picture of it on the menu looked delicious, especially with the strange yellowish cream spilling out from between the two pancakes.