Last night on the eve of Hurricane Iselle’s introduction to Hawaii, that didn’t stop “hardcore” folks from getting that one last Loco Moco plate lunch from the iconic, always popular Rainbow Drive-In. A fitting name for a place to be on the brink of a potentially catastrophic storm, right?
As somewhat of an irony in itself, I met with one of my Tasty Island readers from of all places, Kona, on da’ Big Island of Hawaii yesterday evening in Honolulu, where first on his list of must-do places to grind on Oahu was Rainbow Drive-In. Shoots, why not? So what if there’s a catastrophic storm about to hit? Maybe ‘dat Teri Beef Plate going taste way moah’ bettah!
Long story short, he ended up getting his “dinner” from 7-Eleven next door (don’t ask). Still, while we were there, for some reason with the gusty winds picking up and the whole anxiety of potential danger at hand, upon looking over Rainbow’s menu, what caught my eye that had me really craving was a comforting hot bowl of Chili & Rice. Simply ono ‘kine grindz at its best!
And it was especially attractive, being my bowl of Rainbow Drive-In Chili ‘n Rice was just $3.25, offsetting the high cost of buying 10 cases of bottled water to weather out the storm! Pfft.
I’ve never tried Rainbow Drive-In’s Chili before, yet I have heard good things about it. Then again, everyone raves about their Loco Moco, yet you may remember I for one wasn’t too hot on it, particularly because of the “Chili-like” brown gravy.
However, you know what? Rainbow’s Chili itself is excellent! Winnahz!
Not better than Zippy’s, just different, coming across as tasting more homemade like da’ kine your moddah’ or tutu makes vs. the “restaurant quality” Chili that Zippy’s tastes like.
There’s ample amounts of savory ground beef, with just enough tender kidney beans to keep it authentically satisfying without worrying about gassing out your car mates on the otherwise torrential drive back home. lol
It’s kinda’ similar to Richie’s Drive-In Chili. Next time I’ll try Rainbow’s Chili Dog Plate, which comes with a hot dog, 1 scoop mac salad and 2 scoop rice, so I can get the “whole effect”. Speaking of rice, there was about 1 scoop at the bottom in this supah ono Chili Rice “Rainbow Hurricane” bowl.
The Rainbow Drive-In Chili’s heat level, spice-wise is mild, which is what Iselle ended up being for the most part after Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea — two massive volcanic mountain formations on the Big Island of Hawaii — did a number on the system, busting it up, causing it to become somewhat “Kapakahi” (disorganized/confused), sending parts of it heading northwest, and the other southwest. Essentially Hawaiian volcano fire goddess, Madame Pele saying to Iselle, “Not in my house!”
Hence, in honor of that, with all circumstances considered, I’ve nicknamed the Rainbow Drive-In Chili & Rice Bowl the “Hawaiian Lava Hurricane Bustah”.
With that, Hawaii will soon bid Alohe ‘Oe to Iselle, praying Julio stays on its projected path considerably northwest-bound above and away from the island chain, reduced to tropical storm status by the time it reaches north of the Big Island.
What I find most ironic is that I had a bowl of Rainbow Drive-In Chili & Rice on the eve of what could have been the most significant storm to hit Hawaii since Iniki in September 1992, a category 4 Hurricane I still vividly remember.
On my Yelp profile, I have Authentic Tokyo Ginza Ramen as my “Last Meal on Earth”. If something happened to me, what would I say to God when he asks, “Mr. Pomai, what happened to your Yelp statement? Looks like your last meal on Earth was Rainbow Drive-In Chili & Rice, not Tokyo Ramen.” To which I’d answer with much satisfaction, “Nah God, I’m good with my last meal on Earth being a hot bowl of local style Rainbow Drive-In Chili & Rice… da’ buggah’ was broke da’ mout’ onolicious winnahz!” To which he’d probably just shake his Almighty head, thinking “Oh Lord, braddah cuz…” LOL!!!