CHEF SAMBRANO Food Articles Video Recipes




Monday, February 28, 2011

Several Las Vegas companies make, distribute tasty products - Dining / Taste -

Several Las Vegas companies make, distribute tasty products - Dining / Taste -

Maui- Home Cooks Creative Stir Fry

Stir fries are a common type of cooking technique here on Maui, go to any a local's house, and you're bound to find a wok sittin on the stove. Why is stir frying really popular on Maui? Well, the Chinese immigrants used the wok, and from there all the other people from other parts of the world that came to work here in the plantations decided, "Hey WTF, that wok is really easy to use."

Hence stir frying is a huge part of cooking here on Maui, and in a wok you can cook anything, from entrĂ©es, to soups, stews, desserts even, the wok is universal in its application. Just remember when you use a wok, to use one that is the right size for your particular project. If you use a stove in your home be it electric or gas, a flat bottom carbon steel or cast iron will suffice. You see ones with the round bottoms 12 inches to more in diameter, well those are made for really high BTUs gas stoves or pits where the flames can reach tremendous temperatures. A 10-12 inch wok is good for small families, you don't cook stir fries in huge amounts, usually limiting the wok to about 10 to 12 oz. of thinly sliced food items so it cooks quickly.

What's the proper technique for stir fryiing?

1. Your proteins (meats) should be thinly sliced, if using grain influenced cuts like flank or flap, slice them thin across the grain for easier chewing, and you'd want to marinate the meats for a few minutes to infuse some flavors. Be it soy sauce, fruit juices, herbs, spices, let it sit.

2. Use a vegetable oil, a couple of tablespoons per session, make it hot hot!

3. Some chefs will cook the protein first, then set it aside, to cook the thinly sliced vegetables such as onion, carrots, celery etc., then returning the cooked protein to the wok, and then adding a sauce to it, cooking all the cooked items together for the final stir fry session, usually 1 to 2 minutes.

Note: In a professional Chinese Kitchen, a dish should not take more than 3 minutes to cook.

This is what a nice plate of chow fun should look like, the noodles are made out of rice flour, or wheat, some have eggs infused in it, so shop around if you have allergies you can make your own noodles, and cut in different thickness and widths.

Go to the Asian aisle of your local grocer and you should find chow fun, if it is sold in the dry goods section you'll need to cook them like pasta, and when done just right, remove them and strain them under cold water, and squeeze some vegetable oil over it and mix so it does not stick together. Just add the noodles to a hot wok to cook, or rather re-heat.

I won't give you recipes but what should you have on hand on your counter for a good Chinese stir fry?

Soy Sauce
Oyster Sauce
Sesame Oil
Peanut Oil
Pepper flakes
Fresh garlic
Fresh ginger
Fermented Chinese black beans
Toasted sesame seeds
Chinese 5 spice
Sugar or honey
Sherry or white wine
Salt and pepper

Thinly sliced, onions, green onions, celery, cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, shitake mushrooms, radish, gobo (burdock root), bamboo shoots (canned), water chestnuts (canned), and many other veggies you can get creative with. "Learn to create!"

Aloha Ron

Sunday, February 27, 2011

MAUI- Fast Sushi Genki Sushi Lahaina

Fast sushi, mediocre, but does da job if you love sushi, but are a sushi aficionado, Genki Sushi can or can't be the place for you. If you just want a quick sushi fix, it's okay, the conveyor belt that displays the slices of sushi, and other goods, can be good or bad, depending on the time of day you get there. 

One day all I wanted was a few pieces of sushi, and I know that there are great places on Maui to get fresh, killer sushi, it's like a marijuana smoker knowing what dealers to hit, who's got the sticky green stuff right? Well if you can't get to places like Sansei, Isana, or Kobe's, a quick fix for sushi at Genki can be alright. I've found that if the rice on the sushi looks like hard pellets you are better off ordering your rolls fresh from the waiter or waitress, and sometimes it seems the one in Lahaina.... well... no comment... it's okay, really it is. I said o.k, not euphoric.

If you haven't been to these sushi express digs before, you'll be charged by the color of the plates that you pick up from the conveyor belt that moves sushi right by your table. Wasabe in a jar also is on the belt, as well as desserts, edamame beans, tempuras, all on the belt. So again, you usually get 2 pieces of sushi on a plate, the plates with the yellow rings around it goes for 1.55, the red is 2.90, the green is 3 something etc. etc.

On this particular day all I had was a plate of Inari, a plate of Cal rolls, a plate of Salmon roll, and a plate of battered fish roll, and a coke. It came out to 14 bucks. Well, I ain't got a car right now to drive 10 miles to go to Sansei... but I could have gone to Kobe's, but it was too early.

Photo: Ron Sambrano
Inari sushi

If you are one to go "Yuk!" when facing a tray of raw fish, you can try the inari which is just tofu skin that is baked and filled with seasoned rice, no raw fish in it at all.

Also most sushi bars have cooked fish as well, and you can always find a fish or shrimp tempura roll, which is deep fried battered items, and rolled into sushi, good for the anti-rawist.

Photo: Ron Sambrano
Salmon sushi

If you eat Locks and Bagel, you'll love a salmon sushi roll. Despite smoked salmon's flavor, a regular salmon roll is tasty, you'll just have to get used to the texture. 

Photo: Ron Sambrano
At Genki Sushi Lahaina

No can't go wrong at an express sushi dig, if that's all you can get at the time. It's like getting a Mc Donald's burger or a gourmet burger from that upscale steak house, Genki would be the Mc Donald's of sushi, but it's okay guys, it's okay, give these guys credit, they do have a product, and they do have an audience, unfortunately I'm not their biggest fan, but I'll stop by if there's no alternative.

Genki Sushi is located at the Lahaina Gateway Shopping Center across from the Cannery Mall, just minutes from Kaanapali, Kahana, Napili and Kapalua. Look for the anchors Outbacks Steak House and Barnes & Nobel's Book Sellers, and Office Max, you see these stores, Genki is sure to be there, turn at the stop light on Keawe St., 808-661-0333

Maui- Indiian Food Monsoon Indian Kihei

Monsoon Indian Food on Da Beach in Kihei
There's a few things that's worth checking out, and the town of Kihei is one town you should check out, it's several miles of beach town that actually encompasses Maalaea, Kihei (north and south), Wailea, and Makena. You'll find lots of small white sand beaches along the coast, public parks, a roller hockey rink, a skateboard park, lots of eateries to satisfy anyone and everyone.

For those of you who love Indian food, like I do, go to Monsoons in Kihei. 760 South Kihei Rd. Kihei Suite 109. 808-875-6666.


According to friends that frequent Monsoon, the veggie dishes are awesome, flavored just right from mild to spicy hot if you ask for it, as well as the meat dishes. The menu has a good variety of options, can't beat the views when the sun goes down.

Vegetable Fritters, Chicken Curry, Chicken Saag to name a few very popular Indian dishes. Despite some people who had Indian food from India that said Monsoon is mediocre at best, that's just an opinion, and really restaurants are run by human beings and sometimes I hate to admit it, the cooks or waiters may have an off day for some reason, restaurants and sports, sometimes the workers like the players in sports will be out of their so-called zone. But from many that frequent Monsoon, it is a restaurant the can't be beat on the island for Indian grinez.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Maui- Simple Apps Appetizers That Is

Appetizers Maui Style....well, I really don't know what that means, except it's made here on Maui. Appetizers are a foodie's golf game, it's bowling, it's whatever. But appetizers are huge at parties. So on Maui what is considered a good appetizer? You name it, stuffed shrooms, stuffed peppers, fresh nachos, ahi poke, sushi, crab cakes, lobster cakes, won tons.

Photo: www,

Okay, I'll get a little creative with an appetizer, I'll get a 10 oz. rib eye steak.
8 oz. of cream cheese
1 tbsp. of onion powder
1 tsp. minced green onions
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. white pepper

Heat up a stainless steel pan over medium high heat.
salt and pepper the steak leave at room temperature
Cook the steak to your desire, hint, do not use any oil, let the rib eye sit on the hot pan, so it sears nicely.
As the steak cooks, mix the other ingredients in a small bowl, then place it in a big enough dish or ramekin.
When the steak is done cooking, let it rest for a couple of minutes, then slice it to your desired thickness. Feather the steak on a plate, with the sour cream mixture in the center. To eat this with some friends for an appetizer, use forks, pierce the slice of meat and dip it in the sour cream mixture.

Okay Foodies you got a simple beef apps... :)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Maui- Flatbread Paia the Best Original Veggie Pizzas

Paia Maui has the FLATBREAD CO. and they are into making the best from scratch pizzas in the whole wide freekin world! Did I say that? Yep I did say that. Flatbread is located on the ocean side of Hana highway, the road that runs through Paia town. Oh yes it is pronounced (Pah ee ah) not Pay ya. Get it right junior!

The ovens are those classic stone ovens with fire burning kiawe wood for the source of flame, an employee told me it's like what... 800 degrees? Man that's hot! But this is the place to get some killer pizzas. I had a veggie pizza and I'm telling you, as I ate mine I was drooling over the other table, this couple from Vancouver was nailing a pizza with kalua pig! Heck I got to go back bumbye (later).... But treking over from Lahaina without wheels is a major obstacle, I know the Maui Bus stops right there, okay, I'll make another effort.

But if you guys out there want a great pizza, or even salads, Paia has the best in the world, after you eat at this place, you'll fill out the comment card and tell them "Deliver!"

Picture by

"This is the best place I've ever eaten at for pizza, and I come from Chicago." Walter, Southside Chicago.

"I had the salad, it was really fresh, the waitress said it came from Maui, it was totally awesom." Ginger, Miami Florida.

"We had one that had potatoes on it, it was nuts." Gordy, Toronto Canada.

"Man the crust is killaz." Hoki, South Maui.

Maui- Kalua Pork on The Light Side

Keeping the sat. fats. out of your diet is easy!
Kalua pork is a tasty dish we locals love to eat, if done right it is very very delicious, moist, and can put you under the table for a good long nap period!

So if you have health issues, and you don't want a lot of saturated fats in your kalua pork, here is what you can do to make it less heavy.

First of all, if you purchased kalua pork from a vendor, and it is oily, put it in some boiling water, and then squeeze out the fats. Put the boiled pork in a saute pan with some vegetable oil, and heat it up so it won't taste like boiled pork.

To make a good low fat kalua pork, trim off all of the outer fats and skin from the pork, that's using a pork shoulder.

Whatever the size of meat you got, season it with just a little Hawaiian sea salt, or a little Kosher salt, and put some liquid smoke over it, I did some of these recipes before, but this is to keep it on the lighter side. Place pork in a roasting pan, add some water so that it goes half way up the meat, cover the pan with foil.

Heat the oven to 375 deg. F. and roast the meat for 3 hours or so, depending on the size, it should be tender you could shred it with your fingers, using an instant read thermometer check if the center of the meat registers at least 165 deg. F.

Shred the pork limiting portions to about 4 ounces per person, serve with lots of greens, sauteed kale, or cabbage does good, use low sodium seasonings.


One of the most common problems for locals here on Maui is the gout syndrome, where the high acidic foods causes joints to swell. Pork is the culprit of gout for many locals, but not all. So if you have a gout problem, stay away from pork if pork gives you gout. 

Maui- Vegan Vegetarian Deli Groceries DOWN TO EARTH

"I Want To Eat Healthy When I'm On Maui & I want organics!!!!!!!"
Wow settle down junior, I'll help ya out, settle down there boy.... your veins are poppin out...........okay...........healthy food? When on Maui? So... I reckon junior, you are a.................vegetarian? Vegan?

Oooriiite! We got that shit outta the way, so you want somethin healthy, I'll lead ya to a great place for you to get some nice foods that's well, vegetarian, and vegan. And I worked there before, so I can attest to the foods is really good there, and that place is called Down to Earth Natural foods right off of Dairy Road in Kahului, and it's right across of Starbucks at the Maui Market Place. 

They have fresh whole foods, organics and all natural, and a lot of locally made items. You like drinking Kombucha? Hey there's a Maui company that makes fresh Kombucha, and they sell it at Down to Earth. You need sustainable toiletries, they have that too. But the grab and go section has great vegetarian sandwiches, wraps, and dips, and sweets. They have a great hot bar, veggie lasagna, stir fries, roasted potatoes, cobblers, tofu dynamite, teriyaki tofu, and you can get sandwiches and wraps made to order, and smoothies too, ooooo.

Bulk section is probably the best on island, get your granolas, your raisins, dates, raw almonds for your almond milk, they got fresh peanut butter from make it your own machines, this place rocks! And there's an upstairs dining area where you can eat in comfort overlooking the parking lot. Okay it's no million dollar ocean view but what the *%(*$, it's high enough so you can look down and people watch..

Veggie Lasagna

Maui- Vegan Vegetarian Deli Groceries DOWN TO EARTH

"I Want To Eat Healthy When I'm On Maui & I want organics!!!!!!!"
Wow settle down junior, I'll help ya out, settle down there boy.... your veins are poppin out...........okay...........healthy food? When on Maui? So... I reckon junior, you are a.................vegetarian? Vegan?

Oooriiite! We got that shit outta the way, so you want somethin healthy, I'll lead ya to a great place for you to get some nice foods that's well, vegetarian, and vegan. And I worked there before, so I can attest to the foods is really good there, and that place is called Down to Earth Natural foods right off of Dairy Road in Kahului, and it's right across of Starbucks at the Maui Market Place. 

They have fresh whole foods, organics and all natural, and a lot of locally made items. You like drinking Kombucha? Hey there's a Maui company that makes fresh Kombucha, and they sell it at Down to Earth. You need sustainable toiletries, they have that too. But the grab and go section has great vegetarian sandwiches, wraps, and dips, and sweets. They have a great hot bar, veggie lasagna, stir fries, roasted potatoes, cobblers, tofu dynamite, teriyaki tofu, and you can get sandwiches and wraps made to order, and smoothies too, ooooo.

Bulk section is probably the best on island, get your granolas, your raisins, dates, raw almonds for your almond milk, they got fresh peanut butter from make it your own machines, this place rocks! And there's an upstairs dining area where you can eat in comfort overlooking the parking lot. Okay it's no million dollar ocean view but what the *%(*$, it's high enough so you can look down and people watch..

Veggie Lasagna

Maui- Plate Lunches In Kihei

Below Teri Chicken Plate Lunch

U gotta grine @ a local dig!

Anyone coming to Maui? And you're staying in Maalaea, Kihei, Wailea, Makena? Here is where you go for our local style foods, go to L&L in the Piilani Shopping Village, they have good local style plates, their Hawaiian Plate with Lau Lau & Kalua Pork, rice and macaroni salad.

Da Kitchen in the Rainbow Mall off of South Kihei Road, across and in between Kamaole Beaches 1 and 2 on the mountain side. Oh yeah, when you hear a local say "Mauka" (Mow kah) it means mountain side. Da Kitchen is a very popular local dig, their Hawaiian Plate is killers too. And they have good sandwiches.

Surfside Spirits & Deli located in the Island Surf Condos, off of Lower Kihei Road, across of Cove Park had some great local faves, Chicken Hekka, or Roast Pork, Poi, stop by and see Chef Johnson, he'll make you laugh.

Sports Page Bar and Grill located next to the Rainbow Mall on South Kihei Road, check out a game on their many monitors, and the food is great there too. Play some pool, and sometimes Vince Esquire rocks the house on some evenings.

Wok Star, stir fry with that hole in the wall feel, located across of Kalama Park, a very popular place, and my co-worker Ron Taylor swears by this place, and he knows food, so Wok Star should be a place you all stop by.

Eskimo Candy Seafoods and Deli located in the back of Kihei Elementary School, off of Lipoa, head down towards the ocean, and hang the first left, then the next right by the NAPA store. Great fish dishes, check out my friends Jeff and Victoria Hansen.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Maui- Cheap Eating w/ Chuck

Lahaina- One of the most inexpensive meals you can make is a stew, or braise why? Because to make a  great stew or a braise, you really don't need expensive cuts labeled Choice, or Prime. You can use an inxpensive cut from a Select grade such as a Chuck roast which comes from the shoulder part of the cattle.

Here's a simple recipe you can do in a slow cooker, this is the best way to make your meal, and I've done this cut several times on this blog but, I'll do a Beef Stew Curry and it's really easy.

Items to buy:

4 lbs. of Chuck roast. (if there's bone, cut it off)
(Here's a tip, a woman told me one time that the reicpe I gave her came out pretty lame, and I asked why? She said that I told her to put everything into her slow cooker, and that was including all the veggies, such as potatoes, carrots, celery, and some tomatoes) Well, she claimed the veggies were so wilted that it wasn't appealing. Well, here's a tip. See the veggies you will need below:

1 large potato cubed
1 larg carrot sliced 1/2 inch thick
4 celery stalks 1/2 inch slices
2 large Roma tomatoes cut into six pieces each

* You will not put this into the slow cooker, you will parboil the potatoes and carrots until soft, and then add in the celery and tomatoes to the cooked meat when it's done. In other words, when the stew is done, you'll add in the parboiled veggies and the celery and Romas.

For the seasonings:
4 tblsp. curry powder
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. onion powder
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. corianer
1 tsp. cardomom powder

1. Take the Chuck and cut it into 4 large pieces (the slow cooker will make it so tender you really want big slices) Place it into the slow cooker. With 1/2 cup of filtered water 

2. Season the meat with all of the seasonings. (Add salt when it is done, and pepper too)

3. Turn on your slow cooker, preferrably when you get home in the evening, turn it on before bed, and it's done in the morning. Let it cool and the refrigerate.
* When you get home in the evening, you'll have your Beef Curry Stew.

4. Add the cooked potatoes, carrots and the celery and tomatoes, take the now cold stew and heat it up in another pot on the stove top, or place all ingredients in a roasting pan, covered with foil and reheated in a 400 deg. F. oven for about 20 minutes.


Picture from:

Monday, February 21, 2011

Maui- Family Dinner

Family dinners, got up to my sister Joyce and her husband Greg's place to visit my other sister Esther and her husband John, both of them former restaurateurs, for 9 years owned the Honokowai Okazu Ya and Deli north of Kaanapali along with brother Harold, it was one of the most successful businesses in the country for a small business, so they do know quality food. So what did John chef out on this evening? Short ribs that fell off the bone, some roasted pork, mash potatoes with gravy, a salad, with cranberries. It was ono or delicious for those of you from another world. But it was more than just dinner because two old friends stopped by Toshi Nishimura and his daughter Paula, both of Lahaina, Maui. They were out of touch for some time, although I see Toshi quite often at the Lahaina Cannery Mall, he says it's nice and cool inside there, he loves to eat pasta from one of the digs inside there, and he's one of the sweetest souls around. He's a veteran of the 442nd combat unit, an aging and fading group of brave men made up of Japanese ancestry, they fought for the United States in
World War Two, and according to Toshi, he's like one of five or six soldiers left on the island of Maui. And I believe him, once were warriors, always a warrior, sometimes I cringe when people disrespect our soldiers, past and present. No matter what, especially if they have seen action, they saw things non of us would ever see, they value life a lot more that's for sure. Toshi Nishimura is one of the last, it was nice  to have him and Paula at Joyce and Greg's, and he loved John's cooking. John is an excellent chef and funny man too, so a dinner cooked by him is a treat.

Photo: Ron Sambrano
Toshi Nishimura 442nd Combat Veteran, husband, father, grandfather, and friend.

Food and family go hand in hand, I'll say it till I'm blue in the face, it was a special evening, it was kind of old school you know? Where everyone sat at the dinner table, a hot meal blessing us, I wouldn't trade that for a gazillion dollars, no way, wouldn't give it a thought. For anyone coming from another state or country, Maui is like any other place in the world that values family and food. To me all those stupid food shows don't have any meaning. Who cares if so and so makes a fantastic dish, the people who sit at the table actually makes the dinner. Toshi's wife Margie is in a care home, and he visits her constantly. His love of his life.. maybe fading away, just look at his face, this man is a good man, I've known him since I was a kid, and he at one time was an awesome fisherman. Some might say, "Get a degree in business and learn to invest, and buy up real estate." Toshi just takes care of what matters, and look at him, still going strong, he gave Joyce some eggplant from his garden, and man, that is so cool, to the maximum, nothing, nothing is greater than a man who works with his hands, and makes an honest living, with no flash, no bells and whistles, just old fashion love of work. Look at Toshi, he's our friend, and I can say this, I am happy that he always smiles when I see him, friends like this folks should be treasured in your lifetime. When many people stick you with the middle finger and the F word, a friend that is genuine, is someone to treasure for sure. And for those of you who still have parents? See them when you can, ours are gone forever, but for me personally I have no regrets, I told them what was needed before they took their last breath on this earth, and I'm telling you.... if you have parents, and you don't see eye to eye, bury the hatchet ASAP, and make things right. Make it right.

Photo:Ron Sambrano
Esther left, Paula right

Esther and Paula share stories of yesteryear, we left them alone to converse, as they say, conversation is healing, it's good to talk, to share. Paula's son Jason serves in the National Guard, her husband passed away, so yeah, she has some stuff in life to share, this is what I'm talking about folks, life, dinners, friends, family. Dinner tables in the past was where people got information on life, but these days, everyone has some iPad or iPhone at the table and texting or looking at their Twitter account.

Photo: Ron Sambrano
Chef John slicing through some tender beef short ribs

The beef short ribs was soft and tender fell off of the bone. Was definitely delicious, juicy and really tender.

Photo: Ron Sambrano
John slicing pork

Pork was tender and juicy as well, nice soft, melts in your mouth kine.

Photo: Ron Sambrano
Joyce with salad duties

Photo: Ron Sambrano
Greg talks with Paula, Toshi listens

Photo: Ron Sambrano

My plate, get out of the way! All mines man, get out of my way! This was a plate that is a blessing man, well balanced, starches, protein, greens and fibers, some sweetness. All good food, just look at that can't get any better than this. No need to stack the food on top of each other like those restaurants you pay lots of dollars to, and their food doesn't even fill you up, wussup with that? How much would I pay for a plate like this at a restaurant? Tell you what, can't get this good stuff in a restaurant, you gotta get it at home.

Photo: Ron Sambrano

Greg feeds the kitty dessert, the cat gets into the act too, kitty is part of the family. "I tawt I taw a poody tat, I deed I deed see a poody tat."

Photo: Ron Sambrano
Ethan on left Dusty right my 2 nephews acting silly

Photo: Ron Sambrano
Dusty, Aunty Joyce, and Tammy talk story

Life is too short folks, enjoy life, bury any tiffs you may have, and move on. As it says in the New Testament in the book of Ephesians, in a nutshell, love is the answer. Look around the corruption in this world, and being in a house with love, is better than being in a house with riches and malice. Yeah, can't get better than this evening. Aloha

Oh yeah if you're visiting this month it's whale season still yet. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Maui- We Love Ohana (family) & Food (Grinez)

Aloha my possible visitors or locals, well this is just to reiterate what we locals are all about, it is enjoying friends and family, and with that comes good entertainment, drink, food, and conversations. Here are some terms for visitors you got to understand.

To Grine: Is to eat, or partake in any edible sustaining item

To scarf: Is to grine.

To mopp: Is to grine

"We go cook out." Let's go and grill some shit up"

"Go git da greenies" One of two things, get the marijuana ha ha, or the green bottled beers

"We go cruise da stoah" "Let's go to the market and get some food."

"I like get some gout today." This means a local dude want to eat rich meaty foods that will cause him gout, usually lobsters, crabs, oysters, clams, scallops, briskets, pork loins, ox tails etc.

"Go eat no shame." Go help yourself to the spread are you fucking crippled?

"Uncle guys in da back yahd jammin" Uncle Joe and his drunken friends are playing music in the back yard"

"I no like eat haole food cuz." This means a local dude doesn't want any mainland influenced foods, and no "haole" isn't a demeaning word, it means foreigner. So he wants to eat foods created in the islands only.

"Bradda, make my steak all bloody on da insigh" Means grill his steak medium rare or fucking rare why don't you.

"Sistah stay all tired, go wash da plates" Sister is tired from cooking all day, will you please help her wash the dishes?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Maui- Jaime Navarro Foodie Quinoa Stir Fry

My friend and boss at the office Jaime Navarro is the ultimate foodie, what's she gonna make next? One time she made us steak and onions, one time she made us chicken stir fry, and then there was Xmas, when she made cookies, like 4 different kinds, Jaime is a food enthusiast supreme. So what was the dish she brought on Friday night February 18, 2011?

She made a stir fry with quinoa, it is a very delicate grain that cooks fast, vegans and vegetarians use this instead of rice on many occasions, and I used to cook this at a local health food store. It is so versatile it can be stuffed in a pita bread, or used in salads, and you can add any other ingredient you wish, just as Jaime did on this night.

She used green beans, carrots, no-nitrate Canadian bacon, toasted sesame, soy sauce.

Here are some pics of Jaime proudly holding her bowl of her creation, "Great Job Mrs. Navarro, you kick major f     ass!"

Photo by The Best Blogger in the whole universe me!
Jaime holding her bowl of quinoa.

Oh to die for, what a bowl of organic, orgasmic, foodie foods, look at that, fluffy, yet succulent, oh to be in heaven with 2 hot chicks with big..............oops, I forgot, I am talking about food... Uncle's sorry folks. He he. But this is the ultimate.

Serving size 185 g
Calories 222 Calories from fat 32
Total Fat 4g  5%
Saturated fats 0%
Trans fats 0%
Cholesterol 0%
Sodium 13 mg 1%
Total Carbohydrates 39g  13%
Dietary fiber 5g  21%
Protein 8g
Iron 15%

How to cook quinoa

Using a 2 qt. pot, add in 1 cup of quinoa, and fill the pot with water, and soak it for 15 minutes, this will loosen up the outer skin which can cause for a bitter after taste.

Strain quinoa in a strainer, removing the skins. Return to pot, add in 1 1/2 cups of water and 1 tsp. of sea salt. Bring to a boil, then cover with a lid, lower heat to simmering. Simmer quinoa for about 15 minutes. Off heat, remove lid, let cool, and use a fork to fluff it up.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Maui- Interview w/ Justin a Vegetarian

I'm interviewing Justin a vegetarian and he talks about the lack of vegetarian digs here.

1. Are you a full on vegetarian?
A. One hundred percent

2. So what makes you say Maui sucks with the vegetarian digs?
A. There's some places here that's good, but I'm not dissing the island, but where I'm from in Washington there's a better selection of digs.

3. I understand so if someone was to open up a vegetarian place what should be considered?
A. Flavors, I mean I used to eat meats, so I want someone to open up a place where we can get hearty vegetarian foods, tofu stews, hot good rich meals that's not taxing on our bodies and organs you know?

4. I kinda agree man, I used to chef it out for Down to Earth, and I love vegetarian and vegan but I like flavors too there's a lot of places that seem bland.
A. Exactly, I mean a nice vegetarian dig should have all the stuff we love only use veggies. Pizzas, tacos, pastas, I mean, I love food in that sense, I like Mana Foods, and Down to Earth, but man, this island could use more.

5. What else?
A. A good vegetarian place must sell more natural and organic stuff for sure. No GMOs.

6. Okay do you eat cheeses and eggs and dairy?
A. Yes I do, I do love eggs on occasion, and milk once in a while, and I love Mascarpone spread on crackers. I don't eat fish, I don't eat chicken, and zero beef or pork.

7. How long have you been a vegetarian?
A. For about 23 years.

8. You are devoted actually?
A. Yes, you can lose a lot of weight too, and I'm the kind of guy that can pack on the pounds, I run a lot, I used to do half marathons.

9. I have a hard time getting out of bed let alone run half marathons.
A. I believe you just can't eat right, you gotta exercise too.

Maui- Interview w/ Dave a Waiter (Annonymous Location)

This is an interview with Dave a Californian who moved to Maui several years ago, he's a waiter at a casual diner on Maui. I asked him some questions about being a waiter.

1. How long have you been a waiter?
A: I have been waiting tables since I was 21 now I'm a little older but I love people and love food.

2. For someone who is thinking of becoming a waiter, what makes a good waiter?
A: You have to hustle, you have to be a salesman also, you need to know how the foods are cooked, you need to be friends with the kitchen staff, don't be lazy, I'm a hyper person naturally, but you need to understand the customer's needs as well, they might have an allergy, and they might have health issues, and ingredients need to suit them.

3. What was the most tips you've made in one day or night?
A. Well, because this man was kinda ill, he was actually dying of some illness you know? Anyhow, his family was sad, of course they were, I tried to make them feel special, they had no idea about local fish, so I gave them the whole run down on it. I mean I don't fish,, but you gotta learn about it. Long story short, I just tried my best to make them feel at home. After the dinner, the guy's daughter comes back with an envelope, it's a letter stating that this may be the last meal the dad has outside of the home, and that her whole family was happy that his last possible restaurant meal was a happy one. That was a lot in itself, but the cash they left inside, let's just say, it was the biggest tip I ever made period, I won't say how much, but it was a lot, but like I said, even if that cash wasn't there, the letter of appreciation was gold.

4. What about chefs, how do you work with egos?
A. Yeah well, chefs do have that, well, I just try to be nice about it, after all the kitchen staff does work hard, and not everyone will love the food when it's made. It's opinions really.

5. One word to describe being a good waiter?
A. Work

Dave didn't give in to let me prop the place where he works, okay fine with me, but if he did, the place where he works would be happy. Maybe Dave is hiding from the mob?

No pictures sorry

Maui- Kalua Pork & Cabbage

Okay you are visiting from da mainland or somewhere else, one local dish that sells here is the kalua pork and cabbage, you can get this in some, not all plate lunch establishments sells this. If you are on Maui, there's several places you can get kalua pork with cabbage.

L&L Drive Inn (Lahaina in Cannery Mall, Honokowai across from Kaanapali Shores, Piilani Shopping Village in Kihei, food court Maui Market Place on Dairy Road)

Da Kitchen (Rainbow Mall in Kihei, Triangle Square in Kahului, the Wharf Cinnema in Lahaina)

Aloha Mixed Plate (Lahaina on Front St. behind Safeway)

Honolua Store in Kapalua Resort

Old Lahaina Luau

Photo by

Here is a simple recipe for kalua pork with cabbage you can make in your home.

1. 4-5 lbs. of pork shoulder fat on
2. Hawaiian sea or Kosher salt, rubbed over the pork generously.
3. 4 tbsp.liquid smoke
4. 6 cups of water
5. Preheat oven to 375 deg. f.
6. In a roasting pan, deep enough, place the water in it, then place the pork in to the pan.
7. Spread liquid smoke over pork, then cover with foil, and roast for about 3 hours. Let it rest covered.

8. Take a small head cabbage slice it into 1/2 inch strips and half it, then stir fry it in some vegetable oil to wilt it. Then in the roasting pan, drain the liquid, then shred the meat, next add in the cabbage and mix it well.

Serve with rice either brown or white, and macaroni salad.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

We like try your food!

Sampling in December new dig in Kapalua Maui
Village Cafe and Sweet Shoppe

Maui- Locals Condiments Have These, call yourself "Local"

Future visitors to Maui, here's a little foodie info for you if you really wanna be like us locals, let me tell you what a true local has as his or her condiments.

Shoyu- soy sauce, brands include locally owned Aloha Shoyu.

On the left is orginal on the right is lower salt, well if you want lower salt shoyu, just add  water to the original, but don't tell them that, they'll kill me. But this brand if you buy it? Hey you're one of us man, no questions asked. Though there's other great brands out there. Kikoman, and some other brands used in fine Japanese diners, but can't go wrong using Aloha Shoyu, or Aloha Soy Sauce as it says on the package.

Add this to saimin (Japanese noodle soup), chow fun (Chinese style rice noodles), Vietnamese Pho (soup), or with a marinade for Ahi poke. Add it to wasabe and make a  good paste for dipping fried morsels of meats, fish, chicken. Or some people will add mayonnaise to it for a spread, or in dyanamite dishes you'd find in sushi bars.

Best Foods Real Mayonnaise

All the locals that I know of that eat local, they all have lots of mayonnaise in their cupboards, it's one of the richest condiment that's versatile. Add some to sandwiches, hot dogs, burgers, salads, mix it with hot sauce, add it into chili, beef stews, curries, into sushi rolls, and whatever else, meatloaf mixes, the list goes on and on, add some ketchup and make a thousand island dressing, add some lemon, vinegar, and mustard and make a Hollandaise sauce, add some soy sauce and make some rich Japanese blend, add it to cake mixtures, and the cakes become rich.


This hot sauce is universal, packs enough punch for some spicey hot kick, sure there's other brands out there that has stuff called Volcanic! Or Utimate Heat! Or Blistering! Well, you can search for the hotter sauces, go right ahead but what I've found is most people can't tolerate very hot pepper sauce, so having Tabasco should do the trick. I personally add it into soups, stir fries, and grilled meats or chicken.

Hawaiian Chili Pepper Water

It is easy to make Chili Pepper Water, take some of these little red hot chilis, like about a cup of it, slice them lengthwise, leave the seeds in. Heat up a pot that can fit 24 fl. oz. Heat up about 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil over medium high heat, add in the chilis and saute over low eat, do not burn it, let the low heat sweat out the juices and water. Add in 1 inch of ginger sliced, 4 cloves of garlic crushed, then add in 24 fl. oz. of water, bring to a boil, then simmer over low heat. Add in 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar, 2 tbsp. of kohser salt, 1 tbsp. of red pepper flakes, continue to cook on low heat for 15 minutes. Off the heat, let cool. Pour contents into 12 fl. oz. jars, separate all of the ingredients evenly. This is just a basic recipe, you can add more ingredients if you like, or subtract more, it is up to you. There is some fine products out there, but making your own CPW is the bomb! Can't beat it. For me personally, I like it in soups, and for deep fried meats, it adds kick.

Patis Rufina Brand

You may have read my other articles on patis, if you haven't it is slowly becoming a condiment my white friends are learning to love. If you use just a tad of this condiment, it can enhance many a dish, soups, dips, sauces, if you love anchovies, you'll take to patis. It comes from the Philippines, and is a fermented fish sauce, the aroma becomes more of an unpleasant odor if it is used in huge quantities, but just a tad into your soups, or other sauces, it enhances it considerably. A lady I know who was originally from California moved to Maui back in the late 70s when I was just a kid, she couldn't stand the smell of patis. "It smells so bad, like a dead cat!" she once said. But later she hung out at local Filipino's homes, and started to eat the foods of the Philippines slowly, and slowly she became a user of patis. Next thing I know, that chick is cooking Filipino foods better than some Filipinos. This condiment, put a couple of tablespoons into a ramekin, along with a squeeze of citrus, and a clove of garlic, and you have an awesome dipping sauce for deep fried pork bellies. Thicker cuts are boiled to soften then fried, and it goes well together. Some patis afficionados pour generous amounts over rice and eat fried fish with it, it really is a condiment all cultures have embraced over the years. Tongans, Samoans, Japanese, Chinese, Hawaiians, and white folks, I mean that with respect, have taken to patis. Yes it can smell if using large amounts, but using just a tad of it in your cooking will add kick to it.

Other condiments include wasabe paste, ketchup, yellow mustard, hot mustard, oyster sauce, sesame oil, peanut oil, nuoc mam a Vietamese fish sauce.

Just have in mind that the aromas here represent a lot of different and diverse cultures, we here on Maui are one big melting pot, and we have people from all over the world which makes Maui a cool place to learn about foods, and if you're a foodie, what better place to be than Maui.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Maui- Cookouts @ Da Beach

The awesome thing about living on Maui is you can cookout anytime of the year, even if it's cloudy, taking your charcoal grill to the beach to grill the chicken, ribs, fish is the ultimate. So if mainlanders use mesquite wood for grilling, what do we Mauians use? We use Kiawe wood, it is pronounced (kee-ah-veh).

The wood is hard, the branches is thorny, it grows in the hills and by the ocean, it is the ultimate wood for burning, it turns into an awesome charcoal. Long lasting for sure.

Picture below is cut kiawe wood ready to be burned into charcoal

A Kiawe tree in Wailea at sunset

If you ever come to Maui, and you see a bunch of local men manning huge ass grills, grilling chicken parts, or quarters, and you see a sign that read: Huli Huli Chicken On Sale, Benefit Aloha Canoe Club. You have to stop by and get you some Huli Huli (hoo lee hoo lee) chicken, basically grilled chicken quarters, seasoned with Hawaiian sea salt, pepper, and soy sauce, some clubs have that special sauce, but it's a basic marinade which makes it da best! Try it out, the ones you buy in supermarkets suck, because it sits and it wasn't made with kiawe wood most likely.

So- Huli Huli Chicken is da thing to get if you're on Maui, you see a benefit grilling going on on the side of the road, stop by and make some new friends, and you'll have to buy your own rice more than likely, but what the hell, it's great stuff.

Photo: Huli Huli Chicken

Hosting a Local Style Dinner-MAUI

What do you cook for your first dinner as a brand new resident of Maui. You've visited Maui lots of times, you are a foodie, and great cook, you know it, your husband knows it, your girlfriends know it, but there's one thing, you are making friends who are local, and some of the families you've befriended are natives of the aina, or land. What do you cook to fit in? First of all, cook the foods you're good at, more than likely, what you've cooked back where you came from will sit good on the table when you're serving it, and locals appreciate cooks or foodies that do what they do good. My sister-in-law Patsy is an awesome cook, she sticks to what she does great and what she learned from others, she's not afraid to give it a go, and let people try it, she has this sink or swim attitude.

Okay, but still you want to do some local grines, just to impress or show respect for the culture. What can you make? How about checking out some local cookbooks, there's many out here on Maui, if you can swing by Borders in Kahului at the Maui Marketplace or Barnes & Noble in Lahaina, there are a lot of great local Hawaii cookbooks.

Little Hawaiian Party Food Cookbook
by Muriel Miura

What Hawaii Likes to Eat
by Muriel Miura and Betty Shimabukuro

What Maui Likes to Eat
by Chef Tylun Pang

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Maui- Hanzawa's Variety Store

Mom and pop shops have been fading away over the past decade, one of the most saddest things on this island, where hard working business families have to succumb to the so called big boxes. I remember growing up in Lahiana, there were a lot of mom and pops, and some of my classmates were related to the owners of those small businesses we all depended on. One of my friends Karl Yamada, his family owned the only Okazu Ya on Front Street, it was the best place to get teriyaki, cone sushi, and shrimp tempura, it was the place to go. It was a true mom and pop. And there was the Uyehara Store that sold cold brews, chips, and of course the girly mags, ha ha. Sushiya's was a small dig on Prison street that sold Korean style ala carts, the lines were long, surfers, divers, school kids, cops, firemen, everyone went to Sushiya's. Nagasako Supermarket is long gone, it was run by the Nagasako family, their deli is still around in Lahaina Shopping Center, and small variety shop. I can go on and on about mom and pops, but life moves on, and eventually all the mom and pops... will probably be gone forever.

One mom and pop that is still around and a nice quaint place to stop for a cold drink, is in upper Haiku, on Kaupakalua Road, it was opened in 1915 by Taichiro Hanzawa, who moved from Fukushima Japan in 1904 to work in the sugar fields. It still stands today, although the building is not the original, a fire destroyed it back in the 70's, the business is still a vital part of the Haiku community, you can find fresh produce, fish, meats from Maui, organic and natural foods, hot dogs and sandwiches, locally baked goods, wines, beers, clothing, household goods, hardware, camping supplies, livestock feed, and locally made soaps, and lotions. I myself like to stop by for a soda and hot dog, that's what locals do.. I guess, I do. And you can get gas there too.

If you are a visitor and want local, at least for the experience, Hanzawa's Store located at 1833 Kaupakalua Rd. Haiku, Hawaii 96708 808-572-8337

Maui- Portuguese Sausage Uncle Louie's Sausage

Uncle Louie's Sausage Company located in Kahului on Alamaha Street, has been selling Portuguese sausage by the tons since 1991. The product is very delicious, if New Yorkers love their Italian sausage, we on Maui got our Portuguese sausage that we love to heat up on the fry pan, blacken it a tad, and eat it with white sticky rice, and maybe crack a couple of eggs while we're at it. A sausage not just for breakfast, find many a local with Uncle Louie's grilling it at the beach on a sunny weekend, or chopping it up into tiny pieces, and cooking it with beans, and using it as a filling for burritos or tacos, the creativity is vast when one puts his mind to it, Uncle Louie's have been used by some very respectable chefs, it is a product worth utilizing.

"I use it at home a lot, it can go into soups, salads, you name it," says a chef, on condition of anonymity. "My kids love it for breakfast, me and my wife pick up a lot for parties in the back yard."


I personally love this product, I would suggest if you are a first timer to Maui, to purchase some of these, comes in mild and hot, MSG is not used in the product, a pretty good selling point if MSG is a an ingredient you wish not to consume.

Maui and Uncle Louie's go hand in hand, visitors are slowly learning what we locals dig, and we like it simple but delicious. Most people who buy Uncle Louie's will really get creative, it's not hard to imagine, a mother with no time to cook, will chop up cabbage, heat it up with Uncle Louie's and there she has a meal for the family, and believe you me, it is really good when you eat it with some hot and soft sticky white rice, it's the best. Many local kids who go off to college will try and see if the city they are in sells anything local from Maui, especially Uncle Louie's. You can spot a local family easily at the airport, they're the ones with the coolers, and getting the coolers inspected, with loads of chilled sausage with ice packs ready for a trip to another island or to the mainland for family and friends. Crack a can of tomato sauce, chop up some Uncle Louie's, toss it in with the tomato sauce, cook it and then pour it over noodles or rice.

"I put some cooked Uncle Louie's in my Pho," says Kari. "When Up Country is cold, I'll cook some Pho, with lots of greens and then garnish it with Uncle Louie's, it's the best, so versatile a product."

Yes my first timers to Maui, get your Uncle Louie's at most supermarket chains here on the island.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Maui- Family Returns, Food & Conversations

Food runs deep in this family of ours, everyone is a cook, it was a must growing up, you either learned to cook somthing or starved. And since my sister Esther and her husband John are back for a little over a week, we had a small get together last night at my sister Joyce and her husband Greg's house. The last time we actually really gathered there was for a holiday dinner, and the last big one was when our mom Peggy was laid to rest almost 2 years ago. So this night was a good small gathering of family, as we look to the future, we're all getting up there in age, and seeing our little nieces and nephews running around, I just keep on thinking will they have gasoline when they're 30? This world is filled with uncertainty, but never mind that. The food was awesome, my brother Calvin made some Chicken Hekka, my brother Elton was cutting some steaks from Greg's grill, and he made a killer soup with pumpkins in it and pork, and John made a tofu salad, Joyce made something, everyone contributed, except me, I just show up to eat and put away the folding tables and chairs ha ha.

Some of my family members owned and operated restaurants, my brother Harold was partners with some people back in the 80s and 90s ran a Chinese restaurant and a local diner. John owned a local dig, my sister Esther started book keeping in restaurants and seafood suppliers. Later Harold, John and Esther would form a team that started the Honokowai Okazu Ya & Deli, for roughly 9 years was one of the most successful restaurants in the state of Hawaii. They would eventually sell the restaurant and move on their separate ways. John & Esther moved to Washington and tried to make a go of it there opening a small dig, that would succumb to the economy, so did Harold, he also tried, but the economy was too tough for them on their latest ventures.

But the night was not about business, it was just good home conversations, getting reaquainted with each other. Family is important on Maui, family... that's all that matters. Oh yeah can't forget my sister inlaw Patsy, she's a foodie herself and is the self proclaimed Sommelier of the family, she loves her some wine, reds, whites, pinks, she is into it. Me I'll take a cold can of Coke.

Photo below brother Cal, the Pupu King savors the flavors of the night, in the background my brother Harold is hugged by brother inlaw and former business partner John McKivor who packs a sense of humor, and is pretty good on a street bike. Some of the little ones look on, Ethan, sister Joyce sitting.

Photo below my big sister Esther or (Ess) takes a photo of the family she hasn't seen for a couple years, as Kamahie and mom Marie look on. Esther kind of took mom's place in the family when mom died, so did Joyce, in fact all of the females in the Sambrano family, all stepped up to play Mama, or the little ones Gramma, it's a nuturing thing females have I guess, the whole family is blessed to have all the women around.

Photo below Joyce cuts da birthday cake for Harold and John, as Tam helps, and the two little girls wanna have some cake and ice cream fast!

All photos by Ron Sambrano copyrights 2011

Maui- Jaime Navarro Loves Organic Peanut Butter

My friend and boss at Kapalua Jaime Navarro is a wife, and mother of 2 cute boys, she and her husband are active, and takes care of their health, unlike yours truly, I'll polish some pork chops and down it with a milk shake chaser. Well Jaime is into organic peanut butter, she uses it for sandwiches, and making cookies, and she just loves anything organic. Lets take a look at some of the reasons Jaime uses organic.

1. She doesn't like pesticides
2. She doesn't like GMOs
3. She believes in sustaining the planet
4. She believes in the aina (land) and to protect its natural resources
5. She doesn't like pesticides.........oh I said that already. But the jar you see in this blog is from Costco. So the nutrients in this jar is very healthy.

Kirkland 100 % Organic Peanut Butter
All photos by Ron Sambrano copyrights 2011

Honolua Store Maui- Party Trays To go

Okay this is your first time to Maui, and you are staying on the Northwest end, meaning anywhere from Kaanapali, Honokowai, Kahana, Napili, and Kapalua. And you want local kind of food, or as we say here "Local Kine grines." Well, if you look at your map, google it, look for the Honolua Store, it is located on the Kapalua resort, next door to the Ritz Carlton Hotel, and next to Sansei Seafood Restaurant. The Honolua Store is an icon, once the Honolua General Store back in the days of pineapple plantation, this store has everything you may want to eat, local Maui style. In the mornings, you can get hot coffee from their coffee bar, equipped to make all the special coffees just like Starbucks. You can get breakfast made to order, such as eggs, meats, rice. Loco Moco, Molokai Sweet Bread French Toast, Belgian Waffle w/ fresh fruit & powdered sugar, Full and  Short Stack pancakes with fruit, Saimin, Hot Oatmeal, Steak & Eggs, Veggie Omelette, Ham & Cheese Omelettes, Honolua Benedict, Breakfast Burrito, Biscuits & Gravy. For lunch- 10" pizzas, Caesar Salad, Chefs Salad, or Create Your Own Salads, Tripple Decker BLT, Veggie Wrap, Girlled Chicken Wrap, Chicken Sandwich, Pulled Pork, Build Your Own Sandwich, turkey, roast beef, ham, tuna, egg salad, cheddar cheese, Swiss, American, provolone, whole wheat bread, multi-grain, white, sourdough, rye, hoagie roll, P:anini, ciabatta, focaccia, croisant. Eisenberg Hot Dog, Honolua Famous Burger 6 oz. Maui Cattle Co. chuck patty, Grilled Veggie,
Teri Beef Sandwich, Vegetarian Burger, Reuben Sandwich, Philly Cheese Steak, Tuna Melt, French Dip. And they have a children's menu as well.

Try their hot plate lunches, every day you may select from different entrees, all with 2 scoops of white or brown rice, macaroni salad. Here's some of the local faves, Pork & Peas, Pork & Tofu, Chow Fun Noodles, Pork Adobo, Beef Potatoes, Mahi Mahi, Char Siu Chicken, Hamburger Cabbage, Teriyaki Chicken, Huli Huli Chicken, Meatballs, Veggie Lasagna, and some specials created by the chef.

All lunches are priced from 6 to 10 dollars on average. The store has wine, beer, and all kinds of popular beverages, and they also sell items you may need for the pool, beach, or hiking. Just minutes from the world famous Plantation Golf Course, and world famous surfing spot Honolua Bay, this dig is perfect for your local fix.

6am- 8pm Daily.
Breakfast: 6-10 am
Lunch: 10am - 3pm


Photo by Ron Sambrano copyright 2011