Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Musubi Cafe Iyasume

I've been working crazy hours this summer (4pm-11pm) in Waikiki, which means that I'm usually eating dinner out of the house. Waikiki isn't known for being budget friendly, but I have found my go-to place to get cheap, quality, healthy food. 

Musubi Cafe Iyasume has multiple locations throughout Waikiki, but I've been frequenting the one in the Aqua Pacific Monarch hotel because it's a two minute walk from the store that I work in. This store has a seating section, but you absolutely need to get the food to go. I usually eat it in the break room at work, but you should eat it on the beach (preferably watching the sunset). 

Musubi Cafe has musubis (duh!), but also bentos, different bowls, udon, and more! It also functions as a convenience store, so you can get all your chips, soda, and ice cream. My go-to is either a mini beef bowl or a mini curry bowl with a salmon musubi and an iced coffee. My total is usually slightly over $5 (they have a $5 minimum for credit card purchases) and keeps me full all night long. 

This is absolutely the place to go if you need food FAST! I have never waited more than five minute to get my food and the workers are the nicest people ever. Honestly, I've waited so much longer to order and get my food at the McDonalds down the street and the food at Musubi Cafe will beat McDonalds all day everyday. 

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Kai Coffee Hawaii

There's nothing I love more than a good coffee shop, and Kai Coffee is one of my favorites. There are two locations, one in downtown and the other in Waikiki, but I frequent the Waikiki one more often as it's right next to my work. 

They have all the normal coffee and tea drinks that are found at a cafe, but they also have a few specialties. The signature drink at Kai Coffee is the Kai latte, a macadamia nut drink topped with a chocolate covered macadamia nut. I usually go for the cold brew, iced latte, or their iced matcha green tea latte. If you've been around for a while, you know that I am a sucker for anything matcha and they make a great latte. It's definitely not as sweet as something you'd find from Starbucks, but it is perfectly balanced and high quality. 

Kai Coffee also has a selection of baked goods and sandwiches. I usually don't get food, but I've tried their cranberry scone before and it was really good. 

Pricewise, it's definitely on the higher side (especially compared to Starbucks or other coffee chains), but you're paying for quality. If you're a local, they also offer a Kama'aina discount (I believe it's 25%, but I'm not sure). 

Let me know in the comments if you've ever tried Kai Coffee or know of any other great coffee shops!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Sup Midtown Reno

If you follow my food instagram account, @siennasfoodpics, you have probably seen the beautiful picture of my sandwich from Sup. Before we get into the rest of the post, let's start with a quick story. Ever since I moved to Reno, people have told me to eat at Sup and that Sup is their favorite restaurant. Me, being the weirdo that I am, listened to them rave about the restaurant, but never actually ate there. Today, that all changed. I went for dinner with my roommate and her friend and it was life changing. 

Sup is a restaurant in Midtown that serves amazing soups, sandwiches, and salads. Like a lot of the cutest cafes and restaurants in Reno, it is built in a repurposed house. There is also plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, which comes in handy because it can get crowded at times. When I went, my roommate ordered the BBQ chicken sandwich, I got the turkey pesto sandwich, and my roommate's friend got the steak salad. 

All of their sandwiches come with a side of the cranberry salad and everything comes with a cookie. My sandwich had turkey, pesto, provolone, avocado, tomato, lettuce, and sprouts. It was really good and super filling. I got the whole sandwich because I was hangry, but next time I'll get the half because I didn't finish the whole sandwich. Price-wise, it's pretty on par with what I spend at typical sandwich shops. My go-to "healthy" lunch is the turkey pesto from great full gardens, which runs about $10, which is the same as the sandwich from Sup. 

I don't know if this is the best restaurant I've eaten at, but it joins my list of great lunch spots (also on the list, Homage, Great Full Gardens, and Laughing Planet). Let me know if you've eaten here before and your thoughts in the comments!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Piggy Smalls

Ever since Piggy Smalls opened at Ward Centre I've wanted to go. Now that the initial buzz has died down a bit (as have the crowds), I went for lunch with my mom. We went right when they opened on a Saturday, anticipating that it would be crowded if we went later, but even when we left at noon, there wasn't a long wait. I believe they don't take reservations, so if you're trying to avoid a wait, I'd go right when they open! 

A photo posted by SIENNA 🦁 (@miss_sienna) on

They like to do "family style" food with regular portions, meaning that they encourage sharing even though each item is only large enough for one person. I ordered the Hanoi Shrimp Cold Noodle and my mom got the Vegan Pho and we shared. The cold noodle dish was incredible! The shrimps were marinated with tumeric and some other spices and were served with vermicelli noodles and an herb salad. The dressing was a fish sauce that had the perfect blend of sweet, sour, and spice. The vegan pho was served with tomatoes and mushrooms and was really good as well. The depth of flavor of the broth was insane considering no animal products were used and it was really well balanced. I thought the tomatoes were an odd addition, but everything worked well together. They have a normal pho (with meat) on the menu as well. 

If you go to Piggy Smalls you need to get a dessert! They have a wide range of dessert options including a homemade slushy that changes flavor weekly (it was Li-hing pineapple when I was there, although I didn't try it myself). We did get the Milk and Honey, which is their signature dessert. It's a sponge cake with a milk soak served with bee pollen, honey, and a candied honeycomb. On paper, it doesn't sound particularly special, but it was amazing. 10/10 would recommend!

In the future, I'd love to go back to Piggy Smalls and try the Laotian Chicken because I've heard amazing things about that and the Pho-Strami sandwich. You can check out Piggy Small's full menu here, and let me know in the comments if you've eaten here before! 

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Juic'd Life

I am obsessed with juice bars and places to get acai bowls. Since my beloved Salted Lemon closed a couple months ago, I've been trying to find a nice replacement. Juic'd Life is a juice chain with one location on Oahu. It is located in the SALT complex in Kaka'ako. 

When you walk in, there's a huge fridge of pre-made, bottled juices. I have never tried the juices myself, so I can't tell you much, but they do have samples of all juices available so you can taste before you buy (which I LOVE). 

The only reason I went was for the acai bowls. There are four different bases that you can choose from. Acai, acai greens, acai with rice protein, and prickly pear.I opted for the acai greens, which didn't taste like vegetables at all (YAY!). After you pick your base, you can choose as many toppings as you'd like. On mine, I opted for banana, blueberry, coconut, almond, bee pollen, and honey. There are countless ways to customize your bowl, and you can see the full list of toppings here! 

The great thing about Juic'd Life is that the bowl is a set price so you're not charged per topping like other places do. They also do the same thing with salads (pick a base and unlimited toppings for a set price), which could be nice if you're on the go. 

Is this a replacement for my Salted Lemon addiction? Maybe. I like the concept and customization, but it's hard for me to fall for a chain juice bar instead of supporting local ones. Also, I really did not like the parking structure at SALT and would highly recommend parking ground level by Starbucks instead. 

Let me know if you've ever tried Juic'd Life and what your favorite place to get juices/acai bowls are on the island!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Great Reno Balloon Race 2016

Last year was the first year that I attended the Great Reno Balloon Race, and I did a post about it here. That post was pretty in depth, and everything in it is still applicable this year, but I had a few pictures that I wanted to share from this year on the blog! 

This year, I only went for the mass ascension (around 6:45) because I honestly just couldn't get myself up for the glow shop at 5am. If you're planning on going, I have some pro tips for you here: 

1) Layer! It is pretty cold pre-dawn, but once the sun starts to rise, it gets really warm fast. I wore shorts and a tank with a jacket over it and I was warm enough. 

2) Heights. It is super fun being on the actual field when all the balloons are inflating, but for the best pictures, it is better to hit higher ground. If you go above the pond (kind of where the parking is) you can get a really nice vantage point of the balloons. 

3) Parking. It just doesn't seem worth it to park at Rancho San Rafael because they charge and it's really inconvenient getting in and out when the block off Sierra street. It's a little bit of a walk, but parking at UNR and walking over is free and less of a hassle. 

The Great Reno Balloon Race is going through 9/11/16 if any of you are in the area and interested! 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Cafe Lani

One of the *trendiest* new places to eat is Cafe Lani. It's located in Ala Moana and has been hyped up like no other. I've eaten there twice, once for lunch and another time for breakfast, so I thought I'd share my thoughts. 

My mom and I went to breakfast around 9:30 on a Sunday and this place was pretty packed. We only waited five minutes for a table, but the entire restaurant was full. My mom ended up ordering a croque madame, while I got the berry french toast. The croque madame was good, although a touch salty, while the sauce on the bottom of the french toast completely made the dish amazing. Obviously the star of the dish is the bread on both plates because that's what they're known for. Both our dishes also came with the AYCE bread, which was amazing. My favorite bread was the croissant or the corn one, but they have unique ones too (like bacon bread!)

The lunch and the dinner menu are the same (I believe) so this is kind of a review for both. At lunch I got the porcini mushroom pasta. The mushrooms were good, but the pasta had a lot of bacon, which wasn't my favorite. If you're going for lunch or dinner and are planning on loading up on the bread (or trying all the different bread) it might be smarter to get a salad or something less carb heavy so you don't get too full. 

This is where Cafe Lani starts to look a little less stellar. At breakfast my mom and I were seated at the communal table in the middle of the restaurant and both the couple on our left and our right made comments about not wanting to return because of the service. I don't think that the service is necessarily *bad*, but it's not good either. The food took a long time to come out both times I've eaten there, and sometimes depending on where you're seated, you might not get the AYCE bread when the waiter is offering it to the tables. Breakfast took about an hour, which I don't think is too bad, but if you come here, know that you come for the food and not the service. 

Overall I think that this restaurant is a bit overhyped, but it is one of those places that you need to eat at once if you're interested in it. It also seems important to mention that they do siphon coffee, which looks pretty rad (although I can't vouch for the taste) and they are also known for their instagram worthy dessert parfaits, so it might be worth it to just stop by for dessert after eating somewhere else. 

Let me know if you've eaten here or want to in the comments below!