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Posts Tagged ‘hawaiian’

Cherry and I recently took an anniversary day trip to Bellingham, which is where we met 10+ years ago, but more specifically, at our Alma Mater, Western Washington University (Go Vikings!). It was extremely nostalgic walking through campus and reminiscing our college years. I’m sure Cherry and I stood out like a sore thumb as the only ones on the entire campus pushing a stroller around! After visiting, we decided to hit up a local spot, Coconut Kenny’s. Located on James St. near downtown Bellingham, Coconut Kenny’s is a fun restaurant specializing in Hawaiian Sandwiches and tasty pizza. There are three other locations; Ferndale, Sedro Wolley, and Burlington. “Aye Brah, where’s the love for Snohomish and King County!?”

 

coconutkenny_entrance

entrance off james st.

coconutkenny_counter

island flare

 

The Food:

 

coconutkenny_cheeseballs

 cheese balls $4.99 (1/2 order)

When it comes to cheese bread, these may be the top of the list!  Hawaiian bread already carries a subtle sweetness to them that make them tasty by themselves. But the addition of butter, garlic and cheese really take this dish over the top. The cheese was melted perfectly, providing excellent goo and the marinara added a bright component to each bite.

 

coconutkenny_kingmahalo

 king mahalo: chicken breast, bacon, red onions, cilantro, bbq chipotle sauce, cheddar cheese $8.29

Cherry went with the King Mahalo sandwich which apparently has been voted as a Top 5 Sandwich in Whatcom County. All of the sandwiches at Coconut Kenny’s are served on freshly made Hawaiian bread then baked with all the ingredients atop to provide a great sandwich. Everything about this sandwich worked. The cheddar cheese was also perfectly melted and acted like a savory blanket covering of the ingredients beneath. It had nice bite from the different textures of the chicken, bacon and onions but unfortunately, like many bbq sauces tend to do, it overpowered everything. It was also a little sweet for my taste, but being a Hawaiian themed restaurant, it fit. I  prefer more heat and bite to my bbq sauce.

 

coconutkenny_waikiki

waikiki pizza: chicken, bacon, red onions, cilantro, smokey chipotle sauce $7.49 (small)

The Waikiki pizza was the daily special for $6.5,  so I ordered that without much thought about the ingredients. When it arrived, I had a “Doh!” moment and realized that the Waikiki pizza is the exact same thing as the King Mahalo sandwich, just in pan pizza form! After laughing at my oversight, we went on with our meal. The Waikiki had the same tasty ingredients as the sandwich but unfortunately, it also had the same overpoweringly sweet chipotle sauce.

 

My Conclusion:

Coconut Kenny’s is a fun and family friendly spot offering unique sandwiches and pizzas with a sweet Hawaiian flare.  I want to try their other offerings but am not thrilled , that in order to do so, I will have to drive 45-minutes each way. One thing I forgot to mention is that you place all orders at the counter and the workers will then bring the food to the table. And don’t forget to bus your own table!

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I first discovered Marination Station long before I started this blog and felt it would be a travesty not to share their delectable offerings. Originally introduced as the food truck serving a fusion of Hawaiian and Korean comfort foods, Marination Mobile’s success and popularity quickly grew, earning an abundance of media recognition including Best food Cart in America by Good Morning America. Enter Marination Station – their “brick and mortar” permanent location off E Pike St and Broadway in Capitol Hill. It is a very small spot having only about six stools along the windows inside, two tables outside and a handful of makeshift standing counters outside for customers eating outside. There’s a fairly eclectic menu consisting of spicy pork tacos, spam sliders, kimchi fried rice and kalua pork quesadillas.

beat the rush 

The Food:

 

kalbi beef tacos $2.25 each

 These tacos are amazing. The kalbi beef, which is wrapped in two warmed corn tortillas,  is perfectly seasoned with a great balance of sweet-savory flavors. On top of the meat is a tangy slaw that provides great crunch and countering textures. Beneath it all, is their signature Nunya Sauce, which brings a creamy spice. My favorite thing about these tacos is the pickled jalapenos they serve on the side. Despite being thinly sliced, they bring a burst of heat and is balanced well by the bright and sweet acidity from the brine. They even sell them by the jar if you want to bring some home!

kimchi fried rice $5.50

 You get a generous portion of kimchi fried rice, topped with a sunny side up fried egg. If you’re not familiar with kimchi, it is a Korean dish of fermented vegetables (traditionally napa cabbage) served as a side dish during meals. Kimchi is also used as the main ingredients in various soups and stews.  It is an acquired taste and may not be for everyone, as it has both a spicy and fermented sour flavor… I happen to love it! Marination does a very good job fusing these extremely bold flavors with a familiar dish – fried rice. The plentiful pieces of napa cabbage stir fried within bring the flavors kimchi lovers look for but also cutting the sourness just enough to not scare away unaccustomed Westerners. There is a bold spice that permeates each bite and will definitely leave your tummy warm and satisfied. The rice is cooked perfectly with each individual grain of rice being coated in the spicy and bold kimchi sauce.

My Conclusion:

 It no mystery why Marination has received a TON of local and national recognition and  why 2-minutes after I ordered my food, a mob of 15 customers walked in eager to get their orders in. Marination Station is on point when it comes to creativity, execution, presentation and taste. If their Capitol Hill location is too far for a lunch break, never fear, they’ll come to you! Whether you’re in West Seattle, Sodo, Belltown, Fremont, South Lake Union or the International District, you can find their Mobile Food Truck daily schedule and location here – or follow them on Twitter @curb_cuisine. What are you waiting for?!?

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Cherry and I finally made it! Located in the Georgetown neighborhood of South Seattle, Katsu Burger specializes in Japanese influenced Katsu-style burgers. For anyone unfamiliar with the term katsu, it essentially means breaded and deep-fried. Traditionally, you can find tonkatsu (deep-fried and breaded pork cutlet) at Teriyaki restaurants and chicken katsu (chicken instead of pork) at Hawaiian restaurants. But what the heck is a katsu burger?! Exactly like it sounds, a breaded and deep-fried beef patty between two buns with a variety of Japanese influenced ingredients. I know… gluttony incarnate. Meats used here, are growth hormone and antibiotic free and their beef patties are all hand formed. It is a fairly small restaurant only seating about 20-people comfortably. The walls are brightly painted with Japanese-themed art and a large World map where visitors can pin where they’re from.

  

environmentally conscious!

The Food:

nori fries with wasabi mayo & miso honey mustard sauces

The nori (dried & seasoned seaweed) fries were a refreshing alternative to traditional salted fries. Seasoned nori has a nice balance of sweet and savory flavor, and atop the crispy fries, worked great. I personally love wasabi, but for those unfamiliar with the flavor, it is very similar to horseradish or Chinese hot mustard. So too much can definitely get your eyes watering! The wasabi mayo was well made – it carried a good strong flavor and was countered well by the mayo. Cherry’s favorite dipping sauce is honey mustard, so naturally she gravitated towards the miso honey mustard. The sauce had a very subtle miso undertone and overall was fairly sweet.

godzilla attack: fried beef patty, pepper jack cheese, jalapeños, spicy mayo & tonkatsu sauce

This burger was a behemoth! I mean just look at the picture!! Lettuce, tomato, red onion and pickles also added to the party, to provide a tower of goodness.  Cherry had to exercise the “hand smash” technique in order to fit a bite in. The first thing I noticed when biting in, was the spice. Since the jalapeños were layered on the bottom with the spicy mayo beneath the patty, you feel an immediate kick. The next thing I noticed was the beef patty. I don’t think meager is in Katsu Burger’s dictionary, because under the bun was a huge (what seemed like half-pound) beef patty that was breaded and deep-fried. I don’t know how they managed to stack everything between the two buns without requiring rebar throughout! The tonkatsu sauce, which in my opinion tastes somewhere between a tangy BBQ sauce and a sweet and sour sauce works well. You get a soft sweetness to each bite that isn’t as bright and tart as ketchup. Katsu burger was smart in adding this sauce to help offset the heat that comes with the jalapeños and spicy mayo. The one thing I would say about this burger, is that the katsu-style patty doesn’t work for me. Ground beef doesn’t hold the crunch very well and the breading lost it’s texture halfway through the burger. By the end, its texture was like a regular patty.

ninja deluxe:  fried pork cutlet, cheddar, bacon, japanese mayo & tonkatsu sauce

I love Ninjas! When I was little, I wanted to be one when I got older…  it’s still a possibility… So when it came to ordering, I had to go with the Ninja Deluxe burger! I feel this burger is a great example of American/Japanese Fusion.  Everything that that is loved about a bacon cheeseburger fused with the deep fried goodness of tonkatsu.  Katsu Burger really hit it outta the park with this one – the tonkatsu was fried perfectly with a dark golden brown color and a crunch that could be heard at the next table. The Japanese mayo added a nice creamy texture to everything and the tonkatsu sauce was perfect in blending everything together. Unlike the beef patty, the pork cutlet maintains great crunch and texture through the last bite. Unfortunately, the bacon, although present, was lost in translation. Writing this, I am surprised in not remembering the bacon flavor! I guess this is a great example of fighting fire with fire. Bacon, a normally with a strong flavored ingredient was unfortunately overtaken the only other force worthy and powerful enough to do so – deep-fried pork cutlet.

 

no names, just pictures

 

My Conclusion:

Off the beaten path and in an industrial part of the city, is the small and uniquely Seattle, Katsu Burger. If meat is not you’re cup of tea, tofu is also offered as an alternative. One thing that was nice to see here is that they will substitute any type of meat/tofu in any of their burgers at no charge. Aside from beef, pork, and tofu, chicken is also offered as an option. These days, you’d be hard pressed to find places that offer free substitutions. Also offered here, are uniquely flavored hand-dipped shakes. The special flavror at the time was green tea & pineapple. One word to describe it – amazing!  Despite the the katsu beef losing it’s crunch and lack of bacon flavor, I can easily overlook all that due to the overall impression Katsu Burger has made on my taste buds and my stomach. They are officially jumping into the #2 spot of my Toppings! The only thing keeping me making Katsu Burger part of my daily routine is my cholesterol level!

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