General Food Thread

A thread for discussion about food that don’t fit in the restaurant thread.

I saw a tweet about a restaurant that made me think of Mitchell:

The cereal store sounds exactly the same type of store that Mitchell wrote about a few years ago. (Is it still there?) I remember not really being interested, as the store used store-bought cereal. I don’t know if I said it then, but I actually like the concept of a restaurant that sells cereal–if they made their own, original cereal. Also, what if they served cereal with different acoutrements. For example, serving the cereal in something other than milk or not even a liquid. What combining non-cereal items with the cereal? A restaurant with this concept would interest me.

30 thoughts on “General Food Thread

  1. That is interesting but the comment I really want to make is this. So I’ve been tossing around (with myself) ideas for breakfast restaurants in case I ever get super rich and can fund one with someone else in charge. You know how Reid was talking 25 years ago about how some plate lunch places throw in something extra on plate lunches, and it makes it feel special? Grace’s gives you chow fun; Blane’s (on the Big Island) gives you miso soup; the old Kiawe Grill had that cool vegetable cooler.

    My idea for a breakfast restaurant, no matter what the concept, is to give every regular breakfast order, for no extra charge, a bowl of cereal of the customer’s choice. Wouldn’t that be cool? And since breakfast food is so filling, you could probably make the cereal bottomless at very little expense.

    “I’ll have the short stack with blueberries and a small OJ.”
    “Got it. And what will you have for your cereal?”
    “Can I get half Frosted Flakes and half Cocoa Krispies?”
    “Skim, 2%, or whole?”

  2. I think the idea would be cool for a mom and pop diner, but not so much for one of the more creative or upscalish breakfast places. But if the latter made their own cereal, I’d be there. 🙂 Seriously, though, what if a place like Koko Head Cafe featured a housemade cereal, and it came with each meal. That would be a cool concept.

  3. I don’t know about bottomless… One can eat a lot of cereal.

    My son got free cereal from Franky Fresh. They put it in their shakes, but they just threw some in the cup and gave it to him as a snack. But he didn’t get to choose (they seem to have a number of different boxes to choose from). I digress…

  4. I will eat cereal as after dinner “dessert” at home. Looking at the bottomless idea from that perspective makes the idea seem unwise (because from this experience, cereal can be really addicting, like eating potato chips). But if you’re ordering a meal and you have cereal as a side, I think the risk is a lot less. If we really want to think deeply about this, I would say it depends on where you locate your restaurant.

  5. Yeah, but you can’t eat a lot of cereal AND a short stack. And you know, I’m thinking of a small bowl of cereal, not like a regular sized bowl. I think it could totally work.

  6. I can see the “shame-factor” keeping people for keep asking for more cereal. But if it was out there to just take, I could just order side order sausage and grind five bowls.

  7. Side order sausage wouldn’t get the free cereal. I said it would come with a regular breakfast order.

      1. Not really. I was just thinking about your concept, which was adding a free thing to a regular meal. Your idea for a free grilled hot dog wouldn’t have been for side orders, I’m sure, just as you don’t get chow fun with an order for a side of portuguese sausage.

        1. By the way, for what it’s worth, Kurt is the one who loves a free hot dog. That wouldn’t be the first on my list.

  8. Check out this burger. I really want to try it.

    The approach to this burger kinda feels like a Japanese approach, where so much thought, care and passion go into each component, in attempt to achieve the apotheosis.

    The burger also triggered another thought: Why not take a similar approach to other popular dishes–maybe specifically more simple, comfort food like a hamburgers. I know that’s not really original, but I’m also excluding an approach that seeks this objective by using more expensive, fancier ingredients or even cooking techniques (e.g., a wagyu burger with foie gras). Uchimura’s burger is not like that. The components of his burger are very traditional–he just tries to make each component the best it can be.

    Think of something like a loco moco, lau lau, or won ton min. Keep all the same components, but do something to enhance each component to make it as delicious as possible and/or a even better complement to the dish as a whole. So take a loco-moco with brown gravy, hamburger patty, egg, and rice. How could we make each component better? That’s sort of what I’m getting at. Maybe you could add a little thing, like some onions or whatever, but the idea is not to get too far away from the original components as a way to make the dish more enjoyable. I don’t know, maybe a lot people have already done this?

    1. I skimmed past this post. I’m not sure if I wrote about this, but I actually tried the burger. The verdict? It wasn’t that great. It wasn’t bad, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to eat it. To be fair, I believe Uchimura sold the restaurant, and it might be a kind of chain, with two or three locations. So maybe the food became more “corporate.”

    2. I think a lot of J. Kenji Lopez-Alt’s work is like this. He does get suuuper involved in some of the details sometimes, but sometimes it’s just about mimicking something great, but making each component the best it can be.

  9. That’s right. Did you come up with one too, or was this entirely Kurt’s fantasy?

    I think the conversation might have started with me saying how much I love the extra mandoo you get at Tasty’s or Yummy’s. I might have mentioned Grace’s chow fun, too. I can’t think of anything different that I suggested.

    1. Their videos are great. I really liked the one where they make gourmet Bagel Bites, one of my guilty pleasure heat-and-eat foods.

    2. I have a question: do you know how I can get a cheese rind (to add to soup), without buying a hunk of cheese?

      1. The rind is coveted by cheese lovers, so I think your chances are slim. I did a quick search at and came up with nothing. I think your best bet is to find someone ahead of time who’ll split you the by-pound cost for a wedge. Buy a wedge, cut off the rind, weigh the difference, and your friend pays for that. Heck, I love the rind and I’d do that with you.

      1. What kind of a rind do you need? I’m guessing parmesan or asiago, but I don’t want to make assumptions. For parm, you can get excellent stuff at Costco for probably the best price on the island.

  10. We tried this chocolate chip cookie recipe:

    Several things attracted me about this recipe–there aren’t that many ingredients, they’re relatively common, and you don’t really need any special equipment (like a mixer). Making the cookies is very easy. Best of all, these cookies are good. To me, browning the butter is key. I usually like my cookies with nuts, but these taste very good without them.

  11. I like chicken souvlaki, and since it seems easy to cook, I’ve been trying to make this at home. My first attempts involved marinating the chicken in some combination of olive oil, garlic, and rosemary; and then I would grill the chicken. I didn’t like the results, as it tasted nothing like souvlaki I’ve had at restaurants.

    Two things changed my approach. First, I heard Chuck Furuya talk about a the souvlaki he had from a street vendor in Greece. He said the guy basically squeezed a lemon and sprinkled oregano over the chicken–and that vendor had a really long line. Second, Arby’s now has a turkey souvlaki. it’s actually surprisingly good. But they seem to be taken their turkey deli meat they use for other sandwiches, and then just sprinkling oregano over it. The pita bread is surprisingly solid, and tzaziki sauce is good enough.

    My conclusion: Oregano is the key.

    My new approach has been to brine the chicken, instead of marinate it in a oil-based marinade, and then grill the chicken and squeeze a lemon and sprinkle oregano on it afterwards. I’ve tried this once, and the results come closest to what I’ve had a restaurant, but I still need to tweak the approach.

    1. I once made beef souvlaki kebabs at Darren’s. The key is definitely marinating it in lemon. Yes the spices matter, but somehow it’s the lemon that makes that specific taste. You will have to use a whole lemon and marinate for 24 hours normally. Definitely make the tzatziki sauce too. It’s basically just cucumbers and yogurt. Pretty simple actually. I like the dill in the tzatziki sauce, but I’m not 100% sure if it’s always in there.

      1. I don’t think it’s always in there, but fresh dill is a huge plus in a tzatziki. Without dill, isn’t it really a raita?

        Have you guys tried Greek Aloha Kitchen? It’s open twice a week in a shared space, so it’s effectively a popup. I had the souvlaki there and it was terrific. Someone picked it up to bring to the office one day, and also ordered enough of this dessert thing for us all to try. I can’t remember what it was, but it was custardy and delicious.

    2. Mitchell,

      Brining makes a huge difference in most chicken dishes.

      I was mainly doing this in lieu of marinating it in a think marinade, as the latter produced results that were too overpowering. Brining results in a more subtle effect, where the chicken souvlaki seems simply grilled with a bit of salt and not much else. That’s the way chicken souvlaki has tasted to me–at least the ones I’ve tried in restaurants.

      Have you guys tried Greek Aloha Kitchen?

      I loved that custard dessert–more than the entres.

      Don said,

      Yes the spices matter, but somehow it’s the lemon that makes that specific taste.

      I haven’t made beef kabobs, but I’ll give this a try. Did you also use oregano?

      As for tzaziki, I like it with dill as well.

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