Oodles of noodles abound at Aiea's Chun Wah Kam Noodle Factory.
Gluten-free eaters and vegans will both find special items on the menu catering to their needs.
You won't need to get a sitter before heading to this restaurant — kids are more than welcome at this family-friendly establishment.
Seating is readily available at Chun Wah Kam Noodle Factory for those with large parties.
Chun Wah Kam Noodle Factory goes easy on the dress code — business casual is expected, so no need to squeeze into your finest attire.
Some say walking is the greatest thing in life. This restaurant knows it's carryout.
The restaurant also offers catering if you want to bring the flavors of Chun Wah Kam Noodle Factory to your next party or event.
The parking lot next to the restaurant offers quick and free parking, allowing drivers to park with ease.
Bike parking is quick and easy at Chun Wah Kam Noodle Factory.
What's the best kept secret in Aiea? Meals under $15 at Chun Wah Kam Noodle Factory.
Spend your morning, afternoon, or evening at Chun Wah Kam Noodle Factory, where guests can enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
So come fuel up your body with a delicious bowl of noodles from Chun Wah Kam Noodle Factory.
For true American comfort food, head to Tony Roma's for a sandwich or side of fries.
The chefs at Tony Roma's know how to prepare tasty, gluten-free and low-fat meals.
A night out deserves a drink to celebrate, and this restaurant has the perfect selection of beer and wine to go with your meal.
Don't leave the kids at home — youngsters will love the family-friendly cuisine at this restaurant just as much as mom and dad.
At Tony Roma's, your large or small party can easily enjoy a meal.
Good luck spotting a suit and tie at Tony Roma's — casually-dressed diners are the norm here.
Dining out isn't your only option here — pickup is available, too.
For convenience, diners can park in a neighboring lot.
Tony Roma's provides ample space for bikers to store their bikes.
Want top-notch taste for less than top-dollar prices? Tony Roma's s mid-range cuisine is sure to satisfy on both fronts, where pennies stretch into perfectly seasoned platters.
When you have a hunger craving, head over to Tony Roma's and treat yourself to an American classic.
For a classic American dish, head over to the casual establishment of Tony Roma's.
Visit IHOP for some true American comfort food.
Gluten-free and low-fat are not one in the same, but this place serves them both.
Have a few picky young eaters in the family? Not a problem at this restaurant, where the food and ambience are perfect for family dining.
Don't go off the grid! With the free wifi at IHOP, you can surf the web and get some work done.
IHOP's guests are no strangers to casual clothing, and sneakers are spotted around every corner.
If you need to get somewhere fast, the restaurant also serves up grub to go.
Free parking is offered every day in the lot next door, allowing guests to relax and enjoy their meal.
If your preferred mode of transit is of the two wheel variety, you're in luck — there's tons of bike parking outside the restaurant.
Expect your bill at IHOP to come in at around $30 per person.
The breakfast dishes at the restaurant really bring the crowds in, though lunch and dinner are also served.
Indulge in all of your favorite American classics with a trip to the definitive standard in town at IHOP.
Find something for anyone at any time with American food from IHOP.
A culinary gem, Ezogiku in Aiea is a hugely-popular spot for a flavorful menu. The reasonable prices allow guests to focus on what matters: the superb quality.
No specific attire is required, so feel free to dress casually and comfortably. Also, though the prices are considered to be lower than average, you aren't going to sacrifice any quality. In fact, you should be able to enjoy a good meal for $11 or $12, and can probably get in and out for $8 if you try.
There really is something for everyone, with gluten-free options, as well as low-fat and vegetarian items on the robust menu. Plus, if you're on the lookout for the perfect spot for family or friends, it's been reviewed as a solid option for large groups and kids. If you're in a hurry, you can always take advantage of the convenient take-out offerings.
A good option for both lunch and dinner in Aiea, you won't walk away from Ezogiku disappointed. Don't worry about trying to find a spot on the street, as visitors to the restaurant do have access to a private parking lot nearby. Prefer to pedal your way there? Bicycle parking is also provided.
Dressing up the traditional sandwich, Subway is a go-to lunch spot in Aiea's Pearl City district.
Sometimes there really is something for everyone, and not just something, something delicious. Come to Subway for food that is gluten-free, low-fat, and even vegan.
Loud is an understatement when it comes to the decibel levels at this restaurant, so it's best to save conversation for another location.
Through their catering service, Subway can also set out a delicious spread for your next party.
Don't be afraid to enjoy your food on the go — this restaurant offers takeout for your busy schedule.
At Subway, diners can score a guaranteed parking spot close to the restaurant.
Who says that dining out has to take a bite out of your bank account? At Subway, diners can find fairly-priced food that will keep them coming back for more.
Brunch is the house specialty at Subway, though you can also stop by for lunch and dinner.
If you are looking for a great grab-and-go lunch option in the area, a sandwich from Subway will do the trick.
Bravo Restaurant is serving you great Italian cuisine in an atmosphere you'll love.
If gluten is something you try to avoid, check out the G-free menu at Bravo Restaurant. Low-fat fare is also available for those keeping an eye on their diet.
Round out your meal with a little tipple — this restaurant has a terrific drink list, including beer, wine, and more.
This restaurant welcomes kids, too, so you can feel good about bringing the whole family.
Throw on your favorite T-shirt and head out the door — dining at Bravo Restaurant is all about comfort.
You can also grab your food to go.
Save some dough on parking at Bravo Restaurant.
Bravo Restaurant may cost you a little bit more than some spots, but this deliciousness is fairly-priced (and well worth the few extra bucks).
The restaurant is open from morning through evening, but the dinner menu serves the tastiest reviews.
Get ready to discover the colorful, flavorful world of Italian cooking at Bravo Restaurant.
Siu mai: small pork dumplings. Each has a thin wrapper that needs to be delicately pleated by hand. Easily, they’re one of the most labor-intensive items at Phoenix Restaurant in Chicago, where each weekend this Chinese restaurant serves 80 different varieties of classic dim sum snacks.
This little fact about the siu mai is one of many surprising stories I learn from Eddy, the chef at Phoenix, where he also handles a million other tasks to keep the restaurant running smoothly. When I first came in, he was waving at a group of regulars while on the phone haggling with a seafood vendor.
“What we are serving in this restaurant is what we are eating in Hong Kong. ... It’s very typical,” Eddy says.
In 1996, Phoenix was one of the first restaurants to introduce dim sum to Chicago. Its customer base has grown over the years, and today, even with other dim sum restaurants up and down the block, you’ll find long lines winding out the door on any given Sunday.
Sound intimidating? It doesn't have to be.
Here's our guide to dim-sum dining, with a few tips from Eddy.
On the weekend: order dim sum off a cart
On weekends and special holidays, the wait staff winds traditional dim sum carts around tables, lifting lids off stacked steamer baskets to reveal the enticing contents. Should you see something you like, they leave the basket on your table and put a checkmark on your bill (it’s tallied at the end).
Phoenix is one of the only dim-sum restaurants in Chicago that still uses these carts. When I ask Eddy why they keep them, he says “tradition.” Not only to impress the tourists who come in, but also to let Chinese-American customers share this bit of culture with their kids.
Hot tip: if you want to experience the pushcarts without the crowds, head over on a Saturday, which tends to be less busy than Sundays, Eddy says.
On a weekday: order dim sum off the menu
Cartless weekdays offer a quiet, more peaceful atmosphere for ordering off the paper menu, which you can find near the hostess stand. Don't be intimidated—the menu has pictures; it has numbers; it has names written in both Chinese and English. And best of all, you need only point to what you want to have it brought out from the kitchen.
So what should you get?
“Everyone has their favorites,” Eddy says. The most popular dishes with Westerners are ha gao (shrimp dumplings) and siu mai (pork dumplings mentioned above). Kids gravitate toward the crunchy, easy-to-grip shrimp rolls and sweeter fare, from mango pudding (pictured above) to custard rolls.
Foreign travelers, especially those from Latin America, and adventurous eaters alike seem to love the chicken feet (pictured at bottom-right of top photo), a more exotic dish consisting of skin and tendons. While all these dishes are traditional, the chefs can tweak the recipes to accommodate for special diets or food allergies.
When diners are new to dim sum, Eddy encourages them to experiment. He’ll point out a few of the more popular dishes; if there’s something they don’t end up liking, it can easily be swapped out for something else. This way, by the second or third visit, diners will have a better idea of what they like.
And don't forget the tea
At dim sum, the tea is equally important to the food. Phoenix serves three different types: green tea, white tea, and brown tea. “Each one has its own usage,” Eddy says. While we talk, we drink jasmine tea, which is good for getting rid of toxins.
You can show your dim sum know-how by obeying proper tea etiquette. When your teapot is out of water, prop the lid off to the side. This signals to the wait staff that you need more hot water.
Eddy pours more tea and tells me to tap my fingers lightly against the table when the cup is nearly full. “When your friend or host fills your tea, this means ‘thank you’,” he says. “It’s part of the custom.”
Photos by Andrew Nawrocki, Groupon
I had no idea what to expect upon arriving at Elizabeth, the Michelin Star winner from Chef Iliana Regan. But an unmarked, unremarkable storefront between a tire shop and a sporting-goods store certainly wasn’t it. With few exceptions (Schwa, most notably), Chicago’s upper-echelon restaurants boast exteriors that match their illustrious River North and Restaurant Row addresses.
But as it turns out, Regan has no taste for that sort of superficial flash. She dons no chef’s whites. She displays no awards. She does not raise her voice to the Gordon Ramsay–level roar or even the Rachael Ray-ish rollick that TV cameras eat up.
Instead, this northwest Indiana native quietly built her reputation as someone who hunts for frogs and spears them herself. Someone who has suffered tick bites and poison-ivy rashes foraging for wild flora. Someone who has penned an essay on intensity for Lucky Peach and once themed an Elizabeth tasting menu after those violent and visceral A Song of Ice and Fire novels.
So yeah, I was kinda terrified to eat her food.
I’d never done a tasting menu before. And I wouldn’t necessarily classify myself as a picky eater, but I’m not a particularly adventurous one either, particularly when it comes to meat. (I can barely look at plated octopus without shivering.) I’d heard that Regan once served edible ants. Which are, like, bugs.
My nerves were calmed upon walking into Elizabeth, though. Austere yet charming, the whitewashed space was accented by light fixtures made from bare tree branches; dining chairs draped with faux-fur slipcovers; a chef’s counter armed with Elder Scrolls and Vikings Funko Pop! dolls. It was all in support of the season’s menu theme: vikings.
There were two options: land or sea. Or, as the first in a delightful succession of servers explained it, “Imagine a viking ship has reached the shore. One group goes on land to look for food, the other into the sea.” My friend Erin and I opted to order one of each to share and, despite my trepidation of certain meats, placed no restrictions on what we would eat. (You can arrange for some allergies and dietary needs in advance.) We wanted to go all in.
After the amuse-bouche—a surprisingly complex roasted whey carrot dressed with goat’s-milk cheese and edible flowers—came our first courses. The land dish was … a bowl of rocks. The server assured me the top “rock” was actually a baked potato coated in edible clay. But it was very convincing as a rock, so I bit in with trepidation. As Erin ate the rest, dipping it into the cheese and butter puddings it was served with, I forked into her langoustine with lingonberries. (Pro tip: don’t try to tear off the claw without looking. You will stab your finger on a spine.) So far, so very good.
As the servers continued to weave their culinary narrative, I realized there was an unmentioned character in their tale—Elizabeth itself. The restaurant is small, seating about 16 or so, and the kitchen is wide open. It was impossible not to get caught up in what was happening back there, particularly when sous chefs were wielding brûlée torches and “plating” on gorgeous pieces of handmade pottery. And the line between front and back of house was practically nonexistent. One moment, you’d see someone in the kitchen stirring and slicing; the next they’d be presenting your next course or clearing your table. (Chef Regan included.)
This created an unexpected intimacy, one that removed any hesitation when asking about a particular dish. It’s clear the teammates take a deep yet quiet pride in their collective work. They spoke warmly about where ingredients came from, excitedly about the preparation techniques used. They always used “we” or “our,” never “me” or “Chef Regan.” (Again, Chef Regan included.)
Over the next few courses, there were so many charms. An herb-rolled, soft-boiled quail egg served in an actual nest; impossibly chewy seaweed bread darkened by squid ink; a cauliflower-mushroom soup that Erin about died over. I was particularly fond of a course called Barnyard: headcheese dusted with beet powder, paired with a collage of root vegetables and flavored puddings reminiscent of something out of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Modern Wing.
And that’s the thing. Never in my life would I have thought that I’d be fond of headcheese. I would have probably never eaten it if it weren’t for this meal. But it was fun to break out of my culinary comfort zone.
The other surprising thing? How full we were, considering it was a tasting menu. By the time we were served the entree courses—rare lamb medallions wrapped in swiss chard and pickled fish in a sauce of its own bones—we were taking deep breaths between bites. I’m pretty sure they were the only two plates we didn’t completely clean.
We managed to buck up for our “one-and-a-half” dessert courses, as the server put it. (The “half” was a palate-cleansing sorbet.) Our favorite was Under the Sea, a spongy coral-seaweed cake so realistic looking it prompted me to ask the server just how much of it we could eat. “All of it,” she said. We complied.
Maybe, as a writer, I’m just a sucker for a good story. But I was enchanted by Elizabeth, both in backstory and in not knowing what was coming next throughout the culinary adventure. And while I probably won’t be buying headcheese any time soon, I’m excited to see what Chef Regan has up her non-chef’s-whites sleeves next season.
Shop Chef Iliana Regan's tasting-menu experience at Elizabeth Restaurant:
Watch her explain her approach to fine dining:
As useful as WD40 and much more edible, coconut oil is a powerhouse. In fact, just one jar of the stuff can replace several household staples, from kitchen ingredients to baby wipes. Here’s how to substitute it for 16 total items in 3 rooms of the home:
1. Coffee: Coconut oil is a reputed energy booster. Swallowing a spoonful or two in the afternoon can be a healthful alternative to a cuppa.2. Coffee creamer: Emulsified and poured into coffee, it’s much tastier than (and probably just as nutritious as) that bulletproof stuff.3. Butter or oil (when sautéing): Coconut oil’s high smoke point makes it great for cooking on the stovetop, especially at high heat. Try swapping it in when making stir-fries, scrambled eggs, or pancakes, especially if you like a very mild coconut flavor.4. Oil (when baking): The oil imparts a delicious je ne sais quoi to baked goods—even boxed ones. Use it to give from-the-box brownies an upgrade, and you’ll dream about them for days.5. Condiments: Drop it into quinoa or oatmeal for added nutrients and healthy fats. You can also put it on top of sweet potatoes instead of butter!
6. Moisturizer: It works on your body and your face. It’s naturally SPF 4, so it offers a bit of protection from UV rays, too.7. Leave-in conditioner and anti-static agent: Rub a small amount between your hands and smooth them over your hair to control flyaways.8. Lip balm: It soothes sore, chapped lips, and other skin irritations.9. Eye-makeup remover: Rub it between your fingers until it liquefies, smear it on your lids, and wipe it off with a cotton pad.10. Face wash: Add a little water and rub it in your hands until it foams.11. Hand and foot cream: Massage it into cracked knuckles, or slather it onto your soles and stick them into socks for an overnight soak.12. Shaving cream: It’ll give you a smooth shave, plus additional moisture for your skin.
13. Ouchie ointment: Dab it on cuts and scrapes, which will benefit from its antimicrobial properties.14. Anti-itch cream: Coconut oil reduces itching from bug bites, and helps to calm sunburn, eczema, and cradle cap.15. Diaper cream: A layer on baby’s bottom guards against (and soothes) diaper rash flare-ups.16. Baby wipes: Simply mix it with hot water and pour it over a stack of paper towels that you’ve cut in half. Keep the towels in an airtight container so they stay moist.
Check out more coconut-oil coverage:
Oil Pulling Whitens Your Teeth and (Maybe) Makes You Invincible
The Five Best Uses for Coconut Oil You’ve Never Heard Of