Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Texas Time and Splendaville- Dining Out Reviews

I'm sorry I don't have pictures of my own, but I thought I needed to do a couple small reviews to clear the backup of posts I have waiting to go up. In the last couple weeks I have been to several places including these in posts to come: P.F. Changs and Soul De Cuba Cafe.

Molly's Smokehouse- Texas Style BBQ, Wahiawa
Randy the fiance is from Texas and ever since the sad close down of Deb's Soul Food in Kailua, we had been looking for a southern food place to chow down at. When I found this restaurant online and read the reviews, I immediately put it on my list of places to go, but because it was way out in Wahiawa, it had to wait for a day trip to the North Shore. We went a couple of weeks ago, late morning, with our stomachs prepared and eagerly rumbling. To my surprise the place is sit down and though it boasts southern hospitality, the dining room was rather sterile and plain to me. The one standout addition was the large black meat smoker outside, in the front of the diner, that released smoke with a savory aroma.

Photo of Sweet Tea from Chowtimes.com
We wanted to try a bunch of different things (including the kolaches that had been written about in several newspapers), so we ordered a combo plate of spare ribs and brisket that came with sides of cole slaw, corn bread, baked beans, and corn on the cob. We also ordered an extra side of fried okra, and 3 kolaches "to go". To drink, we shared a large sweet tea. The first to come out was the warm corn muffin, and though we were splitting the meal, it would have been nice if they would have given us two without us having to ask. The cornbread was average and the sweet tea was perfect in Randy's Texas opinion, but too sweet for me; so much so that I had to water it down. The good thing about it was that there was free refills!

When our meal came, we were ready to eat. The meat smelled good and had a good flavor. I liked the smokiness of the beef brisket, but didn't care much for the ribs. I love BBQ sauce and unfortunately this sauce was too spicy for me. Actually I was expecting the meat (especially the brisket) to be a lot more tender and fall apart, but it was tough and because of this, I didn't really like either entree. Randy agreed that they weren't as supple as the slow cooked brisket he had at home, but he still loved it. The sides were my favorite, I liked them better than the meat. I guess that's because I'm not a southern girl. The corn was average (it would have been nice if it had been Kahuku corn), but the cole slaw was fresh and not too soupy, it had the perfect amount of the sweet cole slaw dressing. The fried okra was really great, I hadn't had some if so long and I think it might have tasted better with some sort of a ranch dip. My favorite side was the baked beans that were both sweet and savory, and went very well with the corn bread muffins.

Of the kolaches, I really enjoyed the pulled pork. I had never had a kolache before and though the flavoring of the meat was different (and WONDERFUL), the bread texture and slightly sweet flavor reminded me of a baked manapua. The sweet kolaches on the other hand (we got blueberry and cream cheese) tasted like a bun version of those prepackaged danishes you can get at gas stations and continental breakfasts. Because of this, they didn't stand out to me as something I would order again.

Would I come back? Probably only for the savory kolaches, and only if I was out at that side of the island to begin with.
Sweet Nothings Bakery
Randy and I have discussed many times the possibility of the military (or some other organization) tapping our brain and stealing our brilliant ideas. This happened first with Randy's idea of different kinds of butters made out of seeds and nuts (like peanut butter). And sure enough there is now sunflower butter and cashew butter (I think). With the advent of Splenda, the baking sugar substitute, I thought it would be a great idea to make a sugar-free bakery that offered sweets accessible to people with diabetes or on diets. And sure enough, today I discovered a bakery called Sweet Nothings.

This bakery located less than a block away from Ala Moana sells only sugar-free items (except for a couple of soft drinks) including some commercial candies and snacks that are sugar free. Made in the bakery are pies, cakes (including cheesecake), chocolate dipped strawberries, turnovers, muffins and cookies. Along with this spectacular line up were napoleons of puff pastry filled with a generous piping of luscious white cream and several flavors of chocolates that are (of course) sugar free.

Randy and I were so interested in what the items from this shop would taste like (since I use Splenda a lot at home), that we had to order a couple things. The products are a little more expensive than their full-calorie counterparts but we didn't mind too much. He ordered an eclair and I ordered a raspberry pinwheel. The raspberry pinwheel was an adorable shape, made out of crispy pastry dough and filled with a tart raspberry jelly like filling. There was also a really sweet drizzle of icing over the top and I couldn't tell at all that it was sugar-free at all! The eclair was light and airy and the chocolate was sooo good, very dark and sinful. The cream filling was so creamy and flavorful, and I only detected a hint of Splenda. It seemed like the entire flavor of the pastry was focused on the flavors of the eclair rather than sweetness that often comes with pastries.

You guys should definately go check this place out!

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