Umami Mart Registry

Aloha from Kauai! Yoko, Washi, Johnny, Keisuke, Jay, Rie and I have been lucky enough to spend five nights in Hanalei Bay -- a picturesque town on the North Shore, surrounded by staggering mountain ranges and captivating turquoise waves. It's truly paradise here and we are having a blast ringing in the first week of 2014.

As all tourist towns go, the food ranges from mediocre to decent. We're all pretty frugal so we've been careful to read Yelp reviews and menus online, and not go past anywhere with more than two $$ symbols. This was the case when we stepped into House of Noodles on our first night in Kauai, a place described as "Asian Fusion" but seemed charming enough.

We should have left when we saw the menu: the basic noodle soup was $13 and the house special were dishes like Jumping Shrimp Noodle. I cringed a little when Johnny ordered the Coconut Cream Pasta but the lady said that it was "the best thing." Feeling adventurous, Johnny ordered with confidence.

When the food arrived, we all gazed at Johnny's dish as though it were an exotic animal at the zoo. It was an atrocious combination of steamed carrots, broccoli, shredded chicken, and a pasty beige sauce over a bed of soggy fettuccine noodles. The dish tasted at once of cornstarch, water and hand lotion. The most offensive part were the deep fried pieces of "coconut" dusted over the top -- they were as hard as nails and nearly unidentifiable. The chicken was tasteless and mealy. What a disaster!

Johnny, a voracious and enthusiastic eater who usually finishes any dish to the last drop without discretion, could not even finish his plate of abomination. Although we vowed to "never speak of this ever again" that night at the House of Noodle, this dish has become a source of ridicule and many prolonged jokes and laughs during our stay here. I humbly share this pitiful dish with you, dear Umami Mart reader, as a resolution for the new year: order wisely, order well.

Happy 2014!