New menu items at Kissaten

Kissaten holds many memories for me, especially late-night ones. I’ve come here for a quick bite after the gym, stumbled in after a concert, and even broken up with someone within these orange walls. Oh Kissaten, the stories you could tell. Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, it’s the hip alternative to Zippy’s.

A Kissaten signature dish, their Truffle Mac & Cheese.

A Kissaten signature dish, their Truffle Mac & Cheese.

Now with a new menu released Tuesday, I see more memories being made. Probably the type that deal with a full stomach. The new items were originally rotating specials over the past months, but the owners and chefs listened to customer chatter and some have been promoted to the permanent menu.

For their breakfast menu, available from 6 to 11 a.m., they added an Acai Bowl, Mushroom Burrito and a Chorizo Burrito. Between 11 a.m. and 10 p.m. they’ve added Soba and Watercress Salad, Kale and Quinoa Salad, Turkey BBQ Wrap, Pesto Chicken Salad Wrap, BKTA (bacon, kale, turkey, avocado) Sandwich, Pastrami Swiss Melt and Truffled Egg Salad Sandwich.

I had the chance to sample a few of these items, along with some of their current fan favorites.


Miso Ramen
It is what it is. Available between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., it comes with two gyoza and a sliced egg. The broth has a strong miso flavor with a pleasant velvety texture. The gyoza is your standard fare, while the noodles are a bit soft. All in all, it’s filling and goes for $8 a bowl. There’s better ramen out there, but if you’re craving a ramen fix after 2 a.m., this is the place.


Portabello Mushroom Burger
This was suprisingly good, considering I’m not a mushroom fan. Available between 11 a.m. and 10 p.m., this marinated mushroom cap with mozzarella and housemade mac pesto is packed with flavor and oozes juicy goodness with each bite. At $9.50, it’s pricey but worth it. It’s a decent size, so you might cut it in half and share with a friend.


Pastrami Swiss Melt
There’s a bite to this beast, which comes from the pickled red onions and whole-grain mustard aioli. The kaiser roll is a tasty container for the pastrami, which asserts itself on your tongue, along with its coating of melted Swiss. The whole package is rather messy and can tend to fall apart with each bite, so have some napkins ready. It goes for $9.50 and is available between 11 a.m. and 10 p.m.


Acai Bowl
Unfortunately I didn’t have a chance to snag a bite of this. It comes topped with bananas, seasonal berries and Greek yogurt. At $7.50 a bowl, it looks like you’ll get your money’s worth. The acai bowl is only available during breakfast hours, from 6 to 11 a.m.


Add A Rainbow
If you brush and floss regularly, then the Add a Rainbow option may be for you. To any beverage you can add whipped cream and marshmallows topped with a Rainbow Sour Belt. It definitely puts the sugar in sugar rush. I had the friendly staff Add a Rainbow to my vanilla-flavored Italian cream soda. It was my first time for both. The carbonation and sweetness were intense. If you want to relive the glory days of snorting powdered sugar from straws, this may be for you. You’ve been warned. I wasn’t given a price point for this option, but it’s there if you want to take advantage of it.

88 Piikoi St.

Ballin’ on a budget: Lunch

On the prowl for a tasty deal? So is Frolic photog Eric Baranda. Ballin’ on a budget spotlights his top picks around Honolulu.

The question has troubled mankind since the dawn of time: where to get lunch? With the plethora of food options available in the modern world, being on a limited budget can help set boundaries to make things more manageable.

I’m here to share my favorite lunch spots that keep me satisfied while staying within my budget. My choices all fall under $10. A caveat: I work in downtown, so most of these places are there or nearby.

Maguro Bros.

Maguro Bros.

Maguro Bros.

I come here so much the owners call me Everyday Man. All I have to say is “the usual,” and I get it: three ahi, two salmon and two hamachi sashimi pieces, accompanied by two slices of tamagoyaki egg roll on a generous bed of sushi rice. It’s not on the menu, but you can’t beat the quality and $9.50 price. The sashimi is among the freshest you can get anywhere on the island.

Tucked amid the stalls of Kekaulike Market in Chinatown, Maguro Bros. is not easy to find. If you don’t work nearby, your best bets for parking are the Nimitz/River, Maunakea or Smith street municipal garages. And seating is limited and not good for groups, so plan on having a nice lunch date for two or some quality time with your plate of sashimi.

Maguro Bros. • 1039 Kekaulike St. #113 • 259-7100

Marukame Udon

Marukame Udon

Marukame Udon

My go-to bowl is their signature and most affordable, the $3.60 Kake Udon. When I feel like splurging, I cough up 50 cents more for a soft-boiled egg. The noodles are thick and the broth flavorful, with delightful fried tempura bits and green onion. The egg adds a nice layer of thickness to the broth if you break it early. You can also opt to let it sit and cook a little for a bit more firmness if you want to swallow it all in one gulp. If you’re a soda fan be warned, as the only liquid refreshments available are water and tea.

Marukame is on Fort Street Mall, so I’d suggest parking at Kukui Plaza and taking a nice walk down.

Marukame Udon • 1104 Fort St. Mall • 545-3000

Menchanko Tei

Menchanko Tei

Menchanko Tei

When I want to sit down, relax and enjoy a pleasant atmosphere over delicious food for an affordable price, I go to Menchanko Tei on Keeaumoku Street. Yes, they offer five other daily lunch sets, but for $9.75 I get their Kakuni Don and Mini Ramen set.

The size of the kakuni pork is what sets off this meal: You get two substantial portions on rice, with an amazing fat-to-meat ratio resulting in a burst of juicy greasy goodness with marinated kakuni in nearly every bite. It’s probably not the healthiest dish, but everything in moderation! Or you can trim the fat from the pork, which is a test in willpower. There are other dishes in the set: The salad has a tasty dressing, the tofu is soaked with sauce, while the ramen is a satisfying side.

Parking is tight and limited to two hours, but sometimes security can be overzealous and ticket your car after only one. If you find out who to complain to, let me know, haha.

Menchanko Tei • 903 Keeaumoku St. • 946-1888

Mr. Donuts

Mr. Donuts

Mr. Donut’s & Bakery

I truly believe that dessert is an acceptable solo meal option. And sometimes you just gotta have a little sugar after lunch. Or a lot. Mr. Donut’s on Hotel Street is your affordable sugar rush solution. They offer donuts nearly the size of your face, which may seem like a slight embellishment, until that sweet ring is sitting in your stomach. Fluffy, gooey and glazed in sugar, their donuts are baked fresh every day and they make me happy. Especially at only $1 each. You can eat donuts every day at that price. I wouldn’t recommend it, though, unless you’re a pretty active person and even then, I waive responsibility for any consequences.

Since it’s downtown, parking sucks. Park at any municipal parking lot near Hotel Street and prepare for a hike.

Mr. Donut’s & Bakery • 134 S. Hotel St. (corner of Bishop) • 545-2961

Paul's Poppers

Paul’s Poppers

Paul’s Poppers

You need to eat something, but can’t make up your mind what and only have a few bucks in your pocket. It’s Paul’s Poppers for you. These little fried won ton bites are stuffed with a large assortment of fillings, making them a good option when you’re not sure what you want, especially at $1 a pop, pun intended. Here’s what you get in their $7 sampler: pork jalapeno and cheddar, turkey jalapeno and cheddar, turkey melt, spinach and artichoke, pepperoni pizza, caprese and cheeseburger. And that’s not even all the flavors they carry.

There’s only one or two tables, though, so plan on takeout unless you don’t mind standing. Which is a viable option since the poppers can just be tossed into your gaping mouth.

Paul’s Poppers • King’s Gate Plaza • 555 North King St. #110 • 351-7583 •

Party pics: Flux Pavilion @ The Republik

Bass legend Flux Pavilion blew the doors off The Republik at midnight last night. He filled the crowd with energy and got them jumping during his 90-minute set, playing hit tracks like I Can’t Stop and Gold Dust. Doors opened at 9 and included opening acts Night Marcher, DJ Technique and DJ Packo.

Flux Pavilion, also known as Joshua Kierkegaard G. Steele, is an internationally recognized English entertainer who’s been performing since 2008. This was his first Hawaii performance.

Flux Pavilion @ The Republik

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Party pics: Art + Flea presents 8 BIT!

Art + Flea presents 8 BIT brought back the nostalgia of old-school video games last night at Ward Village. Art for the evening was inspired from the days of coin-operated arcade games, with classics such as Tetris and Super Mario Bros. making an appearance. The urban market featured more than 60 local fashion, art, music and food vendors. Entertainment included live DJ sets by Secret Record Store and KTUH, with a live performance by Hypersquad dance team.

Art + Flea is held every last Thursday of the month.

Art+Flea presents 8 BIT!

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Attention geeks and gamers: Other Realms reopens

I am a geek, a gamer, a nerd — and proud to proclaim it. In Japan they have a word for this malady: otaku. So I’m that too. A night spent playing a conjurer of conjugation, with a million hit points and maximum charisma, is a night well spent. I consider anime and manga higher forms of art and literature. Because they are.

For me and other followers of the nerdlife, Other Realms has been a pillar of stability. Over the past 27 years they have resided in Ward Warehouse, providing a gathering place for us to indulge passions like Dungeons and Dragons, Magic: The Gathering, and the Avengers.

Other Realms Grand Opening

Now, citing a need for more room and a better fit with future plans, Other Realms has moved to a space in Nimitz Center that’s more than double the size of their now-closed Ward store. The interior is stocked with all manner of comic books, board games, role-playing games (RPGs) and related paraphernalia to delight geeks and gamers.

Other Realms Grand Opening

Gamers knew Other Realms for their Monday evening gamedays, where they rented out the large conference rooms in Ward Warehouse for gaming use. Now their new location has two multipurpose rooms that can be used for gaming on a first-come, first-serve basis. The rooms can hold two to four tables, and there’s a dedicated multipurpose table near the center of the store that can seat up to 10 people. Right now there are no fees and no need for reservations.

Other Realms Grand Opening

With their new location and instore gaming rooms, Other Realms now considers every day gaming day. They want to be a gathering place for the geek and gamer community and will continue to host organized gaming gatherings along with larger scale events such as Games Day and International Tabletop Game Day.

For more information on Other Realms and their events, visit them at

Other Realms
1130 N Nimitz Hwy, Ste. C-140
Monday – Saturday 10am to 9pm
Sunday 10am to 6pm


Other Realms Grand Opening

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