Monday, August 18, 2008

Lauren's You Hungry blog: YUM!!!

The mention of You Hungry brings up tasty visions of fresh corned beef & cabbage, succulent kalua pig, & steaming shoyu chicken, all in mom-style portions with big scoops of rice. I also recall it being on the corner of Atkinson & Kapiolani, where we'd wait patiently for a parking stall because the reward would be worth it.

You Hungry has since continued the tradition of good, real food under the new ownership of Joel Cabais (son of Jay Cabais, Honolulu steak plate pioneer), his brother Donovan, & cousin Jason of Ono Hawaiian Steak. Recently You Hungry went to the streets, winning Honolulu Magazine's Best Lunch Wagon for 2008. With the help of David Hayashi, they are now implementing plans for world domination.

Seriously. You gotta try their sauces.

When my brother told me he was taking me to lunch at a lunchwagon, I was a little skeptical. My experience with lunchwagons is pretty noobish. I remember visiting one by the boats near Ala Moana Beach Park perhaps 13 years ago, a lunchwagon outside Queens Physicians Office Building with my dad & I think I've gone to Tsukenjo's once. I'm a drive thru girl when it comes to lunch, mostly due to laziness.

Still, I trust my brother.

Around 12:30 (lunchtime) we found street parking on South Street practically in front of our lunch destination, in front of which there was already a line of 5-6 people, & a few others who had already ordered, or were perhaps just bathing in the enticing smell of hot food.

Lunchwagon menu boards intimidate me. I always think I want something, & then at the last minute I decide I want something else, but I'm not entirely sold on that something else & I can't really be 100% sure that's what I actually want, but I'm already at the front of the line & everyone is looking at me expectantly. So then I order what I'd decided on initially that I wanted to change my mind about. And then after I pay I figure out what it was that I actually wanted to order. But it's too late.

Maybe that's why I go to drive thrus. Anyway.

There were already a number of items already sold out on the lunchwagon menu board. Naturally, I immediately found something I'd like to eat amongst the sold out stuff (fresh corned beef!!).

We were moving ahead in line pretty fast & I had to make a decision.

My brother informed me he was going to order the Fried Ahi Poke, reassuring me he wouldn't be able to finish the whole thing.

And so there I was, & there was only one person left in front of us in line. My brother had already decided what he was going to order, but I still didn't know.

I considered the Roast Pork with gravy, but thought that might be too flagrantly unhealthy --- I'd have to come back here alone to order that. The Garlic Chicken sounded tempting, but I wasn't in a real chicken mood, & Crab Stuffed Salmon felt a little too adventurous.

I looked again, forlornly, at the bottom of the menu board where "Fresh Corned Beef w/ Cabbage" sported a little note saying "OUT." I thought of a few reasons why I didn't need to have Corned Beef for lunch today.

And then we were at the front of the line & the guy in the lunchwagon was looking at me.

My brother had ordered his Fried Ahi Poke, & was looking at me.

My mind went completely blank. I didn't know what I felt like eating. Everything sounded good. They were out of fresh corned beef. Ooh, Pork Adobo.

"I'll have the Hamburger Steak please," I said. "All rice. Brown rice. Thank you." Sheesh, I'm such a dork. I didn't even let him tell me I could have toss, but if I'd been a lunchwagon connoisseur I'd have known that tossed greens is a common plate lunch option.

Well, I handled that well.

Our plates came & we set up on the picnic table next to the wagon.

My brother had gotten me a small sample of You Hungry's secret recipe Sweet Wasabi sauce. Whoa.

I've had wasabi/mayo dressings that went well on burgers & wasabi/miso dips that added color to seafood, but this sauce was pure happiness just by itself. As I've said in other blogs, I'm not the huge sauce person; I like my food plain with minimal seasoning.

But this sauce tasted winz just on the tip of my finger. I was too busy enjoying the bright, expansive flavors to even try to deconstruct what I was tasting.

You could put this stuff on anything. Ok, maybe not ice cream. Worth a try anyway, though. It was good.

My brother's Fried Ahi Poke looked & smelled so good that I immediately felt like a loser. The chunks of ahi were soft & perfectly cooked, seasoned with some enchanting citrus flavor. If only I could order this by the bucket & take it to the bar!

Obviously my brother had been here before!

Resignedly I turned to my panic-ordered hamburger steak.

As I lifted the condensation-drenched lid I was greeted with the smell of rich, homemade brown gravy & beef. My hamburger steak was tender, meaty, & swimming in delicious gravy. I'm proud to say that I didn't make it through the rice. But that hamburger steak disappeared in its entirety.

That was really good. I made a good choice after all.

Either that, or there are no bad choices.

Monday thru Friday, 10am-1:30pm
Two locations: South & Halekauila, Alakea & Beretania.


Inspired said...

Wow, another awesome write up lauren. Thanks for taking the time to check out the lunch wagon. I know we can always count on you to bring the best blogs about food to your readers!

Lauren said...

Thanks Krissy! This is one of those posts that I can't read myself because I get too hungry. lol

Inspired said...

Krissy, thanks for the press. Lemme know when you wanna go down too!