22 July 2008
Aloha Report Round 2
After the week in the Big Island we flew to O'ahu to spend a few days in Honolulu. Zach and I had the chance to visit last year and pretty much everything we wanted to do on our return trip had to do with food and revisiting our favorite spots. On the first night we walked down Kuhio St. (the skyscrapers were really a shock after the laid back small town vibe of even the biggest towns on the Big Island) to Keo's. Zach and I had the best Thai food ever there (even now that Zach's been to Thailand he still says that) and we had talked it up to everyone else so I was a bit nervous that it would disappoint. Luckily for us not that much had changed. The restaurant was still filled with a somewhat eclectic mix of European and Thai artwork and enormous urns overflowing with tropical flowers my evil jungle prince (that does sound rather funny- I do mean my dish of curried tofu and veggies not a rogue Thai warrior) had the perfect balance of spice and heat with richness provided by coconut milk. For dessert we couldn't resist the mango and sticky rice, as the note told us the mangoes came from Keo's own farm. It was so good it was gone before I realized I hadn't even taken a photo.
The next morning we woke up early and trekked over to Leonard's for malasadas. Zach and I had been to this family run bakery before for their homemade Portuguese doughnuts, always freshly fried and rolled in sugar and sometimes filled with custard. Personally, I prefer the unfilled kind as the warm, slightly chewy doughnut really doesn't need any embellishments. For lunch Zach and I went to Rainbow's, an old fashioned drive-in, for plate lunch. By now we had gotten smart to the portion sizes and shared one plate (which had mahi-mahi, barbecue beef and fried chicken along with the requisite 2 scoops of rice and 1 of mac salad) and then walked to Waiola's for a shave ice.
For our very last meal we all went to Ono Hawaiian Food (ono meaning delicious in Hawaiian language). The staff here are all Hawiian and will take the time to explain what each dish is and how you should eat it (especially helpful with poi). Everyone got the plates that came with a seemingly endless array of little dishes. First off was lomi salmon, a mixture of chopped tomatoes and cooked salmon that even those who didn't like tomatoes (me included) thought was good, then the pipikaula, homemade beef jerky. This may have been the best thing that I ate in Hawai'i. It had the perfect mix of pepper and spices that balanced the intense beefy flavor. Then I had kalua pig, a kind of roasted and shredded pork with a thin sauce. The flavorings took a back seat at the kalua pig really just tasted like the most tender, juicy pork every. For dessert we had a little square of coconut custard pudding, the perfect end to the meal. Then, sadly, it was time for Zach and I to grab our bags and head to the airport for the trip home, but at least we traveled with full stomachs.