Breakfast at Da Lu'au - Irvine
There's nothing particularly Hawaiian about two fluffy pancakes, fried eggs, breakfast meat, and fast-food style hash browns formed into a rectangle. Take away the Portuguese sausage from the breakfast I ate at Da Lu'au in Irvine and opt for the available options of bacon or sausage links and you have the prototypical meal some Americans eat every day.
Gloriously priced at $4.97 daily until 11 a.m., the basic model with maple syrup and plain pancakes (and all of the above) is Da Lu'au's least island-inspired breakfast. For an additional fee, there are choices to make the flapjacks with banana, macadamia, or coconut. Other plates feature rice as the starch. But we chose this because it was cheap and on sale. We ate it there with ukelele music and Hawaiian melodies washing over us like a frothy wave.
Though it's located in another Irvine Company-owned neighborhood center, Da Lu'au would make every Hawaii-loving mainlander like me yearn for his next island vacation just by the choice of its soundtrack alone. It's possibly the same mix they play in continuum at breezy Hawaiian hotel lobbies during check-in.
But it's the breakfasts that transports me to road-side shacks and short order diners owned by locals that put out so-called "local breakfasts." With Spam and scoops of rice and Aloha shoyu as condiment, even Hawaii's McDonalds have their own version.
Of course, I asked for Da Lu'au's bevel-sliced Portuguese sausage for my meal--a breakfast meat rarely seen stateside except at places like Da Lu'au. Spicy enough not to require Sriracha or Tabasco, it is imbued with chili flakes and sweats red grease. And the pancakes, oh the pancakes. So thick, so airy, you could conceivably lay your head down on it to take a snooze.
The yolks on the eggs, however, were lamentably undercooked even though I requested over-medium, and the hash browns were just hash browns. But this is a breakfast that lasts, a fuel of protein, fat and carbohydrates that no mortal really needs unless he's going to drive a hatchet into a tree.
I am not a lumberjack, so shortly after I consumed this meal, I slipped into what can be medically classified as "nap time". I went home, collapsed on the couch, and slept for two hours, my body's resources presumably redirected to deal with digesting the meal. I dreamt a pancake was my pillow.
Da Lu'au Hawaiian Grill
14151 Jeffrey Road
Irvine, CA 92620
*To read my review of non-breakfast food at Da Lu'au, click here.
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