I spent the last $100 of my fantasy baseball winnings on dinner at Five Star International Buffet in the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center. We were originally going to go to Hakone at the Hawaii Prince Hotel, but we had already eaten there before. When I asked Lynnette if she wanted to go to dinner at Five Star, she asked what had spurred my interest in going to dinner. I told her that we always say we’re going to get around to things, but never do. I just thought that it would be nice to fill our stomach with food at some place new. Also, that hundred dollar bill had been sitting in my wallet for a while. There’s no telling what kinds of things might have happened to it had I held on to it any longer.
Lynnette pulled up the menu for Five Star on Friday night. It wasn’t a deep menu, but it didn’t need to be. Lynnette and I are notorious for our single-mindedness when it comes to food. Lynnette knew she’d be fine just eating crab legs, I knew I’d be happy with the sushi, and once Madison saw the picture of the chawan mushi and shouted “Mushi!” we knew we were going to be okay. My only fear was my stomach. We ate dinner at Chili’s on Friday night and I had a Mitsu-Ken garlic chicken breakfast plate Saturday morning. As of Saturday afternoon, I had not “released the hounds” or made room in my tummy, for the uninitiated.
Five minutes into my Five Star experience, I was disappointed because they were the kind of place that served Pepsi products. Ice water, thank you. I made my first plate with the best stuff there: prime rib, crab legs, sashimi, and sushi. It was all pretty solid. I would have like the prime rib a little hotter, the hamachi wasn’t great, but the ahi and salmon were on point, and the crab legs were moist. I swapped out the prime rib for little rolls of spicy ahi. I didn’t care for the spicy ahi sauce, so it would be the first and last time it graced my plate.
By now it must be pretty obvious that I took a picture of each plate of food I ate last night. Yes, I knew before hand that I would likely write a blog about our excursion. Honestly, though, the main reason I took pictures of all the food (and Lynnette and Madison, too) was to pace myself. I knew that I was going to pay $40 for dinner. I wanted to make sure I got my money’s worth. The screen protector on my phone was challenged last night by crab juices, that wet-nap moisture, and my own saliva. It held up well. I just thought that taking pictures, checking out Facebook and Instagram, and playing Words With Friends intermittently would help me help myself eat more food.
Aside from being delicious, I included the crab legs on each plate to help with the self-discipline. It takes a little time to break open crab legs. I didn’t mind the process of working the joints, the snapping of those longer pieces, and of course, the slow urging of that delicate meat out of its orange shell. It takes a little while, you know? So I would work the crab legs, talk to Lynnette, make conversation with Madison – which usually revolved around reminding her to eat her food – and take sips of water. It’s not the kind of eating style I am used to. It was like asking a point guard accustomed to running fast breaks to run a half-court offense instead. But again, $40 is a lot of motivation.
I don’t want you to get the wrong idea. Five Star had a bunch of food. Lynnette said their lomi salmon was pretty good. They had a couple of salads including caesar (no thanks, no time). They rotated different types of pasta in and out of the buffet. They had short ribs, and a pretty solid assortment of desserts. It didn’t matter. Not to me, anyway. I only wanted to eat sushi. The prime rib was a selection based on opportunity. I would not have missed it at all had it not been there. You know how I am. Once when I was a teenager, I thought about sex every eight seconds. Now, I think of sushi that often. It happens.
I am not a dessert guy. I have a long-standing rule: if you have room for dessert, you have room for more sushi. I didn’t think it was possible, but last night after my last piece of sushi, I didn’t want sushi. I didn’t have a primal desire to consume it as quickly and as messily as possible. “I don’t want any sushi anymore,” I told Lynnette. “What?” she said with mock shock. “You lie!” she continued. I shook my head. We don’t have to eat Kuru Kuru next week. “We’ll see,” she said. I think we will. As of right now, I have no desire to actually eat sushi. Though, I gotta be honest, if someone put a plate of it in front of me, I don’t think I’d push it away. I just have no desire to eat it. If you must know, I could really go for some lasagna right now. Lynnette’s making spaghetti for dinner, but it’s not the same. But thanks for dinner, Sens. I will show my gratitude by doing the dishes right before leaving to grade essays.
I would gladly eat at Five Star International Buffet again. While the selection is somewhat narrow, Lynnette and I were pleased with the overall quality of the food (which we both graded at better than Makino Chaya). We were also both happy with the portion sizes; everything was made into small pieces so as to make it easier to try many different things. This is a problem at other buffets, depending on the size of the food in question, taking a piece is sometimes a commitment which precludes the sampling of other food. The $40 kama’aina rate is decent, on par with other similar buffets (Hakone would have cost $56 each). This will make the second straight Monday that I will play softball having eaten well over the weekend and therefore more wobbly.
Since we had already paid for four hours of parking, the three of us walked around Waikiki. We roamed through the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center. We found ourselves at the Beach Walk. Then right about the time we hit the Yard House, Lynnette and I could see the lights of the Halekulani, the place we got married. It was decked out with Christmas lights for the holidays.
“Do you want to see where mommy and daddy got married?” Lynnette asked Madison. “Yeah, yeah!” Madison said. We took a little tour, but it was difficult to see everything in the cover of night. Lynnette and I have vowed to return during the day. We figured out that we hadn’t been there since a year after we got married. I can’t wait.