By Karen Iwamoto
Special to Frolic Hawaii
A few years ago I worked at an office downtown. I’d get there early just so I could grab a Wiki Wiki Breakfast Sandwich from The Carrot Patch in the Topa Financial Towers.
It’s nothing fancy, just melted cheese, a fried egg and ham lightly coated with mayonnaise between toasted sesame seed buns. I figured even I could recreate it. I tried. It wasn’t the same. Maybe they were using a special mayonnaise? Maybe the secret was in the grill? Maybe I really was that inept in the kitchen?
Whatever the case, the sandwich starts at $3.50 (add $1.50 each if you want more ham, bacon, mushrooms or spinach), so it’s not like I was breaking the bank to indulge. It comes wrapped in a sheet of tin foil, which keeps it nice and warm. You want to eat this sandwich warm. It’s not tasty when it’s cold and it’s not as good when reheated in the microwave.
The Carrot Patch is literally a hidden treasure. You have to walk into the Topa Towers lobby to find it. It’s next to The Cookie Corner.
It’s been there for years — since 1977, according to its website — and it does have a loyal following. In fact, I found out about it from a friend who used to work in the building and told me I had to get this breakfast sandwich. I heard from someone else that their whole office put in orders. And a luxury retailer has been coming in for 20 years specifically for this sandwich — which he swears used to have bacon bits mixed in.
I recently went back to see if the Wiki Wiki was as good as I remembered. The Carrot Patch had gotten a facelift since I’d last been there — new menu boards, flooring and equipment — but not only was the sandwich the same, so were the ladies behind the counter, and when one of them handed me my order, she smiled and said, “Long time since you come, yeah? Where have you been?”
I was caught off guard. “You remember me?”
“Of course, yes.”
I told her I’d stopped coming because I’d found another job elsewhere. She nodded and said she no longer saw many of her old customers, probably because they’d moved on to other jobs. “But now we have new customers that come.”
The Carrot Patch
Topa Financial Tower, Ground Floor
700 Bishop St.
Mon – Fri 6 a.m.-3 p.m.