Spam (shortened from spiced ham) is a canned precooked meat product made by the Hormel Foods Corporation, first introduced in 1937. The labeled ingredients in the classic variety of Spam are chopped pork shoulder meat, with ham meat added, salt, water, modified potato starch as a binder, and sodium nitrite as a preservative. Spam’s gelatinous glaze, or aspic, forms from the cooling of meat stock.
The product has become part of many jokes and urban legends about mystery meat, which has made it part of pop culture and folklore. Through a Monty Python sketch, in which Spam is portrayed as ubiquitous and inescapable, its name has come to be given to electronic spam, especially spam email.
Paula suggested today’s MLC blog topic: Spam. Did anyone make it out to the Spam-Jam this past Saturday?
I was never a big lover of Spam. I ate it when it was thrown into our S&S Saimin along with some kamaboko and green onion. And I ate it when I used to eat Zip-Pacs. But other than that – I didn’t go out of my way to find Spam meals or even open a can of Spam at home.
But on our last trip to the mainland, I brought along a few Spam musubi from 7-11. And you know what? They tasted ono! I’m not sure if it was only because I was just starting my vacation and in a happy mood or maybe just because I haven’t had a Spam musubi in a long, long time. Or maybe because the Spam in the 7-11 musubi is cooked in sato-shoyu. But I thing I’ve found a new airplane snack. It’s easy to get. It’s easy to carry. It’s easy to eat. And it isn’t messy.
And if I want to splurge little-bit kine, I’ll go for the “katsu” Spam musubi!
Are you a Spam lover? How do you like to eat your Spam? Did you grow up eating spam or did you only start eating it after the Spam musubi became popular? Do you have any good Spam recipes to share?
The newly relocated Mitsuken opened its doors on Friday! It’s across the old Kalihi Shopping Center (and the big bowling pin) where that Arabian Knights castle looking building used to be. When the School Street location closed up earlier last month, people started to worry. Whew! That was a close call – as we didn’t lose Mitsuken for good.
But if you could bring back eateries from days gone by – what places would you bring back?
KC Drive-In – the original one that was at the corner where Ala Wai boulevard meets Kalakaua Avenue. Just one more time I’d like to park my car in the car-hop area between the KC kitchen/dining room and the 2 story real estate office. The view looking towards the mountain was of the city lights of McCully all the way up to Tantalus. And of course, munching on a waffle dog and french fries.
Washington Saimin – The one that was located next to the House of Photography on King Street, just past Pensacola. I don’t know how good their saimin was because we never ordered it. The order was always the Bul-go-gi plate. It was a little hole-in-the-wall place with wooden booths and a counter where only the owner’s family members sat – stringing bar-b-que meat on washed and reused bar-b-que sticks. But back to the Bul-go-gi plate… After ordering it, they’d first serve a small dish with a scoop of macaroni salad. We used to pour some shoyu on it and sprinkle some paprika (because it was there) and eat that up immediately. Then the dish would come – a mound of rice covered with tender Korean Bar-B-Que meat. I think they used to pound their meat before marinating it which kept it soft and full of flavor. It’s not the kind of place to take a date. It’s where the guys went after a Chinese movie or social.
KDI – (Kailua Drive In) - Another little greasy-spoon place that used to be at the corner of Kihapai and Hoolai streets in Kailua. Once the Kailua Drive In movie theater was built – to avoid confusion – Kailua Drive In the eatery was nicknamed KDI. When I used to work full time at Windward Volkswagen during the summers, before work I’d stop off at KDI. Gladys – the counter girl would recognize my car pulling up and automatically have a cup of coffee ready for me on the counter. The breakfast special that I used to go for was the Portuguese burger. It was a slab of Portuguese sausage – the size of a hamburger patty – fried up and served on a hamburger bun with just some mayo. Talk about Broke da Mout’. Some days – just to mix it up – I’d order a grilled cheese sandwich instead. That was some ono too! And for lunch – their Chopped Steak plate was the best. Not gravy style chopped steak, but teriyaki stir fried on the grill. The caramelized teriyaki sauce stuck on every piece of meat, celery, onions, and carrots.
One more place that I’d like to bring back just so I’d have to chance to go there is The Ranch House in Aina Haina.
If not for the food, then to catch some of the local bands that used to play there. That is, if we could bring back any local bands from before. But that’s for another blog entry…
So if you could bring back any eateries from long ago – which ones would you bring back and why? And share any good memories of the places. Or perhaps just because – like me and the Ranch House – it was some place that you never had the chance to go to.
Well, you have less than a week to visit the last eating establishment of the iconic Wong family’s long line of restaurants. Byron’s Drive In near the airport will be closing for good on 2/28/13.
For the last 58 years, the Wong family companies have fed generations of Hawaii residents and visitors from around the world.
Byron’s is the last remaining eatery owned by the companies launched by the late Andy Wong and wife Marian in 1954, when they bought Leon’s Tavern in Kailua.
The three entities under which the restaurants operated, Leon’s of Kailua Ltd., Pacific Food Services Inc. and Sea Breeze Ltd., spawned a dozen local-style and upscale restaurants that make kamaaina wax nostalgic, including Andy’s Drive Inn in Kailua, opened in 1957; Andrew’s, first at Ward Warehouse, then Executive Centre; Chinese Chuckwagon at the Ward Farmers Market; Chowder House and Orson’s Seafood Restaurant at Ward Warehouse; Coral Reef Chinese restaurant, Wong’s Okazu-ya, Fishmonger’s Wife and Byron II at Ala Moana Center; Eat at Joe’s in the Outrigger Malia; and Seafood Emporium in the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center.
Customers would cross the Koolau to eat Andy’s burgers, slathered with its proprietary red or yellow sauces. When Andy’s closed in 1999, customers bereft of their favored sauces begged the Star-Bulletin to publish the recipe for replication at home. Marian Wong would not divulge the recipe, as the sauces were available at Byron’s.
Fun fact: Andy’s and Andrew’s were named for the founder, while Orson’s and both Byron’s restaurants were named for the couple’s sons. They also had four daughters, but given Andy Wong’s belief that a restaurant named after a woman would not be successful, none were named after them.
Yet another MLC place will become just a memory. Just another blog topic to remember 10 years from now… Maybe now they will share their recipe for the red and yellow burger sauces.
Think you might chance it this week to try an grab a shrimp burger from Byron’s? Maybe an oyster burger? And how about a slush shake to wash it down. What memories do you have from the extensive list of the Wong family long line of restaurants? Share your stories with us.
Thinking about Chico’s Pizza as we talked about in the Chico’s Pizza – Revisited With Wes (Ralph) Popham blog entry, and how I wished that I Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve visited there at least once – I started thinking about other places around town – or that used to be around town, that I never went to. And I never will be able to go to because it is no longer around.
I was just talking to a coworker today who said that she used to work at The Ranch House in Aina Haina. And I started thinking that it’s another one of those places that I Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve gone to but didn’t. And it’s too late now. And we talked about how Country Comfort used to play there.
And that got me thinking about Kalapana and how they used to play at the Toppe ada Shoppe. Another place that I Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve gone to – but didn’t.
Kelly’s by the airport. Passed by it many times – but never ate there.
Aloha Motors. Remember this garage? Never been there. And never will.
Tahitian Lanai – Didn’t know how legendary that place was – until it closed.
And one more: Magic Mushroom Nightclub. Passed by it at the Gold Bond building many, many times. Again, Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve – but never did. And now it’s too late…
What establishments did you Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve visited – but didn’t?
Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii – Manoa Grand Ballroom
Hana Hou! If you missed the last Magic Mushroom Re-union Party in July 2012 – Here’s your 2nd chance!
Tickets go on sale on Monday – January 7th. Unfortunately, this time there will be no will call, unless you purchase a Reserved Table (seats 10 people) in advance. Door opens at 6:30 pm. General seating will be first come first served. Tickets are $30 per person. There will be a no-host bar, and a pupu buffet will be available as well as snacks on each table. Parking is $5.00 on site with validation.
The Host, Ed Kanoi of 107.9 KOOL Gold, will be giving away prizes.
Featured bands will be:
* Electric Fish & The Tofu Factory (aka The King Pins) *
* Audissey & Friends, with special guest appearance by Rob Yamamoto & Kenneth Uyeno *
* White Light *
For tickets and event information contact:
Dennis Matsukawa at 271-2622 or at Audissey004@yahoo.com; or
Bernie Ferraria at 220-6329 , or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tickets also on sale at Dan’s Guitars, Carlos Performance Guitar and Westside Music.
PS: If you have any Magic Mushroom memorabilia, bring/wear it and share with us to see.
** or let me know and I can get you tickets and/or a table
Well, a late reply came in about 6 months after the entry was posted from Wes (Ralph) Popham who actually worked at Chico’s Pizza when they opened back in 1968. Wes wrote:
I came across your discussions of Chico’s Pizza at the bottom of St. Luis (sic) Heights in Honolulu. They brought back pleasant memories. I was hired as a cook and helped open the original Chico’s in Hawaii when I attended U.H. between 67-69. Ironically, I recently came across some pictures of myself and staff there. The food was great, especially the pressure fried chicken and potato wedges (wish I could find pizza, chicken and potatoes like that now somewhere in San Diego, where I live). The people who worked there were like family. We partied together after the doors closed and were even invited to the two owners’ houses for special holiday feasts. I had always wondered how Chico’s fared after I left Hawaii in 1969 when I graduated. I’m happy that it was a success, at least for a while. Aloha to all my old friends and coworkers.- Wes (Ralph) Popham
I emailed Wes and asked him if he would be so kind to share the pictures of Chico’s that he had recently stumbled across. Wes was more than happy to share the pictures with us so enjoy!
Wow, what a nice trip down memory lane. Although I never did have a chance to taste Chico’s legendary pizza, fried chicken, and potato wedges, I can just image how ono it was back in the day. I can almost picture myself sitting at the table with a big bunch of friends waiting for our number (or did they use your name) to be called, while building up a hunger from the aroma of freshly baked pizza.
Mahalo Wes! Thank you for sharing your pictures and memories of Chico’s Pizza with us. I’m sure your pictures will stir up some old memories of happier times at Chico’s. Aloha.
Remember brand names that you no longer see? Maybe they’ve gone out of business or have pulled out of Hawaii. I thought we’d list brand names that you remember and maybe list the memories that comes to mind when your hear that name. For example:
Diamond Shoyu – I remember the 1 gallon glass shoyu bottles. We used to be able to return them to the ice-house/sake/shoyu factory on Booth Road in Pauoa. We used to store the empty bottles just under our house by the back door. And whenever it used to flood in Coconut Grove, we’d have to go retrieve all the empty shoyu bottles floating around the yard. Sometimes there would even be an empty Clorox bottle or two mixed in there.
Ipana Toothpaste – That’s all we used to use growing up small-kid-time. I thought there was no other toothpaste available because that’s all we ever had! Until…
Sunstar Toothpaste – I saw the commercial on TV. The cute Japanese girl singing the Sunstar jingle: “There’s Sunstar, Strawberry. There’s Sunstar, Banana. With less foaming action, and more cleaning power. Children like – Sunstar“. I just had to have it. And it tasted good! Kinda like Fusen bubble gum.
Royal Crown cola – Later known as RC Cola. I remember my dad buying this stuff by the case. I think it was like $1.99 per case at Cornet. It wasn’t Coke or Pepsi – but it tasted just as good! Hmmm… I wonder if they still make it on the mainland. I’d like to try tasting it again after like 40 years.
Kist Soda – Whenever we went to Soda Uncle’s house and he gave us the green light, we ran straight to the outdoor refrigerator and grabbed a bottle of Kist soda. I think Root Beer was one of my favorites. And besides Kist soda, he also had…
Diamond Head Soda – In the clear glass bottles, the translucent colors of the soda looked so appetizing. The red strawberry, the green river, the clear lemon-lime, the orange, the dark purple grape. Yes, Diamond Head cans are still around, but for some reason – the bottled soda always tasted better.
Foremost Dairy – Remember Foremost milk and ice cream with the familiar orange “f”? And Lani Moo.
Tobias Angel Flights – Cool threads for the cool guy. I think that was the closest thing to “designer” wear back in the day. I bought mine from Kramers.
What other brand names can you remember that are no longer available? Doesn’t have to be food related – think hobbies, clothing, household, etc. And share any stories or memories that you remember.
In the previous MLC post, yukie commented to answer our question of where this fountain was.
She said that her husband identified the fountain as in front of the Coral Reef Restaurant where his mother used to work.
Check out the 6 digit phone number.
Looking to the ad, I think I can vaguely make out the fountain in the drawing.
Now where exactly was the Coral Reef restaurant? In the ad, it says that it’s located “Lower level next to Shirokiya“.
Was this when Shirokiya used to be located next to Longs when only the first phase of Ala Moana opened? And if so, then did Shirokiya have 2 levels (Mall and Street)? That would make sense because then when Shirokiya moved to the Phase 2 side, then Woolworths would’ve moved in and they had 2 levels (Mall and Street).
Truthfully, I don’t remember Ala Moana having only the first phase because that was when Ala Moana first opened and I would’ve been less than a year old. I just know by pictures that I’ve seen.
Hmm… It’s starting to come back now. Was the Coral Reef restaurant where the Post Office is now? I remember a fancier restaurant down there. Or was that the Prince Kuhio restaurant? No wait – the Prince Kuhio restaurant was on the makai street level by the Down Under Bar and India Imports, no?
I’m so confused with all the fancier restaurants that I never ate at. In fact, I never even ate at the Woolworth’s Coffee Shop!
I guess that being a poor intermediate/high school kid back then, I didn’t eat at any sit down restaurants where they served you.
For me, I ate only at a handful of places.
The original McDonalds that used to be located in the elevated section of Foodland – where you could dine and watch everyone doing their grocery shopping. I used to always order the Big Mac because it was McDonald’s specialty. I always wondered why my friend would order a smaller burger – then I figured it out. See, back then when we used to go scabbing shopping, we’d be self-conscious that some girls might be “checking us out” (yeah, right) and there is nothing more embarrassing than having secret sauce on the corners of your mouth. Plus, you had to open your mouth wide to fit the whole burger in. Yeah, we were oshare like that.
Another regular place to eat was at Patti’s Chinese Kitchen – even if the line went out the door. Remember how there was only one long line spilling out the door onto the sidewalk? And once you got in the door – under that pesky blower that blew air down from above the doorway that was meant to keep the flies out, but all it did was mess up your hair – the long line split into two where you could either go left or right to make your plate and choose your entrees. Then after paying, you’d be lucky to find one of those small tables that had only 2 chairs that wasn’t occupied. Or you ate outside. But the food was always so ono. Chow mein, shrimp canton, kau yuk, sweet sour spareribs, beef broccoli (not). Or sometimes I’d blow off the whole plate thing and just go for the manapua, pepeiau, half moon, rice cake, Honey twists (for Paula), etc. We didn’t call it Dim Sum back then because the word wasn’t invented yet.
Then one day, one of my friends turned me on to Lynn’s Delicatessen. That was the first time I tried pastrami. And I liked it! I really didn’t care for the rye bread with the caraway seeds though. Then later I learned that I could order it on white bread. Winnahs! But because I was a cheese-hater back in those days, I never took the opportunity to try it with cream cheese.
I remember that Lynn’s also served a spaghetti plate. I remember grinding that a few times. I recall this one time when I was in line ordering, I saw this lady walking back to the counter with a whole pile of black pepper on her spaghetti. Someone pulled the old “loosen the top on the salt or pepper shaker so the top comes off when someone tries to use it” trick. Poor thing. Ever since then, I always check to make sure that the shaker tops are tightened securely.
Woolworths had a little deli that I passed many, many times cutting through the store to get from the street level to the mall level – but not once did I try the pizza slices or fried chicken. I wish I could go back and try them…
Back in the day, which Ala Moana eateries did you patronize? Do you remember the Sears Coffee Shop? Or the Penneys Coffee Shop? Superman808 mentioned Rada’s. Do you remember Rada’s Piroscki at Ala Moana? Remember passing by the shrimp tempura in the take-out window at Wong’s Okazuya? Where were your favorite places to eat at Ala Moana and what was your favorite dish? Snacks included.
Well, another Christmas is in the books. The season seems to get shorter every year.
And just when I’m getting used to writing 2012, I’ll have to start remembering to write 2013 soon because here comes the new year. Ready or not!
And that got me thinking about New Year traditions.
One of the New Year traditions that won’t be much of a tradition anymore are firecrackers. The good ‘ol Duck brand firecrackers.
Boy, I remember seeing my uncle getting one of these boxes of firecrackers for Christmas and thought “Ho, he’s the luckiest person in the whole wide world!“. I don’t think I’ve ever had one of these cherished boxes of Duck brand firecrackers. Truthfully – maybe it has to do with becoming MLC – but I think firecrackers are too loud now. When I was younger, the louder – the better. But now – it hurts my ears. (Wow, I’m really sounding like an old-fart). Just give me some penny rockets.
Another tradition is pounding mochi. We never did that in our family – but there are a lot of people who’s families gather together between Christmas and New Years to pound mochi. But it’s also a way to bring the friends and relatives together.
How about sashimi. Regardless of the price – gotta have some red fish for good luck.
Actually, eating sashimi isn’t really that high on my New Years traditions list. For one thing – the price is ridiculous. And I suppose because we eat poke and nigiri sushi year-round, it’s not like it’s only available around New Years time. But if it’s there – I’m on it! Especially if it has shredded daikon (to soak up the wasabi/shoyu).
One tradition that we started after Paula and I got married was to put up kadomatsu at the entrances of our house for the New Year. But I don’t go for the big cut pieces of bamboo and pine wrapped with the rope. I just go for the simple branches of bamboo and pine that’s already half dead when I buy it from the supermarket. So I try to hold out until New Year’s Eve to buy it so it’s relatively fresh when the midnight hour comes – only problem is that sometimes it means that I have to run from Liliha Times to Liliha Foodland to Don Quijote to Beretania Times to all around town to find it.
But this year – my procrastination paid off. Since I didn’t trim the matsu trees – there are long “antennas” sticking out. And Paula’s non-invasive bamboo plant proved to indeed be invasive so we have a lot of bamboo to use. So this year, I’ll be making our own kadomatsu to bring in the New Year.
What are some of your New Year traditions? Cleaning the house? Washing the car? Making Portuguese bean soup or Ozoni? Visiting relatives? Going to Chinatown markets? How about some old traditions from small-kid-time that are no longer followed? How do you prepare to ring in the New Year?
Time is running out! It’s about a week until the jolly man in the red suit arrives. And if you’re still looking for gifts for family or friends, you’d better get cracking on the Christmas shopping.
But just in case, maybe we can share gift ideas amongst us.
For the guy, how about Jack Black Beard Lube. I tried a sample of this and it’s awesome. It gave me a very close shave as it contains shave oil, shave cream, and a moisturizer so there isn’t the need to put on pre-shave or post-shave lotions. Available at Nordstrom. (If you go there, ask for Dale).
Feeling nostalgic? Of course you are – that’s why you’re reading this blog! How about some Brut. But not the Brut Splash-on stuff that comes in the plastic bottle. I’m talking about Brut Classic. The one with the chain and badge on the bottle. And it does have the original fragrance to it whereas the newer Brut doesn’t. Available at the Perfumes 4 U or Perfumania stores and other fragrance shops.
And for the ladies… How about some Clinique Aromatics Elixir body wash. It has a nice fragrance to it. Paula likes it as much as I do – although I don’t use it – because you know, it’s for girls. Available from Macy’s.
And since the guys have Brut, it’s only fair that the girls get Zen. Remember Zen perfume by Shiseido? Yes guys, you can still get your girl some Zen perfume at Macy’s.
Wow, just think. The guys can put on some Brut while the girls spray on some Zen. Throw on the Best of Bread LP and it’ll be just like slow dancing at a “social”. (All together now – - – “Awwww…”).
And if all else fails – there is always gift cards. Boring – but it’s something. And it’s practical. *Until January 1, 2013 – buy a $25 Jamba Juice gift card and receive a free Jamba Juice. Actually, you receive a certificate for a free Jamba Juice so you can buy 4 cards at once and not have to drink the 4 free Jamba Juices all at one time.
Okay, that should be enough to get you started. What other kind of gift ideas do you have to share? To me, the best gift is something that the recipient would want to have, but not bad enough to buy it for themselves – so if they received it as a gift – Perfect!
I’m thankful for this blog which has given me an avenue to share my “small kid time” memories with everyone – but especially allows me to relive my youth through memories.
I’m thankful for Tyson for hosting my blog for without him – MLC would’ve probably died.
And I’m especially thankful for all of you who read this blog. You may or may not comment – it doesn’t matter. If my entry made you smile or helped recall a time in your past when life was so much simpler – then I’m happy.
I’m thankful for my family – who supports me in just about whatever I choose to do.
I’m thankful for having the opportunity to work at TheBus. The people there are genuine and as cliche as it might sound – they are like family to me.
I am thankful for my health. Yeah, there’s little issues that pop every now and then – but overall, I’m doing okay.
I’m thankful for the souls of friends who have passed on – who keeps watch over us as we struggle through the daily hazards.
I am thankful that my dad introduced me to God.
What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving memories?
I remember when there was no such thing as Black Friday. Or Black Thursday for that matter. The only places that used to be open were the Chinese restaurants. Even the service stations were closed. The streets were pretty much deserted and I used to ride my bicycle around an empty Kailua town. As I slowly rode through the neighborhoods, I could catch a whiff every now and then of someone’s turkey roasting in the oven. And when I got home, the whole house had the distinct aroma of Thanksgiving turkey.
Then later when I was in high school, we used to hit the surf. It didn’t matter whether the waves were good or not – we just wanted to get in the water and work up an appetite. And as hungry as we were, we’d refrain from grabbing a hamburger or snack – in anticipation for the huge meal at home. I always made it a point to bocha before Thanksgiving dinner – because after piggying out – I wasn’t planning to move.
Did you or do you have any Thanksgiving traditions?
My small kid time Thanksgiving tradition was that after we’d come home from morning church service – my mom would have the toasted bread laid out for me. My job was to smash up the toast into little pieces for the turkey stuffing. Thanksgiving wasn’t official until I smashed the toast.
Those are my Thanksgiving answers. Feel free to answer the questions, share stories, or just wish everyone a happy holiday. Tell us what was on your Thanksgiving table. And don’t forget the desserts!
Rodney Lee is a Baby Boomer - and proud of it. Rodney started the Midlife Crisis blog back in the days of The Honolulu Advertiser and ran it for about 3 years. After The Honolulu Advertiser shut down, Rodney decided to continue his blog here at Midlife Crisis Hawaii. New blog entries are added every Monday and Thursday.
So join Rodney as he reminisces about the good ol' days.
Midlife Crisis Hawaii - where the memories live on.