Grindz of the Day: KCC Farmers Market, Box Lunch ‘n Buns

Sweet Revenge Papaya Meyer Pie: cheesecake, papaya, Meyer lemon, gelée and whipped cream

Let’s begin today’s “Grindz of the Day” back again at my favorite Saturday morning stop, the always awesome KCC Farmers Market. This time at a new vendor’s booth doing business as “Sweet Revenge“, headed by owner and baker Kathy Masunaga.

Sweet Revenge Lilikoi Chiffon, Chocolate Mess, French Apple and Pumpkin Crunch Pies

While you regulars here know I’m not big on desserts, and didn’t try any of these pies, I must admit they do look and sound absolutely onolicious. And Kathy was doing GANGBUSTERS in sales that morning! Next time she’s there, I need to ask her why she named her baking business “Sweet Revenge“.

Ho Farms’ Kahuku eggplant variety

Just a few booths down from Sweet Revenge was this beautiful array of farm-fresh Kahuku eggplant from Ho Farms, more famous for their grape and cherry tomato varieties. Always good stuff!

Small Kine Farm’s Waimanalo-grown USDA organic certified Crimini Mushrooms

Also nearby on the same morning at KCCFM, another relatively new vendor is Small Kine Farm out of Waimanalo, specializing in USDA organic certified Portabella, a.k.a. “Tutu Portabella” and Crimini, a.k.a. “Keiki Portabella” Mushrooms. Ooh, ‘shrooms… my FAVE!

Small Kine Farms’ Waimanalo-grown USDA organic certified Portabella Mushrooms

When they first started at KCC Farmers Market, they used to offer only raw, unprepared Cremini mushrooms, and their booth was always very slow. Well, one Saturday morning recently I approached the owner, suggesting that to attract the crowd’s attention, they need to offer prepared dishes made with their mushrooms, as many folks at the KCC Farmers Market are there to EAT, not buy produce, or at least some of both. Sure enough, two weeks later, they pulled through with my suggestion and began offering prepared mushroom grindz!….

Small Kine Farms Organic “Keiki Portabella” (Cremini) Mushroom Kabobs

Small Kine Farms Stuffed Organic Portabellas

Small Kine Farms organic “Keiki Portabella” ‘n Swiss Sliders

Needless to say, when I checked back in, they reported that sales had improved substantially since offering prepared mushrooms for the KCCFM crowd. Woot-woot!

Nalo Farms Nasturtiums Peppery Edible Flowers

Last stop at the Farmers Market for the day, I came across these beautiful Nasturtiums “Peppery Edible Flowers” at the Nalo Farms booth, an item I’ve never seen there before (or never noticed?).

Orchids are commonly used to garnish dishes and mixed drinks at “touristy” restaurants and bars around Hawaii, however Orchids aren’t really edible. I mean, you won’t get sick if you eat them, however it isn’t going to be pleasant. These “Peppery Edible Flowers” on the other hand not only look pretty, but also are advertised as palatable. Attention Hawaii Chefs, hit up Nalo Farms for these edible flowers to present and jazz-up your next award-winning dish!

Zippy’s Zip Pac going “manju” on da’ rice

Next up, I’m going to have to call out Zippy’s on this one: what is up with this Zip Pac? Do you notice what’s wrong with it? Da’ rice… that’s what’s wrong with it! Look at that! Dude, that’s like less than a scoop of rice, having barely enough to cover the bottom of the container, let alone having enough “rice-to-meat ratio” so that every bite of the fried chicken, fish, spam and teri’ beef has at least a chopsticks’ worth of rice to accompany it.

I mean, come on Zippy’s, we’re paying you almost $10 for a Zip Pac now, so the least you can do is give us two full scoops of rice! Sheesh! No worries though Zippy’s, we still love you, but you gotta’ love us back!

“Bento Man” 1.5 lb. Luncheon Meat, Gyoza, Omelet and Fried Rice Breakfast Bento

Actually, that “Manju rice action” Zippy’s Zip Pac brings to mind Diner A’s 1.5 lb. Breakfast Bento he had once, that had SO MUCH luncheon meat on it, da’ “meat-to-rice ratio’z” was WAY OFF KILTER, with way too much meat for the amount of fried rice. Da’ kine’, you stay all “hanging” for rice halfway through eating da’ bento. Da’ kine, you stay all “salty meat OD”. Da’ kine, laddat. LOL!

Hoku Brewing Company Loco Moco lunch special $6.99

Speaking of rice-to-meat ratio, check out this Loco Moco lunch special Diner E picked-up from Hoku Brewing Company, located next door to Liliha Bakery on Nimitz, formerly Aloha Beer Company. One massive flattop griddle-cooked beef burger patty (no fillers, with thin-sliced sauteed onions on top) floating in the center of an even more massive bed of white rice.

Such a massive portion like this for just $7 is actually a good deal by today’s plate lunch market prices. Still, da’ “brown beer gravy” is was kinda’ weird. Too watery if you ask me. Looks more like shoyu. Da’ gravy gotta’ be way mo’ah (more) “tick” (thick), and way moah brown’ ‘n beefy to win my “Loco Moco” heart. lol

The over-easy (more like over-well) egg was also supposed to be cooked sunny side up according to Diner E.

Hoku Brewing Company Loco Moco lunch special, with homemade Takuwan and Namasu

Not to fret on rice-to-burger ratio or egg doneness though, as Diner E came prepared, adding his own homemade Takuwan and Namasu to the plate for the complete meal. Aaah, much better! Looks oishii now, brah! I gotta’ say, that homemade Takuwan Diner E’s wife’s friend made was winnahz! Almost as good as my favorite Maui brand spicy Takuwan!

King’s Hawaiian Lobster Roll

Rounding-up today’s “Grindz of the Day”, let’s talk buns. Reason why is, I’ve got this “pet project” in the works on authentic East Coast Lobster Rolls, working alongside former Rhode Island native and now “Makaha Son” Ken W. on the details.

And according to Ken, one of the key “ingrediments” to an authentic Maine, Connecticut or New England style Lobster Roll is a New England style top-split hot dog bun, which as far as Ken knows, are not available at all locally on Oahu.

However he discovered an even better replacement for New England style top-split hot dog buns with King’s Hawaiian Original Sweet Top-Split Hot Dog Buns. Not only because of their New England style shape and cut, but also because they’re essentially Portuguese Sweet Bread buns, which really enhances the sweet flavor of the cold water lobster meat that’s stuffed in it. Sounds like a winnnah’ to me!

Rego’s Purity Portuguese Brand Hot Dogs available at Foodland Farms Aina Haina, $10.99 per 10-pack (2 lbs.)

Before I continue on hot dog buns, just wanted to point out these here Rego’s Purity Portuguese Brand (sausage) Hot Dogs recently spotted at Foodland Farms Aina Haina, which I’ve never seen the Purity brand made in this size available for retail before. These nice ‘n big (but not too big) Podagee Hot Dogs look like a perfect match for any of these sweet bread hot dog buns!

Punalu’u Bake Shop Sweetbread Hot Dog Buns available at Kapahulu Safeway, $4.99 per 10-pack… yo’ Ken, I think these could totally work for a Lobster Roll!

<begin rant>So yeah, I was on a serious “mission” to find King’s Hawaiian Original Sweet Top-Split Hot Dog Buns, which I had to drive all over frickin’ town to find, as most grocery stores either didn’t stock that particular product item (they carried every other King’s Hawaiian product but the hot dog buns!), or they (Safeway and Foodland) were out of stock. Literally drove me NUTS finding them!

La Tour Bakery’s Sweet Hot Dog Buns are winnahz!

Having thought I’d never find the King’s Hawaiian top-split Hot Dog Buns locally from a nearby supermarket, for back-up, I almost bought those Punalu’u Bakery Sweet Hot Dog Buns from the Kapahulu Safeway, however ended up getting a pack of La Tour Bakery’s Sweet Hot Dog Buns from their KCC Farmers Market booth, which were just $3 for six massive buns. Sweet deal.

And La Tour’s sweet Hot Dog Buns are really ono! Possibly the best hot dog buns I’ve ever had! They’re kinda’ sweet like Portuguese Sweet Bread, and best of all, they’re not split yet, so you can cut them however you want, depending what you’re going to fill them with, whether it be a massive sausage, a standard hot dog, sub sandwich, Banh Mi, or in this case, a classic Lobster Roll.

King’s Hawaiian Original Sweet Top-Split Hot Dog Buns, available at Safeway and select Foodland locations on Oahu. $4.99 per 6-pack

As mentioned previously, thankfully after spending over two frickin’ hours on a precious Saturday driving to the Kapahulu Safeway, then to the Beretania Safeway, FINALLY I found them in stock at the Pali Safeway, with only two packs left.

I mean, sheesh, what? Is suddenly everyone on a kick for King’s Hawaiian Hot Buns? And they’re not cheap either, running $5 for just six buns. Makes me want to go all Steve Martin “Father of the Bride” on them, and stuff four more buns from another package in my package so that it equals the same amount of hot dogs in one 10-pack package. Damn it! lol  </end rant>

KIng’s Hawaiian Original Sweet Top-Split Hot Dog Buns

Reason for the mad hot dog bun hunt is, “Rhode Island to Makaha Son” Ken says these King’s Hawaiian Original Sweet Top-Split Hot Dog Buns are even BETTER than the classic New England style top-split hot dog rolls for making Lobster Rolls, and I want to do my presentation of Lobster Rolls using only the best, most authentic ingredients, according to Ken.

Well, now that I’ve got the cold water lobsters, including tails, knuckles ‘n claws, and I’ve got the right rolls, coming soon here, we’ll take an onolicious dive into the northeast coast for some classic New England, Connecticut and Maine style Lobster Rolls!

Maine Lobster Roll on a New England style top-split hot dog roll