Orchard Mesa eatery offers taste of Hawaiian islands


If you go

• What: Tropix Hawaiian BBQ.

• Where: 2740 U.S. Highway 50, Suite 112.

• Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Sunday.

• Cost: Inexpensive.

• Contact: 242-2068.

TWO FOR $25: In Hawaii, they’ve been cooking in the fusion style before any of us knew what fusion food was.

The polyglot of cultures that has influenced the food of the islands includes Japanese, Korean, Chinese, American and, of course, native Hawaiian.

Tropix Hawaiian BBQ on Orchard Mesa, open just two months, serves just such a fusion that makes up quintessential Hawaiian comfort food.

Across from the fairgrounds in a strip mall, Tropix is casual, an order-at-the-counter kind of place. We tried the seafood mix with short ribs, $8.69, and chicken teriyaki, $6.89.

The entrees are described as plate lunches, a term common to Hawaii and not exclusive to lunch.

Each “lunch” is served with two scoops of steamed rice and macaroni salad. An odd combination of side dishes, but not in the isles. The fare is virtually identical to the L&L Hawaiian Barbecue chain and numerous other diners on Oahu.

The combo plate consisted of two fillets of mahi mahi, shrimp and a barbecue beef short ribs.

The seafood was lightly breaded and fried and the ribs were Korean-style cross-cut. If you’ve never seen these, they look something like this:  —0—0—0—0.

With a bottle of sriracha hot tonic and some katsu sauce, we made quick order of the plentiful platter.

The teriyaki chicken was good, but not a standout. We should have ordered the slow-roasted kalua pork with cane-sugar Hawaiian barbecue sauce.

Other things on the menu that looked interesting: Spam musabi, tropical Spam burger (are you seeing the post-WWII American GI influence here?), Hawaiian barbecue chicken, crab wonton,  curry chicken katsu, barbecue beef noodle soup and pineapple shrimp fried rice.

The dish most likely to make a cardiologist cringe: Loco Moco, two hamburger patties served with rice, gravy and topped with eggs.

The concoction was first served on the Big Island around 1950 and since has morphed into numerous variations that incorporate Spam or Portuguese sausage.

Good starter for a day in the surf, er, on the slopes.

The bill, including two soft drinks, tax and tip, came to $22.85.

Tropix also caters functions and serves a variety of family meals, intended to feed four people, for 26.99.

BATTLE OF THE CHEFS: The results are in for the second annual A La Mode Pastry and Dessert Competition that took place April 1 at the Bookcliff Country Club.

Best dessert honors went to Il Bistro Italiano for a sampler platter of saffron pavlova, mousse trio with basil, mango and moscato wine topped with crushed Florentine and truffle tart of passion fruit vanilla sauce.

The creative souls at 626 on Rood won the best presentation award for their bacon caramel popcorn, corn dogs and yellow mustard ice cream with karny ketchup.

And the people’s choice award went to Gelato Junction, which served Palisade peach bellini gelato.

IT’S NOT LENT: But, you can still fill up on the all-you-can-eat salmon fish and chips at the Rockslide Brewery from 4–10 p.m. every Thursday.

SOMETHING TO WATCH FOR: The next hot food trends, according to nutritionunplugged.com:

1. Macarons, not to be confused with macaroons, are Parisian pie-like confections.

2. Beef jerky.

3. Coconut water.

4. Relaxation beverages, fortified with melatonin, kava root, L-Theanine and other amino acids.

5. Oatmeal.

QUOTE: “The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.” — Julia Child

Tess Furey is a freelance writer living in Grand Junction. E-mail her with tips and ideas at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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