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A Catered Luncheon with Soul

By now, regular readers of this blog must think all we do at work is throw parties and EAT. Well, we certainly work hard, so when it comes time to relax, like everyone else, we love to sit down and enjoy a good meal. So here we are this past week, where we threw a nice going-away party luncheon for one our people in accounting, this time catering the food from Soul Cuisine with Aloha & Spice.

Soul is a still relatively new restaurant by Chef Sean Priester, who had a long run as executive chef at the highly regarded Top of Waikiki revolving restaurant. Compared to the posh, high tech (literally) digs at Top of Waikiki, Soul is a very tiny and humble hole-in-the-wall restaurant located in a rather “mishmash” strip mall on the corner of Waialae Avenue and St. Louis Heights Drive at the Ewa (west) end of Kaimuki.

I personally haven’t eaten there yet, although I’ve heard and read favorable reviews about the place. However, I HAVE had the opportunity to try all the food here already, back before Chef Priester opened his restaurant, when he had his “Soul Patrol” lunch truck while making the brave transition from employee to entrepreneur. To note, the “Soul Patrol” lunch truck is still in service as an extension of their brick & mortar restaurant.

Us folks always like to try new types of cuisine for luncheon themes, and we were all eager to sample some “Soul Cuisine with Aloha”. Which really is what Chef Priester’s concept is, using locally-sourced, high quality ingredients in his classic southern style dishes.

Without further ado, let’s see what Soul has prepared for us on this occasion, starting with some good ‘ole Mac ‘n Cheese!…

Next up, Chef Priesters EXCELLENT Coleslaw…

You see what’s coming next, right? Some FRIEEEEEED CHEEYIKIN!…

Let’s stay here for a brief moment and bath in cooking lard, savoring a few more pics of these absolutely delightful morsels of “Aloha & Spice” Chicken with serious SOUL!…

Soul’s Fried Chicken is accompanied with this KILLER Honey-Butter Sauce, that you drizzle over the chicken right before service…

So you’ve got the super-juicy, savory, slightly spicy ‘n crispy thang with the chicken, along with the sweet ‘n buttery thang goin’ on from the sauce and BAM! AWESOME.

Next up, Soul food would never be complete without Collard Greens!…

Another one my personal favorites is Chef Priester’s Vegetarian Chili…

Then wrapping things up from Soul, the also must-have dish for this type of cuisine, Corn Bread…


Not stopping there, folks from various departments in our office also contributed to the spread, where adding to the selection of main dishes, here we have some (Filipino) Pancit, courtesy of accounting…

Also from accounting, (Filipino) Lumpia…

There was also all kinds of scrumptious desserts, where our department contributed these EXCELLENT Brownies from Kilani Bakery in Wahiawa…

Back to P.I., we have a pan of Kakanin…

Peach Cobbler…

Blueberry Cheesecake…

\

Custard Pie…

Cherry Pie….

Wow. What. A. SPREAD!!!!!

Time now to check out some plates hot off the “assembly line”….

Here’s my plate…

Angle “B”…

Let’s try that “Cheeyikin”…

Oh man. Even though this piece of fried chicken had gone down to air conditioned room temperature by the time it landed on the plate in front of me, it was still STELLAR! The batter was still crispy, with a pleasantly-blended, subtle hint of spices going on in it.  While the chicken meat was super buttery-tender and incredibly MOIST ‘N JUICY, while being cooked all the way through, with no raw spots towards the bone or blood at all. It also wasn’t greasy at all. Just so, so, so, so, so, SO GOOD!

5 SPAM Musubi for Soul’s Fried Chicken for sure, even at the less-than-optimal a/c room temperature service when I ate it. I’m confident if I had the luxury of eating it FRESH ‘n PIPIN’ HOT out of the deep fryer, Soul’s signature Fried Chicken would score an EASY TEN!!!

As for the other dishes, the Vegetarian Chili was delicious, yet I must note it tasted and had the pasty texture more like baked beans than Chili. The Collard Greens were good, especially in that they’re enhanced with  pieces of smoked ham hock meat in it, yet everyone mentioned there was a distinguishable “tang” to its flavor profile, not sure if that was vinegar, or if there’s some spoilage factor, or if that’s just the nature of Collard Greens, as that’s certainly not a green commonly eaten here in Hawaii.

The Mac ‘n Cheese was congealed, thanks to the air conditioning, and also what seemed like the macaroni noodles had absorbed most of the cheese’s moisture. Other than that, flavor-wise, it was dee-lish. Which has me thinking we should SERIOUSLY invest in sterno warmers for our company luncheons. That would most DEFINITELY be a HUGE improvement when it comes to serving temperature “issues”, such as it was for this Mac ‘n Cheese.

I LOVE Soul’s Cilantro Coleslaw. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. PERFECT Coleslaw recipe. Nuff’ said.

The corn bread was a winner as well, with the right balance of “sweet” going on, although I would have preferred it to be a little more BUTTERY! Shoots, with this here soul food, I’d just as well take some melted drawn butter and drizzle it over the entire plate! lol

As for the dessert, the Brownies from Kilani Bakery were FANTASTIC, with the perfect “brownie texture” going on, not being too dry nor too moist, but, as Rap Replinger says, “Jussssssss’ right”….

The Kakanin was also fantastic, especially the one with the Latik-like glaze covering it…

SOUL Cuisine with Aloha & Spice
3040 Waialae Ave
Honolulu, HI 96826

Tel. (808) 735-7685
Web: www.PacificSoulHawaii.com

The Tasty Island rating (for catering service):

(4) Excellent. Worth another visit or purchase. (Winnahz!)

Related links:
First Bite: ‘The Soul Patrol’ by Chef Sean Priester – The Tasty Island
360º View at the Top of Waikiki – The Tasty Island
Soul – Yelp user reviews

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7Z56dxeGMA

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXZoowWAPZA

27 thoughts on “A Catered Luncheon with Soul

  • May 1, 2011 at 8:20 pm
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    I like your office parties so much stuff to eat!!

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  • May 2, 2011 at 6:51 am
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    Random thoughts: 1) I want to know where you work and I want to work there – I love me some potlucks; 2) looks like my people chopped that chicken – ever wonder if Chinese cooks chop their chickens in a moving truck? couldn’t see distinguishable breasts, thighs, wings, etc.; and 3) I think the twang came from white vinegar. I put a splash in the crockpot with some red chili flakes, sugar and Lawry’s Seasoning Salt.

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  • May 2, 2011 at 8:12 am
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    It would not be a soul food plate in Hawaii without lumpia. Looks delicious. The pics were beautiful and the commentary was right on.

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  • May 2, 2011 at 2:34 pm
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    Vinegar is a really common ingredient in cooked collard greens in the south. In fact, my mother literally douses hers with it (after cooking, even though there’s a ton in the recipe)

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  • May 2, 2011 at 9:02 pm
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    Thanks “h” for the info, I took some home home and had over the weekend the vinegar really cuts the ham hock fat down and makes the dish much more healthy! I really like it!

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  • May 3, 2011 at 4:58 am
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    Holy cow that looks awesome! Next best thing to piping hot fried chicken is cold fried chicken! I think I just gained 10 lbs reading this post.

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  • May 5, 2011 at 5:46 pm
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    d*mn. Shoulda gone to Soul instead of Fat Greek on our last trip to Hawaii. Now you got me hankering for some good fried chicken!

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  • May 6, 2011 at 7:38 am
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    Planning any office potlucks October 13-20?

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  • May 7, 2011 at 4:09 am
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    Pomai, I have a recipe for the honey butter sauce use for southern style fried chicken. 1/4 cup honey to 1/2 cup depend on taste
    1/4 cup lemon juice
    1/4 cup melted butter

    Great dipping sauce for fried chicken or fried catfish also.
    I like catfish nugget in a poorboy sandwich which in San Francisco there a place that serve oyster poorboy sandwich and other type southern style sandwiches. Hope SOUL Cuisine include into his menu one day.

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  • May 7, 2011 at 1:15 pm
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    Ooh. I’m from Memphis, so all of that (especially the honey butter sauce and chicken) looks amazing! I need some soul food, stat.

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  • May 11, 2011 at 9:02 pm
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    pomai bruddah…long time no post…glad to see you’re still updating us with stuff! that is some serious food ya got in this post. if there’s one thing i like…it’s fried chicken!!!! you should def try frying some chicken yourself. i do it simple…rinse chicken parts with water, pat very dry. season with pepper, cayenne, a little bit of lawry’s seasoning salt, some garlic salt, and mebbe a smidge of old bay. season some flour with all that stuff….and dredge into the seasoned flour. don’t shake off excess yet…let it rest for about 10 mins to develop a crust. i’ve moved beyond deep frying. in a nice thick pan (think cast-iron) heat maybe a couple inches deep of good frying oil, like peanut oil–neutral flavor, and high smoke point. now’s the point to shake off some of the flour before putting chicken into the oil. have the oil medium -hot should take about 10-12 minutes (maybe 5~7 minutes each side). fry until golden brown delicious (GBD as you would put it!) lol i’m sure there are similar recipes out there. after frying i like to douse the chicken with lotsa hot sauce like crystal louisiana. oh yes it’s good :)

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  • May 13, 2011 at 9:27 am
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    I thought the honey butter was for the cornbread. I could swear that when I ate at the restaurant the chicken was dry and the cornbread had a drizzle on it. HUH now I will have to go there and try it again.

    Alan

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  • May 22, 2011 at 10:42 pm
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    Woohoo! Now THAT is some serious soul food – Southern fried chicken with all the trimmings and plenty of sweet treats to round things off!

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  • May 25, 2011 at 11:28 pm
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    Holy YUM! I think I heard about your restaurant the last time I was in Hawaii, was it burglarized? Yikes! I can’t wait to stop by on my next visit home, your food looks so ono! Thanks!

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  • May 26, 2011 at 10:05 am
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    Hey Pomai:

    Its been a while since you posted. Craving the new foods you have to offer. Hopefully this long absence is due to a nice vacation and not something bad. Eager for you to start posting again!

    take care.

    Dan

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  • May 30, 2011 at 5:11 am
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    Echoing Dan’s comments. We miss your posts on all your great food in the 808. Vacation?

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  • May 31, 2011 at 7:34 am
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    seriously… where are you?! I need my fix of tasty island :)

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  • June 4, 2011 at 3:17 pm
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    Hey Brah where you?? Hope all is ok.

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  • June 6, 2011 at 1:33 pm
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    Where are you Pomai? I miss reading you

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  • June 6, 2011 at 5:15 pm
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    Hi Pomai,

    I too am worried about you ..I hope you are okay. I miss your posts too, since I click on your site every time I log on to my computer!

    Hope all is well, it’s been a crazy start of the year for my health .. please be okay!

    lindy

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  • June 6, 2011 at 9:10 pm
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    Not to worry folks, Pomai is busy remodeling his kitchen so he can cook more stuff!

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  • June 7, 2011 at 8:30 am
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    Glad to hear it. Thanks for letting us know!

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  • June 7, 2011 at 4:19 pm
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    Thank you for the update… I was really starting to worry! Remodeling kitchen …what a dream it must be for a great cook like Pomai !

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  • June 7, 2011 at 10:53 pm
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    simon kau kau! mahalo for the update!!!! can’t wait for bruddah pomai to post up his new kitchen!!!! :)

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  • June 8, 2011 at 1:59 pm
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    This is going to be the coolest kitchen ever!!! Can’t wait.

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  • June 9, 2011 at 4:49 am
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    New kitchen? All the more reason to eat out! Did mine a couple years ago and washing dishes in the bathroom gets old fast.

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  • June 11, 2011 at 1:09 pm
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    reading about fried chicken just reminded me; i just went to Roscoe’s chicken and waffles house here in LA and the combo of waffles, fried chicken, maple syrup and gravy is amazing. You should give it a try! Those photos of the desserts is killing me! OMG so goooooooood

    Reply

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