Livin’ for Liver

Columns Ono, You Know

November 25, 2012

Story By: Alana Folen | Photos by: Leah Friel

Turkey, stuffing, cornbread, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, sweet potatoes with marshmallow topping … Wow, flashbacks of your Thanksgiving feast, right? Are you full yet? Because I sure am! Since when has Thanksgiving gone from being a day when we give thanks for all that we have to a day when we eat everything in sight? And I mean everything! In fact, studies have shown that people can consume anywhere from 3,000 to 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving Day alone.

And while I’m all for pigging out on Thanksgiving, now that it’s three days after the fact, I suggest that we forgo the leftovers for a bit and live off of … liver. Why, of course! OK, so it might not be the most appetizing for many, and while I know you’d much rather reach for another slice of pumpkin pie, liver can be very onolicious and somewhat low in calories with healthy amounts of protein and fat. Liver can be baked, boiled, broiled, fried and stir-fried, and well-known examples include liver pate, foie gras and chopped liver, to name a few.

Yet, this week, I decided to go beyond the norm and liven things up with alluring liver creations at the following Ono, You Know establishments. Believe me, give it a try — there’s so much to “liver” for!

Max’s of Manila

When I’m craving the best of Filipino food, but somehow just can’t get my hands on homemade cuisine, I head straight to Max’s of Manila, a premier establishment that has been serving up authentic Filipino cuisine for the last 67 years. With more than 100 branches throughout the Philippines, two in Dubai, one in Abu Dhabi, two in Canada and eight branches in the U.S., including two here at home in Waipahu and on Dillingham Boulevard, there’s plenty of sarap (delicious) to the bones goodness to go around. While I’m crazy for Max’s Fried Chicken, Kare-Kare, Chicken Adobo and Buko Pandan, every now and then I need some Chicken Sisig to liven things up. This signature Filipino dish ($9.75) features diced Max’s chicken and liver, seasoned just right and mixed with celery, onions and pepper. It’s served on a sizzling plate and is a Max’s favorite.

So, put a brake on the holiday rush and frenzy, and take time to enjoy a taste of Max’s of Manila.

Max’s of Manila
801 Dillingham Blvd. (also located in Waipahu Shopping Plaza)

Paesano Ristorante Italiano

Make it a romantic moment to remember at Paesano Ristorante Italiano. Conveniently located within Manoa Marketplace and Waimalu Plaza Shopping Center, this renowned hot spot sets the mood for an unforgettable meal with more than 80 pasta creations alone, and that’s not including the many appetizers and other classic Italian entrees available such as Cioppino and Sauteed Chicken Livers.

A highly requested starter, Sauteed Chicken Livers costs $11.90 and presents you with morsels of chicken livers sauteed with garlic and olive oil, thus resulting in an explosion of flavor. Shredded onions top the dish, which also is served with a side of pickled vegetables.

“Liver is an acquired taste for some, but you’d be surprised as to how many people request this dish. They come here especially for our liver,” says Ming Lam, assistant manager at Paesano Manoa.

Available for lunch and dinner, Sauteed Chicken Livers is only available at the Manoa restaurant, making it a unique commodity.

“Customers can ask for it to be spicy, and we’ll meet their request,” Lam adds, noting that he prefers liver with a kick of spice.

Whether or not your palate takes to this particular entree — trust me — you’ll be a lover of liver after this!

Paesano Ristorante Italiano
Manoa Marketplace
2752 Woodlawn Drive

Shiro’s Saimin Haven

Go back in time to the 1960s and you’ll realize that Shiro’s Saimin Haven was just as popular back then as it is today. Next time you’re in Aiea, make a stop at Waimalu Shopping Center and experience Shiro’s take on local delights. Of course, saimin is the big draw here, and with more than 65 saimin options to choose from, there’s always something new to tempt your taste buds.

And while it’s the week to live off of liver, why not sample Shiro’s Liver with Bacon and Grilled Onions ($9.60).

“A lot of restaurants don’t serve liver anymore, so a lot of locals come here to get it,” says Shiro’s vice president Aaron Lee.

Yes, Shiro’s is the place to get your liver fix, as this dish presents a nice slab of beef liver coated with flour and grilled, finally topped with strips of bacon and onions. Two scoops of rice and a medley of mixed vegetables accompany the dish. This local favorite also is seasoned with salt and pepper, and Lee recommends adding ketchup for additional taste.

“Growing up, my mom would serve liver all the time,” he shares. “A lot of our old-time customers like it, but for those who are not fans of liver, we have many other things on the menu.”

Shiro’s Saimin Haven
Waimalu Shopping Center
98-020 Kamehameha Hwy.

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