It’s time for another Warm-Up exercise in anticipation of Domestic Man’s book arriving at my front doorstep . . . tomorrow! On tap: Loco Moco. You may wonder why I am doing this funny pseudo copycat exercise. Well, I don’t receive any monetary or otherwise kick backs or benefit from doing this exercise . . . . my blog is for fun and free right now . . . so the reason is twofold: (1) I really want to build my recipe utilizing muscle (I just have so many cookbooks it’s a problem, and I don’t use them other than to inspire and daydream, which of course has value in and of itself . . . but I really never actually use the recipes!; and, (2) because when I find a blog or book or person whose ethos I like, I want to support and share. I like to spread the love. I’ve always been that way . . . I send handwritten thank you notes to people/authors I don’t even know . . . . I email bloggers to tell them I love their writing . . . . I bring bread to my butcher . . . it’s just what I do. That’s what I love about blogging, the community aspect of it.
Back to the dish. Loco Moco is a meal in the contemporary cuisine of Hawaii. There are many variations, but the essential loco moco consists of white rice, topped with a hamburger patty, a fried egg and brown gravy. It is simple, delicious and nutritious. I’ve seen variations that include chili, bacon, ham, Spam, kalua pork, linguica, teriyaki beef, teriyaki chicken, even fish.
The last time we were in Hawaii I took my family to a dive joint and gently suggested to them to try the local loco. We all love burgers, fried eggs, brown gravy and rice, so what could go wrong? I don’t know, but all of my family members (except myself) were non-plussed. I thought it was delicious. Plus it was truck-driver sized, just like I like it sometimes.
I was tickled to recently spot Loco Moco at my local Pono Burger, a recent happy Quonset Hut addition to our neighborhood that features grass-fed burgers with things like fig jam & bacon & caramelized onion (summer/fall special); peach & arugula & pistachio (summer special); guava rum sauce & homemade potato chips & special slaw (regular featured burger). As much of a burger purist as I can be at times, when I abided by my server’s suggestion to try the specials as they were conceived, I have to admit the flavor combos were really delicious. One of their Winter specials has been a Loco Moco plate, made with brown rice instead of white, and including fried shallots, siracha and a mushroom enhanced brown gravy. Here is their rendition:
Pono Burger’s Loco Moco
For my riff on DM’s recipe I included onions in my gravy and used brown rice. I used a Wagyu grass-fed beef that I found at my local grocery store that was not prohibitively priced. I believe grass fed beef can be a good healthy source of protein and fat, but I really only eat beef if I know that it came from a sustainably sourced, humane, grass-fed, small scale source.
I also rimmed the bowl with some greens and avocado, for good health measure. It was a big hit last night in our house: