What is it about baked macaroni and cheese that makes it so irresistibly good? That’s particularly true for the version served at 12th Avenue Grill in Kaimuki (above). This dish came with Hamakua mushrooms, too. A must!
When I was going to the University of Hawaii, I would grab lunch at JR’s Bar-B-Q on Waialae Avenue so often the owner would know my order as soon as I walked through the glass doors.
So I was disappointed when the Korean take-out shop closed awhile back.
That is, until I found out a new eatery opened in the same spot, one that serves classic Israeli street food like shawarma and falafel.
Shaloha — a blend of “shalom” and “aloha” — offers Middle Eastern cuisine with a Hawaiian twist — or so the menu says. It’s got the regional staples of Turkey and Egypt with local adaptations of traditional dishes brought to Israel by Jewish immigrants.
So it’s truly a Middle Eastern mix plate!
And if you’re not into that kind of cuisine, you gotta at least go for the homemade pita bread. It’s light and fluffily and airy and so good I could eat an entire bag myself.
Here’s what our recent lunch looked like — and yes, we’ll be back!
Shaloha, 3133 Waialae Ave. Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Phone: (808) 744-4222.
Five years ago I wrote a story for the now defunct Honolulu Advertiser about Columbia Inn closing in Kaimuki.
Its closure was a shock to regular customers and employees, many of whom found out by reading a note taped to the door.
The space sat vacant for a long time, and I always wondered why a new restaurant didn’t move into that huge space in the Kaimuki Shopping Center.
Then I got conflicting reports about restaurants that had moved into the space. One was a drive-in serving unique plate lunches; the other was a traditional Vietnamese restaurant dishing out bowls of pho.
So which was it?
Only one way to find out!
Here’s what my recent dinner looked like:
Where am I?
Pho 27 Vietnamese Cuisine, 3221 Waialae Ave. in Kaimuki. Hours: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Phone: (808) 738-0027.
SALT Kitchen & Tasting Bar was going to be the Next Big Thing, the new In Spot, the Scene to be Seen.
So I skipped it.
I’m not one for crowds, and I had heard SALT has become a hot spot for foodies and curious eaters. The downstairs bar would be packed on a weeknight!
So I waited until a couple of weeks ago — hey, that’s about a month after opening! — to see what the hype was all about.
And to figure out what the heck a charcuterie is.
(Turns out, a charcuterie — pronounced shahr-KOO-tuhr-ee — is a French culinary art of salting, smoking and curing pork. It’s also the name of the delicatessen-style shop where these specialties are sold.)
So we went to the unassuming two-story restaurant on Waialae Avenue to see what the fuss was about.
Here’s what we ate:
SALT created a buzz before it even opened, as it was the creation of 12th Avenue Grill's Kevin Hanney, who partnered with Robert McGee, who came to Honolulu from Portland’s Slow Bar and opened the kitchen at apartm3nt. It's located around the corner from Hanney's flagship restaurant and in the space vacated by the short-lived Belladonna.
Salt Kitchen & Tasting Bar, 3605 Waialae Ave. Hours: 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. (food until midnight) daily. Phone: (808) 744-7567
My favorite burger joint, W&M Bar-B-Q Burger in Kaimuki, is now selling homemade almond and chocolate chip cookies baked by owner Joy Kunimitsu.
About Catherine Toth
Born and raised on Oahu, Catherine E. Toth has worked as a newspaper reporter in Hawaii for 10 years and continues to freelance — in between teaching journalism, hitting the surf, hiking with her two dogs and eating everything in sight — for national and local print and online publications.
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