Green Tea Mushi-Pan & Steak at Kahala Times

Saint Germain (Beratania Location)

3:00pm…this time, it’s not just my stomach that’s hankering for a snack, but also my mom’s! So we go to Times and Saint Germain in Kahala

Options are seemingly endless. And even after spending a summer as the bakery girl at their Ala Moana location, subjected to cruel management and poor pay, I am still effortlessly drawn to the baked glories of this Japanese bakery.

Should I get the mini epi bread with ribbons of bacon?

The raisin sticks look a bit silly in wrapped in the bags. But here’s a tip: it’s the first thing baked in the day, so come early if you want them hot, and if you’re really lucky, you might get them before the bags are all tied up (cause there’s still steam coming out). I used to split a bag with my grandpa on the way to school, and who wouldn’t want to start the day with a warm raisin stick??

Or an Ensamada, a massive buttery round crowned with sweetened whipped butter…There’s enough egg yolks in here to bring up your cholesterol a dozen notches or so, but there’s no better way to do so!

Coconut or Sweet Potato Turnovers…

Or donuts! But then I’d have to decide between an An Donut or the sinfully crunchy, yeast, sugar dusted Butterflake Donut…

Custard Long Johns, Spinach Quiche, Bacon Quiche, oh my! ;)

But alas, it was the green tea mushi pan I called my own, a little steamed sponge cake (still warm!) It’s one of the few pastries on the island that don’t skimp on the matcha, and man, this baby is sooo soft and light, but goes all creamy in your mouth!

And my mom! You wouldn’t believe this lady. None of the baked good would satisfy her at the moment, so she wandered to the other section of the market, where Times was doing their Monday Steak Dinners. But instead of getting a plate lunch, she told the guy she only wanted steak. And apparently, what my mom wants, she gets. So at promptly 3:00pm yesterday, it was my mom and I in her car, eating steak and steamed matcha cakes. Nothing like mother-daughter bonding!

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Dessert tonight?

All we need is tub of Roselani’s Hawaiian Vanilla Bean, made just a few islands away in Maui. Not all smooth and creamy like Haagen Dazs, its got a bit of that Dreyer’s fluff, and god forbid you call it gelato.

Pair it with a basket of strawberries…



If you get the chance, Roselani’s Kona Mud Pie is also a good choice: a coffee based ice cream with dark swirls of mocha fudge and Oreos crushed in…it’s a dark, richly decadent mess!

Peppa’s on King St.

The one type of Korean food I missed in both LA and NYC was definitely fish jun. And meat jun. Any kine jun! All my life I grew up thinking that meat and fish jun was real Korean food. Apparently I was very wrong. Meat and fish jun is purely local, as in Hawaii local, Korean food. (You mainlanders don’t know what you’re missing out on!)

Inside Peppa’s

It’s a simple concept, yet insanely delicious tasting. Thin slices of beef marinated in shoyu based blend with garlic, green onions, pepper and just enough sesame oil to notice, then batter up with flour and egg, then fry till you got an almost thin crispy layer of fried egg with sizzling beef layered between.

Meat Jun & BBQ Chicken Combo

But you do not ever eat meat jun plain, just like that. You need a complete plate lunch!

Closer look at Kimchee and Jap Chae

At Peppa’s today I did the meat jun and bbq chicken combo, two scoops rice, and side orders of kim chee, shoyu potatoes, jap chae, and bean sprouts. When I’m in a super jun-ny mood, I do the meat jun and fish jun combo. The meal runs about $8 and is an incredibly filling lunch. But no matter how big the meal is, it would never feel complete if I were missing one component or another.

Closer look at Shoyu Potatoes & Bean Sprouts

Oh! I forgot! I need to learn how to make shoyu potatoes one day, cause I could make a dozen meals of shoyu potatoes alone. The only downside to local Korean plate lunches is the ridiculously high sodium content, I need to drink at least a gallon of water after these meals. But supposedly, it’s all about moderation right? ;)

Satura Cakes, Take II

A short summary of Satura Cakes:

Cakes Eaten with Spoon, Fork or Hands: Awesome!

Messy Cakes / Puff Pastry: Good

Madelines: Bad! :(

Brownies: Just OK

I’ve had such a good track record with the desserts and cakes from the Satura Cakes in Ward that I decided it was time to venture away from the dessert case and towards the huge table in the middle of the room which houses a magnificent spread of madelines, cookies, chocolate, and brownies. But it was a bad idea. So if I were you, I’d swish that hiney right around and head back to the dessert case. Because…

…some of the madelines don’t have humps!! Hehe, I’m kidding. Sort of. Some of their madelines don’t have the hump that make a madeline a madeline…which should have been the first sign that something was wrong. But I was stupid and went ahead and had, not just one, but all four of their madelines. It was a good thing this madeline tasting was split between Shann, Trisha and I. Otherwise it would have been highly inefficient allocation of madeline funds.

There’s not much to say except: avoid all the madelines. Which means as intriguing as lilikoi, green tea, coffee, and chocolate madelines may sound and appear, do not venture there! They are all equally dry, crumbly, tasteless, except for the coffee, and that’s only cause it seemed to be on ground coffee bean overload. They run about $2 a piece, and at this rate, you should just march next door to Beard Papas for a silly cream puff (which I actually really like) or, plunk down another two dollars for a real dessert.

Their brownies, which are placed next to the madeline also do not count a real dessert. And that is because it is not moist or fudgy, nor is it cakey. It is not even, gasp, chocolately! It is just dry. But I hold the brownie in higher respect than the madeline because it had a very happy ratio of mac nuts to brownie base. And I love mac nuts.

But I take back what I said about going to Beard Papa for cream puffs. This is the Beard Papa puff from the Ward location:

You should just stay at Satura’s for the cream puffs. And this is the Satura puff:

Cause if the caramel crunch flavor is on the menu, you’re good to go. They don’t fuss around or attempt to fabricate a double layer choux pastry crust. It’s almost a rustic, hearty cream puff, with a touch refined elegance that seems to pervade all Japanese inspired pastries. The pastry is crunchy with just the right heft, not airy light and buttery. The filled innards have a most wonderful mouthfeel; a billowing mound of caramel cream hinging on the taste of whipped flan and studded with crunchy toffee bits.

The cream puff is a no-utensil-use-hands affair, so you are in search of something more dainty, the roli poli is a wise choice. If you’ve lived in Hawaii for a while, you’re probably familiar with Jesse’s Pianomo Rolls sold in nearly all our local supermarkets. A Google search didn’t give me the distributor information, but if you’re up for making your own, Betty Shimabukuro at the Star Bulletin seems to have it figured out. A pianomo roll is simply a very light sponge cake with plenty of egg whites for volume, spread with whipped butter (just buttah, nothing else!) and rolled up with a dusting of sugar. When it becomes a roli poli, the whipped butter is replaced with barely sweetened pastry cream in even ratios with the sponge cake. Either way, it’s hard not to love both. So get your roli poli here, and on the way home, stop by Times (my favorite supermarket) and pick up a box of pianomo rolls for yourself. And another for your family.

On a different occasion, I had the green tea mille fille featuring caramelized puff pastry layered with green tea custard. This dessert is a disaster to share and should not be ordered on date unless you don’t mind an explosion of puff pastry and matcha powder when you attempt to gracefully demolish it with a fork. But if you’re sharing it with mom, then it’s totally okay! The custard could use more flavor, I wouldn’t have suspected green tea unless told ahead of time. Not as excited as forking into an upright roli poli or sinking your teeth into a cool caramel crunch cream puff, but thumbs up for appearance!

Satura Cakes

Ward Center

1200 Ala Moana Blvd.

Building 6, Suite 601

Honolulu, HI 96814

(8080 537-1206

The other day I got so mad when my dad said, “Indian food is all curry, curry, and naan.” Doesn’t that make you angry? I agree, a lot of their flavors are based off curry, but there is much more to Indian breads than naan! Grrr. So on Sunday morning I demanded that he, mom and I head to India Café on Kapahulu for lunch. Hawaii has a shortage of Indian restaurant, but we do with what we have, and India Café does the best job of the few places along the King St/Kapahulu Ave area.

Lunches are served plate-lunch style…I love how Hawaii can take any cuisine and turn it into a plate-lunch kine meal! We decided to order three different dishes and share them all. Mom’s roti pratha plate was my favorite, two fair sized rounds, pan fried in a healthy dose of ghee till the exterior turned wonderfully browned and crispy. A bite or tear revealed the many soft layers of the bread, a perfect vehicle for the tofu sambal, curried cauliflower and a serving of spicy eggplant.

The dosa plate ($7.50) was perfect for my dad, who took a great liking to the tangy flavor and spongy texture of the fermented bread. The dosa was definitely less heavy on the heart in terms of ghee content than the paratha, but man, was the paratha good! Two large dosai proved to be just the right amount for the dish of lamb masala.

Our third dish was a tofu masala dosa, advertised on the menu as “SPICY!!!” But it wasn’t that spicy at all, so do not fear, go ahead and order it! I’ve never had tofu in a dosa before, but I’m a huge fan of tofu, so why not? The same dosa featured in the above dish except filled and rolled up with chunks of curried potatoes and garlic chili fried tofu. It’s deceivingly filling! The coconut chutney was watery and I supposed you could even say boring, save for the speckles of mustard seed. That was the only item on the plate left unfinished. I enjoyed the sambal, with plenty of okra and pumpkin in the tamarind based broth.

All in all? I’ll be back for lunch! Prices are noticeably higher at dinner and all items run a la carte. But the lunches offered on Fri, Sat and Sun (such as the ones we had) are fairly priced between $7-8. It’s a tiny restaurant, with a steady stream of customers, but never gets too crowded. The people are nice, the food is good, what more do you want?

After lunch my dad said again, “it’s all curry!” But this time he left out the “it’s all naan!” part, and instead ended the sentence with, “let’s come back tomorrow!”

India Cafe
1016 Kapahulu Ave.
Honolulu, HI 96818
(808) 737-4600