Circuit Court Sacramento
Da Big Kahuna's
- 8th St.
Monday - Friday, 11AM to 2 PM
Kahuna, that's a Hawaiian thing. Sort of. My sources in Hawaii explain
that, while the phrase itself retains meaning in Hawaiian culture,
when used on the mainland, it actually refers to the kitchy, cartoony
concept popularized by Hunter Thompson in his Curse of Lono period.
Crazy! There's a surf connection too, which is supported by clues on
the menu: a "surfer" sub, a sandwich called "da Pipeline." If
you've seen "Endless Summer," you know what they're talking
about. And that's not the only movie tie-in; According to the menu,
the Big Kahuna Burger was featured in "Pulp Fiction." Personally,
I had no recollection of such a scene, and neither did jury members
The Man (Dan) or Craig D, so, later, I went to Tower Video to rent
the dang thing. Let the record show that my pieces are thoroughly researched!
But Tower was a bust -- they only carry it on DVD, and being stuck
in my ways and damn stubborn, I've yet to upgrade. Fortunately, around
then A. Steinheimer showed up and filled me in thusly:
is, the guy busts into the place, and the other guy is eating a burger,
and first guy says
'Where's that burger from anyway?' And the other guy says, 'Uhhh... Big
Kahuna Burger' and the first guy says, 'Oh yeah, Big Kahuna. That's that
Hawaiian burger place!' And then he eats the guy's burger. And then he
shoots the guy."
And you know, that's
an accurate, if condensed, version of what actually happens. I finally
confirmed it after combing
the aisles of Blockbuster
and discovering the misfiled, collector's edition, letterbox version.
Upon viewing it, several telling details revealed themselves: In
the movie, these guys are having the burgers for breakfast. Well, that
would be impossible here in Sac, as the place is only open from 11
to 2 PM.
Limited hours, yes, but if you cater to the lunch crowd, why pay
cooks until 4? Also, I slo-mo'ed that movie burger frame by frame,
to verify my suspicion: Yes! Standard, Wonder-bread style bun. There
no way that's the same bun they've got down on the corner of 8th
and L Streets. My Big Kahuna features a Jumbo Roll, baked fresh daily.
All their sandwiches are served on them. It's that soft, puffy, slightly
sweet Hawaiian style bread and it's huge. Great if you are a bun
Not everyone is. Another difference between fact and Pulp Fiction:
the Tarantino version, my Big Kahuna tops their burger with a huge
mound of shredded cabbage, and it is this addition that makes the
Burger truly different. Now, Craig D, he's a lettuce man. He accepted
cabbage in this case because, (and I think this is an actual quote), "What
we're dealing with here is a different burger aesthetic." He's
very understanding, that Craig D. He also observed, with a trace
that the patty itself, while generous, is definitely pre-formed.
However, his final verdict was, "That's a tasty burger," which
is kind of uncanny, because that is word for word what Samuel L.
in the movie!
But Da Big Kahuna
offers way more than burgers. In fact, it's almost like the burger
is an afterthought, perhaps added after
came out. I say that's savvy: Why argue with free product placement?
ordered the Killer Kalua Pork sandwich and I got Da Big Kahuna's
Orange Salad. Neither of these is mentioned in any movie that I
That Kalua pork!
Man! Dan liked it. What carnivore wouldn't? No cabbage on this baby,
100% pork. Tender, tasty, lumpy, saucy. And
nothing to do with a coffee-flavored liqueur, and everything
to do with some
kind of succulent roasting. Now here's where the bun makes sense.
You gotta lotta pork, you need a lotta bun. The Man (Dan) was
the menu offered a half sandwich option -- he opted for it. It
presented good value at $4. The whole one costs $6, and the menu
Whimps," which I guess means no whimpering if you sprain
something while stuffing yourself.
The Mandarin Orange
salad is what keeps me coming back to the Kahuna. It's so odd, yet
tasty. Again, cabbage is featured,
all for that. Add celery, and some of those canned mandarin
you often find suspended in Jell-O molds. A very light, tangy
dressing, and some kind of ground up candied nut for a sweet
salad, but feels a little like dessert. I love it.
you much about the pizza, except that it looked good going by. Also
spotted: Da Big Kahuna's Balls. That's
baked in butter and topped with their 5-cheese blend, an
audacious and commendable menu item. We didn't get 'em, because we
enough bun action,
but I must admit that when I'm sitting at my desk around
10 AM fantasizing about lunch, sometimes this image comes to mind,
and it is compelling.
And furthermore, the very friendly counter staff told us
that if you've never had them before, the first order is free. They
you'll be hooked. So be careful.
Da Big Kahuna makes
a nice break from the predominantly beige office environment. You got
with thatched umbrellas,
lots of bamboo
and bent wood, a mural featuring a purple woman wearing
a skirt of bananas.
It's a pleasant place to eat lunch and chat for a while.
We managed to render verdicts on many topics: Texas BBQ,
a Coke alternative. As for Da Big Kahuna, we say read the
menu first -- THEN see the movie.
Magistrate Louise at firstname.lastname@example.org