Mini Garden (Beretania St.)-- One evening we went to Mini Garden for dinner. I had enjoyed the food there before and it had been crowded, but this time the place was deserted except for one other family. This was mildly disturbing but we made excuses like "it's the recession," and "yesterday was Thanksgiving, people are eating leftovers at home."
I remembered the other time I ate there and my "ESP" experience, and wondered if anything extraordinary would happen. The waitress came to take our order and I thought to myself, "Maybe since business is so slow they'll try harder." Well, as they say, "Be careful what you wish for!"
I'm sure most people will agree that generally speaking, waitresses at Chinese restaurants are "all business" rather than friendly and chatty, but our waitress was full of humor,although we couldn't understand everything she said. For the five of us we ordered five dishes and rice (crispy gau gee, chow fun. walnut shrimp, ginger chicken, and Mongolian beef--yeh unimaginative, I admit).
The first dish she brought us was salt-and-pepper shrimp and when I said this was the wrong shrimp, she said something that we interpreted as "this is extra for Mama" (as she kept addressing my mom throughout our visit ). At the end of the very delicious meal, she brought us bowls of coconut tapioca and I told my family how I had "predicted" this when we first arrived. Yeh right. After we packed up our leftovers, Miss Personality told us we could pay at the register so being the house accountant, I followed her. She told me the bill was $70+ and as she swiped my card I thought $70 seemed high. Because she had been so nice, rather than demand a recount, I told her "You didn't give us the itemized bill." She replied to the effect "ok let me write it out, I'll bring it to you."
I went back to the table where we debated between not leaving her a tip and leaving a good tip. After all, we had no menu to consult on pricing (how much was the rice, we had to ask for tea---do they charge for tea!?)---so we couldn't be 100% sure she added on the dishes we assumed were free, although I was 90% sure.
She didn't bring me the bill and since the food had been so good (msg?) and we're basically a non-confrontational family, we just left as she cheerfully bid us good night.
Upon leaving, however, it continued to irk me that I had let that pass and intended to at least phone the restaurant later to talk to the owner. I wondered if the owner would even care and primarily wondered if the owner had an accent like Miss Personality's. I found a similar complaint online about the same restaurant, although it involved a waiter and a patron who actually had the itemized bill. I did call the restaurant but the owner wasn't there and the lady who answered sounded like Miss Personality. She told me to call in the morning, but I haven't yet.
Cafe Kaila (Market City)-- My high school girlfriends were planning to get together for lunch (see below) and one of them recommended Cafe Kaila at first because she had enjoyed the food. After reconsidering, they decided on Tsukiji and that was a wise choice only because Cafe Kaila is not recommended for groups of more than four. It is almost always packed, from what I read online, and sure enough when we went for breakfast at about 8:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, we had to wait about 15 minutes for a table. If we had gotten there a few minutes later, we would've had to wait even longer!
The service was good considering that the place was packed--not that it's a big place, though. The food came fairly quickly and the servings were generous. It's totally understandable why Cafe Kaila is so popular.
Tsukiji (Ala Moana Center)-- What a perfect place for a get together luncheon! I always enjoy Tsukiji, but be warned that the price went up to about $20 for lunch, probably due to the price of fish. I'm not sure if the price goes down after the holidays.
|Seven of the 18 Chantares, Kaimuki High School...|
Class of Long Time Ago
I thoroughly enjoyed visiting with a few of my fellow Chantares--needless to say it was nonstop talk!
|Yummy! Shaved Ice with the works!|
Desserts are my favorite part of the meal and at Tsukiji, although the cakes were good, my favorite is the shaved ice. You can choose your syrup (the melon is delicious!) and whether or not you want azuki beans and/or condensed milk. Yes, yes, yes!
During our 4-day stay we also ate at Zippy's (Nimitz and King Street) and Kakaako Kitchen--all very good!
I didn't get to have my dim sum at Happy Days this time--next time for sure!
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