Posts Tagged ‘Friends’

Lunch with former co-workers, The Pineapple Room by Alan Wong @ Macy’s.

Tempura Battered Fresh Island Monchong Caper Mayonnaise Spread, Tsuyu Dipping Sauce, Hoagie Roll

Tempura Battered Fresh Island Monchong
Caper Mayonnaise Spread, Tsuyu Dipping Sauce, Hoagie Roll

Kinda The Cat’s standard when eating here.

Pineapple Room Caesar Salad Kula Baby Romaine Lettuce, Lomi Tomatoes Choice of: Kalua Pig or Huli Spiced Grilled Chicken

Pineapple Room Caesar Salad
Kula Baby Romaine Lettuce, Lomi Tomatoes
Choice of: Kalua Pig or Huli Spiced Grilled Chicken

Of course The Mouse choose kalua pork. ūüôā Dish is a mouthful to say though, prefer calling it “pig on grass”. Hee hee

Crispy Calamari Somen Salad Waipoli Greens, Shrimp Chips, Bean Sprouts, Kaiware, Macadamia Nuts, Spicy Sweet and Sour Vinaigrette

Crispy Calamari Somen Salad
Waipoli Greens, Shrimp Chips, Bean Sprouts, Kaiware,
Macadamia Nuts, Spicy Sweet and Sour Vinaigrette

One of the co-worker’s plate (another Shanghai “cat”). when is a salad not a salad? Deep-fried and shrimp chips. I guess all salads don’t have to be “healthy”. Hee hee.

Enjoy. Eat well.

The Mouse

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We’ve had an on again, off again relationship with Ciao Mein for sometime. It started when the restaurant had¬†Sunday brunch buffets. They would make large, deep pans of tiramisu for dessert. By the time we dug into it, the liquor and coffee would be fully absorbed by the sponge cake (“ladyfingers”) and meld with the Mascarpone cheese. This was the first place The Cat tried tiramisu and no where else could make tiramisu that reached the expectations of The Cat. The tiramisu at Ciao Mein may not have been traditional, but it was very good. And then for whatever reason, the brunch buffets were discontinued. Sigh.

Sorry, the theme of Ciao Mein is Chinese and Italian cuisine (think two ends of the silk road).

Then, the brunch buffets were offered only on special occasions and we would go whenever we could (or were aware of it). After a while, those stopped too. Double sigh.

After that, the restaurant¬†offered¬†its “Taste of Honolulu” special. The restaurant had participated in many Taste of Honolulu events and won numerous awards. For one price, any and all of the dishes that were featured at the events were available (as small portions). There was not limit on the number of items that could be ordered or the number of times it could be ordered.

This option was perfect for us. It’s hard for two people to eat at Ciao Mein. The dishes are meant to be eaten family style and we can eat enough to order more than two dishes at a time (although we want to more).

Alas, that offer was also discontinued (I think the restaurant was losing money on that option). Sigh with understanding.

In 2007, The Cat’s longtime friends, X & D, came to visit from Shanghai. D’s birthday happened during their visit. X suggested shabu shabu which D quickly nixed. She wanted a nice sit down dinner. We wracked our brains trying to come up with a place that would satisfy both X & D (X is a very very critical eater, especially outside of China). Our best shot was Ciao Mein.

After sitting down, The Cat was trying to translate the menu to X & D without much success (the descriptions of the dishes were getting lost in translation). Our server, Guido, brought out Executive Chef Ching to assist. After Chef Ching talked with The Cat, X & D for a bit, it was decided that Chef Ching would prepare our dinner off the menu. The Cat and I looked at each other and wondered if we had to wash dishes for decades to come.

Anyway, to make an already long story short, the dinner was a success! With the appetizer dish (which I won’t go into now, hoping for a future opportunity to fully describe it with pictures), X’s eyes lit up, he never had a dish like this before. All the other dishes exceeded his expectations. It was so good that X requested to eat there again (which is as rare as a blue moon).

The year before last, we heard that that Ciao Mein would close to make way for an American style restaurant. Beyond sigh. ūüė¶ ūüė¶

When we were looking for a place for Christmas dinner, we accidentally noticed that Ciao Mein was still open. The restaurant was offering a prix fixe Christmas dinner. The choices sounded pretty good so we made reservations.

The Name Says It All

The Concept

Prix Fixe Display

Prix Fixe Menu

There were favorites that we wanted but ended up ordering the prix fixe dinner. The Cat’s theory is that the dishes on the prix fixe dinner are only available for Christmas, plus she had her eye on the soft shell crab tempura.

Enough of the history lesson, on to the food.

Caesar Salad with Soft Shell Crab Tempura

The Cat said this salad was worth the price of the meal itself. She’s had soft shell crab before, but nothing like this. It knocked her socks off. ūüôā

Cream of Pumpkin Soup with Sea Scallops

The soup was also very good. The Cat thought there might be some dried scallops in the soup.

The rest of the dinner:

Shrimp Scampi Linguine

Steamed Snapper Fillet with Berkshire Ham and Shiitake Mushroom

The snapper was perfectly steamed. The Cat wished we had some rice to pour the sauce over but we were getting full at this point.

Prime Sirloin of Beef with Collision Black Pepper Sauce

We added our favorite savory side to the mix.

Ciao Mein Szechuan Eggplant

This is the best spicy eggplant dish ever. While it’s not real spicy, we feel it’s the perfect balance of heat, sour, salty, and sweet (it’s one of the dishes that won a “Taste of Honolulu” first prize award). Apparently we are not the only ones that think it’s great (see article).

For dessert, we had the featured trio of pana cotta.

Trio of Pana Cotta

From left, amaretto, frangelico, and sambuca.

We added another favorite of ours, their Marco Polo dessert.

Marco Polo Dessert

From left, ginger gelato, spumoni gelato, lychee sorbet, and espresso gelato.

Everything was well done, and the service was excellent. The Cat’s favorite was the soft shell crab, while mine was the steamed snapper.

Ciao Mein is soon to be scheduled to be remade into Cafe Japengo. The new menu is supposed to include other Asian cuisines (Japanese, Vietnamese, Malaysian, etc.) as well as Chinese. I hope the Szechuan eggplant stays.

The Cat wanted to document some of the table settings that characterize Ciao Mein.

Oil and Vinegar Dispenser

Bread Stick Vase

A ceramic Chinese take-out box.

Garlic-Shaped Salt and Pepper Shakers

I always thought they looked like little ghosts (okay moving on). ūüėČ


Candle Holder

The Cat thought it looked like some psychedelic won ton skin (okay, moving on again).

It was good to rediscover Ciao Mein again. Like old friend that haven’t seen each other for awhile, things change and things remain the same but the connection is still there.


The Mouse (and The Cat).

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On Sunday, we met up with our Qi master and his wife, Mistress Qi.  The Qi Master used to like eating meat.  He has since cut back.  Mistress Qi has always leaned toward more vegetables.  She has since gone vegetarian all the way.  Since we all live in the Kaneohe area, we decided to go here: http://www.windwardmall.com/dining-entertainment/ruby-tuesday 

We thought that everyone would have something to eat.¬† I like the salad bar selections here, especially the fresh mushrooms and the grape tomatoes.¬† On a side note, I like the salad bar at Buzz’s Steakhouse, previously posted, for the fresh avocado.¬† Here are samples of my salad bar selections:¬†

Salad, First Plate

Salad, Second Plate

I had their mini combo turkey burger which included two mini turkey burger sliders, fries, and unlimited trips to the salad bar. 

Mini Turkey Burgers and Fries

The Cat ordered their mini crab cake burgers which included two mini crab cake burgers, fries, and unlimited trips to the salad bar. 

Mini Crab Cake Burgers and Fries

The Qi Master had the baby back ribs with salad bar. 

Baby Back Ribs Plate

Mistress Qi ordered the salad bar. 

At the end, we were all too full to order dessert.  Instead, we finished with fruit from the salad bar.  I had pineapple and dried cranberries. 

Pineapple and Dried Cranberries

All in all, a good weekend.  Eating, talking and laughing with friends; living to eat and eating to live. 

We took home food from both eating events and ate the leftovers as a part of tonight’s dinner (too much information?).¬†

The Mouse

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I had Aunty P and Aunty M that helped to inspire me and shape who I am today.  The Cat had several people who helped to inspire her.  I took this picture at a tea house in Shanghai (more on the tea house on a separate post).  

The Cat's Brain Trust

¬†The woman on the left, Teacher Cheng,¬†is a published poet.¬† The man on left (her husband), Director Li,¬†is an accomplished film director.¬† Both of their children are also TV and film directors.¬† The woman on the right, Aunty¬†Tang,¬†is a published author, university professor, actress, and singer (the whole package).¬† The man on the right (her husband), Uncle Wang¬†is a film editor.¬† The Cat is in the middle.¬† Apparently they like me because they said they would adopt me too (they think I’m funny). ūüôā¬†¬†

The Cat’s father also taught her lessons¬†about life.¬† He was a high school physical science teacher.¬† He didn’t talk much but his lessons included both how he lived his life and the choices he made.¬† This is the gate of one of the schools he taught at.¬† It has been turned into a community college.¬† We didn’t know it at the time we booked the location, but the gate is right across the street¬†of the apartments¬†where we stayed.¬†

High School Where The Cat's Father Taught

One of the main reasons for this trip was to perform the Chinese ritual of burning paper money and offering food at a family member’s gravesite so the soul will have money and something to eat.¬† In this case, it was for The Cat’s father.¬†

Teacher Cheng wrote a poem about The Cat’s father that was engraved on the back of his headstone.¬†


The Cat said the poem described her father and celebrated his soul. 

The Mouse is Verklempt.

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