Archive for January, 2009

FUUD: Good to Grill on Kapahulu

January 30th, 2009

I was hungry, but I didn't know what I wanted to eat.

So my mom and I drove around Kaimuki aimlessly, hoping for something to catch our eyes — and, more importantly, our appetites.

Then I saw it.

Good to Grill in the Safeway complex on Kapahulu.

I was drawn to it for a couple of reasons: 1) there were people sitting outside, eating. Always a good sign. And 2) its proximity to Leonard's Bakery. (See below)

Good to Grill opened in September adjacent to its sister restaurant, Caliente del Sol. Both restaurants — and Burgers on the Edge, also in the complex — are owned by Wes Zane of Laughing Gravy Restaurants, which also operates the popular Formaggio Wine Bar in Kaimuki and Formaggio Grill in Kailua.

Outside the eatery in the Safeway complex on Kapahulu Avenue.

Inside at lunchtime. There are a few tables inside but more outside.

Good to Grill specializes in kiawe wood-fired casual food, putting a gourmet twist on favorites from pastas to plate lunches. And you can get just about anything you're hungry for: misoyaki chicken ($7.99), garlic 'ahi ($8.99), pulehu rib steak ($17.99), grilled jambalaya with andouille sausage ($11.99), hamachi kama with ponzu dipping sauce ($14.99), even grilled lamb with a roasted garlic cream sauce ($10.99). (And for you health freaks out there, you can even opt for brown rice.)

And everything, according to the cashier, is grilled.

Here's the grill. You can watch cooks grill up your meat while you're waiting. (And you'll be waiting.)

So here's what we got:

My mom ordered the prime rib sandwich ($8.99), which comes with your choice of shoestring fries, red potato salad or mesclun salad greens.

Here's a closer look. The meat was nicely cooked and flavored — and it was especially good when paired with the horseradish sauce it came with. The sandwich definitely tasted better than it looked, my mom said. Just needed some salt.

The fries were outstanding, though! If you're into fries, you won't be disappointed. Crispy on the outside and cooked in clean oil. (You can tell!) That, alone, was worth the price of the meal.

I wanted to try the pizza. So I ordered the grilled fajita pizza ($9.89), with slices of ribeye steaks, bell peppers and onions atop a thin crust.

A closeup. The flavors worked well together. It tasted almost like an open-face cheesesteak sandwich, but with a hint of pizza sauce.

It's not cheap — and it's definitely not fast. (We waited more than 10 minutes for our food.) But the food is tasty enough to check out. If you're in the neighborhood.

Good to Grill, 888 Kapahulu Ave. Suite 170. Hours: 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday. Phone: 734-7345


(Oh, I didn't forget!)

The best part of yesterday's lunch, however, was dessert. (Isn't it always?)

We headed to Leonard's Bakery just up the street for some malassadas.

The iconic sign calls me.

Even after lunch the bakery was hopping! We took one of only two stalls open.

Oh, the bread. It's hard to walk out without a loaf.

Leonard's doesn't only sell malassadas and pao doce. It's got cupcakes, cookies, palm leaves, even hot-cross buns.

My mom tried the pinwheel. Delicious.

I went with the classic plain malassadas. Two, actually. And yes, I ate them both!

Kawamoto: philanthropist or pest?

January 29th, 2009

Eccentric billionaire Genshiro Kawamoto, who made headlines in the '80s when he bought 180 O'ahu homes and condos and allowing many of them to fall into disrepair, is irking the neighbors again.

This time, not along Kahala Avenue.

Kahalu'u residents are complaining to the city that Kawamoto, who owns about 130 acres on a hillside overlooking Kane'ohe Bay, hasn't addressed safety concerns about overhanging trees on his properties, among other things.

And like his Kahala neighbors, who have had to deal with seemingly abandoned properties in their 'hood, they're fed up.

So what's with this billionaire?

First, he buys up homes in some of O'ahu's most exclusive neighborhoods. Then he lets them fall apart. Then, in 2006, he did something so unusual, even I did a double-take: he rented some of the 18 million-dollar homes he owns along Kahala Avenue to Native Hawaiian families for up to $200 a month.

Sounds like a great guy, right?

But this is the same person who allegedly evicted rent-paying tenants on short notice in California and Hawai'i Kai in order to sell the homes to take advantage of rising prices.

You can't argue that he's a businessman. But he's definitely a tricky guy to read. Is he a philanthropist — or a pest?

What do you think?

Blame the coach?

January 28th, 2009

Jason Stinson, a popular Kentucky high school football coach, pleaded not guilty to reckless homicide in the heat-exhaustion death of one of his players.

Offensive lineman Max Gilpin, a 15-year-old sophomore at Pleasure Ridge Park High School, collapsed during a sweltering practice in August after running sprints, sometimes in pads and helmet. His death certificate showed he died of septic shock, multiple organ failure and complications from heat stroke.

Pleasure Ridge Park High School football coach David Jason Stinson, center, stands in court for his arraignment, flanked by his attorneys Brian Butler, left, and Alex Dathorne, right, yesterday in Louisville, Ky. Stinson is charged with reckless homicide in the death of player Max Gilpin, who collapsed during summer practice and later died. (AP Photo)

In this photo provided by the Gilpin family, Max Gilpin is shown during his 15th birthday party last July, a month before he died after football practice from heat exhaustion. (AP Photo)

Gilpin, along with the rest of his team, practiced for two to three hours in temperatures that felt like 94 degrees, reported the Associated Press.

"It's a sad day," Stinson told supporters gathered on his lawn to pray Saturday, CNN affiliate WHAS reported. "My heart is broken. Part of my life has been taken away. I no longer teach, and I no longer coach at the school that I love."

The teen's death sparked strong feelings about whether the coach was at fault. Some consider the death a tragic accident; others say it was the result of a criminal act and the coach should be held responsible.

It's a hard call.

I do think adults charged with the care of children — and that includes high school football players — need to make responsible decisions, prioritizing health and safety over anything else. I'd rather my son lose the upcoming football game than collapse after practicing in conditions that contributed to his death. It's just no worth it.

But should the coach be held responsible?

What do you think?

More taxes, better roads?

January 27th, 2009

The state is looking at increasing taxes to fund a $4 billion highway modernization plan that will include projects from adding a lane at the Middle Street merge, building a two-lane flyover along Nimitz Highway, creating bike lanes and installing intersection cameras to help law enforcement catch people running red lights.

All noble — and needed — for sure.

But is it worth the tax hike?

The state is looking at increases in the gas tax, vehicle weight tax, annual motor vehicle registration fees and rental vehicle surcharge tax. An editorial in yesterday's Advertiser said these increases are "a reasonable price to pay for smoother, faster commutes and enhanced public safety."

What rescues the plan, the editorial said, "is that the taxpayers won't be hit with the bill until the economy improves. Assuming the state follows through on promises to stay accountable to the taxpayers, lawmakers should give it a green light."

But according to the results from a poll on the site, readers don't seem to agree.

Of the 102 people who voted, a whopping 74.5 percent didn't support the tax increase to pay for this highway modernization plan. Just 22.5 percent support it and another 2.9 percent had no opinion.

So what do you think? Should we pay more in taxes to ease our daily commutes and make our roads safer? Or are we paying enough and the government should manage their budgets more wisely to accommodate for much-needed projects like these?

Hate your job?

January 26th, 2009

Think your job sucks?

Well, unless you're cleaning septic tanks or scraping dead cats from highways, your job probably isn't that bad. Boring? Probably. But the worst ever? Not likely.

If you're ever feeling this way — oh, and I have, trust me! — tune into "Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe" on the Discovery Channel. Watching Rowe shadow fish processors, rattlesnake catches and the guy who castrates horses made me think my day job sitting in front of a computer in air conditioning isn't so bad. (Read more about the show in this Fast Company article.)

I wouldn't want to tromp in the sewer. But the one job I could never, ever do? Be a crane operator. The climb up, the claustrophobic cage, the wind-I just couldn't do it.

What's the job you'd never want to do?