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.


Jess Winfield said...

Suddenly craving all foods on the North Shore of Oahu. One of my favorite places on the planet (don't let the secret out!)

I love Matsumoto's Shave Ice, not least for their awesome t-shirt line. I LOVE Ku Aina burgers (that huge slab of Maui onion is sooo ono, brah). I'm amazed you found anything of culinary interest at the Turtle Bay Hilton. I'm with you: just give me a slab of tuna from Foodland across from Shark's Bay (da kine snorkel spot) and some nori for makin' sushi.

Ted's Bakery, last time I went, was out of macadamia cream pie. I was, and still am, devastated.

Pat Saperstein said...

I didn't say I found anything of culinary interest at Turtle Bay, I just said I ate there! In all fairness, though, we just had lunch, but I hear the new Ola, which is owned separately from the resort, does a good dinner.

Amber said...

Hey that's my dad playing the steel guitar in the pic from the Halekulani. That is so funny. I sent him the link to your blog, he'll get a kick out of it.

Anonymous said...

If you like the taste of li hing mui you might want to try this trick I learned from some law enforcement friends in Honolulu. They would order a beer - like a Corona or Heineken - and then jam a couple of the sour plums into the beer bottle. It sounds weird and the red powder - "carcinogen" they called it - that dusts the li hing mui is somewhat alarming, but after they've soaked in the beer for awhile the taste is actually really good.

hadashi said...

Island Shack! thank you; not remembering the new name has been bugging me ever since. oh well; try it & fall in love with the place when you return.

Anonymous said...

Holy sheez, Matsumoto's is still there! Thank God! I thought they had closed.

Anonymous said...

Yep! You went to pretty much all of the standard local places for authentic local cuisine. You did miss out on Ono Hawaiian Foods-- that is the #1 place for authentic Hawaiian cuisine. Don't let the little storefront fool you. If its good enough for the top food critics and travel writers, its good enough for you.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Nice site for vacation rentals. I just spent more
time than I should have perusing those that are
listed as pet friendly. We used to go several times a year to a beach house that we could take our dog to for her vacations. We used to love to carry out food from Cholo's and Kua Aina and eat them back at the house. I am inspired to return to that type of vacation for at least one of them next year and enjoy all those
foods again as well as the laid back days and nights.
I am so glad you had a great trip! I think my dogs
Manele & Koele would love it up there!