HANAMA‘ULU — “Which way is the right way to put the cat?” Smiley Punzal wanted to know Friday as he waited on his order from the take-out eatery across from the Shell gas station in Hanama‘ulu.
“I brought this as an opening present, so I can adjust it while I wait. I put in the first order they had.”
The maneki neko, or the Japanese Lucky Cat, is believed to be a good-luck charm for good fortune in business and happiness, and was adjusted to beckon people to the business window by Punzal between the growing line of customers anxious to try the variety of patele and gandule rice dishes.
Owned and operated by Larnelle and Lenny Brezee, the eatery offering a short line of patele and gandule rice dishes is open on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. until, as Punzal put it, “they sell out.”
“They’re my good friends,” Punzal said. “I had to come — you know, to show support.”
When Punzal got his to-go plate, a pastele gandule that included two scoops of gandule rice, a scoop of potato salad, tomato salad and a pastele, eyes strained to get an idea of the serving size, or to firm up their personal ideas on what to order.
“This is the middle one,” Punzal said of the short menu that includes five main selections — regular pastele, pastele gandule, katchi katch, pastele stew plate and pastele stew bowl — and a variety of extras, including additional pastele, extra gandule rice, extra white rice, extra potato salad, and extra tomato salad.
“If you like patele, this is the place,” Punzal said.