Monday, October 31, 2005

Aloha Aloha! Day Four

Saturday, October 22nd

Today was the worst day of the trip. After three lovely days of warm sun and water, we were hammered by the rainy, tropical climate. It rained throughout the whole island and we found ourselves driving around the WHOLE island (125 miles) looking for a dry spot. None to be found.

For lunch, we drove to the town of Haleiwa for more shrimp trucks and alcohol. A friend recommended Giovanni’s over Romy’s. Tucked underneath some trees was the graffiti-ridden Giovanni’s truck. Well, it was more of people autographing the truck. We didn’t have a Sharpie on us to write any lewd messages though. Like Romy’s, it’s 10-12 pieces of shrimp for $12, and it’s also fried scampi way with ample garlic and crushed red pepper flakes.

We then headed over to a local market to buy a Styrofoam cooler to store our beer and stumbled upon a grill that’d you see in a Food Network BBQ festival. Ray’s serves up their Kiawe Broiled Chicken in this trailer, broiling 25 chickens at a time and selling a whole chicken for only $8. It tasted good, but wasn’t any more interesting than the kind you get at Albertson’s.

We finally got back from our excursion at around 5 pm and headed for dinner at Irifune’s. Started in 1975, this hole in the wall is still a hole in the wall. I seriously would’ve driven by this restaurant if I hadn’t known the address. It looks like a garage! This place is nothing less than mediocre but is famous for their garlic ahi tuna and BYOB rule. Before we got to Irifune, I had called them about the BYOB rule.

Me: “Hi, I heard you can BYOB.”
Irifune: “Sure, can.”
Me: “Umm. How about a cooler full of beer?”
Irifine: “Go ahead.”
Me: “Nice.”

We started off the dinner with the breaded tofu, suggested by our extremely nice waitress. Firm tofu pieces were deep fried and served with a teriyaki sauce. Pretty good, but nothing spectacular.

We all ordered combo plates that with the famous garlic ahi tuna, tempura and miso soup. The garlic ahi tuna was actually delicious. They weren’t kidding when they said it was full of garlic.

But what we really came for was the Poke, pronounced poh-kay. Poke consists of sliced ahi tuna, mixed with maui onions, soy sauce, ogo (thin seaweed, almost like sea moss) and sesame oil. My friend had been raving about poke for the longest time and said that he liked Irifune’s. This was my first time trying out poke and boy, was it good. I believe they used soy sauce, ogo, sesame oil and some kind of mayonnaise. Something similar to that used in spicy tuna roll. We devoured this dish in about 7 minutes. I was very tempted to order another one. Checkout Kirk's and Alan of Ma’Ona’s blog on poke. There are hundreds of ways to make your own Poke, and I will be trying this out very soon.

Irifune, overall, is a down-to-earth, un-pretentious place for simple, Japanese fare. The service was great and I would definitely go back for seconds. It was definitely nice to eat somewhere away from Waikiki Beach.


Kirk said...

Bruddah Dylan - Irifune is in my old neighborhood - I went to school right down the street. Do they still have the old Wooden 'Garlic Ahi' sign up front? I can live on Poke' and Musubi (onigiri), I kid you not!

eatdrinknbmerry said...

Kirk, i loved the area. so chill! it was just nice to be away from waikiki. yes they had the wooden sign that said Garlic Ahi. it was also funny reading a newspaper article posted in front of the restaurant. they have that side building in which you enter. it used to be some other shop until a car crashed into it, so irifune took it over!

Kirk said...

That BYOB thing is pretty laid-back, huh? When I think of Irifune, I think - very "homey".

BoLA said...

Nice! I miss Hawaii a lot! Gotta take Mac to meet the fam out there...maybe sometime next year. :) Yup, gotta love Hawaii weather. Sunny, sunny, lotsa rain, sunny, more rain...hahaha... always an adventure! I agree with Kirk. Gimme some onigiri and some poke, and I'm all good. (OK, throw in some kalua pork and I'm in heaven!)

Mona said...

SOunds like your having a fabulous trip..and that shrimp and rice picture? How much you think it'd cost me to hop on a plane now and grab some of that, from NYC?

eatdrinknbmerry said...

mona, thanks for visiting. unfortunately, i'm back to vacationing in my cubicle and sipping on disgusting coffee from costco. no umbrellas in the drink either.

from eating the shrimp, i tasted salt/black pepper, BUTTER, BUTTER, and garlic. They deep fried the shrimps in the shells and threw them in the garlic for a quick stirfry in the wok. it's not rocket science. for the sauce, they just used soy sauce, chilis, green onions, water and a little sugar to balance out the salinity. maybe a dash of cayenne pepper.

Reid said...

Hi Dylan,

I'm glad you liked the garlic ahi at Irifune. I normally visit there once every couple of months or so. I think the prices are pretty reasonable too. The tofu and cheese gyozas are delicious as well.

elmomonster said...

I'm sensing a pattern here with the shrimp trucks. Seems like they're like a must-have item in Hawaii. Now how come Hawaiian places over here don't have them?

Kirk said...

Elmo - Some of the L&L's have "Garlic Shrimp", but they're terrible!

Alice said...

I so very badly wanted to check out this shrimp truck during my last trip to HI, but I was stuck with my buddy's two kids who insisted that they wouldn't be able to handle the drive. Next time, I'm renting a car myself to check it out!

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