7 Brunch Dishes To Stuff in Your Face Right Now

Because who doesn’t want red velvet pancakes and breakfast nachos?


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The French toast at Prima Hawai‘i in Kailua makes our brunch list.
Photo: Courtesy of Prima Hawai‘i

 

It wasn’t hard to pick brunch dishes to feature in our March cover story, “Brunch Like You Mean It!”

 

It was hard to narrow it down.

 

We ended up with a list of 27 brunch dishes—this included 10 French toasts taste-tested by our resident French toast expert Katrina Valcourt—and five cocktails.

 

But there were so many more!

 

So here are the dishes that didn’t make the cut (at least in our print edition) but are worthy of mentioning here. Find out what did make it in the March issue, on newsstands Feb. 27 or available to digital subscribers on Feb. 15.

 

1. Vegan Loco Moco, Juicy Brew

 

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It’s hard to pick just one dish at Juicy Brew’s weekend brunch for two reasons: 1) There are so many delicious plant-based options, including the Okinawan sweet potato pancakes and ʻulu cinnamon rolls, and 2) the menu changes all the time, based on whatever ingredients chef-owner Jennifer Meleana Hee can get her hands on. But the vegan loco moco is a standard every weekend. This dish features brown rice seasoned with Mohala Farms fennel; a veggie burger made from local kalo, ʻulu and beets; Small Kine Farm keiki portobello mushroom gravy; and an organic tofu scramble. Honestly, you won’t miss the meat.

 

$14, 3392 Wai‘alae Ave., (808) 797-9177, juicybrewhawaii.com

 

2. Fresh Fish & Lūʻau, Mud Hen Water

Photo: Courtesy of Mud Hen Water

 

When Mud Hen Water in Kaimukī launched its brunch service in August 2016, it was a refreshing change from the usual waffles and bennys. The focus here is on local and seasonal ingredients, even for brunch. The menu has featured warm uʻala (sweet potato) doughnuts, banana pancakes with whipped brown butter, polenta with local goat cheese and stewed fruit, corned beef and kalo hash, and pork sisig (Filipino-style sizzling pig head). A favorite—and one that speaks to chef-owner Ed Kenney’s heritage and love for local flavors—is the fresh fish and lūʻau, with two poached eggs, roasted root veggies and inamona dukkah. The magic is in the lūʻau, which is made with fresh coconut grated and squeezed in-house.

 

$18, 3452 Waiʻalae Ave., (808) 737-6000, mudhenwater.com

 

3. French Toast, Prima Hawaiʻi

 

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Back in October, we decided to grab a pizza at Prima in Kailua one night. We noticed on the menu, listed under dessert, was a French toast that called our names. Thick-cut Breadshop brioche with vanilla ice cream and crispy bacon? Hello! So, naturally, the “regular” French toast is equally delicious. Buttery, custardy, slightly crispy, topped with blackberries, strawberries and blueberries, and an ever-so-light dusting of powdered sugar.

 

$12, 108 Hekili St., #107, Kailua, (808) 888-8933, primahawaii.com

 

4. Nacho Libre, Cactus Bistro

Photo: Catherine Toth Fox

 

Who eats nachos for breakfast? We do! This dish from Catcus in Kailua hit all my morning cravings: house-made turkey chorizo (spicy and salty), two runny eggs (rich), sweet peppers and onions (crunchy), tomatoes and avocado (healthy) with a tomatillo salsa, queso fresco and chiptole crema (just because). Even my dining buddy—that aforementioned French toast expert—who has more than one sweet tooth, focused her attention on this more than the other dishes we ordered. And that’s saying something.

 

$13, 767 Kailua Road, Kailua, (808) 261-1000, catcusbistro.com

 

5. Red Velvet Pancakes, M.A.C. 24/7

 

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There are at least 10 different pancakes at M.A.C. 24/7 in Waikīkī, from the Hawaiian Kine (with pineapple, toasted coconut, macadamia nuts and haupia sauce) to the Elvis (bacon, bananas and a peanut butter drizzle). But the most popular is the eatery’s red velvet pancakes, amped up with chocolate chips, a maple-boubon glaze and a lemon cream-cheese icing. It’s rich and decadent in all the ways brunch should be. (If pancakes aren’t your thing, M.A.C. 24/7 does offer a tasty local-style Benedict with pulled kālua pork, poached eggs, lomi tomatoes and a Sriracha hollandaise sauce, or a braised beef loco moco with two eggs and a mushroom-onion gravy.) Wash this down with its new Bacon Bloody cocktail spiced with wasabi and jalapeño and two strips of crispy applewood-smoked bacon.

 

$15, 2500 Kūhiō Ave., (808) 921-5564, mac247waikiki.com

 

6. Smoked Moco, Highway Inn Kaka‘ako

Photo: Courtesy of Highway Inn Kaka‘ako

 

The combination of smoked meat with two local eggs over rice (or fried rice) is the reason why the smoked moco from Highway Inn in Kaka‘ako is one of its most popular breakfast items. So popular, in fact, the restaurant serves it at lunch, too. The house-made smoked meat is sautéed with bell peppers and onions and served with a smoked aioli and a side of potato-mac salad. So local!

 

$14.95 for the regular, $9.95 for the mini, 680 Ala Moana Blvd., #105, (808) 954-4955, myhighwayinn.com

 

7. Loco Moco Pizza, Flour & Barley

This Waikīkī pizzeria started serving brunch on the weekend, with house-made cinnamon rolls and scones, bacon-cheddar frittata and mimosas by the pitcher. A standout on the menu is the loco moco pizza, a sensory wonder with hamburger, mozzarella, brown gravy and two local eggs, topped with fresh parsley and crispy onions. On a pizza.

 

$18, 2330 Kalākaua Ave., #302, (808) 892-2993, flourandbarley.com

 

Brunch like you mean it at HONOLULU Magazine’s BrunchFest presented by American Savings Bank on Sunday, March 25 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at SALT at Our Kaka‘ako. Embrace the relaxed Sunday Funday vibe with seven local chefs, live entertainment, lawn games and a photo booth during this unique dining experience. Tickets on sale now. Click here.

 

READ MORE STORIES BY CATHERINE TOTH FOX

 

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