Beware the ‘Sug-ah Snare’
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We have a lot of interesting expressions in the South, and my Great Aunt Sadie was notorious for them. One in particular, my sisters and I secretly dubbed “the Sug-ah snare” — a spine-chilling, seared-inmy-brain memory I’d still to this day much rather forget than recall.
Gathering us to her ample bosom, Aunt Sadie would brusquely box our faces between her meaty mallet-hands, squishing our cabbage patch cheeks as close to hers as humanly possible while preening, “Girrrrrrrrls, come an’ give your Aunt Sadie some sug-ah!”
Understandably, my sisters and I have since developed a fierce and adamant aversion to all “sug-ah” of any sort. Quite possibly just as keen on keeping the sweet stuff at bay is Kenny’s Restaurant, a Kalihi eatery known for its down-home comfort food, yet recently making remarkable moves toward paving the way for all patrons to enjoy eating here (and yes, I do mean all).
From classic comfort-lovin’ carnivores to vegetarians and even diabetics, Kenny’s is taking great care to cater to the ever-evolving needs and desires of its diners. Diagnosed with diabetes, the eatery’s owner began adapting its menu to offer more sugar-free options. Lead cook, Peter Miranda, also shares a personal interest in developing diabetic-friendly dishes, as he has several family members also dealing with the condition.
“We care about having options for everyone here at Kenny’s,” assures Miranda, “And with the sugar-free items, I personally have a lot invested in those because many people I care about need such options when they go out to eat.”
One such sugar-free (and vegetarian) selection is Chinese Tofu Salad ($11.45), a spin on Kenny’s traditional Chinese Chicken Salad that pleases vegetarian palates with tofu, lettuce, carrots, wonton chips, Chinese parsley, peanuts and sesame seed dressing (sugar-free version available upon request).
Vegetarian Benedict ($9.99) brings to the table a toasted English muffin topped with garlic, sauteed spinach and sliced tomato, generously garnished with a golden glaze of creamy hollandaise and served with a side of hashbrowns.
Vegetable Panini ($10.95) presents flavorful rosemary foccacia bread toasted and filled with roasted eggplant and bell peppers, sauteed onions, spinach, tomato, balsamic vinaigrette and melted Swiss cheese that literally seals the deal with this sandwich. Served with dill pickle and choice of fries, mac salad, tossed or Caesar salad.
“The roasting of the vegetables is what makes all the difference — giving it that smoky flavor and added taste,” describes Miranda.
Vegetarian Saimin ($8.95) is served with a savory mix of fresh veggies including broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, won bok, green onions and nori.
“It’s a Hawaii staple,” says Miranda. “It’s exactly the way I would (and do) make it at home.”
Thanks to Kenny’s, Oahu eaters now have choices when it comes to chowing down. Gone are the days when dining out while following a certain diet meant missing a real meal. Yep, you (and Aunt Sadie) can just kiss those days goodbye.
Kamehameha Shopping Center
1620 N. School St.
Sunday-Thursday, 6 a.m.-10 p.m.
Friday-Saturday 6 a.m.-11 p.m.
Kenny’s Hawaiian Barbecue in Waikiki
Royal Hawaiian Center
2201 Kalakaua Ave.
9 a.m.-10 p.m. daily