Feeling Lucky With Corned Beef

Columns Ono, You Know

March 10, 2013

Story By: Alana Folen | Photos by: Leah Friel

March has crept up on us, and St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner — March 17 to be exact. And I’m sure you know what that means. It’s time to sport your green, drink up, be merry and get ready to crave corned beef everything.

An absolute must-have on this Irish holiday, corned beef is delicious and the purist of comfort foods. Yet, here’s something that may surprise you. The word “corn” in corned beef derives from Old English, which is used to describe any small, hard particles or grains. And, in the case of “corned beef,” the word refers to the coarse granular salts used to cure the beef. Just genius! That’s why this particular meat is so tasty.

So, this week, I’m gearing up for St. Patty’s Day. Let’s indulge in the luck of the Irish at the following Ono, You Know establishments and fill up on this traditional Irish fare. Pinch! You’re not dreaming, a world of melt-in-your-mouth corned beef creations awaits.

Wailana Coffee House

When the rest of the world is in dream-land, there are a few night owls who flock over to Wailana Coffee House during the wee hours of the morning to satisfy their late-night cravings. And then, you have your typical breakfast, lunch and dinner crowds as well, who are devout fans of the Waikiki establishment’s ono grinds comprised of American and local classics — one of them specifically being Corned Beef and Cabbage, Killarney.

Available St. Patrick’s Day from 11 a.m. to midnight, this holiday favorite is priced at $13.95 and features moist and tender slices of corned beef draped over caraway-flavored cabbage wedges, and served with boiled potatoes, carrots and corn on the cob. Finally, creamed horse-radish and mustard elevate the dish to new dimensions, as these condiments are an absolute must when we’re talking corned beef. How can a dish so simple taste so good? Well, there has to be good reason, as this Irish dish is the centerpiece on any St. Patrick’s Day table. Cut into the corned beef, pair it with a bit of cabbage and dip into the savory sauces, and that’s really all it takes to send your taste buds into overdrive.

Wailana Coffee House
1860 Ala Moana Blvd.

HI Sandwich & Drink

Vietnamese fusion foods are what it’s all about at HI Sandwich & Drink in Waimalu Shopping Center. Owner Kim Nguyen opened the eatery last December, and according to Nguyen, the restaurant serves as an outlet to share her passion for good eats. The name alone says it all — the best in Vietnamese sandwiches and drinks are all right here.

All sandwiches are served on your choice of French bread or croissant and filled with fresh vegetables, including cucumber, carrots, white onions and Chinese parsley dressed with a special blend of seasonings. Select from sandwich options such as Barbecue Pork, Tuna, Chicken Breast or Pate. And I was as lucky as a four-leaf clover when Nguyen presented me with a Pastrami Sandwich ($6). Like corned beef, pastrami was originally created to preserve meat prior to modern refrigeration. The secret to pastrami is this: The meat is brined, partly dried, seasoned with herbs and spices, then smoked and steamed. Voila! HI Sandwich & Drink’s Pastrami Sandwich is something you’ll want to sink your teeth into this St. Patrick’s Day.

“Customers can request for more veggies in their sandwich free of charge,” Nguyen says, adding that smoothies, bubble tea and other drinks are available as well.

“Our smoothies are made with real fruit. Taro smoothie is the most popular, followed by jackfruit, pineapple and strawberry. Bubble teas also sell well,” she explains.

So, if you’re on the go this St. Patty’s Day, make a quick visit to HI Sandwich & Drink and make it a festive meal with a pastrami sandwich.

HI Sandwich & Drink
Waimalu Shopping Center
98-042 Kamehameha Hwy.

People’s Cafe

Renowned for its Hawaiian and Filipino fare, People’s Cafe is a longtime favorite in the Islands. In business for 80 years, this restaurant, located on Pali Highway, knows exactly what its customers want — be it pork adobo, lau lau, kalua pig or corned beef specialties.

This St. Patrick’s Day, feast on People Cafe’s Corned Beef with Cabbage ($7.50) or Corned Beef with Onions ($7.50). Served brisket style, People’s Cafe’s homemade corned beef is seasoned with three simple ingredients — coriander, salt and pepper, making for one ono entree. Corned Beef with Cabbage is the most requested out of the two of the aforementioned dishes, and comes complete with carrots, cabbage and red potatoes. As for Corned Beef with Onions, this tasty dish is presented with your choice of rice or poi.

Even the leprechauns know what’s good at People’s Cafe — top hats off for corned beef. You’ll thank your lucky charms for this downtown hot spot where all the people gather.

People’s Cafe
1310 Pali Hwy.

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