Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Hawaii, part two
Midway through our week on Oahu, we ventured into Honolulu. It seemed like a snarling hell of traffic compared to the laidback North Shore, although it really was nothing compared to the mainland. After climbing Diamond Head we were ready for lunch, but I was a little wary of taking my sweaty, starving children to recommended local foodie stops like Ono Hawaiian Foods or the Side Street Inn. We compromised with the cheap and very air conditioned Like Like Drive Inn, which like so many places in Honolulu, has a really nice vintage sign.
It's kind of like a Hawaiian Denny's, only with more local dishes. What are malted waffles, anyway? I had a very tasty mahi mahi sandwich in an eggy batter, like a really fresh Filet o' Fish. Matt had the loco moco (above), a Hawaiian dish involving rice, a hamburger patty, brown gravy and a fried egg...I think you really had to grow up with that one to appreciate it, but he polished it all off.
At sundown we hit the classy House Without a Key oceanfront bar at the Halekulani Hotel, where we ordered a plate of tender lemongrass beef skewers and some drinks and listened to Hawaiian music.
The high point was a birthday hula dance for a 95 year-old "auntie" who had fragrant leis heaped around her neck by the hula dancer, whom she toasted the dancer with a mai tai. I can think of worse ways to turn 95.
After Honolulu we mostly stayed close to home, lunching on the sand at Ola restaurant at Turtle Bay Resort and guzzling garlic shrimp scampi and shave ices between kayaking, snorkeling and picnicking at Waimea Falls.
My favorite grinds of the whole trip was a li hing mui (sour plum) shave ice with vanilla ice cream and adzuki beans...best flavor combo ever. Second place goes to the super fresh mahi mahi I got at the supermarket and sauteed with a coating of crushed macadamia nuts, served with local Kahuku corn and spinach from the Sunset Beach farmer's market. I didn't get to hit the Island Shack, which a commenter recommended, even though it was right across the street from our house. But I did finish up the trip with a perfectly-fried fresh warm malasada rolled in sugar and some spam musubi from Ted's Bakery...a tasty farewell breakfast.