Sunday, December 21, 2008

Obama Kailua Foodorama: Lotsa Kaukau Options

The absolutely best place to eat breakfast on Oahu just happens to be about a three-minute drive from where the Obamas are staying in Kailua: Boots & Kimo's Homestyle Kitchen on Hekili Street. Started in 1994 by two local boyz, the place is wildly popular with residents, and visitors initially balk at the high-calorie offerings, but immediately become pilialoha--bound by love. The signature dish is huge fluffy pancakes drenched in thick macadamia nut sauce, a mind bogglingly delish cultural mash-up of a traditional mainland food with a traditional Hawaiian ingredient. Boots & Kimo's slogan is "Breakfast worth waiting for" because on any given day there's a line outside the tiny eatery in the morning--but it is worth waiting for. Somehow we feel positive the Obamas will be given special treatment; the combination of the family and Secret Service contingent is enough to fill every seat in the small restaurant. At lunch, the grilled ribs are a favorite. Note: The coffee is oddly bad, but that's okay--Barack prefers tea.

There's no need to leave Kailua to fill a Plate Lunch craving: A Zippy's is right in town on Oneawa Street, and there's an L & L Drive Inn about 2 minutes up the main drag from the Obama's beach house. Zippy's is also famous for its chili, and Barack's a big chili lover. The Kalapawai Market Deli & Cafe is terrific for sandwiches and savory take out, and there's an excellent coffee bar. They started serving dinner this summer, but we've never tried it.... Teddy's Bigger Burgers is an awesome hole in the wall; they serve grilled, old-school burgers, and have been repeatedly voted the Best Burger in Hawaii. The Shack is also great for burgers. For such a small town, Kailua also has a restaurant for almost every kind of Asian cuisine; a big list is here.

Because Kailua is a very small town, there's really no super-fancy restaurant; you have to drive over to Honolulu to dine finely. But who cares about Michelin lauds? Buzz's Steakhouse is more than fancy enough when you've "gone native," and is excellent for grilled steak, very fresh seafood, and excellent salads. Founder Buzz Schneider (RIP) has just been inducted into the Hawai'i Restaurant Hall of Fame. The Lanikai location is right across from Kailu beach.

*Want to alohagawk at The Obamas in real time? Hawai'i is pretty tekked out for such a laid-back place, and there are webcams everywhere. A jumbo listing is here. Want to get savvy with Hawaiian phrases? Go here.

*Related: The Obamas arrive on Oahu is here.