Late Night Eateries

8 September 2014

Remember when we were young – and we could eat anything we wanted, any time we wanted – and didn’t have to worry about weight gain, or heartburn, or acid reflux, or weird dreams?

 

A night out with the guys usually to a Chinese Kung Fu movie or to the pool hall or where-ever always ended up at someplace to eat.

 

We loved Jack-in-the-Box.  The one on King and McCully – especially because we knew Emily who worked there.  The usual for us was; 3 tacos with extra sauce, onion rings, and a soda.  Once in a while, someone would switch it up and order a Breakfast Jack or Moby Jack.

 

After catching a Chinese movie in downtown, we’d hit King Street and head over to Washinton Saimin for their bul-go-gi plate.  Bul-go-gi, fresh off the grill and laid over a bed of rice.  Kim-Chee on the side was a must.  After eating, because we’d have to park on King Street, we used to slowly walk back to the car and check out the pictures at McKinley Photo.  Or was that Ace Photo?

 

Sometimes if we were in the mood, we’d head over to Kalihi side and hit the saimin joints: Palace Saimin, Saimin House, or Hall Saimin.  Remember when Saimin House was next to Tamashiro market?  There was the soda factory right next door and they had a soda machine right outside.  The kind that you slip in your 50¢ and pull out the bottled soda of your choice.  Then you could take it right in to Saimin House to enjoy with your meal.  When pau, you would take the empty bottle out of the saimin joint and put it in the wooden soda bottle rack that was next to the soda machine.  And nobody stole the bottles.

 

And of course – Zippys.  Or as we called it, “Zip’s”.  We could pound a Zip-pac with no problem.  Or the chili-frank plate.  Or if we were eating in the Saimin-Lanai, we could order a Zip-min – while playing songs on the jukebox.  Ho, felt so grown up eating in the restaurant part.  Usually, the restaurant was saved for dates.  Which leads me to places to eat on a date.

 

After a movie or a concert or where ever we used to go on dates, we tried to eat at different places than the ones we went to with the boys.  Maybe because we were afraid that we might see them and they’ll embarrass us in front of our date.  As I mentioned, the Saimin-Lanai was usually reserved for eating with a date.  Because kinda tacky ordering at the window, then carrying your food to your date while she waits for you on the laminated wooden tables outside, then eating out of the paper lunch plate box, yeah?

 

 

I remember other places I used to go to eat on dates.  Would you believe Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor?  Yup, the Ala Moana one.  Sometime, you just wanted dessert instead of a meal.  Or Farrell’s had burger platters too.  Went well with an Orange or Rootbeer Freeze.  Reminds me of another place.

 

KC Drive In!  I don’t know about you folks, but in high school I always made sure that my car had a bench front seat.  You know, so my girl could sit right next to me.  Cut Seat as they call it on Maui.  Broke Seat if you’re from Kauai.  I don’t know if we had a name for that on Oahu.  But having your date sit right next to you made car-hop service convenient.  The fries went on the dashboard and the drinks stayed on the tray (no built-in cup holders back in those days), and waffle dogs weren’t that messy to eat.  I remember to this day some words of advice that my friend told me (from experience); Never order hot saimin at the car-hop.  The bowl is too hot to hold – so you end up eating off the tray with your head out the window.

 

How about coffee houses?  I remember that we used to go to Wailana Coffee Shop with dates.  That was a bit more fancy so it was saved for special dates – like after the Junior Achievement banquet or proms.  I regret that I didn’t visit other coffee shops – like all the Spencecliff ones like Tops or Coco’s.  Anyone remember where Popo’s Coffee Shop was?

 

Popos

 

Where else did we go?  Pizza joints.  Shakey’s or Chico’s Pizza.

 

What late-night eateries did you patronize?  Either with your friends just hanging out or on a date?  I know there are a lot more places that we went to.  Help me remember them!

 

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It’s just 2 weeks away.  Selling out fast!  It’s going to be awesome.  I’m telling you!  Maybe we can go eat after.

20140920 Blaisdell Nights

 

 

Remember the old days when there was no such thing as cell phones?  From home, you’d call up a couple friends – at their home – and made plans to go check out a movie or something.  If they weren’t home when you called – oh well,  too bad.  And when they came home and were told that you had called them, they’d try to call you back.  But if you left the house already, ruff-ruck.

 

Or remember when you were trying to avoid someone and you’d have another member of the house answer the phone for you and tell the person calling that you weren’t home?  No caller ID back then.  We had to use live screeners.

 

Or how about when you were out on a date?  You didn’t have to worry about your date being interrupted by a ringing cell phone.  Or text message alert.  Or a bored date checking his/her Facebook page.  Or an overzealous date posting pictures of the car, restaurant, food, drinks, shoes, bathroom, etc.

 

Remember when there were more than 1 car load of friends – like after a social or dance – and the 2 cars would be following each other around town?  If somehow you got separated, then it was impossible to find each other.  It helped to have a planned-ahead-of-time rendezvous point for such occasions – like McCully Zippys.

 

When we got separated, there was no chance of finding each other.  It wouldn’t be until the next day that we’d find out what happened.  “Eh, what happened to you guys last night?”  “Well brah, if you never blast through the yellow light, we would’ve followed you”.  “So, where you went?  We was waiting for you guys at Zips”.  “Zips!?! – we was looking for you guys at Ala Moana beach”.

 

I remember after we got married and our girls were about 4 and 5 years old, shopping meant everyone hanging out together.  If we had cell phones back then, I could take the girls somewhere while Paula shopped on the 3rd floor of Liberty House.  But we didn’t have cell phones then.  So it meant that when Paula shopped at Liberty House – we all shopped at Liberty House.  Me and the girls knew exactly where all the chairs were in the store.  And we would race to grab the available seat.
Then later as the girls got older, we did the “Okay, meet back at the ‘nook’ next to the escalator in Macy’s at 3:oo” (it was no longer Liberty House by then).  Then I could go looking at electronics and tools in Sears while the girls shopped at Claire’s and Hot Topic, and Paula shopped in – you guessed it – Macy’s.

 

When cell phones became available, but they weighed 4 lbs, held a charge for only 5 hours (stand-by), and cost $3.50 per minute – we went with the poor-man cell phone:

Walkie Talkies

 

Yup, Motorola personal walkie-talkies.  They only worked as far as half of the mall at a time and caught mostly only on the mall level – sometimes on the street level – but they served their purpose.  I must’ve looked dorky wearing that thing on my belt…

 

I must say though – before cell phones, it was much easier to ice out someone.  And you didn’t have to worry about them trying to find you.

 

I wonder how today’s kids would react if we told them that in our day, we had only 1 phone that the whole family had to share.  And the phone couldn’t leave the house.  And you couldn’t walk around the house with it.  You had to sit by the telephone base and have your conversation – even if everyone else could hear.  And if you stayed on the phone too long, you’d get scolded.  And it was only good for voice communication.  They probably wouldn’t believe us.

 

Do you wish we had cell phones when we were growing up?  Or are you glad we didn’t have cell phones in our day?  Where you one of those who waited until later in life to get on the cell-phone wagon?  Or did you jump in early?  If so, who was your original cell-phone carrier?  Me, I had Primeco, which later turned into Voicestream, which later turned into T-Mobile.  Can you imagine how different things would be going on a date nowadays with cell phones?

 

Edited:  Thanks AnkleBYTERS for sharing this picture of a Vette with a CB antenna.  I forgot all about the CB craze in the 70’s.

CB Vette

 

Found this last night on Face Book:

 

Zippys_2013_Anniversary

 

Ahh, Zippys!  The ultimate hangout.  So many memories.

 

I remember when the McCully Zippys was the only Zippys in town.  The night was not complete without checking in at Zippys.  If not to eat, at least pulling into the driveway and taking the cruise around the Saimin Lanai restaurant – taking your time driving slowly over the speed-bumps – especially if you had a hot rod as all the heads from the restaurant would peer out the window the check out your car.

 

Some nights we’d park at Zippys and hang out by our cars and listen for the souped up Novas, Chevys, Camaros, etc. cruising on King Street and pulling into Zippys.  The rumble of the headers and the marbles-rolling-around sound of a racing cam.  And every once in a while – the whiny sound of someone with gear-drive.  The best was watching the Mopars and Chevys coming in with the bench seats and the guy’s chick sitting “cut seat“.

 

And when the hot rods pulled out of Zippys, it wasn’t cool to “burn out” on King Street.  Nope.  Nobody had to prove that their car was cherry.  If anything, the ‘rods would pull out casually and maybe give a little “chirp” of the tires when shifting into second.

 

Zippys, for us – wasn’t really a place to bring your girl.  It was a place to cruise with your friends – and run into other people – maybe a bunch of chicks (or guys) you remember meeting at a social.  Back in those days – when we didn’t have cell phones or pagers – if you lost your friends while cruising Waikiki or Hotel Street, the protocol was that if we got split up, we meet at Zippys.

 

Trivia question: What bakery was right next door to Zippys?  (of course we’re talking about the McCully one).  It later became the Zippys corporate office.

 

Remember the bathroom?  It was located on the Ewa side of the building, next to the walk-in reefers.  People from the saimin lanai who wanted to use the bathroom would have to walk though the restaurant’s back door only to find themselves outside next to the reefers sharing the same bathroom.

 

And the Saimin Lanai was NOT the biggest dining room.  The line used to be right outside the door on the little porch and down the steps.  And when it started to rain, everyone tried to cram on the little entrance so as not to get wet.

 

And just a ways in pass the cash register area was the jukebox!  And I remember the cool thing about the set up was that the Saimin Lanai had either KKUA, KIKI, or KPOI playing on their sound system.  And as soon as someone started playing something from the jukebox, the radio broadcast was muted and the jukebox songs played on the sound system.  When the 3 songs for a quarter was done, the radio would automatically kick back in.

 

The Saimin Lanai was small and cozy.  Sometimes a bit too cozy.  I remember one weeknight during college time, I went there after work around 9:00PM or so and met my nightclub friends there.  We had a couple of booths and had some dessert and were drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes.  Since it was a weeknight and not very busy, we hung out there for hours while they kept filling our coffee and we kept smoking our cigarettes – until the whole dining room got all smokey.  It started to look like the Point After’s back bar!  Needless to say, with all that caffeine and nicotine – I had a very hard time sleeping that night.

 

And I have to mention the waitresses who worked in the Saimin Lanai restaurant.  They were cool.  I can’t remember any of their names.  There was one that I met at KCC.  Her name was – I not going say.  But her first name began with an “R”.

 

I remember this other waitress who looked kinda homey (not homely).  She had wire rim – almost granny looking – kine glasses and I thought she might’ve been the kine shy, soft spoken girl.  Maybe from the neighbor island and attending UH kine.  So I asked her the standard “What school you grad?”.  She replies back to me “Saint Taniguchi”.  I’m thinking “What?  Maybe I’m right and that is some neighbor island school”.  So when she came back, I continued on the conversation and said “Saint Taniguchi’s?  Wea dat”.  She just smiled at me and turned away.  The other guys were telling me “She playing you, man!  I think she grad Roosevelt”.  She became one of my favorite waitresses.

 

So many MLC memories.  Thank you Zippys for not closing down or rebuilding the McCully Zippys.  I haven’t been there since they remodeled a couple years back, but I heard that they kept most of the charm.  I really need to visit there again and retrace my steps from long ago.

 

Happy 47th Anniversary Zippys!  Thanks for the memories.

 

What are your memories of Zippys?  Did you hang out there?  After the movies?  After high school football games? After your bowling shift was over?  Remember this commercial with Jade Moon?  Share your stories with us.

 

 

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Wanna check out a hot band?  Pocket will be playing this Saturday (10/19/13) at Gordon Biersch at Aloha Tower Marketplace.  Check out Wes Aoki, Kristie Ching, Darla Pestana, Dwayne Higa, Wendell Ching, Jules Kam, and Aaron Kimura.

Pocket

 

Here’s a sample of POCKET

 

 

Remember bowling alleys?  I grew up with bowling – as probably a lot of us MLCers did.

 

In fact, my first puka-head was at a bowling alley.  I must’ve been maybe 4 or 5 years old and my dad was bowling in a Pearl Harbor league at Boulevard Bowl (remember where that was?), and I was doing the spin around a lot and fall down all dizzy thing.  Well, I fell down and whacked my head against the corner of the ball polishing machine and puka my head.  My dad was pissed.  He had to stop bowling to take me home.  I remember him pressing the bloody handkerchief against my head.  Never did go doctor to get stitched up.

 

Then later, my dad joined a Friday night – second shift – league at Pali Lanes.  We used to go hang out at the bowling alley every Friday night.  While dad bowled, I’d play around the top area (but wasn’t allowed to spin), or watch the guys play nickel machines, or sit in the snack bar and wish I could have french fries or a banana split.  Or sometimes I’d just lie down on the Bruinswick orange and white plastic seats and fall asleep.

 

I think I was destined to grow up at bowling alleys.  Even my aunty Yoshiko and her sister Chiyo had a barber shop at Bowling City.

 

Bowling Bowling City
My mom used to take us there every so often to get our head’s buzzed.

 

Eventually, my dad bought be a used 13 lb. bowling ball.  It was an Ebonite Earl Anthony with the name DEL inscribed on it.  My bowling bag was from Gold Bond stamps.  I just used it to bowl for recreational purposes.

 

Then after I got married, I started bowling with my In-laws at Stadium Bowl-o-Drome.

 

bowling bowl-o-drome

 

And like my days of growing up – we bowled on Friday nights – second shift.  But because the first shift was a 5-man team and because of the old ball returns and broken machines, we sometime didn’t start bowling until 10:00.  Needless to say – we didn’t get out of there until 1:00 the next morning.

 

This went on for years.  At first we were bowling in a league that took up almost the whole alley.  Eventually, it got smaller until it took up only half of the ally.  Then when it got even smaller, we merged with another league that was using the other half of the alley.  This went on until Bowl-o-Drome decided to close its doors for good.

 

Then that league merged with another league over at Kam Bowl.

 

bowling Kam Bowl

 

And the night changed from Friday to Thursday – still second shift.  The best thing besides the short ball rack (so you didn’t have to wait until the next lane finished just to get your ball), Kam Bowl had automatic scoring.  You have no idea how much I loved that.  See, at Bowl-o-Drome I was bowling with my in-laws.  Father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law(s) and not one of them stepped up to help me keep score.  When it was our turn to keep score – I had to keep score.  Sometimes, after I threw my first ball, I’d have to go back and write in the other teams score, then throw my second ball and write in my score.  WTH?  And of course, I had to be the team captain – which meant going to the meetings, collecting the dues, and making sure we have bowlers.  Paula’s brother used to bowl sometimes and her sister’s husband used to bowl the other times.  But I was the one who used to have to tell them when to bowl.  This one time I did an experiment and told the BOTH of them to decide between themselves who was going to bowl on Friday night.  Friday night rolled around and neither of them showed up.  Pathetic.  Had to use Dummy score.  And me being the team captain, I had to pay for their lines.

 

So when we moved to Kam Bowl, we had a new team with just my FIL and me and a couple of friends.  And with automatic score keeping – I had time to relax, concentrate on my game, talk story with my teammates as well as the other team, and enjoy myself.  The game was now fun and I used to try to break 200 on at least one of my games.

 

But when word came that Kam Bowl was going to shut down and be replaced by Walgreens – I hung it up.  Almost 20 years of bowling – and I went through almost the same number of bowling balls.  I was very passionate about bowling.  I subscribed to the magazines, watched the PBA Tour on TV every season, practiced in the off season, hung around some of the top bowlers to get tips, knew all the bowling shops around town – and the reputation of the drillers.  I was a bowling junkie.

 

But one of the best parts of bowling was the socializing.  Before Facebook and Linkedin and Instagram, bowling was one of a few ways to network with people from all different professions and who worked in all different companies.  I made a lot of friends when I was bowling.  And every now and then I think about them and wonder what they’re doing today.  Hmm… maybe I can find them on Facebook…

 

Did bowling play a part in your life?  Do you miss the socializing, the networking, the fun times spent at the alley. Or at Zippys or Likelike Drive in for the after bowling grinds.  Remember the bowling banquets?  Share your bowling memories with us.

 

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It’s coming up in 3 weeks.  Call Russell Shiroma @ 224-9224 to get your tickets!

Endless Summer 03

Before Fast Foods

22 July 2013

The other weekend while dining with Paula and daughter #2, I was telling them that I didn’t start eating tacos until I was in high school because:

 

  1. We didn’t have mainland fast food places when we were kids
  2. I didn’t eat cheese – especially yellow cheese
  3. The only kind of taco I knew was boiled octopus

 

Paula shared that she ate tacos (the Mexican kine) when she was small only because her older cousins made tacos with them in the kitchen – from scratch.  Well, they had the tortilla shells, but they had to fry them to get them crispy and taco shaped.

 

But going back to item #1 – Hawaii got it’s first fast food restaurant – McDonalds – in 1968.

McDonalds Menu
This picture is actually from 1974

 

Until then, we grew up with mom & pop drive ins.  About the closet thing we had to a chain of restaurants was Zippys when they opened their second eatery in Kaimuki.

 

But we were totally happy eating mom & pop hamburgers made with Loves buns, a thin patty, the ketchup/relish mix, and of course – the yellow sauce.  And if you could swing another dime – the hamburger transformed into a cheese burger.  And if your dad’s tax return just arrived, that meant a Deluxe – with lettuce, onion, and tomato.

 

Then later came Jack in the Box.  The one at the corner of King and McCully is the first one that I remember.  That’s where I had my first taste of a taco.  And from that point on, I knew I loved tacos.  And onion rings!

 

Somewhere along the timeline – Taco Bell set up shop on Oahu.  Their tacos were different.  Not the same as Jack in the Box tacos.  I couldn’t quite pinpoint the exact difference.  I think the Taco Bell tacos were… Fresher?  Healthier?

 

Anyway, then the fast food restaurants started expanding to the rural areas of Oahu.  Kailua got a McDonalds!  And a Dunkin’ Donuts to go with it.  And for some odd reason, Kailua got an A&W Root Beer drive in restaurant.  Honolulu didn’t even have one yet!  Next came Taco Bell to Kailua.  And this was WAAYYY before Kailua became a tourist destination.

 

But soon, the Andy’s Drive In, Jumbo’s Drive InScotty’s Drive In, Kenny’s Burgerhouse, Jolly Roger Drive In – they all started to lose business and began shutting their doors.

 

Gone were the 25¢ each or 5 for $1 hamburgers.  The Porky Boys and Cheesy Gals gave way to Big Macs and Jumbo Jacks.

 

But back to the point I was trying to express to daughter #2 – in our day, we just had local drive ins with local kine sandwiches, plates lunches, and drinks – including malts and/or shakes.  And if you were lucky, they had one slush machine.  We didn’t have these mainland chain drive ins.  It was all mom & pop drive ins.

 

Are you happier now with the mainland chains here giving us more choice of dishes?  Or would you have been happy with just the old locally owned drive ins?  Or are you okay with it – in the name of progress.  Not that we can change anything – but it’s nice to remember how simple it was in the olden days.  Although the kids of today might beg to differ.

 

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Endless Summer 03
Contact me for ticket info.

12 Days of MLC…

9 December 2012

 

In the last MLC blog post, the comments went little bit off-topic.

I no like say who started it (Keoni :wink: ), but it started a meme.  So I thought we’d continue it.  Here’s how it began:

 

…six hula lessons…

seven shrimp a-swimmin’

eight ukuleles

nine pounds of poi

eight Zippy’s min

seven malasada

six portagee sausage

five char siu bao

eight bambucha laulau

nine “maidens” (?) on Hotel St.

ten locomocos

 

Okay, you getting to see the pattern?  Obviously the pattern is NOT numerical order.  Instead, it’s local kine stuffs.  But I open it up to MLC stuffs too.

 

So we go have fun wit dis.

 

Right, Keoni?  “Eh, you wen start ‘um”.  Actually, was M who started it in the Christmas Music post!

 

Anyway, tanks you guys!

 

On da first day of Christmas, MLC gave to me…

 

As I mentioned in my last post – mom & pop bakeries are getting harder and harder to find.  And as they go, so do the family recipes and specialty items – like custard danishes.

 

Growing up in Kailua, we had 2 main bakeries: Jean’s Bakery and Craig’s Bakery.  Ironically, they were located within a quarter mile of each other.

 


Jean’s Bakery (1951)

 


Craig’s Bakery (2001)

 

I remember my mom taking me to Jean’s Bakery one night when I was just a little kid.  The Kailua Japanese School used to have meetings there to plan upcoming events.  That’s how it was in the old days.  People would open up their business to host meetings for community groups.

 

On Sunday mornings when my dad didn’t feel like cooking breakfast before church, his bakery of choice was Craig’s Bakery.  He may have been a bit biased because he knew the Craig’s Bakery owner’s kids.  The Furubayashi boys grew up playing little league baseball with all of us.

 

But what I remember the most about Craig’s Bakery is hanging out in the front of the bakery after Japanese school and sometimes wondering in to look at the pastries in the glass cases and the ice cream in the refrigerated case – the kind with the glass doors angled on the top that you slide open.  And the floor rack of birthday party toys, something like this:

 

 

Unfortunately, Jean’s Bakery and Craig’s Bakery are just memories.  But they were Kailua’s bakeries.  Even when Dunkin’ Donuts invaded Kailua, the 2 locally owned bakeries held their own with their loyal following.

 

As for Supermarket bakeries – it’s not the same.  Convenient, but as my MIL would say “no ono”.

 

I remember Bakery Kapiolani – both the Kapiolani one and the King street one that was across of Makiki Zippys.  And didn’t the King street one have a take out window where they sold hot dogs for super cheap?

 

But what I remember about Bakery Kapiolani on Kapiolani boulevard was the square orange chiffon cake.  They were so old school that once the bakery closed, I never found it again.

 

That is until I ventured into Kaneohe.  Now, I’m not sure if this picture was from Kaneohe Bakery or Deluxe Pastry Shop since they are next door to each other!  But I snapped this picture at one of those two bakeries:

 

 

There are still a number of mom & pop bakeries around: Kilani Bakery, Kamehameha Bakery, Lee’s Bakery, Liliha Bakery (which I read will be opening up a couple more), New A’ala Bakery, etc.  Some have changed owners over the years and some have kept the business in the family.  I’m hoping the mom & pop bakeries continue on with their quality goods and family secret recipes.

 

But this is MLC where we remember things of the past.  So share with us the bakeries you remember – whether around your neighborhood while growing up or ones you remember seeing advertisements for or maybe that special one that had a certain pastry that you enjoyed – like Bea’s Bakery that was on 12th Avenue, known for their pumpkin/custard pies.  I miss those…

 

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LS34 band has another big gig coming up at Dot’s in Wahiawa on June 29th.  You could be taking home an iPad!

 

A few months ago, on a Saturday afternoon – I had the hankering for a custard danish.  Not any old supermarket bakery custard danish – but the kind that I used to eat from Craig’s Bakery in Kailua – which sadly is no longer open.

 

Since we were at Ala Moana center when the craving hit, the first place I visited was St. Germain’s bakery in Shirokiya.  But the custard in the danish didn’t look right – not as I remembered.  The custard on the St. Germain’s danish had an orange color to it.  I wanted the yellow custard.

 

So we headed to Liliha bakery where I figured we’d find exactly what I was looking for.  Nope.  Same thing – the orange stuff.

 

Then we tried Napoleon’s bakery at Zippys.  Uh-unh.

 

Next we drove down to Dee Lite Bakery thinking that although they are the same as St. Germain’s in Shirokiya, maybe the main bakery on Dillingham will have real custard in their custard danishes.  But such was not to be.  It was the same orangey looking stuff.

Then I thought – maybe because it was already in the afternoon that the yellow morning custard had turned to orange afternoon custard.  But then I don’t notice custard pies turning orange, so it must be that the bakeries are using pre-made or pre-processed custard on their danishes.

 

So the search continued…

 

Then a few weeks ago, I had to stop by Liliha Times to pick up a prescription.  And since it was during my lunch break, I decided to walk around the Liliha Square shopping center and check out the little shops there that are tucked away in the corner of the shopping center on the Liliha street side.

 

I passed Subway and as I was walking over to check out Toyo bento, I passed the New Aala Bakery.  But something stopped me and told me to take a look at this tiny bakery.  Lo and behold, guess what I found?

 

 

A custard danish.  But not just any ol’ custard danish – but the kind with yellow custard!  I ordered one and as the girl behind the glass case was ringing up my small order, I asked her about their custard.  She said that their custard is all freshly made.  None of this pre-processed custard, but fresh home-made custard, made daily.  I told her that I was looking high and low for the exact custard danish they served.

 

Then she told me that not only do they make their custard fresh from scratch – but they don’t deep-fry anything.  Everything is baked.  Then I thought to myself “That’s right!  That’s how it should be – after all, they are called bakeries!“.  Then she proceeded to put in a couple of pastries into my package and said to try these “Sweet Rolls”.  The one with the chocolate is a Haupia Sweet Roll and the one with the powered sugar is a Custard Sweet Roll.

 

 

I told her to add them to my bill but she insisted on throwing them in for free – for me to try.  How cool is that!  Not only do I find the kind of custard danish I’ve been hunting months to find, but I also get a few filled donuts to sample!

 

I returned back to work and quickly snapped a few pictures of my lucky find.  Then it came time – to try the custard danish that I’ve search high and low for.  And it did not disappoint.  It was exactly as I imagined it would be – fresh, eggy, custard.  But then I noticed a tinge of lemon.  I’m not sure if it was coming from the custard or the pastry part – but it added a little uniqueness to it.  A skosh of a zing.

 

The danish had filled me up (being that I had eaten lunch prior to trying it) so I passed on the Haupia Sweet Roll and the Custard Sweet Roll to a couple of my coworkers – who love their food.  And they enjoyed it very much!  This, after they too had already eaten lunch – so you know it must’ve been ono because they too weren’t very hungry.

 

So I think I’ve found my secret hideaway for custard danishes.  Next, I need to try their custard pie.  Then their custard/pumpkin pie.  And reading reviews on Yelp, I’ve got to try their butter rolls.

 

New Aala Bakery: Owned by Arthur Oda – where pastries aren’t fried, but baked.  Follow them on FaceBook.  And a special mahalo to the nice girl who helped me.  She was so pleasant and helpful.

 

And other suggestions where I might try a good, old-fashioned custard danish?  Mom & Pop bakeries are getting harder and harder to find.  Later on I’ll do a blog about old time bakeries – but for now – it’s all about the custard danish.

Paula brought this FaceBook post to my attention this past weekend:

 

To serve you better, ZIPPY’S MCCULLY will be closed for renovations on Sunday, April 15, 2012 at 11:59pm, and is scheduled to re-open in Fall 2012.

 

Expecting the worse, I thought – Uh oh.  They’re going to tear down the whole building – including the Saimin-Lanai restaurant – and build a brand spanking new one like the Kahala Zippy’s.  So I made a mental note to stop by the McCully Zippy’s before Sunday night and take a lot of pictures of the Saimin-Lanai restaurant for posterity.

 

But instead of jumping to conclusions, I decided to “tweet” Zippy’s and find out what their plans were.

 

 

Whew!  I can live without the juke box.  But the McCully Saimin-Lanai restaurant is so much a part of me.  And I would hate to have it become just another memory.

 

I remember back in high school when the McCully Zippy’s was the only Zippy’s.  It was one of the hottest night spots – especially for souped-up cars.  After eating something, we used to hang out outside on the cold cement tables/seats and listen for hot-rods coming down King street.  As the sound of the headers and occasional racing cam got closer, all the heads would turn to see who’s car was pulling into the driveway.

 

Sometimes it was a couple/few Chevys and Camaros cruising the town or just a solo Cutlass out on a date – with his girlfriend sitting in the middle of the front bench seat right up next to him.

 

And the cruise through Zippy’s always required a drive around the back, right up next to the windows of the Saimin-Lanai restaurant – as heads of people eating in the restaurant would turn to check out the hot-rod making it’s rounds.

 

Then as we got older, the Saimin-Lanai was THEE place to hang out after bowling.  Whether it was the first shift or second shift league, the Saimin-Lanai was always open.  Even when there was a line waiting to go in, people didn’t mind waiting.

 

Remember when there was a line and it was raining?  Everyone was smashed up on the little porch at the front door.

 

I remember on some week nights we used to hang out in the Saimin-Lanai restaurant.  It was on the slow nights that we’d sit in there for hours talking story, drinking coffee, and flirting with the waitresses.  And the waitresses were used to it.  I remember starting a conversation with one of the waitresses there – a conservative looking girl, but punchy – and I asked her where she graduated from.  She replied “Saint Taniguchi”.  I was left thinking “Is that some private school in Japan or something?”.  I’m sure they’ve heard it all.

 

Ahh, such great memories.

 

I’m happy to hear that the Zippy’s McCully Saimin-Lanai restaurant will be staying.  I’m sure it will probably have a make-over done to it.  But I hope it retains the ambiance that makes it the only Saimin-Lanai in Hawaii.

 

You know what?  Maybe I will stop by there before Sunday – just for old times sake.

 

What do you remember about the McCully Zippy’s?  Especially the Saimin-Lanai restaurant?  Share your memories with us.

 

*Like* Zippy’s on FaceBook
Follow @Zippy’s on Twitter
Check-in at Zippy’s on FourSquare for special deals

 

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Here’s a vintage picture that @Zippys sent me today on Twitter:

General Growth acquiring Sears at Ala Moana;

will close store

 

Pacific Business News

Date: Thursday, February 23, 2012

 

General Growth Properties, Inc. said Thursday it plans to acquire the Sears department store space at Hawaii’s Ala Moana Center, and will keep the store open through next year before closing it and folding the square footage into the mall’s more profitable inline retail space.

The deal between Chicago-based General Growth (NYSE: GGP) and Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based Sears Holding Corp., includes the sale of 10 other Sears “anchor pads” at malls on the Mainland for $270 million. While some of those Sears stores will remain open, General Growth plans to close others, including the Ala Moana store, to increase its space for other retailers.

General Growth Chief Operating Office Shobi Khan noted in a statement that the acquisition allows the mall owner to recapture real estate within its portfolio and “enhances several expansion and redevelopment opportunities including re-tenanting the anchor space and adding new in-line (gross leasable area).”

“Over the next several years we anticipate adding 319,000 square feet of new in-line space, the majority at Ala Moana Center, our most productive mall with sales surpassing $1,200 per square foot,” Khan said in a statement. “In addition, we look forward to continuing to work with Sears as they represent an important anchor tenant within our portfolio.”

General Growth said Sears will likely occupy the 11 properties through the end of 2013, until closing dates can be determined.

 

 

This news came as a shocker to me.  Sears – one of the original anchor stores of Ala Moana Center will become just another MLC memory in about a year.

 

I have so many memories of the Ala Moana Sears Roebuck store.  I remember the distinct aroma of freshly popped popcorn mixed with the smell of rubber tires as I walked with my dad through the Automotive section.  My dad used to give in and buy me a square box of popcorn.  But what I always wanted was that HUGE box of popcorn – the one with the handle that was carried around like a suitcase.  I used to envy all the other kids that had that.  Not that I would ever finish all that popcorn – I just thought it was cool to be carrying that Ultimate Sized popcorn box.

 

I remember the men’s restroom that was at the top of the stairwell next to where the men’s department used to be.  Back in the day, there weren’t many restrooms around the mall so the Sears restroom was pretty popular back then.  It had a distinct smell to it – kind of like the brown paper hand towels that we used to use back then.

 

I also remember the Sears garden shop on the street level.  I think it was located where Zippys is now.  And I remember that they used to sell Christmas trees too.  Even after the garden shop was integrated into the hardware department, for 1 weekend in the early part of December – they used to sell Christmas trees.  And if you went on the Sunday – every tree was 1/2 price.  Score!

 

And the Automotive section.  My dad used to always take his car to Sears for repair work, whether it be for tires, battery, or shocks – Sears Automotive was the place.  I remember my dad waking me up early one Saturday morning to get ready as he had to take his car to Sears for servicing.  After dropping the car off, we crossed the street and went walking along the shoreline at Magic Island and Ala Moana beach.  I guess my dad wasn’t much of a shopper.

 

Does anyone recall Sears having a record or music department?

 

I vaguely remember a Sears coffee shop.  It was on the mall level, Ewa end of the store.  I remember it looking out towards the sunny parking lot.  Maybe it could’ve been on the Mauka or Makai side of the store, I’m not sure.  Or maybe it was all just a dream…

 

What are some of your memories of Sears – Ala Moana?  At one time, didn’t they have a Hi-Board like Liberty House?  And I know someone who went to Sears charm school.  How about Sears sewing classes?  Any of you girls took up sewing from Sears?  They must’ve had a Fabrics department, no?  And who remembers the sidewalk sales and all the tables that Sears would have outside by Longs.  Or how about the Sears Portrait Studio?
Share your Ala Moana Sears memories with us.

 

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Don’t forget – THIS SATURDAY!