CONFESSIONS OF A                                                                  
A San Francisco Girl's Down and Dirty Adventures in the Culinary Playground

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Hubba Bubba (Bubba's Burgers -- Kapa'a and Hanalei, Kaua'i, HI)

I'm back from Hawaii, Kaua'i to be exact. It was beautiful, as was the wedding I was there to attend. Between the sun, the sand, the rainbows and the jungles, I'm as relaxed as can be. The one thing, however, that sucks about Kaua'i is the food. I was last there in the spring of 2003, so I had hopes that the situation would have improved. It has not. Fortunately, though, I knew about the few places that are worth eating at. One of those places is Bubba's Burgers.

I learned about Bubba's when researching my first trip to Kaua'i. It was on a list of the best restaurants in Hawaii that epicurious had compiled. That was enough for me to give it a shot. And having eaten there last time, I was happy to repeat the experience this time around. Epicurious has sinced revamped their restaurant content, but I didn't forget my Bubba's.

The motto at Bubba's is "We cheat tourists, drunks and attorneys." They have lots of other cheeky sayings on the wall such as one that demonstrates their disgust with cheap, low quality meat. My kind of place.

Once our plane had landed and we dealt with the completely inept car rental facility, we started driving toward our hotel. The airport is on the east side, the hotel on the north side. We were facing a 40 minute drive after five and a half hours on a plane and I was ready to get my grub on. Jon was so hungry that he even suggested paying a visit to my arch enemy. Meaning instant gratification for him, and some more waiting for me as you would have to throw me under a train to get me to eat there. Since he probably wants to keep his balls, it was lucky for him and our potential future children that I saw Bubba's as we drove through Kapa'a.

Bubba's is a no nonsense kind of joint, serving burgers, chicken, fish, chili rice, fries, onion rings and a combination of those last two, called "frings." Jon got a Double Bubba with grilled onions, which involves two hamburger patties. These are pretty small, like fast food size. I went for the chicken, as they were out of fish. We also got the frings and two Thomas Kemper root beers. The woman who waited on us was sweet and really fucking good at her job. When "Blue," the man ahead of us, ordered as if he was actively trying to be as difficult as possible, she just smiled and took his order. I almost kissed her after that.

As we waited for our food, I paid a trip to the loo. Once in this bathroom, I noticed an old cosmetics add on the wall, from around the 30's. And the name of the cosmetics company, was...wait for it..."JON-JOY COSMETICS." I SHIT YOU NOT. Can you fucking believe that? I certainly couldn't. Fortunately I had my cell phone so I could take a picture for Jon. I didn't think they'd take too kindly to me bringing him into the ladies room with me.

Our order came and we started in with the scarfing. The burger and chicken are both very good. Now in SF, they'd be nothing special, but on the island, they hit the spot. The fries are very good, but the onion rings are nothing short of great, by any standard. They must use those sweet Maui onions, and then they coat them in panko. And I swear, these are the best onion rings that either one of us has experienced on this earth.

We again thanked the sweet Lord above for Bubba's when we had finished an amazing day of hiking the Kalalau trail and then snorkeling at Ke'e beach. This beat the crap out of us, and we just wanted some food before taking our crippled asses back to our hotel for some poolside drinkies.

Again, they were out of the fish. This was OK, because the fish they use is Icelandic cod. Hold are in HAWAII and you use ICELANDIC COD. Riiiiight... At any rate, we repeated our order except this time we got full on orders of both the fries and the onion rings (we were really hungry) and they didn't have the Thomas Kemper.

All in all, Bubba's is good enough that we went there twice. It's worth a visit just for the onion rings, but the rest of the food ain't half bad, either. And besides, you can't beat a burger and fries under a palm tree.


"To eat is a necessity. To eat intelligently is an art."
--La Rochefoucauld


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great blog entry. I just got back from Kauai two weeks ago. I went there for my Honeymoon. We loved it and we also had trouble finding good food spots. I saw that burger place on the way back from snorkeling at Ke'e but as we were headed to Poipu/Koloa, I did not stop. Maybe I should have. Thanks for the tip.


10/06/2005 1:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been to Kauai a few times, LOVE it there. My main gripe has always been the food, but this last trip we found some great places to eat. They are all in Hannalei, as we always stay in the north.

Bubba's rocks. Postcards (in Hannalei) is amazing. Wonderful, fresh, simple, flavorful food - they only serve veggies and fish - no meat. Pappaya's market is Hannalei is like a mini Whole Foods - they make the best smoothies, muffins and sandwiches. I had a wheat-free coconut blueberry muffin that I am still fantasizing about. Lastly, the Hannalei Gourmet is a great little cafe - I had an incredible salad there and they have great beer!

10/06/2005 2:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You shouldn't swear so much. You're a lady.

10/06/2005 3:37 PM  
Blogger Joy said...


I have to disagree with you on Postcards (which I'll post about later). I didn't find it to be simple at all -- rather too cluttered with about 5 sauces on each plate. I do agree with you on Hanalei gourmet, though!

10/06/2005 3:42 PM  
Blogger Joy said...

hahahaha...bones, darling, how did you find me?

10/06/2005 3:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just posted this on Spicetart, and followed her link to your great blog. It seems applicable to your Kauai review too.
I would have to agree about the food on Kauai, it sucks! We were on Kauai in August for my cousins wedding in Poipu, we were there for a week and had a lot of fun, but were soon missing our favorite dinning destinations back home.
Our dinners at Roy’s in Poipu were OK, they do cook fish really well, and the steak and lobster at Kintaro’s in Kapaa was pretty damn good too. The one surprise we did have was the best wedding cake we have ever tasted, ever! It was as good as we remember our Cocolat wedding cake being all those years ago, and it did not surprise us to find out it was made by a pastry chef originally from the Bay Area ( who now owns a bakery with her husband on Kauai.
After eating more than my share of the cake, I tracked down the phone number of the bakery, which is only wholesale and special order right now, but they gave me a list of some of the restaurants and cafe’s they supply to (mostly on the n. shore and we were mostly on the s. shore), so we went to the Small Town Coffee Co. In Kapaa and had some more of those amazing pastries from Icing on the Cake and some really, really good organic coffee.
So, if you have to go to Kauai (poor baby), I would highly recommend anything you can find from Icing on the Cake and try the coffee at the Small Town Coffee Co.
P.S. We also did an amazing island tour on a biplane! It was definitely one of the highlights of my life, so check out too.

11/02/2005 12:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hanalei hannah said--- hi anonymous!! iam SO confused--you said the food sucks and to prove your point you say ''cook fish really well'' steak and lobster pretty damn good'' best wedding cake i have ever eaten'' amazing pastries''good coffee''--and just how does all that relate to sucky food?

8/22/2006 11:59 AM  

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