A Yelp 100 Checklist

I’ve got some work to do. This will be my working list. Strikethrough’s mean that I’ve eaten there. Four out of a hundred is not acceptable. I have some work that needs to be done when I visit New York City and San Francisco this summer. Those two cities alone will help to scratch out thirteen of these Yelp hot spots. Looks like visits back to Austin, Seattle, and Los Angeles is in order? Chicago is only represented twice on the list. I’m a little surprised by that.

Without further adieu, here is Yelp’s Top 100 Places to Eat in the United States:

  1. Da Poke Shack, Kailua-Kona, HI
  2. Paseo, Seattle, WA
  3. Oklahoma Joe’s Barbecue, Kansas City, KS
  4. The Cinnamon Snail, New York, NY
  5. Porto’s Bakery, Burbank, CA
  6. Dametra Cafe, Carmel by the Sea, CA
  7. Alinea, Chicago, IL
  8. Franklin Barbecue, Austin, TX
  9. Gary Danko, San Francisco, CA
  10. Joe’s Falafel, Los Angeles, CA [Read more...]

Seattle/Portland Trip Day 5 + 6

And my Seattle/Portland daily recaps continue!

Day 5 T-Shirt of Choice: Make Me A Sandwich by Seibei and Bombs Away by Dale Edwin Murray (Tilteed)

This marked the start of our road trip to neighboring state, Oregon. We began the morning by having breakfast at a little cafe en route to Tacoma, were would switch off with our friends cousin whose car we were borrowing for the trip to Portland. The Shipwreck Cafe is this small stop off of Martin Way in Olympia, Washington. I got the breakfast special, which consisted of chickenfried steak, eggs, hashbrowns and toast. It was better than I expected! Tons of gravy lathered over the chicken steak. Don’t pay attention to the calories because the gravy really makes this dish special.

Oregon

After breakfast we headed straight for our first stop in Portland, the Full Sail Brewery, which is right next to Hood River. Full Sail Brewery is known for their award winning Session brew. The brewery tour lasted about 30 minutes and was quite interesting and informative. They walk you through the entire beer making process and even let you taste the ingrediants that go into brewing beer. At the end of the tour you score a free Full Sail glass!

Full Sail Brewery

The food at Full Sail Brewery was OK but the beer was exceptional. I especially loved the Full Sail Session Lager, that is definitely my type of beer and well worth the 2.5 hour drive from Tacoma. We ended up buying a case to bring back to the hotel.

After Full Sail we headed to Portland to check into our hotel, the third Marriot stop of our Seattle/Portland journey. We got lost. But that was a good thing because we ended up at a Traders Joe’s and bought tons of snacks! I wish Hawaii had a Trader Joe’s.

Lo and behold our hotel was only 5 minutes away from Trader Joes. We made it to our hotel, quickly unpacked and headed out to yet another beer destination – Rogue Distillery & Public House, to meet up with Travis Greenwood of Found Item Clothing and Patrick Treadway of Tilteed! We had a great time chatting about tees, Portland life, tees, and tees! It was great meeting up with those two excellent dudes. And my friends were happy because they scored some free tees from Patrick and one of you lucky readers will score a free tee(s) from Travis (I need to first figure out how to give them away)!

Travis Greenwood of Found Item Clothing

That’s Travis Greenwood from Found Item Clothing. Amazing guy who knows a ton about shirts and has crazy ideas! Follow him on Twitter @founditemclothing.

Parick Treadway of Tilteed.com

Hey, it’s Patrick from Tilteed.com! He markets, prints, and ships out all Tilteed orders by himself! Talk about dedication and being passionate about what you do! Follow Tilteed on Twitter @Tilteed. Use the code “TiltCoty” for an additional $2 off your Tilteed order!

After Rogue, Patrick was kind enough to drive us to VooDoo Doughnuts to get a taste of the weirdness that is Portland! VooDoo Doughnoughts was great experiece filled with an eclectic set of people! I’ve never quite experienced anything like VooDoo Doughnuts. It was a trip to say the least. And Patrick was right, VooDoo Doughnuts is best experienced at night because when we stopped by the following morning, the crowd was a bore compared to the night munchers.

VooDoo Doughnuts

Yes, that’s bacon on top of maple syrup drenched doughnut. Only at VooDoo Doughnuts!

Day 6 T-Shirt of Choice: Make Wellness Not War by I Am Wellness

Portland here we come! The morning was spent exploring the Pearl District of Portland. Our first stop was the famous Powell’s Books on Burnside. To say that this bookstore is huge is a big understatement. It’s ginormous. It’s probably larger than most public libraries you’ve been to. The store is split up into 8 different sections based on genre and occupies three full floors. You could spend countless hours exploring Powell’s, unfortunately our time was limited so our visit was brief (I still left with two new books).

Keep Portland Weird

As I was walking through Portland someone walked right pass me and said “I Love Your Shirt”. You can get it from I Am Wellness. Use the code “SUMMER09″ for 15% off (hopefully the code still works).

By the time we were through with Powell’s we headed out to lunch at Old Town Pizza which is an iconic Portland eatery with a haunted reputation. “Don’t be surprised if an unexpected guest joins you for a slice today. A constant presence at Old Town Pizza is Nina (pronounced “Nigh-na”), our resident ghost. If you feel a presence behind you, or smell a faint waft of perfume, you may have just received a visit. Nina is often seen in a black dress observing diners and wandering the basement below.” We settled on the House Pizza topped with salami, pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushroom, black olives and bell peppers. The pizza was good but unfortunately there was no sighting of Nina, the resident ghost. I will say, though, that the restroom was freaky as hell. It is very dimly lit in there and I had a weird feeling (while I was peeing no less) that someone was watching me. Freaky!

Ground Kontrol is a neat little vintage arcade that Travis of Found Item Clothing suggested we hit up and I’m glad that we did! We spent about an hour in there playing some very old school arcade games like Centipede, Punch-Out, Simpsons and Space Invaders. This is not your typical arcade because at Ground Kontrol there is a fully functional bar. Awesome.

Ground Kontrol

I’m a huge fan of Punch-Out so I was stoked to find this classic arcade game at Ground Kontrol!

After Ground Kontrol my buddies decided to grab a box of VooDoo doughnuts for the drive back home. While they stood in line (in the hot sun no less and yet another reason to go during the night time) I ventured down the street and stumbled across a neat little coffee/art shop called Stumptown Coffee Roasters. It had a a nice open space as opposed to the typical cramped coffee shop. I had the Queens Iced Tea and it was the cool refreshment that I needed! While the guys stood in that line for VooDoo doughnuts I sipped on my iced tea in air conditioning!

Good bye Portland, I knew you for just a day but I had a great time! Now en route to Tacoma (to return the car), we decided to stop by the Outlet Mall near Chehalis and in Centralia, Washington. The outlet stores of importance included Quicksilver, Billabong, and Nike. We hit those three shops up pretty hard.

From there we caught a shuttle to the 4th and final hotel of our stay – the Marriott Seattle Waterfront, which is just a few steps from Pike’s Place. We didn’t stay in the hotel for long as we decided grab some Clam Chowder from the original Ivar’s Seafood, right on the Seattle Waterfront. When you go to Ivar’s there just one thing you need to get – The Clam Chowder! We ordered one of each of the three different varieties: white, red and salmon. I urge you to do the same.

Ivar's

They encourage you to feed the Seagulls.

Ivar's

Small cup of Salmon Clam Chowder from Iver’s before heading to Del Rays for even more food and drinks!

Next we hit up Del-Rey’s for appetizers and drinks (or should I say beers and margaritas) and then finished the night off by closing down the bar at, appropriately, Ohana’s in Belltown, a Hawaiian themed bar. This was the third night that we stayed at a bar till closing (2am in Seattle).

But the night did not end there. We ventured off into the alley ways of the Seattle Waterfront and eventually ending up at Pier 67. The streets were empty and all that was left were four guys from Hawaii, laughing, talking and enjoying the camaraderie that you get from being with your closest friends.

Ohana Bar

Strangely enough, we ended our last together at Ohana’s in Belltown.

Co-Tee TV Seattle Edition: Ugmonk

Welcome to this special edition of Co-Tee TV in Seattle!

In this video I review Jeff Sheldon’s very popular And Then I Woke Up. This is the Royal Blue variation. Some of you may recall that the original colorway is printed on an American Apparel Tri-Blend tee and that one became a hit in InternetLAND. In fact, you can find the Tri-Blend variation of And Then I Woke Up in Urban Outfitter’s throughout the United States. In fact, I spotted it in both Las Vegas and Seattle. The Royal Blue colorway, on the other hand, is only available in the Ugmonk online store (as far as I know). Price: $21 but you can save 10% by using the coupon code “COTY09″ at checkout.

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That’s me acting a fool at the Seattle Aquarium.

Seattle/Portland Trip Day 1 + 2

This is the first of a couple day-by-day updates that I’ll be doing during my trip to Seattle/Portland. I thought it would be cool to keep you guys up to date as to what I’m up to and what tee I am wearing! If you want to checkout the tee that I wore just click on the orange links.

Arrival/Day 1 T-Shirt of Choice: It’s A Plaid Nation/Super Soaker by ReThink Clothing

Things got off to interesting start with one of my friends missing their flight from Honolulu to Washington but that’s okay because he arrived earlier than I did! This was because he was able to get a direct flight when his original flight was delayed. Our third friend, who was coming from Boston and flying Delta Airlines found out that his luggage never made it to Seattle. Poor guy, he would not receive until two days later.

Our first full day in Seattle was spent driving up to Mount St. Helens, a good 3 hour drive from Tacoma, Washington. But it turned out to be a let down since it was very, very cloudy and rainy up at the top Johnston Ridge Observatory. We got to learn a ton about the history of the 1980 eruption but unfortunately we weren’t able to see the crater. Lame!

DSC06230

Later that night we met up with our friends from Seattle, whom were getting married that weekend. We checked out The Parlor Billiards & Spirits at the Bellevue Entertainment Center, an upscale billiards parlor frequented by many Microsoft employees (booo!). And in case you were wondering, Microsoft owns a ton of buildings in the Seattle area – I saw Microsoft plastered everywhere. My worst nightmare.

Day 2 T-Shirt of Choice: American Apparel Poly-Cotton 3/4 Sleeve Raglan Shirt

Day 2 we planned to hit up the typical Seattle tourist spots. This meant visits to the Seattle Space Needle and Pike Place Public Market. I’ve been to both before so I knew what to expect. What I really looked forward to was eating at The Crab Pot located at the Seattle Waterfront. If you plan to be in the Seattle area then The Crab Pot is a must visit destination. They serve up amazing seafood that’s dumped directly on to your table, including, Alaskan King Crab, Dungeness Crab, Snow Crab, Shrimp, Steamed Clams, Pacific Mussels, Ouille Sausage, Corn on the Cob and Red Potatoes. We ordered four buckets full of seafood goodness!

The Gum Wall

This is The Seattle Gum Wall! I love this alley way in the back of Pike’s in Downtown Seattle. A wall filled with chewed gum – so ewww but so cool!

The Crab Pot

The Crab Pot

Later that evening we decided to do the Seattle Underworld Tour, which is a variation of the family friendly Seattle Underground Tour. Seattle is a city built on top of the original city. The great fire of 1889 burnt the original city of Seattle down and a new city was erected on top of the original. Because of this, the original city still exists one story below ground level. This certianly made for an interested tour that consisted of tales of sex, whores, opium and debauchery. Great stuff! Oh, and did I mention that you get to drink during this tour, well, at the end of it anyway, a free cocktail on the house!

Seattle Underworld Tour

We wrapped up the evening by consuming even more beer, but at a different location, The Ram, which is located in the University district. We had good beers and talked up a storm. Basically caught with what had been going on in each others lives for the past year. Good times.Beer at The Ram

California Wok

I first ate at California Wok about four years ago. For some reason, I didn’t return back to this little food establishment until maybe a month ago, and I’ve been back at least five times since then. I’m a bit addicted to the Chicken plates.

California Wok bills itself as being a healthy and low fat Chinese food alternative. This was incentive enough for me to try this place out once again since I love to eat Chinese food (luckily for my waist, I don’t eat typical Chinese food too often). My favorite dishes at California Wok include the Chicken and Broccoli and the Cha Cha Chicken. As you can see, I love my chicken! The Cha Cha Chicken is a mixture of Chicken, mushrooms and spinach. Both dishes are absolutely wonderful. If you order the Chicken with Broccoli, I would recommend ordering a full plate as the broccoli is pretty bulky and will take up most of the portion. On the other hand, the half-plate of Cha Cha chicken is pretty filling.

Entrée dishes can be ordered as either half or full plates. Half-plates cost about seven dollars, whereas full-plates are a little over nine dollars each. A little pricey considering you can get larger portions at your favorite (and traditional) Chinese restaurant for about 6 bucks. You pay the extra three bucks at California Wok for the “healthy” factor. All entrée plates come with a side of white or brown rice and a fortune cookie for good luck!    

If you’re in the during lunch time than I would highly recommend ordering from their lunch menu. At about $6 you get an entrée (about half-plate in size), salad, side order of rice and a drink. Pretty good deal, don’t you think?

According to the California Wok website, they use “fresh vegetables, low sodium soy sauce, 100% cholesterol-free canola oil and by preparing each dish to your dietary preference.” They had better be using healthy ingredients if I am going to pay that three-dollar premium! 

If you’re in the Ala Moana area and want a healthy alternative to Panda Express than I would recommend checking out California Wok. It is located near Assagio’s and is right next to the American Saving Bank Ala Moana Branch.

California Wok
1450 Ala Moana Blvd # 1251
Honolulu, HI 96814
(808) 947-1332

Nutella and Pretzels

If you live in Hawaii then you most likely have not heard of Nutella. Made by the same company that produces the delectable Ferrero Rocher treats, Nutella is an internationally popular a hazelnut based spread.

I recently had a chance to get my hands on this nutty delight from a buddy (HARYAN) who brought some back for me from Boston. It is often used as a spread on breads but being the bread deprived grad student that I am I had to improvise with what I had available. Utz Organic Pretzels were available so that’s what I decided to use as my Nutella dipping device. To my surprise the combination of the slightly salted pretzel complimented the sweetness of the Nutella.

If you’ve got some Nutella and a few pretzels on hand then I recommend that you give this combination a try! But be careful, the calorie count from the Nutella will be killer!

Tasty Crust

We didn’t plan on going to the Tasty Crust but because of some changes in the itinerary we found ourselves on Mill St. in Wailuku at this little old diner of yesteryear. And what a pleasant surprise this unexpected visit was. The first thing you think of when seeing the Tasty Crust is old school diner. And old school it is. From the tattered building to the worn out interior this place screams vintage.

 

I had a short stack of banana pancakes to supplement a traditional breakfast (2 large eggs and 5 pieces of linguesa) and a side order of hash. You get to choose form six different meat items (linguesa, bacon pork sausage, Spam, luncheon meat, Vienna sausage, or corned beef) when ordering the traditional breakfast. Having no idea what linguesa was, I decided to go for that as my meat. My curiosity got the best of me and I asked the waitress what linguesa was and she said that it is just Portuguese sausage. I didn’t feel too bad once she sad that most people ask what about the mysterious linguesa dish. The over-easy eggs were cooked to perfection, the hash was ono’ and according to Ryan was “buttery but so good!”

Mark had the veggie omelet stuffed with mushrooms, onions, bell peppers and potatoes. He also had a side order of corned beef hash and a short stack of banana pancakes. Mark, being the pancake connoisseur of the group, proclaimed the banana pancakes at the Tasty Crust as the “best banana pancakes” he ever had. I’d have to agree with Mark, the pancakes were out of this world good. These aren’t just the basic pancakes topped with bananas, instead, they incorporate the bananas into the batter at the Tasty Crust leaving your with an ordinary looking pancake that packs a banana punch with each bite. 

The prices at the Tasty Crust were very reasonable, in other words, cheap! The traditional breakfast only cost $4.25 and the banana pancakes were $2.25 for a short stack. The omelets range from $5.35 to $6.75 and you can even make your own omelet starting from $4.85. If I ever go back I’m ordering a regular order of banana pancakes, no short stack for me!

The Tasty Crust is definitely a must visit if you’re searching for cheap eats in the Valley Isle. It makes for a great early morning stop if heading to Iao Needle (we were the first customers at 6:00 am). The food is cheap, the pancakes and linguesa are tasty and the service is very friendly. The Tasty Crust is definitely worth checking out!

Tasty Crust
1770 Mill St.
Wailuku, Maui
808-244-0845

The Cream Pot

The Crème Pot is a relatively new eatery that opened up its kitchen this past February. It’s clean, cute and frilly with lots of flowers, lace and pastel colored pattern thingies. Although the eats are heterosexual, the décor is definitively geared toward those with less testosterone and more estrogen.

Enough about the décor. The food at this cutesy little European styled restaurant at the Waikiki Monarch Hotel totally delivered. I indulged in a nice serving of Belgian waffles. The waffles came topped with a lovely butter topping, maple syrup and powdered sugar and fresh bananas. The waffles were out of this world good! The syrup and butter topping did not overpower the taste of the waffles. It’s not unusual for me to only eat half the plate when ordering pancakes or waffles but to my surprise I was able to gobble up the hearty serving of waffles in its entirety.

I’m usually an eggs and bacon kind of guy, so luckily, Michelle and I ordered some maple bacon and baked eggs with potatoes on the side. The eggs were incredibly good even though the side of bacon was disappointingly small. Michelle ordered a breakfast set that included an omelet served with rice and greens as well as a crepe with fresh bananas.

If you’re into breakfast then The Crème pot is a must visit. We ended up paying about $45 for a breakfast for two. The prices are on the high end, but as the old adage goes, you get what you pay for. What you get is a great breakfast with quick, efficient and friendly service (not to mention lots of girly decor!). 

The Cream Pot
44 Niu St.
Hawaiian Monarch Hotel Waikiki
Honolulu, HI 96815 
(808) 429-0945

Yogurtland

There’s a new hot (or should I say cold) spot in Manoa and it’s called Yogurtland. Located at the former Volcano Joe’s location, Yogurtland has been attracting a lot of buzz as of late from Manoa residents. A mainland chain, Yogurtland serves up the decadent desert by the ounce (32 cents per ounce). You can expect to spend a little over three bucks for a nice serving of yogurt along with a bunch of toppings.

There are tons of flavors to choose from, including classics like strawberry, vanilla and chocolate as well as more exotic flavors like pistachio, mango, taro, green tea and New York cheesecake. There is also a mix of tart flavors and no sugar flavors. Flavors rotate so don’t get too attached to any one flavor.

Walking into Yogurtland is like walking right into a Crayola Crayon box, you know, the one with over a hundred different colors. From the colorful seating to the well-dressed walls, Yogurtland is one colorful experience. The wide selection of toppings add to the color flair at Yogurtland. There are dozens of different toppings to choose from, including the basics like granola and almonds to fresh fruit and other sweet treats. 

I’ve already been to Yogurtland at Manoa twice and have been more than satisfied on both occasions. This cheap desert can make for a great fruit and granola filled breakfast, fast lunch for the penny-pinching college student or the perfect desert after a night out. If you’re looking for a nice escape from the boring TCBY fair, than definitely make the trip out to Manoa at serve yourself up some yummy yogurt.

 

Yogurtland
1810 University Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96805
(808) 951-4444  

Mama’s Island Pizza

If you’re looking for quality pizza in Hawaii then skip all of the chains like Papa John’s, Dominos, Pizza Hut and even California Pizza Kitchen and instead opt for some great tasting, traditionally made pizza at Mama’s Island Pizza.

Mama’s Island Pizza has been serving the Kailua community since late 2005, and recently underwent management changes in early 2008. Even though there’s a new mama in town, the staff is still just as friendly and the pizza is the same cheesy and meaty goodness that customers have come to expect.

They offer seven types of Hawaii themed pizza’s, from the Kailua supreme with pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushrooms, green peppers and sweet red onions to the Island Veggie Spectacular which is topped with a slew of top quality veggies. My favorite pizza has to be the Hey Brah Meat Delight, it is definitely the pizza for the meat lover in you. It comes with a colossal combination of Portuguese sausage, pepperoni, Italian sausage, bacon, and meatballs. Another favorite of mine at Mama’s are the Midwestern style chicken wings.

One of the best things about Mama’s other than the great tasting and high quality pizza is that they accept competitor’s coupons. If you bring in a coupon from Pizza Hut, Papa John’s or any other pizza company then they give you a discount on your pizza order! The discount ranges depending on the size of pizza you are ordering, from three to five dollars.

Be sure to make the trip to Mama’s Island Pizza the next time you’re in Kailua town, you’ll be greeted not only by friendly people but by the best pizza on the island.

Mama’s Island Pizza
108 Heikii Street, Suite 107 (Foodland Plaza)
Kailua, HI 96734