Archive for the ‘Breakfast’ Category

Wake up to breakfast at Taco Bell

March 26th, 2014

tacotobyToby Tamaye samples Taco Bell's new Waffle Taco filled with scrambled egg and sausage. There's also a bacon version. Nadine Kam photos

Taco Bell Hawaii stores are opening a lot earlier than usual with the launch of an all-new breakfast menu, the biggest roll-out for the brand, with 13 items geared especially toward commuters who need a quick, portable and affordable meal to start their day.

The national launch is March 27, but Hawaii Taco Bell fans could get a taste one day early at select drive-through Taco Bell locations as follows:

Honolulu: Beretania, Kalihi, McCully, Moanalua, Stadium Mall
East Honolulu: Hawaii Kai
North Oahu: Mililani, Wahiawa, Waipio
Leeward: Pearl City, Ewa Beach, Kapolei, Waipahu, Waianae
Windward: Kaneohe
Kauai: Lihue
Maui: Kahului, Lahaina
Hawaii island: Kona, Puainako

For morning commuters, the cleanest of the new offerings is the Breakfast Burrito, with scrambled egg and meat (your choice of bacon or sausage patty) neatly folded into a large flour tortilla.

More specific to the brand are such original offerings as a Waffle Taco, with scrambled egg and your choice of bacon or sausage, enveloped in a waffle "shell." They recommend pancake syrup to go with the waffle, but you could also get salsa, ketchup or hot sauce to go with the savory filling.

A favorite during a media preview that took place March 25 was the A.M. Crunchwrap filled with scrambled egg, hash browns and one's choice of bacon, sausage patty or steak. When cooked just right, the hash browns deliver a crunch just as statisfying as that of "Candy Crunch."

For transparency, nutrition information is available at

Prices are affordable, at roughly $2.29 to $3.29.
Select Taco Bell Hawaii drive-through locations is offering the breakfast items from 7 to 11 a.m. daily.

tacowaffleThe Waffle Taco is doused with syrup. Depending on your taste, salsa, hot sauce or ketchup will also work.

tacocrunchThe A.M. Crunchwrap was a favorite of tasters with its center of hash browns, scrambled egg and bacon. There are also sausage and steak options, priced from $2.99 to $3.29. You can also order desserts of Cinnabon Delights with soft frosting centers.

tacoburritoThe steak, scrambled egg and cheese-filled breakfast burrito, priced from $2.29 to $2.99.

Tall aims for IHOP's short stack Pancake Day fundraiser

March 4th, 2014

sstackAn IHOP short stack is free today, National Pancake Day. IHOP photo

Today is National Pancake Day, and IHOP restaurants nationwide, including the 1850 Ala Moana Boulevard location, are offering each guest a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes in an effort to raise awareness and funds for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals nationwide. Locally, donations received will benefit Kapi'olani Medical Center for Women & Children. The event continues through 10 p.m.

Pancake Day is a tradition that dates back several centuries to when the English prepared for fasting during Lent. Strict rules prohibited the eating of all dairy products during Lent, so pancakes were made to use up the supply of eggs, milk, butter and other dairy products, hence the name Pancake Tuesday, or Shrove Tuesday.

The aim is to raise $3 million, adding to the nearly $16 million IHOP has raised over nine years with its National Pancake Day fundraising effort.


Detox Day 4: Succumbing to temptation

December 30th, 2013


I look so happy with my first bite of food in four days. More importantly, my skin looks good from consuming so much liquified fruit and veggies. Candice Kraughto photo

Today is the day of brunch with visiting friends. I pick up blueberry scones, blueberry and almond danishes and some savory buns at Liliha Bakery before heading out to Cookspace.

The table is set with mostly carbs and sweets. The boys are making french toast and on the table are various breads, fruit-topped panna cotta, white chocolate bark with cranberries and nuts, macarons, and, looking very tempting, mini muffin pan frittatas. OMG! I have a lot of willpower when it comes to carbs and sweets. Other people always tell me how much they crave bread, pasta or chocolate, but I could live without any of that. Instead I find fatty, savory foods irresistible.


My food vs. box of Liliha Bakery sweets and savories.

Felled by mini frittatas.

Melanie Kosaka's frittatas are studded with mushrooms and bacon, two more favorite ingredients. I'm thinking, well,  if I can have a little to-go, they could keep two days, right?

We sit down to eat, 13 people with their plates. Me with my "Honey Badger" and "Very Verde." Today's Honey Badger seems to have more cayenne than the last one, so I'm wondering if the spice will upset my stomach without food in it. Meanwhile, everyone is exclaiming how good the frittatas are and asking for the recipe. I give in to the frittata. I think I could have put this off another two days if not for the distress of the cayenne.

Yum, tako! I would have liked to eat a piece of this too.

They're telling me I'm a sadist or masochist by attempting a cleanse during the social season. I still think the timing has been good. I'm lucky to be sitting next to someone whose diet over the past eight months has been very restrictive. She eats a small tangerine and one piece of sake-marinated tako, also tempting. It smells so wonderful. She's a little freaked after drinking a bit of fruit smoothie that she learns has some cream in it because she's not supposed to have any dairy products.

The smoothie bar had been set up, partially, to accommodate the two of us.

Some of the ingredients at the smoothie bar.

Realization 6: The act of trying to eat more healthfully  does have an impact on the people around you because it gets them to think about what they're eating, and consider what they could tolerate, drop or curtail in their own lives.

I start to think one little piece of frittata won't hurt me. What is one little piece of egg after more than 300 ounces of fruits and vegetables and 4,500 calories over the last three days.  A friend offers a piece of the frittata on her plate and I eat about 2 inches worth. I use the My Fitness Pal app to figure that's about 42 calories.

Temptations abound.

Cooking at Cookspace Hawaii.

I look so happy everyone takes my picture. It was worth every nibble. If this is the only bit of food I've had in four days, I think that's pretty good and reflects a healthful attitude toward food. I think anything is OK in moderation, and in the bigger picture, I'm starting to realize how much social and mindless eating adds up. I often eat things for the sake of the motor  pleasure, even when I know it's not going to be worth the calories. Now I know how much I can resist, and going forward want to focus only on what I really do want to eat.

Fruit-topped panna cotta.

Because I had such a late start on my meals, at noon, or maybe that small bit of frittata was more filling than I thought, at midnight I realize I'm not really hungry and cannot finish all the drinks. I skip the Carotene Cure in favor of the almond milk. Maybe I'll have the Cure tomorrow morning, and carry over one drink on New Year's eve as a meal replacement to ease me back into the world of solid food.

Grand Cafe marks grand reopening

February 12th, 2013

grandcafeNadine Kam photos
Celebrating the grand opening of Grand Cafe & Bakery at the Hawaii State Art Museum were, from left, chef Anthony Kui Sin Vierra, Mona Chang-Vierra, Patsy Izumo, and one of their many fans, Nery Heenan, who attended with her husband David.

The Year of the Snake is said to symbolize a progressive year with fruitful results, so Feb. 11, the start of the Year of the Snake, seemed an auspicious time to celebrate a grand opening, and that was the date chosen to mark Grand Cafe & Bakery's move and reopening at HiSAM.

Chef Anthony Kui Sin Vierra was in the kitchen, cooking up Chinese specialties for the occasion, while his mom Mona Chang-Vierra and Patsy Izumo, co-owners in the venture, made prune mui for guests to take home.

The gathering of friends and family included many a businessman and politician from the neighboring State Capitol building, plus a familiar face in the newsroom, political columnist Richard Borreca, who echoed the sentiment that the cafe is a great place for breakfast and early morning meetings and interviews.

He plans to meet up here with Colleen Hanabusa the next time she's in town, when he says it'll be her turn to pay.

gcmenGuests lined up for food could study the menu en route.

gclionNina Wu photo
The Chinese lion got fed after the people.

gcbaoKalua pork bao.

gcspringrollSpring rolls.

gcchickenHoisin-honey chicken wings.

gcsaladA luxe take on Chinese chicken salad, with the common bird replaced by turkey.

gcriceGrand Cafe fried rice.

gcorangesDessert of oranges, symbolic of luck, wealth and prosperity, surrounded by take-home prune mui made by Mona and Patsy.

gccharsiuFor future reference: Anthony's char siu is selling for $10 per pound, available by calling 531-0001 or emailing (more…)

Breakfast and desserts at the Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong

April 26th, 2012

pearl towerNadine Kam photos
While in Shanghai from April 11 to 18, I spent my first two nights acclimating at the Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong, with its stunning views overlooking the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, one of Shanghai's Top 10 landmarks.

Every time I return from a fashion week, people ask if it was fun. "Fun" is never the right word. "Exciting, calamitous, busy, crazy," would all be better. They also ask if I ate a lot, but it's hard to do both because fashion weeks are so demanding.

That made the Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong, a good starting point for acclimating to the city, not only for leisure, but for anyone doing business in the area. I could get up and go, with a full breakfast ready and waiting at a buffet at Scena Italian restaurant. It's geared in equal parts to Western and Asian travelers with regional hot dishes, congee and a few dim sum and dumpling options, but for me it was hard to pass on such at-home favorites as bacon and eggs.

And I'm not much into congee because of experiences of traveling to Hong Kong when I was a kid with no control over the table. I had to eat congee every day for breakfast when visiting my grandfather, so now that I do have control, it's easy enough to avoid it.

For about 300 RMB (recently about $48) per person, here's just some of what I ate for breakfast at Scena. If you plan on going, the Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong, is at Shanghai ifc, 8 Century Ave., Lujiazui. Call +86 21 20201128 or visit

If you do go, find a Chinese friend who can write down the address for you in Chinese characters. The cabbies don't speak English and don't even recognize the names of the major international hotel brands. I found out the hard way very late on a rainy night, spending 100 RMB more than I should have on a very long cab ride. Luckily, cab rides are the most affordable aspect of Shanghai living, where cost of living matches Hawaii, though typical salaries are half to a third of what we earn.

rviewThe view from Scena by day.

rdimsumSpinach dumplings and juicy pork hash.

rnoodlesThick, chewy Shanghai noodles, the way I like 'em.

rcookThe restaurant was busy, busy, busy and the kitchen was full. I didn't realize the chefs had cleared out of the space when I took this photo of one of the cooks preparing eggs to order.

rsoupWith soup popular as breakfast in Asia, diners could opt to have any of these noodles, veggies and dumplings prepared in soup to order.

rsalmonA whole lotta lox.
rbaconWhat's breakfast without bacon?

reggsBroiled salmon and eggs.

rpotatoesRoasted potatoes and tomatoes.


Many of the breakfast items were also available in the VIP Lounge, with the addition of some regional specialties including roast duck, crisp sweet baby shrimp and roast pork, and below, somen topped with smoked ahi, wasabi cream sauce and tobiko.



Returning to the 52nd-floor Scena later for an Italian lunch, I found most people couldn't resist the variety of appetizers, salads and mostly, desserts that awaited those who picked the buffet that came with a choice of entree. Here's some of what was offered with my choice of the squid salad entree, which was so ono. The squid had plenty of flavor where it typically has none here and the braised purple cabbage was wonderful, making me wish we had more options like this on local menus.


rappA buffet appetizer of pumpkin puree with shrimp, vegetables and capers.

rbreadAn assortment of breads meant there was also a bountiful cheese and jam selection nearby.

rfishSmoked, peppered white fish.

rmushroomMushroom salad.

rsaladsPasta and green salads also awaited.

rsalamiThere was also a selection of cured meats.

rmeringueA meringue tree with sugar-flocked strawberries was among the dessert selections.

rdbruleeCreme brulee too perfect to disturb.

rdfruitFresh fruit is an important dessert option in Shanghai, and at the Ritz-Carlton, an array of berries, melon and dragonfruit top a custardy tart.

rfruitMore fruit. I was told dragonfruit has been more popular than usual during the Year of the Dragon

rdessertsIndividually portioned desserts.

rdchocoI had a small piece of this delicious chocolate bomb, with a rich mousse interior.