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>>Best Local Butcher

327 Keawe St. | 699-6328 | wholeoxdeli.com

Bob McGee is behind the meat wave in Kakaako.

Photo: Matt Mallamas and elyse Butler

THE WHOLE OX BUTCHER AND DELI recently fulfilled the “butcher” part of its name, stocking its glass case with local beef from Makaweli Ranch on Kauai and pork from Shinsato Farm on Oahu and Malama Farm on Maui. “When we cut a Malama Farms pig, we literally have the best pork chops in Hawai‘i,” says owner Bob McGee. Also in the case: familiar cuts like ribeye, tenderloin and skirt steak, as well as baseball steaks, a “cleaned-up sirloin,” McGee says. It all comes from one side of beef, grass-fed and aged at least 21 days.

The Whole Ox makes some sausages, too—bratwurst and spicy Italian made with Malama Farm pork—and meat terrines like scrapple, the Pennsylvania Dutch version of Spam, and a Shinsato pork pate wrapped in Malama Farms pancetta. It’s probably the most local butcher case in Hawaii, with just a few imported salumi, like prosciutto and sopressa. The Island sourcing does mean, though, that you may not always get what you’re looking for—it turns out grass-fed oxtail is all skin and bones, and there’s only one hanger steak per cow (lucky you if you manage to snag it). But like the neighborhood butcher of yesteryear, The Whole Ox can guide you to another cut to send you on your meaty way. Butcher counter open until 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday.




>>Best New Dangerously Addictive Cheesy Thing

Farmers market schedules: KCC Tuesday, Kailua Thursday | bossanovatreats.com

Photo: Bossa Nova

In Brazil, the popular cheese bread known as pao de queijo can be found everywhere. In Hawaii, it’s now available at the Kailua and Kapiolani Community College farmers markets. But there’s a twist. Traditionally, the treat comes in the form of a puffy ball. Mercia and Mariane Uehara, the Brazilian mother-and-daughter team operating as BOSSA NOVA, has disguised pao de queijo as a waffle and given it the cuter and more pronouceable name “quaffle.” QUAFFLES are lightly crispy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside. Parmesan, feta and mozzarella provide the cheesiness, while tapioca flour ups the chewiness.



>>Best Off-the-menu Dining

If you like Thai dishes but want to expand your horizons, try S&T Thai's take on Laotian cuisine.

Photos: Martha Cheng

661 Keeaumoku St., Suite 103 | 949-3800

Many of the Thai restaurants in town are run by Laotians. Why? Thai food is easier for Americans to grasp, especially when it’s sweetened and dialed down in heat for Western tastes. Laotian food is like dirty Thai: more rustic, stronger flavors, more spicy. It really gets our taste buds humming. Want to try it? Call S&T Thai at least a day in advance to request a Laotian dinner, which might include Laotian street snacks like sticky rice roasted in bamboo, and riverweed, brittle with a salty, ultra-concentrated seaweed flavor. Dishes like sup new mai, a crunchy, deeply savory bamboo salad, open up our palates to new ingredients and tastes, and papaya salad done up Laotian-style is more pungent and flavorful than Thai.