episode 60 :: island time

I’m back from a very relaxing vacation in Hawaii. The trip, as I expected, gave me perspective, but brought many more questions. I questioned the reasoning behind a lot of Hawaii’s food going in. And after a week of deep inquisition, I’m no closer to having a clue than I was before I got there.

So much for investigative reporting.

Hawaii’s a tough nut to crack – and I’m not talking about the Macadamia, which apparently plays a major part of a very famous mango-glazed chicken dip with toast points. Please, don’t ask. The food of Hawaii is schizophrenic – no question about it.

Listen to episode 60 now

In this episode:
• How the BP leak in the gulf looks all the way from Hawaii
• Kona Brewing can’t hold Maui Brewing’s jock
• Hawaiian food is so mixed up, even Zimmern can’t fully understand it
• High five to Rachael Ray! Yes, that’s right – it’s raining pink elephants.
Let’s make Poke Tacos!
• The Bourdain/Richman battle may have crossed the line . . . just a little
New travel blog from my friend Scott and his girlfriend Christy
• Top Chef Season 7 begins June 16th
• Pearl Harbor, and how we’ve started to lose touch with our history
• Dude Food — a new video cooking series, coming this Summer
Eat My Blog, June 19th. Come taste tasty treats from Jo & I and help the LA Regional Food Bank

Music in this episode by Blue Stahli. Buy the song in the iTunes Store or from the band’s web store.


  1. Welcome back, Phil! So glad you guys had a great vacation. Your riff on Hawaiian food cracked me up. Loved it. Agree with you re Rachel Ray – normally she makes me nuts but she really had her act together, and said some important things – who knew? And Bourdain – I’m an admirer from afar. I think he probably gets away with shit because he’s a really smart guy. Knows what he’s talking about – can’t vouch for his cooking abilities… but you have to admire his knowledge and chutzpah. Love, LOVE the new music – great group/song. See you at Eat My Blog.

    • Thanks Charles, as always. I thought the last thing I’d ever be playing on this show was a clip of Rachael Ray campaigning for food education in schools. But it does show how far we’ve come.

      I don’t mean to beat up on Bourdain either. That wasn’t my point. I do think he tends to say and write things to get a rise out of people. That’s his goal, and he achieves it. Keep them talking, always. And it works. I just think the use of the “c-word” is a little heavy handed and could come back to bite you in the ass someday.

  2. Phil, love your show. Was getting caught up when you released this one and just had to listen! Sounds like you had a wonderful time in Hawaii. We visit there every few years (relatives live in Maui). I have never tried that beer, so I will give it a try the next time I’m there.

    Love the music and love your podcast. Keep up the great work.

    • Thanks for listening, Kim. I appreciate your feedback. I think Maui or Kauai is definitely our next destination when we visit Hawaii.

  3. Hey Phil,

    Love the Podcast-been listening since almost since the beginning. I wanted to stick up for Kona Brewing and Loco Moco. A visit to the Big Island almost a year ago with my wife, a fellow beer lover, was made even better by several visits to Kona Brewing. I agree that Kona beers on the mainland except for Pipeline Porter are pretty average. The brewpub had about 12 beers on tap during our visit including a barley wine, old ale, a saison, and three different styles of porter. All of these on-site only beers were excellent.

    I also wanted to give props to U-Top it in Kona which makes Loco Moco an art form. From bottom up- a Taro pancake, then excellent fried rice, an egg (scambled for me), a 1/3 pound high quality beef patty, then topped with a rich brown sauce. What an experience-yep not healthy-but crazy good.

    Keep up the great work ,


    • Brady, thanks for your feedback on this. And thank you for listening for so long. Really appreciate that too!

      You’re saying exactly what I’ve been told by other people too – that drinking Kona Brewing at the brewery is a different experience. And I think had we had the chance to actually visit that brewery, I probably would have enjoyed what they were offering. I hear they make a seasonal beer with Passion Fruit that sounds very good.

      And Loco Moco . . . damn that dish still scares me! But it’s popular for a reason. I’m just missing the boat, brother.

      Thanks again, Brady!

  4. Have to agree with you and the other listeners about Anthony Bourdain. Seems most of what he says is tongue in cheek and it’s almost always said with a half-cocked smirk on his face, as if he’s waiting for a reaction. Now I saw somewhere that he’s charging $50 a head to see him speak? Who would pay $50 to listen to him speak when you can see him on television practically every day on The Travel Channel.

    I love Hawaii. We haven’t been back in a few years. If you ever get a chance, visit Kauai. It’s far nicer than Oahu. Less crowded.

    • You have to admit Bourdain is banking on his success as best he can. If he can fill a stadium of people to watch him talk for an evening, more power to him. Call it selling out or whatever – he’s doing what he can, while he’s still viable.

      I’m not deep into his book yet (will read most of it this weekend) but he does seem to hit on a lot of topics that we all find interesting, as fans of food culture. He’s not a big fan of the Food Network for a reason, and I love hearing the inside scoop on this stuff.

      Thanks for sharing your comments, Michelle.

  5. Hey Phil, great show again. Congrats on another year of podcasting!

    Interesting discussion about Hawaiian food. People tend to think it’s just one kind of cuisine, but it’s not at all. And people think Trader Vic’s is the best place too, but it isn’t. Trader Vic’s is to Hawaiian food what Yoshinoya is to Japanese food. I will say that it’s one of the greatest restaurants of it’s kind. It’s not Hawaiian, but it sure has that groovy post war Polynesian vibe.

    • Hi Paul

      Thanks for your feedback. Trader Vics was the one place I wanted to visit, but didn’t. I hear great things about them too. If I can sum up Hawaiian food, it’s that the food is fun, comforting, and delicious. My bewilderment with Loco Moco aside, there’s nothing intimidating about Hawaiian food. It makes you happy when you eat it – whether it’s raw fish, some pineapple or fresh fruit, the pork, or a spam sandwich. It tells you that you’re in Hawaii.

      Cheers, and thanks for listening!

  6. I looked up the Loco Moco and MUST eat this! sweet jesus almighty that is awesome!

    Having tackled the KFC Double Down http://www.douglasderda.com/blog/2010/04/30/fast-food-friday-kfc-double-down-combo-meal its really not THAT bad to eat. a little too salty, but when I looked up the nutritional value (if that wasnt an oxymoron for KFC) its actually better than most value meals out there. My sodium level shot thru the roof though. Its a one time try.

    Nice talk about Pearl Harbor. That would chap my ass if I was there. People in general are numb to manners when it comes to cell phones.

    • Thanks for chiming in on the KFC sandwich, Spoon. Glad you ate it so we don’t have to. I wouldn’t come close to putting anything like that in my body. I do enough damage with chicken wings – and that’s my limit.

      And I hope the whole USS Arizona rant wasn’t too political. It just really chapped my ass that day. People can be so disrespectful.

  7. As a fellow diver I agree with you about the health of the oceans. Also had a similar experience with Maui Brewing on a trip to Hawaii.
    It will be interesting to hear what you have to say after you go to Les Halles. I went a couple of years ago with moderate expectations and thought it was very good (and reasonably priced). We had a big group for a party and everyone had a great time and enjoyed the food. I would definitely go back. I think it’s fashionable to criticize Les Halles so you can show unimpressed you are with the celebrity chef connection but as far as I’m concerned they do it up right.

    • You are spot on with that, Bill. I think that might be the one thing I have a problem with when it comes to food critics – the hidden agenda factor. Having just read the entire story behind Bourdain’s war with Richman, it’s clear that Richman’s opinions while very strong and weighed down with his own personal agenda, are more often than not extremely damaging, given who he works for.

      Thanks for your words about Les Halles. I can’t wait to have dinner there and form my own opinion as well.

      Keep on diving. It’s one of the most relaxing things we can do for ourselves.

  8. Hey Phil,
    I really enjoyed the show this week. I’m always interested in hearing about the beautiful land of Hawaii. I so miss all of the good foods there too. The poke talk really made my mouth water. It reminded me that I have a nice bottle of nama shoyu on shelf that is just asking to be put on some sushi grade ahi. The talk about spam was great too. Although hearing about the kalua pork got those wonderful plate lunches stuck in the back of my mind. Looks like I’ll be visiting Kealani’s in Encinitas for some of that good stuff accompanied by some macaroni salad.
    Good audio from Anthony. I have to agree with him on the fast food places where they prepare only one dish. These places are where best foods live in South East Asia. Unlike here, those are the places where you know the food is totally fresh. You walk into a place like a train station where you think I just need something to put in my stomach and you walk out with one of the best meals of your life. All this from a scary run down food court with food flavors comparable to restaurants 3 or 4 times their price, but it’s where the locals eat and with good reason!
    Thanks for plugging our blog site too. We hope to have the main website launched sometime soon. We’ll have many more local and foreign travels to come. We’ll pack it with great stories, tips, vivid photography and much more to come. Sorry Phil, the videos that I took with my digital camera weren’t all that cool so I left them out. If anyone would like to become a fan on facebook or knows someone else that would like it go right on over here. Thanks! http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ordinary-Traveler/264025832975?ref=ts.

  9. Hi Phil, just wanted to stop by and let you know you have a fan in Australia. I LOVE your podcast, have recently found it and just going through all the past episodes at the moment. I am a huge ‘foodie’ and really enjoy your show topics particularly the beer reviews……I’m having a Coopers Vintage Ale at the moment as I type mmmmm 🙂 do you have Coopers in the US? Anyway keep up the great work xxxx

    • Hi Simone

      Thank you for your excellent comments! I love hearing from everyone – especially listeners overseas. 🙂 What are your favorite things to eat in Australia?

      I LOVE Coopers. I’ve had both their pale ale and sparkling ale and I love them both. I would love to find other beers they make, especially if that Vintage Ale is as anything nearly as delicious as the Fullers Vintage Ales were from the UK.

      Thanks again for taking the time to come here and comment, and for taking the time to listen. It’s great to hear from you.

      x o


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