Archive for Devoured

The one with a hole…

Ah, the “Puka Dog.”

Started in Kauai, the “Puka Dog” has gained popularity due to being featured on various programs on the Food and Travel channels and has opened up a shop in the heart of Waikiki. The “Puka Dog” is essentially a polish dog (or veggie dog for you non-enjoyers-of delicious-dead-animal) that is placed into Hawaiian sweet bread with special sauces. The thing that makes this hot dog unique is in the way its prepared.

The bread is impaled onto a large steel spike that is connected to the rolling oven that the hot dogs are placed through. This does two things: a) it ensures the bread is nice and warm and b) it creates a large hole, or “puka” (Poo-Kah). Once the meat (or meat substitute) is passed through the oven, the employee behind the condiments bar begins filling the bread with the sauces of your choosing. I had the “Hot-Hot” (Habanero) version of their “secret lemon-garlic sauce,” papaya relish, and lilikoi (passion fruit) mustard. After squirting the condiments into the bun, the hot dog is placed within and a small amount of each sauce is placed on top.

The Puka Dog I had was fairly tasty, although the hotness of the Habanero sauce was sadly countered by the sweetness of the bun, the papaya relish, and the lilikoi mustard. The papaya relish wasn’t so much a relish as it was a thin, albeit tasty, yellowish liquid sauce. The lilikoi mustard was sweet yet tangy and tasted more like the fruit counterpart than the mustard, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Overall the Puka Dog was fairly tasty and with my Kama’aina (local) discount about $5-6, which isn’t too bad considering its smack in the heart of Waikiki AKA Tourist Central. The employee at the register was nice and friendly and explained everything to me, although it was very clear she was trying to rush out and go on break. The other emplyee, on the other hand, who was stationed at the condiments was as sour and anti-social as you can get. When I asked what her favorite or most popular sauces were, she flat out ignored my question and continued onto making my puka dog as fast as she could, all while wearing the classic “I hate my job” expression on her face.

Would I recommend it?

Sure, the sauces were tasty and not too overpowering of each other (although i would have personally preferred a little more heat in the Habanero sauce) and the sweetness of the Hawaiian sweet bread just further adds to it. It is also the cleanest hot dog I have ever eaten as I managed to eat the whole thing without spilling a drop, which is surprising as I’m somewhat of a sloppy eater.

So if you’re in the area and crave something sweet yet savory, by all means, try a Puka Dog. Just don’t expect it to change your life.

4 (out of 5)

~Flapjax

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Behold. The McGangBang.

Now you may be asking yourself: “McGangBang, WTF?!?”

Don’t worry you’re not alone. I too was once ignorant to the existence of this wondrous McDonald’s creation. So wondrous in fact that it’s origins are unknown. The earliest appearance of the term McGangBang was May 26, 2006, on a page on Urban Dictionary devoted to the McGangBang. The post claims that it originated in Daytona Beach, but there’s no evidence of this.

But before we go any further into the history of this infamous sandwich, I should clarify exactly what it is.

Behold:

McGangBang

McGangBang

The McGangBang simply put, is an ENTIRE McChicken sandwich shoved into the center of a Double Cheeseburger. (I cheated and used a McDouble, hence only one slice of cheese. Sorry, but I’m broke and couldn’t afford the extra $0.20 for that extra slice of cheese that makes the difference between the McDouble and the Double Cheeseburger, which is ridiculous if you ask me). There are obviously many variations to this including using a Spicy Chicken sandwich when McDonald’s offered it. Another would be using “Mac Sauce” in the sandwich, or not including the buns from the McChicken.

The name “McGangBang” obviously comes from the term “gangbang,” which is defined as “sexual intercourse with multiple partners in turn or at the same time.” This makes sense as you’re about to share an experience (albeit not sexual, unless you…nevermind I don’t wanna know) with 2 partners, Cow and Chicken. 2 meats not usually placed together in the same sandwich.

The joy of this name, however, comes in the form of ordering the infamous sandwich, as evidenced by a ridiculous amount of YouTube videos. Go ahead look em up, I’ll wait. (Sorry not gonna link em…I’m too lazy)

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All done? Ok. As you saw, or didn’t if you’re lazy like me and can’t be bothered, the joy comes partially in confusing the crap out of the unsuspecting employees and partially in just the fact that “McGangBang” is fun to say. Altho it can also be seen that apparently in some areas this sandwich has become part of the unofficial hidden menu that exists not unlike Jamba Juice or In-N-Out Burger’s secret menu items.

So after watching all these videos, I decided the time had come for me to try and order one. So on my lunch break from work the other day, I marched across the street and ordered, nay, DEMANDED a McGangBang. Unfortunately I live in Hawaii, a state full of immigrant Micronesians who don’t speak english very well. So all I got in return was a blank stare.

“McGangBang!” I demanded….again….no response. “Umm, can I get a McGangBang? Can you hear me?”
“Uhhhhhhh what?”
“McGangBang!”
“Sorry sir, we don’t serb dat”
“Yes you do, its an entire McChicken sandwhich shoved between a McDouble” (Remeber how I’m broke?)
“Uhhh…so you want McDouble with Chicken. No beef?”
*Sigh* “No, I want a McGangBang. Make a McChicken, then start making a McDouble, place the McChicken onto the half of the McDouble you’ve started making and then finish making the McDouble. That’s a McGangBang”
“….so…you like beef or chicken?”
*Sigh* “Nevermind….just give me one McChicken and one McDouble and I’ll make it myself.”
“Did you want Chicken or been in da McDouble?”
*Slaps head*

And that’s how that went down.

But the real question remains, being that this is a food blog and all, HOW DOES IT TASTE?!?

The experience of eating a McGangBang has been attributed to being the same as having sex with two ugly women. Its awesome while its happening, and then the reality of what you’ve just done sets in. This is the experience I’ve had, as when I was eating it, it was an explosion of flavor in my mouth and the joy of eating both Cow and Chicken in the same bite was amazing. As I told my coworker it tasted like “a cow raping a chicken in my mouth”…which was of course my failed attempt to tell him that it was amazing…and it was amazing. I devoured it within what felt like 30 seconds. Enjoying every last bite.

And that’s where reality decided to kick me in the nuts…or rather, the heart.

Heartburn kicked in within minutes and I felt like I was having a heart attack. I collapsed into my chair and yelled out the only thing I could “DAMN YOU MCGANGBANG!!!”

Fortunately for all of you readers (of which there are what, 3?), and unfortunately for my health, I enjoyed the experience too much and had one the next day as well, this time adding the famous “Mac Sauce” that’s featured in the Big Mac. Equally as delicious, but 10 times as messy.

If you’re in the mood to confuse some McDonald’s employees more than they already are and in the process gain access to one of the most delicious treats from McDonald’s, I urge you all to go out and order one….

…Altho I can’t be held liable for any and all health problems that may be caused by devouring a McGangBang.

~Flapjax

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The Legendary Monte Cristo.

Named as “one of the best sandwiches in America” by Esquire Magazine, the Monte Cristo of Canter’s Deli has gathered quite the reputation. Slices of ham, turkey, and swiss cheese are sandwiched between 2 slices of french toast. Covered in powered sugar served with a side of cranberry jam and fruit cocktail, how could I resist giving it a shot?

The plate came… It looked beautiful.

dsc01971

The photo doesn’t do the aesthetics of this sandwich justice…

Unfortunately, despite the hype… The delectable looking Monte Cristo was quite a disappointment. As I’ve also read in another review, the sandwich was a lot drier than I would have expected. With alternating ham and turkey layers, I came to find that there was just way too much meat in the sandwich, that it overpowered any complementary flavors that the french toast and swiss cheese may have added.

After eating the first 1/4 of the sandwich… I had no interest in having anymore.

So… I got this instead.

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Oh yes… The corned beef reuben!

Although it doesn’t match the reuben from Magee’s, it definitely compensated for the earlier disappointment. I don’t know if my obvious disappoinment was noticed by the waitress, but the reuben that she brought over was even better than the last one I had from Canter’s. It was juicy, fresh, and oozing with flavor.

The waitress proceeded to give us a couple of free chocolate-chip Rugelachs on the house.

So… Despite my dislike for the Legendary Monte Cristo, Canter’s definitely made it’s way back up my list of awesome restaurants with their delicioius reuben, rugelach, and of course… the kind service.

Trixie.

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Sam Woo, I Thank You!

Authentic Chinese food is difficult to find in Los Angeles. With the Chinese population gravitating more towards San Gabriel Valley and of course, the one short street they call China Town, authentic Chinese food is nearly impossible to find outside those areas.

Fortunately for me, living in the San Fernando Valley offers a more diverse selection of authentic restaurants as the Los Angeles area. I have easy access to Van Nuys which has a fairly large Asian and Hispanic population.

Although I don’t despise Westernized Chinese food, having grown up in Asia, I do often crave that raw authenticity.

So, when these cravings start to kick in, rather than driving North 20-30 minutes towards SGV, I just drive north for 10 minutes to get to Sam Woo BBQ, which is conveniently located next to Ranch 99 Market to satisfy a lot of my Asian cravings.

Sam Woo BQQ is a chain that offers an extensive menu of Cantonese Cuisine. [Nothing beats authentic Cantonese pan-fried noodles. Aka. Chowmein.] Be prepared for a wait in the evenings though. Being one of the few authentic Cantonese restaurants in the area, it can get pretty busy during dinner time.

During one of my more recent trips with Jasmine, I fell in love with their Roast Duck Porridge, which I now make an attempt to order every visit! First off, authentic Chinese roast duck is to die for! Second, having the roast duck flavors and juices in your hot rice porridge makes for one of the most comforting dishes I’ve ever encountered. Topped off with some fried wontons for an extra crunch and flavor… Ohhhhh….

Roast Duck Porridge (Congee)

Roast Duck Porridge (Congee)

Next on the menu, I looked for a dish that would be able to compliment the porridge. This would have to be a dish that is also soy sauce-based like the duck. We came across the beef and turnip hot pot, which seemed to go perfect with the porridge on a cold evening. And it WAS perfect! Bursting with flavor, the sizzling hot pot was delicious the moment it was set on our table. With every ingredient tender and steaming, the beef was so soft it was coming apart before we even got to it.

My biggest issue with beef is its consistency. As a kid, I’d sit at the dinner table chewing for hours, because that’s just how tough the meat could be. Thankfully, that experience was avoided in the case of the Hot Pot.

Beef & Turnip Hot Pot

Beef & Turnip Hot Pot

Although we didn’t order the pan-fried chow mein that night, I strongly reccommend it at any authentic cantonese restaurant! It’s always been a childhood favorite of mine, and ever since being in LA, I’ve been greatly disappointed by the “chow mein” they serve at almost all places. My exhausting search for authentic chow mein ended when I found Sam Woo.

Sam Woo BBQ

6450 Sepulveda Blvd # G

Van Nuys, CA

Trixie.

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The Reuben.

The Corned Beef that I grew up with in the Philippines, was far different from the fresh cooked beef brisket you find in a reuben sandwich. I grew up with the canned corned beef that you eat for breakfast, sautéed with garlic and onions, and served with a an egg sunny-side up and garlic rice. Which is delicious in it’s own way.

But when St. Patrick’s day came around, suddenly I was confronted by a type of corned beef I’d never encountered before. This slab of cured and seasoned beef brisket that was moist and bursting with flavor. I was hooked.

Last week, I was wandering about the Los Angeles Farmer’s Market on 3rd Street. I don’t visit the farmer’s market as often as I should… And as I was wandering about the selection of various brunch options, I came across a stall called Magee’s, which was said to be known for their corned beef. Immediately, I found myself drifting towards the fresh brisket, thinking how sad it was that nobody was around to eat it. Despite my attempt to find breakfast food, I knew I couldn’t resist having it.

So, I opted for the Rueben Sandwich. That would be closer to breakfast than the whole meat and potatoes deal.

reuben

I apologize for the picture quality! It’ just me and my dinky digital camera! But this reuben was phenomenal! Served on rye with fresh sauerkraut, swiss cheese, mustard, with a pickle on the side. If heaven was juicy… This would be it.

Trixie.

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Side Street Inn

Where do the chefs go to hang out in Honolulu when they’re done with work?  A question recently asked by chef/food critic/tv show host  Anthony Bourdain .

The answer?  Side Street Inn (1225 Hopaka St. 808.591.0253).

Side Street InnAll photos found from Google Search as I didn’t have my camera with me.

Tucked away literally along a side street near Ala Moana Shopping Center, Side Street Inn is a hidden gem of a restaurant.  Altho parking can be abit of a hassle (they do offer valet, but I prefer parking at Ala Moana and just walking) and the food is a little pricey the quality of the food is well worth it.  The restaurant/sports bar itself is comprised of 4-5 seperate rooms each with at least 2 LCD TVs.  The place is small and tends to get very crowded, usually after work (“pau hana”) hours, typically 4-8pm.

All the food is served ala carte – family style so everyone can share it “pupu” style (finger food). The last time I went, we started off with a Chicken Caesar Salad.  The dressing was excellent and the grilled chicken strips were very tender and juicy.

The most popular item on the menu (and the one they’re best known for) is also one of the most expensive.  The pork chops shown below come in at a whopping $21.

Pork Chops

Served simply with ketchup, the pork chops are thick and pan fried to perfection.  The meat is cut into bite sized pieces and the bones are left on the plate so you can get every last piece of juicy goodness.  Definitely worth the price.

The Misoyaki Chicken is another one of my favorite dishes from SSI.  (Again see below).

Misoyaki Chicken

Breast and thigh meat cut into strips with a miso coating that was delicious and not overpowering of the chicken itself.  The chicken was slightly charred which added a slight crunch to parts.  Served with a small side salad, this dish was excellent.

As a rule to myself, I always order the Kimchi Fried Rice (a local favorite). Seen below in the screen cap of No Reservations.

Anthony Bourdain/Kimchi Fried Rice

The kimchi has a very good and not-at-all overpowering spice that gives it just enough of a kick to make it heavenly.

Unfortunately as with any restaurant there are some dishes that don’t quite live up to rest of the menu.  The Fried Calamari was over-battered and slightly overcooked which made it end up tasting like a mozzarella stick.  The Escargot with Garlic Bread was delicious, but for my taste it was too cheesy and you lost the taste of the escargot itself.  And finally the Chopped Steak with Onions was more like Onions with some Chopped Steak.  The sauce was delicious and the steak was superb, unfortunately the plate was about 85% onions, which for even someone like me who loves onions, was a bit much.

Overall though, Side Street Inn is an excellent place to go for some drinks and delicious food.  Plus it doesn’t hurt that almost everytime I’ve gone there I’ve seen some form of celebrity, whether it be some of the stars from LOST, or one of the local TV news anchors.

It was recently rumored that SSI was closing down due to the terrible state of the economy, but after talking with our waitress last night I am ecstatic to say that those rumors were simply that.  SSI will not be closing anytime soon.

As our waitress said “Where else would everyone go for their pork chops and beer?”

~Flapjax

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Strawberry Balsamic Caramel.

The most unlikely ingredient to flavor caramel with, but out of this world!

One of the many flavors by Christopher Elbow.

Trixie.

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