After lunch at Mitch's I was off on a mission for the Missus at Ala Moana Center. Man, when I was first back here after being gone for almost a decade I was totally....well, overwhelmed might be the word. Ala Moana had grown into a multi-level, multi-building, multi (terrible)-parking, monster. Now two visits later, I've kinda relaxed and grown easy with the place.
After picking up gifts and omiyagi, I still had a great deal of time on my hands, so I decided to take one of my favorite drives..... I'm a "townie" at heart and I've always had a fondness for Mount Tantalus and Round Top Drive. Of course, it's been maybe almost fifteen years since I've been here. I wondered what had changed....well some things have changed, like, I don't remember the viewing platform at Puu Ualakaa State Wayside. You still can't beat the views from here.
I could see some rain moving in from Manoa Valley to my left.......
If you look down to the grassy area in front of the platform.....you can still imagine scenes from a certain well known movie filmed in Hawaii.
I used come up here once in a while when I lived here......though many times during the later part of the evenings....ummmm.....to...well...look at the city lights...yeah, to look at the city lights.
The rest of the afternoon was spent driving around, just checking things out......until I went to meet my friends for Pau Hana time, at a place where I've spent many of my evenings for over a decade.
I've kinda gone through this before, but from the day 8 Fat Fat 8 opened, we....I was a regular customer until I left Honolulu. In fact, even after I left, the Missus and I would return as the owner, Sy (RIP) adored the Missus. He knew the Missus as that quiet young lady who never understood what my friends and I were talking about (it's pidgin after all) but loved his black-bean ginger crab. In fact, I'd return there to meet friends and Sy would ask me, "when your wife come....tell me....I go buy crab!" So I'd tell him....the Missus and I would get there and have a seat at the table reserved by my friends. Sy would bring out this bucket and place a couple of live crab on the table! They'd be scuttling around....he'd tell the Missus, "which one you want....you pick!" Man, those were good times......much happened behind those seedy looking doors in the joint next to Midas on Beretania.
It was quite interesting....I hadn't been here since Sy passed away. There's a pool table now, fewer dart boards....still karaoke though. And to my joy, the place is still hopping, at least on a Friday night. Much has changed, different folks, different kinds of drinks, everybody texts, or tweets, or whatever....but pau hana time endures.
I ordered my usual drink.....which will make those craft beer lovers in San Diego cringe. But when I'm back home; it's "Bud light, bucket ice".....you don't buck tradition.
It was nice to know that Sy's daughter, I believe her name is Mary....I only remember Sy telling me when she was going to school in Beijing, is now running the place. It's been modernized a bit, business seems more formal, but it's still totally local.
And in my opinion, some of the best "stick to your ribs" local kind grindz are found at places like these. The best example would be Side Street Inn......
So here's what we had as pupus......I hadn't had Crispy Gau Gee, since before the millennium....
Crispy, salty, shrimpy, porky, dipped in a mildly spicy-shoyu sauce.....it took me back to my childhood when "Chinese Food" (notice the quotes) was something we had on special occasions.
"L" wanted the calamari, which, to me was over battered and gummy....though it was decent drinking food.
We ended by getting "Fat Fat Chicken", which was my favorite menu item here. It was the signature item that set 8 Fat Fat 8 apart when they first opened.
Basically salt and pepper chicken, flavored with five-spice, deep fried. This is still pretty good...crisp skin, nice flavor, great with beer, not as dry as I recalled.
Beyond the food; it was nice seeing my "old friends"....and we are getting older. I'm hoping we'll be meeting up again soon...... 2 Filipino's from Kalihi, 1 dude from Cleveland, and me....how we ever got to be life-long friends, I'll never know.....and that really doesn't matter, does it?
8 Fat Fat 8 Bar & Grille
1327 S Beretania St
Honolulu, HI 96814
Thanks for reading!