Hawaii Mom Blog: Dishcrawl Honolulu




December 15, 2012

Dishcrawl Honolulu

If you love: 1) food 2) adventures 3) meeting new people 4) having fun and 5) supporting locally owned and operated restaurants, Dishcrawl is for you!

The concept, which was founded a couple of years ago by Tracy Lee, has finally been brought to Hawaii, and it's been creating quite a buzz since the first Crawl last month in downtown Honolulu.

What makes Dishcrawl attractive is this: first of all, you have no idea of where you're going or what you'll be eating when you sign up.  They give you a hint of the general area (e.g. Kakaako, Downtown Honolulu), but that's it.  Then, two days before the Dishcrawl, they'll let you know where the first stop is, because that's where the meeting point is.  From there on out, you put yourself in cruise control as you eat and socialize at four different restaurants over the span of a few hours.  The menu at each stop is already pre-set and arranged ahead of time, so you don't need to worry about what you're going to order and what's good on the menu.

Secondly, it allows you to explore a neighborhood by foot, and learn about locally owned and operated restaurants.  At each stop, a manager or chef will come out and give a little speech on the business, as well as what's being served.  You don't get this kind of experience as a regular customer.

The cost ranges from $39-45, and it includes everything except drinks.  The first thing that may come to mind is - is it worth it?  After experiencing the Dishcrawl first-hand, I'd say that it's worth to each participant depends on what they put into the experience.  For those who will judge its worthiness strictly on the food, then it's a stretch.  However, Dishcrawl is not just about food.  It's about uniting a fun group of people who enjoy eating and socializing with people that come from all parts of the island.  The social aspect of Dishcrawl is a critical component of its model, and the more social the group is, the more fun and satisfying the experience will be.

Dishcrawl Ambassador Papiloa Jourdan, who coordinates the Dishcrawls in Hawaii, gave me and Gem the opportunity to find out what Dishcrawl is all about, by inviting us to Dishcrawl's "Brunch Time Baby"event, which was held on December 7.  Here's how it all went down:

We were instructed to meet at 11:30 am at Fresh Cafe on Queen Street in Kakaako.  Here's the scene as we all waited for our food to come out.  

Fresh Cafe first came out with their haupia latte.  It was refreshing and sweet.  

Then they served us a plate with a slice of frittata and a mixed green salad.  

And much to everyone's surprise, the frittata was followed by a second dish - a gooey bar with sliced bananas.   After we got a jump start on our sugar rush, we headed out to our second stop, which was just around the corner.

Kanpai Bar and Grill.  This is where we put the lunch in "brunch", as Kanpai is more of a lunch/dinner/late night type of establishment.  To my delight, they served us a trio of some of their most popular menu items - ahi poke (they use all fresh ahi, never frozen), boneless fried chicken topped with furikake (winner!!!), and kim chee fried rice.  I scored a double serving of their ahi poke since Gem doesn't eat raw fish.  

By this point, I was actually getting pretty full.  But we were only at the halfway point, and we had two more stops to go.  After Kanpai Grill, we took a leisurely stroll from Ward Avenue to Keeaumoku Street, where stop #3 was located.

Yogur Story was our third stop.  Yes, it's quite a distance between Kanpai Grill and Yogur Story (in fact, it took us 40 minutes), but the sun was out, and the walk worked up an appetite so that we were all ready to dive into the goodies at Yogur Story.  At each place setting was a business card, and on the back was a coupon for a $5 Waffle after 5 pm.  Their waffles normally run about $9-10 dollars.  What a great way to persuade each Dish Crawler to come back again. 

And here's what Yogur Story served for us - a trio sampling of their Santa Monica eggs benedict, a bulgogi rib and a mixed green salad with blueberry vinegar dressing 

And after we thought we were done at stop #3, they brought us each a sample of their macadamia nut waffle.  Yum!

The fourth and final stop on today's Dish Crawl was Bambu Desserts and Drinks, located right across the street from Yogur Story.  I was excited to learn that this was one of our stops, since I had never been here before.  Each Dishcrawler got one of these (see above) - it definitely put me over the top.  

Here's a group shot of the Brunch Time Dish Crawlers.  It was a nice, diverse group of people.  I didn't get to meet everyone (there were 40 of us), but the ones that I did get to chat with were fun to socialize with.

Like what you saw?   In January, they have a Dishwalk "After Dark" Honolulu Edition ($45), a DishWALK ($40), and in February, a Pre-Valentine "Love at First Bite" Dishcrawl ($40).  Check out their website for more information on how to get in on all the action.

Dishcrawl Honolulu
Website: http://www.dishcrawl.com/oahu/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dishcrawlHNL?filter=1
Twitter: http://twitter.com/dishcrawlhnl

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