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Saturday, September 12, 2015


More than a third of a century ago I was toiling in the U.S. Senate and promised myself that when I returned to Hawaii I would have bento lunch at the beach every Friday.  Well, that did not quite happen, but since I've retired, I've had many a bento lunch at the beach, or, at least with a spectacular view of the ocean.

As an authority on this subject, here are, first, my honorable mentions:

I might add that my lists are restricted to the path from home/university to Ala Wai Golf Course because I tend to enjoy my meal at the Diamond Head Lookout where you can park and view the surfers below and Magic Island, where I wheel a recliner under a coconut tree and also watch the surfers, plus Diamond Head.  I think Diamond Head was a must when I was dreaming back then in DC.

So here are my favorites, probably in this order:
  • Rainbow Drive Inn and, next door, Hawaii's Favorite Kitchens:  I like their spaghetti with hot dog, great for carbo-loading, which is something I don't need, and HFK's BBQ chicken (so large that it sticks out of the container):

  • Zippy's:  the chili moco is nutritionally lethal, but delicious:

You get:

    • 1st Layer: White Rice
    • 2nd Layer: Mayo’-based “Secret Mac Salad Sauce”
    • 3rd Layer: (1) Hamburger Patty
    • 4th Layer: Zippy’s Chili (classic only)
    • 5th Layer with Fried Eggs

  • L&L Drive-Inn:  Each L&L can be slightly different.  There is something about the one located in Market City that draws me back.  There is a special umaminess that comes through.  Here is their garlic ahi:
  • Don Quixote:  this is a lower-end Japanese department store and features a wide range of fast food options, plus their own plate lunch specials.  One bento in particular comes from U-Choice Inn, their roast and cold (not shown here) duck special on rice with bok choy:

Of course, if I prematurely die of almost any ailment, high on the list of causes would be the food from these take-out restaurants above.  Oh, I might add that I need to drink something, and, as water is too bland, soda is bad for you, diet soda is worse, and even juices are now questioned, I have some kind of beer.  You need to be careful, because in most beach locations alcohol is prohibited.  So I shield the bottle and use a straw.  I tend to drink Mickey's because I find a whole bottle too much for lunch, and the cover can be screwed  back on.  Plus the bottle is short.  A whole bottle of beer means my blood alcohol level remains below 0.02, and half a bottle, less than 0.01.  The legal limit is 0.08, and would take almost 4 beers (or four 5-ounce glasses of wine or four 1.5 ounces of scotches).  If all this occurs in two hours,  you can subtract 0.03.  Click here for details.

Finally, the key criteria to make my Best Bentos in Paradise list are:  tasty cuisine, ease of parking with quick in-out service within 5 minutes and a fabulous view.  Here is the scene from my Diamond Head location:

On Magic Island, there is, of course, Diamond Head, and the people walking by (note bird man):

Tomorrow my blog will feature:  HAVE YOU EVER HAD A $300 JAPANESE MEAL IN HONOLULU?  There is Vintage Cave, of course, and you can read about one of my adventures there.  But have you heard of Teppanyaki Ginza Sumikawa (Onodera)?  New...expensive...great???...we'll see.

Very unusual, but there are no ocean storms:


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