Pop up dinners aren’t new, but they are fun and easier to find these days. Still, unless you are in the know, they can be hard to track down. Feastly makes it uber easy to find and book online. It’s kind of like Ticketmaster for pop ups. Find a meal that looks interesting, buy your tickets, and show up on the date. My amazing lady happened upon a Feastly pop up meal last year featuring Top Chef Alum Chef Tu David Phu in Oakland. We had so much fun that night we posted a shot on Instagram (our first on the Constant Wobbler gram) and guess what? We won another Feastly meal just for sharing!
So it’s only natural the next step would be to find a worthy meal to take advantage of the free price tag. Hawaiian food sounded great and the title “Summer in Hawaii: A Hawaiian – Filipino Inspired Dinner” seemed right in our lane. Not only that, the meal was getting 5 star reviews. As of this writing this specific meal has 825 reviews with an average rating of 5. That’s another reason why Feastly is pretty nice, there is social proof and actual testimonials from previous diners, which is hard to come by from a normal pop up you hear about from someone else.
We showed up to a large building housing many different businesses and simply followed our noses up the stairs, and down a long narrow corridor. Our noses did not fail us as it led to a nicely decorated area, resembling a cozy living room. Around the corner resided the kitchen where Chef Eric Pascual and his crew were cooking us up an island worthy meal.
It wouldn’t be a true Hawaiian meal without the ahi poke. This disappeared in seconds. Light, delicate, and refreshing, it was a perfect start to our meal.
Chef Eric next brought out some lumpia made with chicken. Along with the vinegary sauce, this also magically left the table without a trace fairly quickly. So quickly, Chef asked if we needed more. Our table was not the shy type and gladly accepted the gluttony to come. Even though they are fried, the lumpia were very thin and not overly oily. The sauce helped balance each bite and it allowed us all to keep on keepin on.
Here’s Chef E putting the finishing touches on the next dish.
Oh boy. Another bomb ass dish. What’s there not to like? I like potato mac salad normally served at Hawaiian joints, but there’s no problem nixing the macaroni and going full on potato. Again, the panko breading wasn’t too thick and had just the right crispiness. I appreciated the first meat dishes being chicken because we may not have been able to continue on this journey had they been fattier or heavier meats.
Two things I love, loco moco and beef. Somehow Chef E managed to elevate a rather homey dish, yet made it still feel like the original. Swapping a 5+ hour braised beef adobo in place of a hamburger patty might not seem like you can capture the essence of a regular loco moco, but he hit this one right on the head.
The egg oozed out and did its thang with the rice.
We can’t leave without haupia, one of my favorite Hawaiian desserts. But the menu tricked me because I thought I was getting chocolate, which would have been way better as I’m not too fond of ube or taro. Still, I can’t say I didn’t clean this plate and make it easier for them to do dishes…
If you can’t tell by now, I was thrilled to consume this meal, beginning to end. It’s times like these that you sort of forget where you are, where you came from, and live in the moment. The food took center stage and each time a dish was finished was a happy sad moment. Sad it was gone, but happy to see what came out next. The pacing was just right. The first few dishes came out a little bit quicker than the last few. In hindsight, that worked out nicely since we were getting pretty full and needed a minute to digest everything.
Would I go again? Definitely. Is it cheap? No. But no fancy restaurant is going to be cheap. I consider it similar to restaurant week. It’ll cost you around $50 but you get 5 different dishes here as opposed to the 3 or 4 you may get for restaurant week. For me that’s a good deal and allows me to get a feel for the restaurant or chef in a short amount of time. I can’t lie, I’m already looking ahead to the next time we want to splurge on another Feastly meal. How about you? Do you have any pop up recommendations?