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Circuit Court Sacramento

Da Big Kahuna's Pizza-n-Stuffs
1128 - 8th St.
Sacramento, CA

916-497-0600
Monday - Friday, 11AM to 2 PM
www.connectednow.com/pizza/

11/15/03

Eat me.Da Big 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:

"What happens 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."

Eat me.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 the 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 is 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 lover. Not everyone is. Another difference between fact and Pulp Fiction: Unlike the Tarantino version, my Big Kahuna tops their burger with a huge mound of shredded cabbage, and it is this addition that makes the Big Kahuna 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 of disappointment, 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. Jackson says 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 the movie came out. I say that's savvy: Why argue with free product placement? Dan ordered the Killer Kalua Pork sandwich and I got Da Big Kahuna's favorite Mandarin Orange Salad. Neither of these is mentioned in any movie that I know of.

Hello.That Kalua pork! Man! Dan liked it. What carnivore wouldn't? No cabbage on this baby, 100% pork. Tender, tasty, lumpy, saucy. And it's got 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 pleased that 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 warns, "No 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 so tasty. Again, cabbage is featured, but I'm all for that. Add celery, and some of those canned mandarin orange segments that you often find suspended in Jell-O molds. A very light, tangy dressing, and some kind of ground up candied nut for a sweet crunch. It's salad, but feels a little like dessert. I love it.

Can't tell you much about the pizza, except that it looked good going by. Also spotted: Da Big Kahuna's Balls. That's their basic bun recipe, baked in butter and topped with their 5-cheese blend, an audacious and commendable menu item. We didn't get 'em, because we had 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 are that confident you'll be hooked. So be careful.

Da Big Kahuna makes a nice break from the predominantly beige office environment. You got tables 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, pleather, the importance of a Coke alternative. As for Da Big Kahuna, we say read the menu first -- THEN see the movie.

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Contact Magistrate Louise at lasqueeze777@yahoo.com

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