Okay, I saw this Wall Street Journal article that states “Americans eat 554 million Jack-In-The-Box tacos a year – and no one knows why”. That’s 1,055 a minute!
That got me thinking about all those late night grinds we used to go through – when our bodies could handle it.
Since we’re talking JITB tacos – I remember when I could finally drive and we’d hit town because that’s where had stuff to do at night. Then after the movie or concert or pool hall – what else was there for underage teenagers to do – but eat. The go-to place was Jack In The Box at the corner of King and McCully. Besides the cute girl named Emily that worked there, that was the only JITB around town. The order was almost always the same – 3 tacos with extra sauce, onion rings, and a diet-coke (like that makes a difference). Remember, this was before the 2 for 99¢ deal. Now with the 2-fer, the dilemma is whether to buy 2 or 4 tacos. 2 isn’t enough and 4 puts me over the top, but usually the 4 tacos wins. Gotta have onion rings too. And the diet-coke still doesn’t help.
But what other late night foods did you MLCers used to grind?
Of course, there was Zippy’s. Not necessarily for the food – more to check out the cars and the chicks. The chili dog plate was always a winner. Saimin – not at Zippy’s for saimin. Zip-pac was only if you’re planning to sleep in late the next morning. Gravy and fries when the funds were low.
Oh, but if you’re on a date – spare no cost – the Saimin Lanai restaurant in back it was.
If we were craving saimin, that usually meant a trip to Kalihi. One of our favorites was Saimin House when it was located by Tamashiro Market. Next door to Saimin House was a soda factory and they had a soda machine – the bottled kine – right outside their folded wooden doors. Always remember to buy your soda on the way in to eat your saimin. And when pau – take the empty bottle out and put it in the wooden case next to the soda machine.
Sometimes we’d opt for other saimin places; Palace Saimin, Hall Saimin, Tanoue’s.
Another regular joint was Washington Saimin on King St. But it wasn’t for their saimin. Run by a Korean family, we used to grind the Bul Go Gi plate. They’d start off giving us the scoop of mac salad which we’d immediately pour shoyu over and eat that as our appetizer. Then came out the plate of rice blanketed with hot, ono Korean bar-b-que meat. Sometimes when we had to wait for available booths we used to mosey on over to the next door photo studio and check out the cute girls graduation pictures displayed in the window.
If we were cruising around the Ala Moana or Waikiki area, late night food meant waffle dogs from KC Drive In back when it was at the Ala Wai/Kalakaua junction. Although I was hesitant to eat there with a full car-load of guys, especially when you hear “Oops” coming from the back seat. Or “pass some napkins, quick!”.
Another place I liked to go – but it was usually reserved for dates – was King’s Bakery. Great place to eat breakfast stuffs late at night. I also liked to go there with just a friend or two and sit at the counter watching the short-order cook whip up the pancakes, Portuguese sausage omelets, sweet bread french toast, and other breakfast items. Plus, felt kinda grownup sitting at the counter. And before leaving – always had to take a peek at the pastries. Never bought anything because was probably too full – but always took a look.
One thing about growing up on the Windward side was that after the late night grinds, the long drive over the Pali really set the pace for calling it a night. Dropping my friends off at their house sometimes meant waking them up. Cruise some more? Forget it. I just want to go home and sleep. And the full stomach and long drive made falling asleep almost effortless.
Okay, what late night places did you folks go? Whether with the boys (or girls) or on a date?