Students in the Writing for the Media class were tasked with trying out new food and writing about their experiences. These are their stories:

Garlic Spice Chicken Wings by Christian Chee (’15)

I was starving. My first restaurant choice had no parking, leaving me wandering around Market City looking for a place to eat. I came to the end of the walkway and arrived at a restaurant named Anytime Cafe. This restaurant serves variety of breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes, including Thai, American, and Italian. I decided to eat the garlic spice chicken appetizer as I had not tried it before.

[one_third]I took a decent bite of meat and skin with a few hairs still on it (a good sign of all traditional chicken wings.)[/one_third]

As the waiter put the dish on my table, I could smell the variety of spices on the chicken. The aroma of the chicken was like a warm sunny day in a field of lemon grass. Eager to eat, I picked one up with my chopsticks and sunk my teeth deep into the meat. The inner steam seared through my teeth, and I removed my teeth quickly as I dropped the chicken back into the dish. I had to wait till after my entrée came to try again, this time picking it up with my fingers, even though the chicken was still painful to hold. As I held it, I noticed tiny specs of seasoning on the wing. I took a decent bite of meat and skin with a few hairs still on it (a good sign of all traditional chicken wings) and absorbed all the flavors of the first bite. The juices from the meat flooded my mouth as I tasted the different layers of herbs, chillies, and oils. These layers fused into a very herbal flavor I had never tasted before. I picked apart the rest of the tasty chicken wings and was satisfied with an excellent appetizer.

I wish the skin had a little more crisp to add another texture to the chicken. Crispy skin would would help the wing hold more flavor. I also noticed that the chicken wings near the bottom of the dish were less seasoned because they were soaked in oil. I had to shake off some oil before I could start eating them.

After my appetizer I went on to my meat sauce spaghetti which was dry and bland. I started off with the salad as I always do, then I moved onto the main dish. The spaghetti looked good but was dry and stuck together under the sauce. It was almost a chore to eat. The redeeming part of the meal was the excellent garlic bread. It was soft in the center, crispy on the outside, and packed with flavor. I paired this with the spaghetti which made the pasta bearable to eat. The garlic spice wings were definitely the most unique part of the meal, and I would come here again anytime I don’t know what to eat.

Katayef by Aimee Clark (’17)

Katayef—An Arabic banana pancake with orange blossom cream, honey and toasted nuts. It all started with a beautiful, warm evening. This was my first time at a Moroccan and Lebanese restaurant and I enjoyed it. I was seated in the back of the restaurant on a garden terrace. There were lights hanging and music playing. When I closed my eyes, I felt like I was walking through a Moroccan bazaar. The best thing about the music was that they were playing Moroccan or Lebanese versions of English songs. Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive was on the playlist and it was pretty good; maybe even better than the English one.

[one_third]I wanted to see the bright flower of an orange on top of the Arabic banana pancake with sprinkles of crushed nuts.[/one_third]

The meal was great and nothing like I had expected. Although my main course tasted like regular chicken that you can make at home, the appetizers and desserts were different. The one dessert that I have never eaten in my life or even heard of was the katayef. I was looking at the dessert menu and as my eyes scanned down the page, I stopped at the weird looking word, katayef. I wanted something different. I didn’t want a simple cheesecake or some generic ice cream. The ingredients seemed interesting so I decided to give it a try.

While I was waiting, I wondered what it would look like. I wanted to see the bright flower of an orange on top of the Arabic banana pancake with sprinkles of crushed nuts. It came to me looking like it was straight off the heat. I could see steam coming off of the dish. There were bananas on top of it. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted it to look like but it looked homemade. The warm color of the dessert made me feel like I was in a nice cabin by the fireplace.

I took the knife and cut away a tiny piece. I poked my fork into it and it met my lips for the first time. I closed my mouth and instantly the hot pancake burned my tongue. Maybe I should have waited for it to cool down. I thought it would be like breakfast, but because I was full after dinner, I did not have the starving feeling you get right after you wake up. The pancake was a bit tough and very dense. I recognized a little bit of a banana taste in the pancake. The only thing exciting about it was the crunch of the nuts.

After everything disappeared from my mouth, the aftertaste was strong and flowery, almost like you ate a candle. It was not a burst of bright flavors; it was just mellow and somewhat calming. As I picked up the knife to cut another slice, the knife stuck to my napkin because of the sticky honey. I’m not a big fan of sticky, syrupy condiments so I was glad I didn’t get it all over my face. Although the exotic name didn’t live up to my expectations, I ate all the katayef on my small plate, slightly disappointed at the treat.

Ambrosia Salad by Jordyn Hartley (’17)

Even before the initial first taste, I know this is going to be something to remember. Never having known the taste of Ambrosia Salad before, I smell an overly sweetened cream confection, and my senses are already overwhelmed. My mouth waters at the mental images of cream puffs, cheesecakes, and every milky-sweet substance I’ve ever consumed.

[one_third]I imagine the flavor has been stolen directly from a recipe found in the classic gingerbread home of the wicked witch.[/one_third]

I put the lid of the salad container on the floor and my food-junkie of a dog shies away from the chance of a taste. I move around the mixture of pineapples, peaches, pears, and a variety of other fruits lost in the whipped cream base, doing the very thing my parents told me to never do: play with my food. Trying to prepare my mouth for a taste of bittersweet maraschino cherries dissolving in an endless amount of ingredients ending in the suffixes “ceride” and “utose,” I take my very first bite. Being sure to cram at least one whole cherry in my mouth, the taste is sweeter than I expected. I imagine the flavor has been stolen directly from a recipe found in the classic gingerbread home of the wicked witch in Hansel and Gretel.

At least two minutes go by and the flavor is just beginning to fade from my mouth. Though everything about the fruity mixture could best be described as sweetly sinister, my tastebuds long for more. The aftertaste, being much more tempting and enjoyable than the actual desert itself, is deceiving. It leaves you wanting more after every bite. In fact, this easy to make treat is recommended under the illusion that you will love it at the first bite. Through huge exaggerations of the greatness of the Ambrosia Salad, popularity of the desert increases. Regretting the first bite while indulging in the memory of the perfect balance of sweetness, fruitiness, and addictiveness, I brace myself for the next 15 seconds of terror leading into one of my new favorite tastes in the world.

Blue Bottle Coffee (Iced Coffee) by Katelynn Iha (’15)

I peel away the lips of the carton, and slowly push open the mouth. The miniature milk carton reminds me of the lukewarm milk I got in elementary school during lunch. A smell of overly sweetened iced coffee tingles my senses. The disappointing scent of over-used cane sugar and too little coffee makes me want to immediately throw the imported drink away. My lips begin to surround the straw, and I reluctantly suck up the contents of the carton. The cold liquid greets my tongue as I close my eyes to focus on the flavor. The coffee was chilled to perfection in the Whole Foods store. The first thing I notice is the raw organic milky flavor. Then, a hint of sweet with a trace of spice that creeps up onto my taste buds. Finally, the burnt but not acidic coffee overpowers the sweet creamy flavor. The taste sits well within my mouth. It doesn’t have an extremely acidic aftertaste like most Starbucks blends. I indulge in another sip.

[one_third]The aroma of the roasted beans drew me into taking my first sip of liquid gold.[/one_third]

Immediately, I am taken back in time to sixth grade. While it is uncommon for a middle schooler to enjoy the sophisticated taste of coffee, I had developed an appreciation for the bitter taste at an early age. It was the aroma of the roasted beans that drew me into taking my first sip of liquid gold. I’m also reminded of camping in Yosemite. The campfire is going and the sun is just starting to set. Everyone is sitting around the campfire enjoying time away from work, school, and chores. Freshly brewed coffee sits in my hand to keep me warm during the crisp even chill of twilight. The burnt taste of the coffee and the smoke from the campfire creates a perfect cocktail of smells.

I was pleasantly surprised that with only one sip, this carton of coffee instantly became my favorite. With every sip a new sensation arises. I can taste the the boldness of the authentic chicory. Its smoky twist is better than any artificial syrup pump. The perfect clash of the elegant cream and the harshness of the bold cold brew comes together to create a perfect concoction. I would choose this carton of Blue Bottle Coffee  over any fancy Starbucks latté any day.

Pie Sundae by Jennifer Le (’18)

The coldness of the sundae cup chills my hand, while the apple pie acts a heating blanket that warms my freezing palm. Apple pie and ice cream. Seems like a regular thing to be eating together. Well, this isn’t just any apple pie; it’s my McDonald’s yummy golden reward. My air riflery coach, Coach Hata, would reward us with McDonald’s apple pies for beating our personal best at matches. I remember the day last fall when I beat my high score and received an apple pie. The pie that was in my hand now brought back nice memories of that moment. I smiled to myself and felt proud.

[one_third]Well, this isn’t just any apple pie; it’s my McDonald’s yummy golden reward.[/one_third]

This wasn’t just ice cream on apple pie. This was magical and unforgettable. The soft serve ice cream and flaky pastry looked delicious together. I blended the two opposing textures together in my red Solo cup. It now looked like what my sister described as “Eww, is that tapioca?”. Even though it didn’t look very edible any more, the first taste of the sundae was amazing. The pie was still crunchy and I could taste the distinct cinnamon-y spices. The ice cream perfectly compliments the crispy covering of the pie and swirls together in my mouth, dancing a tango with the apple. The taste of the apple brings me back to my elementary days. My sister and I would be playing in the house while my father would be cutting up Fuji apples. He would call out to us, holding out the plate of freshly cut apple slices, and encouraged us to eat healthy. By “encouraging”, I mean forcing us to eat them. I don’t think a pie Mcflurry is what he pictured “eating healthy” was. Well, at least I’m eating apples. Even though the ice cream was more of ice cream soup now, I still slurped from the cup until it was empty.

Aloha Gelato by Kristin Moniz (’18)

During volleyball season, my father makes a strict diet plan for me to follow. It usually consists of protein and vegetables, with no room for sugars and fats. The life of volleyball players is strenuous, and they need to be able to move quickly for a long period of time. Three months into the season is no time for loading up on sugar. Today, however, is an exception that I am most eager to make.

If I were to ever mention ice cream to my parents during volleyball season, they would immediately discard the idea and move on. Fortunately, the mention of a school grade gets them to let it slide. Just this once. Making our way to Ala Moana Shopping Center, my mother, grandmother and I chatter about the one thing that makes my life interesting: volleyball. While my mother complains about me not following my diet plan, my grandmother comes to my aid and explains how this will boost my GPA. After all, grandmothers are all about making their granddaughters happy.

[one_third]My mouth salivates at the sight that I have missed so much.[/one_third]

We arrive at our destination: Aloha Gelato. My father works at Ala Moana’s FootLocker, so he knew that the gelato place had just opened a few months ago. I guess you could say that it was his fault that I was breaking my diet. As I browse for a suitable flavor, I notice that they are all Hawaiian themed, like Macadamia Nut or Kona Coffee. I prefer Macadamia Nut to all other flavors, so I point it out to the employee. He grabs a cup and scoops a large portion of the tub into it. My mouth salivates at the sight that I have missed so much.

After we pay for our treats, we make our way to a nearby bench to eat. I take my translucent pink spoon and dip it into the perfectly smooth surface of the gelato. I bring it to my tongue and a blast of sugar hits my taste buds. I knew I was going to have to run laps for this, but it felt so worth it. At first bite, it tasted only like pure sugar. The next one, however, had nuts in it. The crunch perfectly complemented the smooth texture of the gelato. I savored the first few tastes, but it had been so long since I had ice cream that I completely devoured my gelato within a few minutes. Of course, my mother noted that I should have taken my time with my treat. Even though I had to go back to my vegetable and protein diet, it was all worth it.

Frozen Pizza by Deylen Sueoka (’16)

Frozen food seems to be the hallmark of American cuisine. It’s easy to bake, creates no mess and has a decent taste. Most people have no care for what their food tastes like, but for me and for the sake of my project I find it highly important to taste the high cuisine which is the BBQ Pizza. When I grabbed the box containing my meal I could feel the cool plastic shell which brought tingling feeling to my fingertips. After following the printed instructions on the brown cardboard box, I opened the oven and was greeted by the sweet and tangy aroma of BBQ sauce with a hint of basil. My excitement grew as I sliced up perfect triangles of BBQ pizza. I grabbed a slice and took a bite. The taste was like fireworks on the fourth of July or a cool glass of champagne bringing a warm tangy feeling to my mouth. After I finished my slice of pizza I reacted by grabbing another piece. Wow, I’ve been missing out.

Dark Chocolate Crunch Pretzel Crisps by Danielle Woo (’15)

Pretzel Crisps by Snack Factory have always been a favorite snack of mine. These pretzel chips are flat and airy, designed to aid consumers in shoving as much of these chips into their mouth as they possibly can. Aside from its convenient shape, Pretzel Crisps are also dotted with bits of salt that make the snack a perfect balance of salty and savory.

[one_third]These pretzel chips are flat and airy, designed to aid consumers in shoving as much of these chips into their mouth as they possibly can.[/one_third]

While I was familiar with Pretzel Crisps being a perfect serving of Saturday afternoon salt, I was recently introduced to a newer flavor. Dark Chocolate Crunch Pretzel Crisps graced the shelf of my pantry this weekend and I was quick to sample this anomaly among boring stacks of oatmeal and canned goods. The pretzel is coated thickly in a blanket of rich dark chocolate. It still maintains a flat, light shape, which struck me as a warning sign to portion out my trial instead of taking fistfuls from the bag. The initial bite into the snack is a mouthful of deep, hazy chocolate, tinged with intriguing bitterness. At first, I was a little disappointed to find that the chocolate pretzel only tasted like potent dark chocolate, though my doubts were soon nullified when came the cushion of savory pretzel. The chocolate quickly melted away from the crunchy interior, and my tongue was awoken by a very mild-yet-effective crunch of salty pretzel. It balanced the bitterness of the dark chocolate perfectly, both complimenting the extremes of each flavor. Before I knew it, I had a stack of at least five more on my plate.

A glass of water is probably necessary when feasting on these decadent morsels, as they can be slightly dry in the mouth. The requirement of a beverage, however, was of no inconvenience to me. When I was done, I was compelled to stow the newly opened package in my room somewhere, for fear that family members would sniff out this rich find and “sample” it until they reached the bottom of the bag.

Fish Food by Brant Yamamoto (’18)

Most people would think that eating fish food is disgusting, gross, and unhealthy. But, the fish food challenge at Mrs. Mitchell and Mr. Shiroma’s desk, in the corner of room D103 in the Science building, might change your mind. The first of its kind, the challenge is simply to eat spoonful of fish food. But like all food eating challenges, you can’t go alone. I grabbed a couple of friends and went straight to the food stand.

[one_third]Instead, the taste of beef fills your mouth, as the now liquified fish food swishes around inside.[/one_third]

When you get to the food stand, just ask for the fish food challenge and the owners of the stand will cringe their faces, check the Internet for health risks, and ask, “Are you sure?”. They will then open a cabinet, and get out a jar of fish food. You prop out your IPad ready for that fish food selfie, scoop out a spoonful of fish food, and just plop it into your mouth.

Oddly, you don’t taste the fish food at first; instead your mouth starts to water, and try to stop the dry flakes from sticking to your tongue. As the flakes start to melt, you expect a hint of wheat which is listed as the top ingredient on the fish food container. Instead, the taste of beef fills your mouth, as the now liquified fish food swishes around inside. The tiny bits of flakes that haven’t dissolved stick to the back of your teeth. The experience only last about 25 seconds, until everything has been liquified, and all you can do is swallow.

I looked at my friends and they responded with  “Did we just eat fish food, and enjoy it ” faces. The aftertaste of beef lurches in your mouth. Mr. Shiroma and Mrs. Mitchell look at us like we have lost all sanity. We grab our stuff and walk out the door, only to walk right back in and ask if we can do it all over again.

On a scale of 1-10, I would rate fish food as a 9.5. The taste of beef stuffed in magical flakes, which then turns into liquid is a revolutionary experience. I would even say that fish food is more addictive than potato chips.

Check out Reviewing New Food #1.