New restaurant Ohana Café bids ‘Aloha!’ to La Jolla
By Marti Gacioch
The owners of the new Ohana Café at 456 Pearl St. want to say “Aloha, La Jolla!” with their blend of Hawaiian BBQ and Pacific-fusion dishes. Café partners Larry Chou and Becky Kuba teamed up to open the family restaurant a month ago. They celebrated their grand opening last week with an afternoon of live music by the Nalukai band and jazz guitarist Keni Yarbrough.
Kuba, who is also a dance instructor for the Carlsbad Hawaiian group, Ke Polani Ohana E Kai (The Beautiful Family By The Sea), performed with 12 members of the troupe. “Our grand opening was awesome,” Kuba said. “I handed out samples until it got way too busy; we were swamped the entire day.”
Chou and Kuba are tennis partners. When they met, Chou said he was considering opening a restaurant, and Kuba, trained in Hawaiian cuisine by her mother, was eager to introduce La Jollans to island cooking. The Ohana (“family” in Hawaiian) Café is the tasty result of their collaborative inspiration.
“My mother was from Hawaii and I grew up learning her recipes,” Kuba said. “I’ve been catering for parties, events and fundraisers for quite awhile.”
Kuba said the café’s most popular dish is teriyaki chicken with rice. It comes with a choice of side dishes, which include edamame, macaroni salad or sumi cabbage salad (with almonds, ramen noodles, cilantro, onions, topped with a light Asian vinaigrette dressing) or Seaweed Somen salad, a mix of seaweed with somen noodles.
Loco Moco, another favorite Hawaiian dish, features a hamburger patty topped with eggs over-easy and gravy served over rice.
Spam is prominently featured in many of Ohana’s dishes, including plates with fried spam and eggs with rice, or spam with sausage, pork or a medley of vegetables.
“We sell a ton of spam musubi,” Kuba said. “It’s like a Hawaiian sushi-type roll wrapped in seaweed, and it comes with rice with fried spam in the middle.”
Additional breakfast items include handmade pancakes with bananas and coconut syrup.
Ohana serves a range of Hawaiian Sun flavors, including guava, mango and orange pineapple juice, as well as Kona coffee (regular or chocolate macadamia nut).
Ohana’s rainbow of shaved ice flavors, including banana mango, cotton candy, watermelon, kiwi, blue raspberry, cherry, passion fruit, and tangerine pineapple, are proving a popular after-school treat for La Jolla students.
• Ohana Café
456 Pearl St., La Jolla, CA 92037
(Corner of La Jolla Boulevard)
11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Friday,
8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
• Phone: (858) 456-9009
• Website: ohanacafesd.com
• Twitter: http://twitter.com/OhanaCafeSD
• Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ohanacafesd
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