Thursday, January 28, 2010

Soba Lunch at I-NABA HONOLULU Restaurant Soba & Tempura I-Naba Honolulu RestaurantOver the weekend we had lunch at I-Naba Honolulu Restaurant. We've been there once before, a few years ago when it just opened. It's located at 1610 South King Street and their website is They are a soba & tempura restaurant that imports their buckwheat flour from Nagano (not sure about their wheat flour). It's a very small restaurant (used to be Dai-ryu if you remember) with only about seating for 25 including counter seating.

I had the Tenpura Box with Regular Size Soba set which was about $16. The sauce on the tenpura is a sweet sauce. It tasted good, but maybe just a little bit too sweet for my preferences. The specialty soba noodles are very delicate and tasty, but the broth was a little bit too strong for me so I didn't drink it up or that would have been too much salt. Soba & Tempura I-Naba Honolulu RestaurantKelli had the Maguro Zuke set with Cold Soba for about $15. I was considering ordering this, but it's a good thing I didn't. We were both surprised when the Maguro Zuke came out and it was seared and sliced! We were expecting common maguro zuke which is raw sashimi. I don't like cooked fish so I would not have even eaten it if I ordered it. Kelli ate it, but didn't care for it because it started tasting really fishy toward the end. Very strange, but their photo of the dish on their on-line menu shows it raw (as we would have liked it). **Note it also says "change to regular size soba for $2" on the on-line menu, but it's actually $3 now.

Overall it was ok. It's probably the reason why we haven't been there since they first opened. I think we both prefer Matsugen Soba (my blog posts are here & here.

Does anyone else miss the Dai-ryu of about 20-25 years ago? I do. I didn't really care for the most recent 10-15 years, but I really enjoyed Dai-ryu when Checkers Auto Parts was still a movie theater!

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pressure Cooker Experimenting - Chicken Adobo Chicken Adobo Cuisine Art Pressure Cooker RecipeI have never used a pressure cooker until we received one about a month ago as a wedding gift from our friend, Gary. Since I've never cooked with a pressure cooker, I don't know the appropriate adjustments to cooking times or ratio of ingredients when using a pressure cooker. This has forced me to do some experimenting.

The experiment this time is Chicken Adobo. It was actually quite simple. I've used the pressure cooker about 3 times cooking various things.

Since I cook without defined recipies or exact measurements, adjusting to cooking with a pressure cooker is a challenge. The main challenge is that most of the seasoning would have to be in the cooker prior to cooking under pressure because it wouldn't make sense to keep depressurizing the cooker and sneaking a taste.

Anyway here's a rough estimate of what I did.

8 Chilled Chicken Thighs w/ bone-in & skin on
About 1/4 cup (1 part ratio) Kikkoman Shoyu
About 3/4 cup (3 part ratio) Apple Cider Vinegar
About 1 cup (4 parts ratio) Water
About 1/4 cup (1 part ratio) Mirin - Sweet Sake
2 cloves of garlic (whole)
About 25 "dashes" of Ground Black Pepper
About 1 tsp. Sea Salt
About 8 Dry Bay Leaves

Add all ingredients into the pressure cooker. I don't know if the cup measurements are correct, because I used a ratio method to measure. Anyway, I just wanted to make sure the liquid reached the top of the chicken thighs. I set the pressure cooker to "High" for 15 minutes and let it cook. After the 15 minutes of pressure, I "quick released" the pressure and checked in on the chicken. I decided to give it another 5 minutes of "High" then let is slowly release pressure for about 15 minutes after the beeper. The cooking time was probably under 45 minutes. The chicken was perfectly cooked, tender enough to fork away from the bone.

When I cook this again, I will reduce the amount of water by 1 part. One of the main differences I have found is that because it is cooking under pressure, moisture is not evaporating so the flavors don't really get stronger from evaporation of all the water. Very tricky because I definitely don't want to cook salty food! Cuisine Art Pressure CookerThis is the Cuisine Art Pressure Cooker we received from Gary. Thanks!

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Cream Pot Restaurant - 444 Niu Street, Honolulu Cream Pot Restaurant 444 Niu Street Waikiki HonoluluOn Saturday we took a friend to brunch so we walked over to re-visit Cream Pot. Cream Pot is a nice little breakfast restaurant located in the Hawaiian Monarch, just couple a blocks from home. They are a Japanese/French type of place with a country ambiance in the middle of Waikiki's hustle and bustle that features waffles, omelettes, crepes (savory & sweet). Cream Pot Restaurant 444 Niu Street Waikiki HonoluluIf you are familiar with the Hawaiian Monarch, I think you would agree that this restaurant doesn't quite fit in with the rest of the building. I think it's out of place, but I don't mind that. I am actually happy there is such a place so near by. You can see this view when you are driving on Ala Wai Boulevard just before reaching McCully Street. Cream Pot Restaurant 444 Niu Street Waikiki Cream Pot Restaurant 444 Niu Street Waikiki Honolulu
This time I ordered the "Original Crepe" (Canadian Bacon, Carmelized Onions & Potatoes in a Bechamel Sauce). Kelli had the "Original Omelette Set" (Canadian Bacon, Potatoes, Cheese & Carmalized Onions) and it comes with a drink and mini dessert crepe (Strawberry Chocolate was Kelli's choice). Our friend Ken had the "Beef Stew Omelette". As usual everything was tasty. I didn't eat Ken's food, but I ordered that dish before so as long as it was consistent I know it tasted good. This brunch for three costs about $15 per person plus tax & gratuities.

I still think it's strange that they have to bring the dishes down in room service type trays because their kitchen is on the floor above, but I guess it's not any different from any other restaurant with 2 levels.

I wish there were more places like this around here.......

PS- these are photo samples taken with my HTC Google Nexus One.

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

The First few weeks with my Google Nexus One HTC Google Nexus One unboxing Android 2.1I anxiously waited the longly anticipated and rumored sales release date of the HTC Google Nexus One Android 2.1 phone. I first began reading about rumors of this phone coming out in late October and early November. It was torture waiting up to the rumored release date of January 5th to find out if it was really going to happen or not. I monitored the live blogs of people that were attending the special Google Android Press Release and within minutes of one blogger announcing the link becoming active I placed my order! It was so exhilarating that it reminded me of the days I used to day trade over an unstable dial-up modem while watching CNN at 430AM!

The plain cardboard box arrived overnight by the next afternoon. Just a little over 30 hours after I ordered it. Thank goodness it didn't come by 2 day air. The wait would have been intolerable! HTC Google Nexus One unboxing Android HTC Google Nexus One unboxing Android 2.1 HTC Google Nexus One unboxing Android HTC Google Nexus One unboxing Android 2.1 HTC Google Nexus One unboxing Android HTC Google Nexus One unboxing Android 2.1 HTC Google Nexus One unboxing Android HTC Google Nexus One unboxing Android 2.1 HTC Google Nexus One unboxing Android 2.1In a short description, I am really enjoying this phone. It works great overall.

If you haven't already guessed, I returned the TomTom GPS as well as the Garmin unit. The Google Navigation on this phone out performs both of them with much better accuracy.

I have had a few bugs that were resolved by powering off the phone and turning it back on. 1 strange issue is when I tried to make a call I could not hear anything and the person I was calling also could not hear anything. That was resolved by restarting the phone. I'm not sure what caused that. There are a few other strange things that others have reported and hopefully they resolve them with the firmware update.

The phone does have a 5.0 Megapixel camera with led flash. This is one feature that is not up to par with my Nokia N82. The photos are as good. I'll post some up later or look at some of my recent Twitpics to see how they are. It's decent, but just not quite as good. Maybe this can be corrected with software update also. I don't think so. I still love this phone.

PS- these photos were taken with my Nokia N82.

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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Testing Androblog Application on Google Nexus One.

there doesn't seem to be a way to post a photo.

No wait, I just found out how by accidentally touching the menu. The problem is I would need to know the url to the photo. Maybe I will stick with emailing mobile blogger posts with photos unless I find something else.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

TomTom XL 340 s GPS Navagation - Review TomTom XL 340 s GPS Navagation - ReviewWe received this TomTom XL 340s as a Christmas gift from Santa. Presumably it was purchased from Target during the Black Friday door buster sale. Anyway, I previously posted about my experience and opinions of the Garmin nuvi 365 wt that I purchased and tried before opening this TomTom because I was thinking I would prefer a GPS unit with the Bluetooth handsfree option. I ended up returning the Garmin for the reasons listed here. <-

The first thing I noticed that I prefer on the TomTom (other than the door buster price of $99?) is the suction cup mount. It has a much lower profile than the Garmin. This makes it less bulky or obtrusive when mounted on the windshield. Other than that, these are some things I felt I either prefered or did not like compared to the Garmin:

- When connected the TomTom to PC via usb, it automatically downloads updated maps. The TomTom also does not let the unit operate while being charged via PC usb which I don't understand why.
- This TomTom does not come with a carrying case like the Garmin did.
- The traffic adapter looks like a better design, but for about $60 and no traffic service in Honolulu, Hawaii I will not be buying one. It does not come with the TomTom unit.
- This TomTom has no Bluetooth, but I knew that which is why I wanted to test the Garmin prior to opening this one up.
- This TomTom has "lane guidance".
- The brand name "TomTom" sounds cooler than "Garmin". Haha =P
- It comes with a normal length usb connector while the Garmin came with a super short 12 inch one which was silly.
- It doesn't keep the display on when plugged in to usb PC for charging. The Garmin display was always on if plugged in which doesn't make sense since you can't operate the unit while it's plugged in anyway. (just wanted to point that out again.)
- The usb connector port on the TomTom is centered on the bottom and the Garmin's was offset protruding out of the back making it seem more obtrusive especially if not using the mount it cant lay flat.
- The TomTom's POI (Point of Interest) interface is much better than the Garmin's. It allows the POI's to be layered on the map. You can also select what types of POI's you want to be layered on your maps.
- The TomTom doesn't appear to have any pin code security feature like the Garmin unit. Although I don't think it matters much if the thief is able to steal my GPS unit they might as well be able to use it. It's not like if they already stole it I'll feel much better knowing that they won't be able to use it while I'll already be stuck with car lock repairs or broken window repairs anyway. The only thing is they would know how to immediately drive to my "home" if it's set up. That would only make it a little easier for them to find it since your home address is normally on the vehicle registration paper which is normally also in your car anyway. So I don't think it matters much. Unless you are trying to keep the records of where you are driving to a secret from other household members that could get access to your GPS unit.
- TomTom XL 340 s GPS Navagation - ReviewSo those are my thoughts on the TomTom XL 340s.

Hopefully I'll be posting yet another GPS unit (sort of) review in another week or so. This will be on the highly anticipated arrival of the Google Nexus One Phone. Of course it will be no comparison as far as price, but I'm sure I'll enjoy the Google Maps navigation & searching features over these stand alone GPS unit's. Not to mention I will be able to use the handsfree speaker phone which is presumably going to integrate flawlessly into the device unlike the Garmin Bluetooth connection.

**Update** I'm expecting my Google Nexus One Phone to arrive today! Hurry up FedEx! I'm thinking I won't even need a stand alone GPS navigational device. Maybe I'll sell it since it was a door buster price or I'll just return it to Target. Stay tuned for my Google Nexus One Phone impressions!

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