Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Panya Bistro + Ichiriki Loft

You know the weird thing about karaoke is that songs simultaneously have more and less meaning. I can finally understand what some singers are saying when I read the words on the screen.

But karaoke was how the night ended.

The night began by trying the sangria at Panya with my parents.

The drink: Panya Sangria, $5
Taste: If I were to use a simile for the special sangria at Panya, I would say the sangria is like a wine cooler. Does the comparison seem shallow? Well, I guess it fits then. I tried the red wine one (there was also a white wine). It was extremely sweet and also bitter like citrus rind. The bottom of the glass had collected quite a lot of fruit debris.
Ingredients: The waiter said he didn’t know what was in the Panya Sangria.

Happy Hour at Panya will knock a dollar or so off of drinks. The menu is full of exotic-sounding cocktails of simple preparation. A guava martini, for instance, is vodka and guava juice. All specialty “martinis” are $6 and sangria is $5 (regular price martinis are $7.50). All the happy hour food is $5 or less. There are selections of spring rolls, chicken karaage, papaya salad and cold tofu.

Not a place to go out of your way for the drinks, but the atmosphere is fun and the food is moderately priced and tasty.

Then Nicci took me to Ichiriki Loft for my goodbye.

I really enjoyed Ichiricki Loft. There was lots of comfortable seating, the music was pleasant, the staff was super nice, and the low lighting gave a nice ambiance. The drinks aren’t hardcore if you’re trying to line it up to classic mixology, but they’re sure tasty. I’d go again.

Here are the various drinks everyone got (and I tasted hehehe).

Midnight tea: asian tea, lychee liquer, lemon
Taste: It’s a nice girl drink. I think they used real tea in it, so it tasted like green tea leaves. Very sweet.

Lychee martini: vodka, lychee juice, lychees
Taste: I find most lychee martinis too sweet, but this one struck a perfect balance between real lychee flavor and sugar. I think the key was using real lychee juice. There was also no burn in this drink, which was nice.

PP: 151 & watermelon puckers.
Taste: This was actually a shooter Nicci enthusiastically ordered. It’s really smooth. I’d recommend it.
Also, “PP” is not the real name of the shooter, but the actual moniker made everyone uncomfortable, so you can just use your imagination. If you feel uncomfortable, you are probably in the ballpark.

Shiso mojito: twist on the mojito with shochu shiso instead of rum.
Taste: This was OK. I’m not a huge shochu fan. Personally, I think that shochu makes a better substitite for vodka instead of rum. On the bright side, this drink brought out the mint a little lightly. It didn’t taste as sweet.

Then we went off to the karaoke place. Nopes, I wasn’t drunk, but the Norwegian girls next door sure were. One of them talked to me for a long time in the bathroom, and then waved enthusiastically as I left the building. Well, always nice to make friends one way or another.

Thanks, Nicci, Ryan and Will for taking me out! Woo hoo!

Panya Bistro
Ala Moana Center (near Longs, Sears, and Gap)

Ichiriki Loft
510 Piikoi St. - Honolulu

Postscript: I'm really sorry this post is so late! Also, I have been rather absent as of late. Two reasons: 1. Spending hiatus (otherwise known as unemployment). 2. Josh has most of the pictures, and then we don't upload them!