Something new: Ahi Assassins

IMG_6659While sitting curbside at a popular Chinatown dim sum spot, I noticed a gigantic Ford truck parked on the street, with “Ahi Assassins” painted across the side along with accompanying social media tags. I immediately checked them out on Instagram and saw that they were selling fresh, line-caught fish out of the back of their boat near the fish auction at the pier.

Catching up to 1,000 pounds a week, they yield about 500 pounds of fillet and 150 pounds of poke. These fisherman sell fish to the auction and cater to friends and family for special occasions. Their customers kept asking them to open a place where they could buy their fresh fish, poke and sashimi.

So owners Josh Schade and Erika Luna did just that, launching Ahi Assassins about a week ago along Beretania to satisfy the city’s endless demand for fresh fish. This cash-only, takeout spot offers seven varieties of poke for a very reasonable $10/pound; marlin dip ($12/pound); sashimi-grade ahi ($18/pound) and daily hot specials. Schade tells us that his prices are so much more competitive because there is no middle man since they are the fisherman.

Something new: Ahi Assassins

Picture 1 of 16

Located on the second floor of a small complex near the corner of University and Beretania, Ahi Assassins sits above Frost City and is near Jiffy Lube and Burger King.

Although the shop is now open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., the owners plan to eventually extend their hours to Sundays. Be sure to follow them on social media to keep up with their daily specials and hours.

AHIASS on Facebook
@ahi_assassins on Instagram

Ahi Assassins
2570 S. Beretania St.
Hours: Open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Our Top 5: Sandwiches in Chinatown

I’ve been a Downtown worker bee for some time now and consider lunch sacred — the time each day I can step away from the office and enjoy a quick bite before getting back to the grind.

Over the years, I’ve made my way to all kinds of lunch spots, from the most popular eateries to hidden gems tucked deep in Chinatown. Because I frequently seek out portable meals, sandwiches have become one of my favorite lunch choices, and fortunately, there are lots of choices now available throughout Downtown and Chinatown.

These are the five sandwiches that were love at first bite.

No. 5: Grondin French Latin Kitchen

Picture 1 of 5

I visited Grondin for the first time the week it opened, and the house-made charcuterie platter was easily the most memorable dish of the night with creamy pate, sweet bites of cured ham, rich foie gras, sour French pickles and stone-ground mustard.

During lunch, they take these same beautifully prepared ingredients and combine them into a charcuterie sandwich ($12). The rich, porky goodness is balanced with pickled red onions on a soft ciabatta. Each bite is creamy and rich and finishes with a little bite of bitter greens.

Grondin French Latin Kitchen
62 N. Hotel St.


Want more of Our Top 5

Here’s our full roundup of Our Top 5 picks

Something new: Shaka Shaka Tea Express at Puck’s Alley

IMG_6237Hawaii’s penchant for boba drinks, milk tea and basically anything Taiwanese tea has led to another shop to open in town. Last month, the Kalihi-based Shaka Shaka Tea Express opened a second location at Puck’s Alley in the University area.

Shaka Shaka has found a niche making smoothies, boba drinks and teas from fresh fruits and sugar cane. Owner Maggie Zhang goes shopping for fruit every day to ensure that the ripest, freshest ingredients are selected. She also uses high mountain leaf teas, whole milk and does not use any artificial powders, coffee cream, ice creams or canned fruits. Likewise, the high-quality boba is imported by special order from Taiwan and is kept for no longer than three months before being served. Customers can customize the sweetness of each drink based on personal taste.

Zhang, who opened the Dillingham shop late last year, decided to open another Shaka Shaka near UH, staying open late so she could hit the student market.

Shaka Shaka Tea Express

Picture 1 of 11

Owner Maggie Zhang goes shopping every day for fresh fruit for both Shaka Shaka Tea Express shops.

Shaka Shaka Tea Express
Puck’s Alley
1035 University Ave.
Hours still tentative
Monday-Thursday 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
Friday-Sunday 10 a.m.-11 p.m.

Original location at:
1199 Dillingham Blvd.

Two pros, $400,000, one Dragon King

IMG_6330Japan’s most prestigious shogi tournament, Ryu-oh, comes to Waikiki this week to crown a “Dragon King” and award $400,000 — the largest purse for any shogi tournament in history.

Shogi, often described as the Japanese version of chess, may not be well known in the United States, but in Japan, this traditional board game that originated in India has about eight million fans who play regularly, including 100 professional players whose matches are reported in the national Japanese media and streamed on the Internet. Much like chess, the coverage entails a detailed match recap of every move, which is studied by shogi enthusiasts.

The 27th Ryu-oh (meaning Dragon King) happens today and tomorrow, Oct. 16-17, at the Halekulani hotel, featuring a match-up between reigning Dragon King Toshiyuki Moriuchi and his challenger, Tetsuro Itodani, a 26-year-old rising star known for his aggressive style of play. Having grown up in the digital era, Itodani — one of the youngest professional shogi players — honed his style by playing multiple games online simultaneously.

IMG_6296Meanwhile, the seasoned veteran Moriuchi employs a more conventional style, and is known for his consistent, methodical play.

The two have met four times, and neither remembers the outcome of those previous matches. This will be the first time they are meeting in a best of seven series, which is expected to last eight hours.

To watch this high-stakes match, you can come to the Halekulani on Oct. 16 from 2-6 p.m. and Friday, Oct. 17, from 10 a.m. Admission is free and open to the public. A shogi workshop, led by professional shogi players from Japan, will be held at Waikiki Yacht Club on Saturday, Oct. 18, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Liliha Bakery Nimitz grand opening

IMG_6343After an extended soft opening, Liliha Bakery’s Nimitz location celebrated its official grand opening Tuesday, unveiling some new menu items to debut on Friday, Oct. 17.

The new dishes include roast pork, prime rib, spicy baby back ribs, along with guava and pumpkin cupcakes. Owner Peter Kim says his team also will be adding an oxtail soup, a fresh catch of the day and a crispy fried chicken.

As part of the grand opening, between Friday, Oct. 17 and Thursday, Oct. 23, dine-in customers at the Nimitz location will receive a complimentary original flavor Coco Puff with any purchase. Liliha Bakery also will reduce the price of a dozen Coco Puffs from $15.25 to $11.99.

Here’s a look at the new dishes coming just to the Nimitz restaurant:

New items at Liliha Bakery Nimitz

Picture 1 of 8

Owner Peter Kim with @LilihaBakery social media guru Shanae Kamakawiwoole and the head chef/baker, Stan Imai.

Liliha Bakery Nimitz
580 N. Nimitz Highway

Back in July 2014, Melissa Chang took a look at Liliha Bakery Nimitz right before it launched.