School and Stuff




I mentioned I went to Hawaii a couple of posts back and these are the only photos I have from it. One of this cute little doggie and the other of my sister and I completely knocked out on the beach. =__= So photogenic.



Sorry for this "filler post", but I just really wanted to update you guys on what was going on in my life. I considered myself "on the ball" this summer in terms of updating my blog and really finding myself enjoying it....but now....not so much. WINTERRRR. FALLLLL. SWEATERRSSSS HOOOOOOO

I have some exciting developments in my life though! In addition to going to school, I am now employed. =) I don't want to get into the nitty-gritty of it, but it just means I have less time. Hopefully, later this week you'll see a review of Bottega in Napa. =) Again, I can't say this enough, but thank you for your patience. Thank you for reading and visiting!

+Love

Meat and Bread ~ Vancouver




My pictures for this are terrible. There's something about my cripplingly low self-esteem and dragging around a large DSLR camera, especially in an extremely crowded place, that makes me want to take pictures as fast as possible and slink away. Anyway, most everyone in the Vancouver area has heard of Meat and Bread. On their facebook page they've posted some international Meat and Bread "lookalikes" in New Zealand and South Korea. However, you guys will know that the true Meat and Bread originated on Pender Street in rainy-old Vancouver.

The Line
The concept of Meat and Bread is simple, like its name denotes, Meat and Bread is a sandwich shop that centers around a daily menu, with one meat option, one vegetarian option and a staple sandwich, the "Porchetta", in addition to this they also have daily soups and salads that you can order as a "side" to your sandwich. From what I saw, most people seemed satisfied by the sandwich alone As you can see from the photo above, which is only a fraction of the line, Meat and Bread gets very, very busy. There's always a really long line, but thankfully it moves quite quickly. There is bar seating, private table seating (for parties of two), and communal table seating. I feel like the seating capacity is quite limited, probably around 35-40 patrons at most, but the turnover is quite fast.

Technically you're not allowed to get seats before getting your food, but the waitress assured us that there would always be seats after we got our food. However, speaking of wait service there pretty much isn't any. There are some "line constables" that come with some preset phrases like the "line moves quite fast", "unfortunately, you can't get seats before getting food", "Meat and Bread been here for awhile", and help you buy the sauces and meat rubs that are by the door...but otherwise you pretty much do everything yourself. Meat and Bread has a delightful variety of apothecary inspired bottled sodas and drinks by the cashier. However, if you're a heavy water drinker like me, you might as well fill up two or three cups with the water pitches provided, because you'll be going back and forth quite often.

Crispy skin and delicious porchetta....
As for the ambiance, Meat and Bread is charmingly vintage and quirky with modern elements all at the same time. Their decor seemed to retain a lot of the original "gastown" features, including a seat that has water continually dripping on it from the old AC system, while there seemed to be the very modern additions of a small functional kitchen space. Waiting in line at Meat and Bread reminds me of being in an old metalworking factory, with the burly men in leather smocks "forging" the bread and "smelting" the meat to make the ultimate sandwich-y creation. The guys behind the counter at Meat and Bread are definitely the blacksmiths of meat or at least reminiscent of a sexy firefighter catalog or something.


As the menu changes every day, I found that it made the most sense to "review" the porchetta which is the only staple sandwich they have on the menu, and also happens to be my favourite item. Firstly, I am not such a huge fan of "pork", but don't judge me yet! I love bacon, ham, and prosciutto...but for some reason I've never really been a fan of pork chops or pork tenderloin. However, Meat and Bread have definitely turned me on to the white side. Pork, you know...the other white meat. =P

Mass Producing Porchetta
While you're waiting in line you\ll have the opportunity to watch the blacksmiths behind the counter cutting, dicing, and assembling sandwiches. Honestly, it's like watching a commercial for how pork is supposed to be prepared and cooked. I've never seen cut pork actually drip juice in real life. Each little slice of pork included in the sandwich is glistening with flavor and lightly covered in salsa verde. And the pork rind, oh god the pork rind, is a welcome component in an already delicious sandwich. Meat and Bread puts a squirt of mustard on the wooden chopping block they serve all their sandwiches on and it happens to be the one of the only mustards I find palatable.


The sandwich is well housed within a beautifully baked loaf of bread. My father thought the bread's consistency was too hard, but honestly I felt that if it were any softer...it's be one of those soft, wet white bread sandwiches characteristic of an prepacked elementary school lunch. This loaf was chewy, but not unbearably so, and I didn't have to fight with it to get a well proportioned bite. The salsa verde isn't spicy at all, but instead sort of accents the natural porky flavors of the porchetta. To break up the tender monotony of the sliced pork meat, the meatsmiths (that sounds vaugely porn-like) sprinkle crispy, delicious pork skin over the top and it is lovely. I wish they would add more of it though. The first time I went I was very satisfied with the pork and pork rind ratio, but the second time I felt like the pork rind was lacking.

Inside of the sandwich
Behind my little sandwich over there, in the previous photo, there's a little blurred bowl of chili. Well, I can't show you a full photo of it...because I ate it. It was good, good chili. There are beans, tomatoes, pulled pork, and a lovely topping of sour cream and scallions. One thing I dislike about pulled meats in chili, or any sort of soup, is that they tend to be tough. The pulled pork that was in this chili was surprisingly tender and easy to digest. I also found the chili to be more on the watery side and a bit spicier than I'm used to, but I still highly recommend it. However, I did find that the sandwich was enough for me, portion size, on its own.

Bacon Ice Cream
The second thing Meat and Bread is quite famous for, other than the porchetta, is their infamous bacon ice cream. To be quite honest with you...I was actually really hesitant to try this. It brought back flashes of Burger King's Bacon Ice Cream Sundae monstrosity and Epic Mealtime's Sauce Boss yelling profanities at me...but surprisingly my mom ordered it and loved it. After seeing her reaction, I had to grab a bite.


First, the waffle the ice cream was sandwiched between was great. Great. I'm sure you've all had that one ice cream sandwich whose wafers were far to hard or far too brittle...and you just ended up with an disproportional messy ice cream pile or two dry pieces of cookie.....blech. The wafer on the bacon ice cream sandwich was lovely; it broke off easily and wasn't too powdery in consistency. While the ice cream itself was somewhat reminiscent of a salted caramel ice cream. The bacon wasn't too fatty or overpowering, instead it added little bursts of savoriness to a sweet and mellow vanilla. =) For some reason, this ice cream sandwich reminded me of boyfriend...I think he would like it. And it would be a fun date night or picnic day item to get.

Overall, I really, really, really recommend Meat and Bread. The artistry of a great sandwich really has to be celebrated here. =) Not only is everything actually succulent, well flavored, simple, and amazingly mouth watering, Meat and Bread is also located in one of the most interesting districts to meander around in...Gastown. Honestly at this point, my ideal date would probably be going to Meat and Bread, getting something to go, going out to one of the nearby parks to picnic, and browse all the little boutiques and furniture shops around. It's truly lovely.

Price: $ out of $$$$$
Kid Friendly: Yes? I haven't seen any kids here, but I can imagine that little kids would also enjoy a good sandwich
Repeatability: Yes =)
Website: http://meatandbread.ca/


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Doop doop be doop

Vintage White Skirt, Michael Kors Blouse, Nine West Heels, Salvatore Ferragamo Clutch
I'm boring. I like color blocking and prints with neutrals...so this is what I wore today. =) Just super simple stuff. I inherited the skirt from my mother and I bought everything here on sale or at the duty free. 


What I absolutely love about the skirt is the simple versatility of it. It can be worn for work or casual lunch dates or even fancier real dates. The only things that really makes me paranoid about it, is its white color. I'm such a klutz that I'm really afraid that I'll drop some food or spill some fancy colored drink all over it.


The heels are from Nine West and although they have a great, sleek silhouette...they are some of the most uncomfortable pumps I've ever worn. The sole is very, very hard and it doesn't have a lot of "give". Usually, when I wear these shoes the part of me that hurts the most is probably the ball of my foot. I probably won't purchase from Nine West again. Simply because of the hard soles....my mother and my aunts had always told me never to buy from them for the exact same reason and now that I've "tried them out" I believe it.
 

Poor little Fa got some kidney stones removed...so now he has to wear the cone of shame. >< Haha, he's quite unhappy a the moment and we're all tempted to free him from his cone. However, we know that if we liberate him, he'll probably chew out all his stitches....like a bad ass. So he'll just have to deal with it for now.

How are your pets doing? =P 

+Love

Maki ~ San Francisco



I've been heading to Maki ever since I was a little kid. I have very fond memories of the incredibly nom-nom Japanese food and the attentive service my family received there. This summer I had a chance to be in the Bay Area again and was so excited to hit up one of my family's old haunts. However, I am almost 100% certain that the ownership changed and the chef and waitresses that I was familiar with are now gone.


In this most recent California trip, I've visited Maki upwards of five times...you can say that I'm obsessed. It also helps that my boyfriend lives quite close by to Japantown. You could say that he aids my addiction to Maki and he's probably the worst enabler I've ever met. =P Each time I've dined there, I have had an incredibly varied experience, both in terms of the service and the food. To start things off, Maki is a very, very small hole in the wall restaurant with very, very limited seating space. The interior of Maki has both bar and indoor seating that can probably seat about 18 patrons at once. While "outside" the restaurant in the main mall, they have "extra" table seating that can seat an additional 12.

In the past, I always remembered that there was always a line out the door. Now, more often than not, my sister and I have been able to walk in without any reservations and get seated immediately. It's a well known fact that at Maki, the food often takes a long time to get to your table because of the small kitchen. However, the "hangry" vibes were always alleviated by the attentiveness of the waiters and waitresses. Unfortunately, more often than not I've had lackluster service. One of the more negative experiences that I've had there was when I asked for my water to be refilled. Even though the restaurant wasn't busy or full to capacity the waitresses seemingly ignored my requests and were quite rude. Even though I had asked for water, multiple times, in the middle of our meal, by the time we had finished we still hadn't gotten our refills. I believe the third of fourth time I had asked the response I got from the waitress was "We're really busy here." There were a total of two women "waitressing" and they really didn't divide the tables very well at all.


As for the decor, Maki is really simple and clean. You can the entire restaurant in the photo above...even 1/3 of the outdoor seating. Maki is one of those restaurants where "what you see, is what you get." Lots of bright colors, including celery green and clay red, accented by lots of neutral browns and beiges. You'll also see my beautiful sister and boyfriend making an appearance in the photo above. =)

Now, onto the meal!

100th Post!!

I honestly wasn't looking at my post count and when I saw 99, I felt like I had to do something special to commemorate making it this far. Then in brainstorming what to do that was "special", I didn't update my blog for like a week. Hohoho!! Which is lame. I'm sorry.

When I started this blog, I was really nervous in putting myself out on the internet. To be honest, I wasn't really happy where I was in life and I wanted a project to commit to...something that would be interesting and fun. It has been! I just really want to thank whoever's reading or visiting my blog. I promise to continually improve the information I put out, update my blog more often, remain honest, and be true to myself. I don't know what else to say! Oh, I'm going back and trying to correct all the grammar and improve the quality of my old posts...=) That way they're not so painful to read.

Right now, I'm in Hawaii vacationing with my family. =) It's been four years since we've all had enough time to vacation together. I'm having the best time reconnecting with my sister, mom, and dad and I hope you guys are having a wonderful summer with your loved ones too.


+Love

Kat Von D: Everlasting Love Liquid Lipstick Review and Swatches


The last time my sister and I had a chance to run into Sephora, we also accidentally ran into a Kat Von D signing. Unfortunately the wristlets required to see her up close in person were already "sold out." Sephora was having a promotion that day, that if you bought some Kat Von D makeup products they would give you a wristlet for free, but by the time we arrived they had already given them all away. As you can imagine at such a high profile signing, Kat's makeup line was heavily featured in all sections of the store. I've bought some products from her before, but they were nothing to write home about. However, her new "liquid lipsticks" piqued my interest, especially following my intense obsession with YSL's Glossy Stains and the "opaque liquid lipstick" trend. I bought two colors: Berlin (warm rose) and Outlaw (brick red). 

Top: Outlaw, Bottom: Berlin
The packaging is pretty characteristic of the rest of Kat Von D's line, lots of black with silver tattoo enamel accents. Unlike the Painted Love Lipsticks, these Liquid Love Lipsticks are not rubberized and instead are just hard plastic. The tubes were narrower than I thought they would be, but have an elegant thin shape that allows you to easily slip them into a handbag or a clutch.


The applicator for the Lipstick is a traditional doe foot applicator, that are primarily used in lip glosses, and I think it applies the thin, watery formula of the Liquid Love Lipstick well. However, because of the shape of the applicator, I think it's difficult to really get into the corners of your lips to clearly define your lipshape, without really taking one's time. The formula is so thin, once you apply any little bit of color on your lip it sets immediately and is there for the rest of the nightIn the photos below, I really took my time with Outlaw, as opposed to my slathering approach with Berlin, and I think you can really tell the difference in application. The Everlasting Liquid Love Lipstick isn't really one of those lipsticks that you can apply on the go, but requires a mirror for the initial and touch up application.

Berlin to the left and Outlaw to the Right
Like a mentioned before, the formulation of this lipstick is quite watery and applies as such...just like a thin layer of acrylic paint. Although it applies glossy it dries down to matte. The colors appear as they appear in the tube, so no surprises there. The staying power is impressed me, when I drinking and talking no color transfer happened, but be warned...when eating all the lip color comes of in a weird "ring" around your mouth. It's as if you only applied lipliner by the time you've finished eating. Lots of lip products never pass the eating test, but because of the intense pigmentation in Kat Von D's Everlasting Love Liquid Lipstick the effect that you get on your lips after a meal is almost clown like. Reapply immediately!


I'm sorry. My face is really gross, but I think these sort of lip swatches are the most informative. Please ignore my volcanic wasteland face.

Outlaw
Berlin
In certain lighting, the two lipsticks look very similar in color. However, you can tell the difference in the photos below and in person. I believe in darkness and twilight light levels, the two hues of Outlaw and Berlin can sort of resemble each other. I liked the color opacity of both lipsticks, the application and texture for both lip colors, and the matte dry down of both lipsticks. It was actually the matte finish that originally drew me to purchase these. However a huge con of these lipsticks is the fact that they are so, so, so drying. The matte effect looks nice, but it seems like they actually like wick moisture away from you lips and the end result is super dry, craggy, dead skin lips. Joker lips. Or dry lakebed lips. I added on a balm to re-moisturize,...but when I kissed boyfriend the color smeared both on him and me. It looked like we shared some sort of terrible disease. 


I would say that the "staying power" of the lipsticks really depend on whether you add a balm or not. With the addition of a lip balm, not only does the color pigment slide all over your lips, but the durability of the color drops intensely. Most recently on a night out, I wore Outlaw without any balm (I had forgotten it) and it stayed without any reapplication or slipping. Surprisingly that time my lips didn't look like a dry lake bed, but they felt really dry.


Ultimately, I don't think I'll repurchase these again. Although I really like the colors, the drying sensation isn't very fun to deal with.

Pros:
- Opacity/Pigmentation
-"Staying Power"
- Beautiful matte red and a dainty "rose pink"
-Price $19 dollars compared to other "high end" brands at Sephora

Cons:
- SO Drying
- Can transfer
- Thin formula (It was a weird texture for me)

Purchase: Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Love Lipsticks

Thanks for reading!
+Love

The House ~ San Francisco

Oh man, oh man! Has anyone else received discrimination for being a food blogger? Today at my boyfriend's favorite restaurant, the table next to us wouldn't stop talking about how weird I was for taking pictures of everything and commented how they hated tourists and just wished they could throw chilies at them. Later on we discovered that they were from LA and in comparison....I was born here. By the end of the night, they too were Instagramming and taking photos of their dishes with their iPhones! They also made a couple of disparaging comments about how my boyfriend and I could "afford" to go to such a fancy place dressed the way we were. It made me terribly uncomfortable and made for a more than unpleasant dining experience. Luckily for me, I wasn't alone and the food was tasty. I guess...I always just wonder why people can't be nice to each other.


The house is a small, casual restaurant on Grant Avenue in San Francisco that serves "Asian American" food. I was really excited to try this restaurant, because it's my boyfriend's favourite and he felt really strongly about it. Usually when it comes to eating dinner together, it's always an awkward battle of "I'm not feeling like anything in particular, what do you feel like?" "Oh nothing, what do you feel like?" Haha, but this time boyfriend was like "We're goin' here." The restaurant actually sort of reminded me of a small shop, instead of a restaurant. The entirety of the floor space was taken by guest seating. The menu was only one page long, divided evenly between the appetizers and and the entrees, with supplementary seasonal special options for the appetizer, entree, and dessert.


The first thing I noticed about The House it was very small and seating space was incredibly limited. If you want to dine here, I highly recommend reserving a table in advance. The decor was clean and simple and there were no booths for large parties, but instead the entire restaurant was filled with tables that were able to seat two to four patrons at once. The staff is less like a well oiled machine and more like a bunch of ninjas. Our waters were refilled, our orders were taken, and our food was delivered, but after completing all these tasks the waitstaff disappeared into the shadows. For the most part, my boyfriend and I had a very enjoyable time to ourselves on one of our first "date nights" in a long time. The one drawback I would have to say is that there is really no privacy, the tables are really spaced closely together, and there's a lot of sound pollution within the restaurant. You have to raise your voices a bit to converse with your table mates.



Now onto the meal!

Pickled Cucumber Starter
The House staff gave us a little freebee to tie us over until we finished reading the menu. It was pickled cucumber with some toasted sesame seeds thrown on top. It was very, very, very tart and had more of an unadulterated "vinegar" flavor than the usual briny, sour flavor that pickling usually imparts onto veggies. I've heard that sour things get the appetite going and I was really excited to start the rest of the meal.

Blue Lake Bean Tempura with Pickled ginger soy
This was the appetizer that boyfriend was like "We're getting this." That was that! I have I was a little thrown off by this appetizer's description on the menu. I'm not a terribly big fan of green beans (steamed, blanched, stir fried, etc.) and I much prefer them as a side,but I have to say I wasn't disappointed. This dish was also probably one of the most popular off the menu and I saw a stream of criss-crossed bean towers emerge from the kitchen and brought to almost every table. 


As you can probably tell from the picture above, the tempura was like a light flour exoskeleton to the green beans and served as a wonderful complement to the fresh, firm green bean "innards." The sauce was so good and paired with the tempura perfectly. Surprisingly, I could taste the sharpness of the ginger mingling with the tartness of the vinegar and the combo cut whatever oiliness was left within the tempura casing. There's a good reason why every table ordered it and after finishing our serving I really was craving more.

Charred baby octopus salad, crispy pork skin, and a red chili vinaigrette 
Both the boyfriend and I were sort of disappointed with this particular appetizer. After all the title made it look so promising. The inclusion of charred baby octopus (yum) and the sinfully delicious crispy pork skin (double yum!) really piqued our interests and we were enticed to order salad dish because we needed some vegetables in our diet so we didn't get scurvy. What you see in the photo above is an individual serving on my plate, but if you multiply my serving by four and imagine the salad in a bowl that's how the dish was presented.

I was hoping for really lightly diced pieces of baby octopus, but you really had to hunt for the pieces hiding between all the bits of shredded veggies. The salad itself was also very vinegar-y, not surprising from a vinaigrette, but instead of a tossed salad I felt the flavours in this dish were more reminiscent of the pickled vegetables that come inside a Vietnamese bánh mì sandwich. The predominant flavors were sweet and sour and I didn't really taste any "kick" from the red chili. The crispy pork skin was delicious, but if you throw bacon or crispy pork skin on anything it usually has the propensity to be pretty good. Overall, boyfriend and I were a bit disappointed with this dish. 


Warm Wasabi House Noodles with Angus Steak
This is what boyfriend says he gets every time he comes here and honestly, I can see why. The angus steak was a very tender medium rare, that was juicy and succulent. The steak mixed well with the kimchi and cucumber slaw that was presented on top of the dish. The slaw had that sweet spiciness that's common in Korean dishes, the sweet spicy, as opposed to a burning, painful one and I really liked the combination of the starchy udon with the crunchy slaw and the tender, juicy meat. The udon noodles were well done and had a nice bite with a sort of "al dente" chewiness that was really addictive. I didn't really taste the wasabi, which was strange because from the name is seemed like wasabi was a key component to this entree, but I liked the dish the way it was. I feel like wasabi might be a little too acrid for all the components within the noodles.

The Special of the day: A miso braised black cod, with wasabi oil, hoisin sauce, and a  California Roll
When the waitress was talking about the three daily specials they had for the night, it was to loud in the restaurant I couldn't really hear her. However, from the scant descriptions that I did hear I picked up a "black cod braised in miso" dish and that's when I made my decision. We ordered immediately after. The black cod did not disappoint in anyway shape or form. The fish was moist and delicious and blended with the miso crust perfectly. The almost buttery nature of the black cod was complemented by the many sauces below: which included a sweet hoisin sauce, red chili oil, and wasabi oil. All this was placed upon a little bed of "gai lan" with some shaved fried plantains for decoration.


The only real "cons" about this dish was that I felt the wasabi oil was really, really strong. When I was cutting the fish into pieces I would inadvertently load the fish up with so much wasabi oil, by scooting the fish off its safe bed of greens into the sauces below, that it really, really cleared out my sinuses every time I took an overly large bite. The California rolls were made with real dungeness crab and sweet, fresh avocados, but the roll sort of seemed out of place on the plate. Perhaps I just loved the fish so much that I just wished there was more of it instead of the "starch filler" California roll. Usually my boyfriend out eats me and we have to take some of our dinner home in doggie bags, but this time we finished everything on the table and were so completely sated we didn't have room for dessert. It was lovely and I had a great time.

I strongly recommend The House if you're ever in San Francisco and knackering for Asian Fusion food. The restaurant was loud and crowded, and I was told by boyfriend that sometimes the line is out the door, so I would definitely make a reservation one to two days ahead of time. For two entrees and two appetizers we paid about $80, including tip, for large portions and delicious food. I heard numerous remarks around the restaurant that the value for the quality at the House is unbeatable. Overall, I would say that my first experience at The House was a delicious one and that I would definitely return here with friends and family. Thanks for coming!

+Love
PS Sorry for the skewed photos, I let my self consciousness get the better of me under the scrutiny of the couple sitting next to us. ><


Price: $$ out of $$$$$
Kid Friendly: Yes, saw lots of kids there. Including some that spilled dishes.
Repeatability: Yes
Website: http://www.thehse.com/


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XOX Betsey Nail Polish Review and Swatch

XOX Betsey
This is somewhat new! Haha, I know I've done many a restaurant review for my blog, but never anything really regarding to beauty. However, much like food and fashion, I am also obsessed with makeup. I'm still pretty amateurish about it, but I think I can tell the difference between good and bad. =) Anyway, this XOX Betsey is a limited edition nailpolish, exclusively for Sephora, that was designed by Betsey Johnson.


The color, although described as an opaque sandy nude, is a nude that reads just a touch lavender and when applied it dries down to the color inside the bottle. No surprises there. ;) The bottle and the brush are the usual to OPI and it was very easy to apply the polish to the opacity that I had wanted. Although I needed two coats of nail polish to get to this level of opaque, I was genuinely surprised at how pigmented the color of one coat was. I've tried many, many nudes before and I've always needed four or five coats to reach a state of color that wasn't sheer and see through.


As usual I've been lurking on the internet and using my keyboard a lot and for the most part XOX Betsey hasn't chipped at all. The only "chip" that you can see on my pointer finger in the photo above is probably most likely from painting over my cuticle which is more my own fault than the polish's.

As for a more personal note, this polish is actually "my" perfect nude. The nudes that I've tried before this have always read "too warm" or too similar to my own skin tone so instead of a nicely manicured nails, it looked like I was a mutant whose skin grew over my cuticle bed. The lavender color within it just really sets it apart. Also....when applying this nail polish I didn't apply a base or a top coat. >< Not because I have anything against it, but because I couldn't justify purchasing more base and top coats when I have perfectly good bottles at home. I just forgot to bring them down to California. *sigh*

I recommend XOX Betsey for its opacity, wearability, and price. It retails for $9.50 at Sephora and although it's not the cheapest...it's pretty cute.

Purchase: XOX Betsey

Thanks for reading!
+Love

The Pineapple Room ~ Honolulu


Hello All! Today I'll be reviewing Alan Wong's Pineapple Room, the casual dining extension of the fancier Alan Wong's, located in Ala Moana Mall. I have to say, as a diner that has eaten at both restaurants, the atmosphere of each restaurant is very different. Where Alan Wong's is a smaller, more intimate establishment the feeling I get from The Pineapple Room is somewhat reminiscent of Morimoto's restaurant, in the terms of both restaurant's atmosphere and capacity to hold lots of diners. There is an enormous dining area in addition to two bar seating areas, one surrounding the alcohol and the other bordering the open kitchen. I can't imagine very many seating issues with that much space, but if you definitely want to eat here you might as well make a reservation. My family and I went on a weekday, with a reservation, and the seating areas probably were at 1/3 their capacity. Despite the differences in atmosphere, the themes behind their cuisine are the same: "tasting Hawaii", the "Aloha Spirit", and modern Hawaiian sustainability. 


Honestly, my family and I had a bit of trouble finding the place, it's located inside the Macy's section of the enormous Ala Moana Mall, and I didn't really expect to walk through the women's wear section to find the maitre'd stand. As you an tell from the photo above the aesthetic is somewhat reminiscent of the interior of a Tommy Bahamas store. The Pineapple Room utilizes the same color scheme from Alan Wong's, dark woods, light greens and creams, and some choice light fixtures and accent walls suggestive of tropical seas and sea life.

The light is a fish
As for the service it was quick, polite, and the waiters and waitresses were very friendly. I didn't have to ask for water at all, they were very attentive to our table, and the maitre'd got us seated within minutes. They were the sort of "hummingbird" waiters that always flutter around your table for refills on drinks, a friendly chat, or questions on how your food is tasting.

Now onto the meal!

IT'S A TRAP
Our meal started off with some complementary bread, which was very addictive. The bread had large pieces of sauteed garlic baked inside of it and had really nice dense, spongy texture. The starter bread was actually sweeter than normal white bread and was ten times more enjoyable than sourdough bread (to me at least). I tried to resist eating a lot of it though, because I didn't want to get full on starch filler before the actual meal.

Ahi Chili Nachos: Avacado Salsa, Chili Sour Cream 
A secret food fetish that I hole away in my heart is chili. My mom, dad, and sister don't particularly like it....but I...I love it. You can ask any of my friends, I always ask for chili on dinner nights. I was super psyched when my parents ordered this, after all they never willingly order chili, and I was eagerly anticipating stuffing my face. When the plate arrived it was very prettily presented, one can imagine the difficulties in making a brown chunky substance look appetizing, with an additional serving of nachos waiting in the wings on a different plate. Unfortunately, the chili was good, but wasn't anything particularly special. It was well balanced with lots of chili flavor, heightened by the tart sour cream and the rich buttery avocado, but I do feel that the Ahi was lost in the dish. With the chili flavours so strong, the chunks of Ahi tuna were physically lost in the chunky chili and the delicate tuna flavor was masked by all the strong herbs and spices. My mom, dad, and I all had trouble in differentiating the fish from the other bits and bobs in the dish...it was so finely chunked that we could hardly find the fish meat. Then again, I'm not sure how much fish meat was actually in the chili....
 
Shrimp Cocktail: Spicy Wasabi Cocktail Sauce 
Shrimp cocktail, a dinner party classic! I think the stereotypical presentation of shrimp cocktail is usually in a martini glass, but a plate is perfectly fine as well. I didn't really find this dish very impressive or ingenuitive. It was well executed, the shrimp were boiled to perfection and the cocktail sauce had that tangy, addictive flavour it uses to sucker people into eating glasses and glasses of cocktail shrimp, with the extra kick given by the wasabi. This dish was just a fancy shrimp cocktail and I can't really say much more about it. It was a dish where "what you see is what you get." I think it was an appropriate size for an appetizer, but I felt that the price didn't match. Unfortunately, they don't list the price online...but I do remember the feeling of surprise when seeing the price then seeing the portion.

Fries with Foie Gras Dip
Our waitress that night was telling us that the Foie Gras Dip was a new addition to the menu that they were currently testing out to see if it deserved a spot on the main menu. However, by the looks of it...this menu item lost out. Unfortunately, this was going to be the dish that I would most strongly would recommend. It's really simple in idea and execution, but it's so addictive and delicious. The potatoes were fried to crispy, golden perfection and were seasoned with a light dusting of salt. Already fries can be extremely delicious and addictive, but the addition of the foie gras sauce really pushed it over the edge into craving territory.


I don't know the exact components of the dip, on the menu it was simply listed it as Foie Gras dip, but you can see the drizzle of olive oil and the chive sprinkled on top. The texture and consistency of the dip was thin, but viscous enough that it coated a dipped fry perfectly. The sauce was like a deconstructed seared foie gras appetizer...the seared foie gras was already perfectly blended with the sweet fruit (for example pears, apples, or peaches) that were usually paired with pan seared foie gras and the fries added the starch needed to deal with a "rich fat." I'm very pleased to report that the fatty nature of the foie gras didn't just add to the oily nature of the fry. It could have been a horrible greasy fat mess, but that didn't happen. It was an extremely addictive appetizer and I really wish they placed it on the permanent menu....it would be something that I'd go back for.

Unfortunately all three of these entrees are no longer available on the updated menu on Alan Wong's site. I'm very apologetic to provide outdated information, but I hope the quality and execution of The Pineapple Room's dishes are clear in these photos and my descriptions. However, I think it's great that Alan Wong's Pineapple Room changes up its menu depending on the seasons and what's locally available.

Grilled Chicken Breast with Hollandaise Sauce and a Crab Cake 
I asked our waitress what entree on the menu was the "lightest", because I wasn't particularly hungry and the waitress recommended the chicken breast because of its small portion size. It was a lie. It was medium sized and it was so rich that I could only eat a third of it. It was good, but it was just so enormous the portion size actually detracted from my enjoyment of  the meal. The crab cake and the chicken breast were a surprisingly good combo, I wouldn't really have paired those meats together, but the combination was a savory umami meat sandwich. The chicken and the crab were both well cooked and moist, but I think some of the perfection in the meat was covered up by the rich hollandaise sauce. So much so, that it was difficult to pick out the individual flavors that composed the dish's entirety. It was all very rich and hollandaise-y. If I had been hungrier, or perhaps hadn't eaten all of those foie gras fries, I would have enjoyed the dish way more.

Big Island Steak with a summer salad
There's a version of this steak on the menu at the moment, called Kiawe Grilled Big Island Steak, but this old dish leans more to the traditional "steak and salad" dish. My dad wanted to take the photo, so unfortunately the more detailed shot is on the summer salad. The meat was rare, just like my father liked it, and I also had a bite so I can attest to its grilled perfection. The salad was very "Hawaii" and tropical as well and contained a myriad of ingredients from the pictured greens to shimeji mushrooms to red and yellow cherry tomatoes, and purple onions. It was not a boring salad at all and I loved the way the cherry tomatoes chimed in ever now and then to add a burst of sweetness to the salad.

It was well executed and simple, but my dad definitely also had a problem with the portion size of the whole meal. For me I did really enjoy the execution of the steak dish, but that was it for me. It was just a steak. I thought there were more interesting items on the menu that showcased Alan Wong's originality a bit more.

Seared Scallops with Hash
This is what my mom ordered, a seared scallop dish that came with four scallops atop a vegetable rice porridge/hash sort of combo at the bottom. My mom gave me a scallop and I tried a bit of her hash and they were both very good. The scallop was sweet and tender, but had a nice sear on each side...truly Hawaii is a paradise for seafood lovers. The mash I wasn't a too particularly fond of. I think I would have liked the scallops paired with something a little lighter, rather than a wet starchy, bean, corn, squash, rice party. I think the bottom's starch sort of overpowered the delicate seared nature of the scallops. Just give me the scallops and the bit on top and that'll be fantastic. My mom really liked the dish, but also shared the same concerns as my dad about the portion size. I didn't feel particularly excited about this dish, but it was well executed.

Ultimately, the Pineapple Room hasn't burrowed its way into my heart like all of the other restaurants located in Waikiki that I've shared with you. I think my main concern, as well as my mother's and my father's, was the portion control of all the dishes. Although we only each only ordered an appetizer and a main, we were all completely uncomfortably stuffed by the end of the meal. My father said that we could have probably fed four people with the quantity of food that we ordered. Even though I do like Alan Wong's main fancy restaurant I'm beginning to waver in my stalwart loyalty to the Alan Wong's brand from my last lackluster meal at their main restaurant to the sort of "meh" quality of The Pineapple Room...I dunno. The food was good and well executed, but just not very memorable to me. Since we're not native to Hawaii, I can think of other places that I would rather go than The Pineapple Room. My father also made the comment that the food here, for what we got, was more expensive than he previously anticipated. I'm just thoroughly "meh" about this meal and I don't think I'll return here. 

Thanks for coming!
+Love

Price: $$$ out of $$$$$
Kid Friendly: Yes
Repeatability: No..... ()-__-
Website:http://www.alanwongs.com/pineapple-room-welcome/index.html