My family and I are currently spending two glorious weeks in Hawaii with our two kids and my Mom and Dad in-law…now, anyone who knows me well enough can bet that a huge part of being on vacation for me is the eating! I love to experience new cuisines, restaurants and local dishes, hence the reason I had no choice to dedicate Friday Eats to Oahu…(look out next week for what I’ll been munching on in Maui!)
We have done quite a bit of culinary exploration on this trip thus far…everything from upscale cuisine to street food trucks-and It’s been delish!
I want to start with our food truck experience-now, the islands are know for their fresh fish and seafood, and not just in the fancy shmancy eateries-nope, I’m talking fresh as it gets right out of the food trucks parked on the side of the road on the Northshore. There were literally dozens to choose from, all as good as the next-we chose the garlic shrimp and coconut shrimp combo. Fresh, plump, tender and juicy-battered in a crunchy coconut batter or smothered in a creamy garlic sauce…served with a traditional heap of white rice and wedge of pinapple, an experience that must be had while passing through the Northshore.
I’m know for doing a bit of homework before leaving on any trip…Pinterest is great for discovering hidden gems, or diamonds in the rough like Leonards. Since 1952, Leonards has been serving traditional Hawaiian doughnuts called malasadas-beautifully soft and tender rounds of fried dough, dipped in sugar and prepared fresh to order. These take the humble doughnut to new heights!
Every now and then, you stumble upon something great…in this case, a breakfast joint worth returning to a second time in two days. My Cafe is an unassuming little eatery in a strip mall in Kapolei, serving up some amazing breakfast dishes! What I loved about it was the home cooked feel and local vibe-the menu, a giant chalk board covered wall outlining their breakfast offerings…had everything from a simple stack of fluffy butter milk pancakes, plain or smothered in lilikoi sauce (passionfruit) to kalua pork eggs benedict. Thought and care has gone into each of their dishes, the proof is in the taste. I highly recommend stepping of the resort grounds to give this a try next time you find yourself in Oahu.
The Dole pineapple plantation was high up on our to-do list this week in Oahu…and you bet I was counting on a world-famous pineapple Dole float. The plantation did not disappoint, with a train tour, guided garden walk and a highly elaborate pineapple maze, this stop was fun for the whole family! We rewarded ourselves with a pineapple Dole float…this delicious treat is made up of a dairy free pineapple flavoured soft serve, and pure pineapple juice poured over top…the result is “close-your-eyes” good…a MUST DO whether it’s your first trip to Oahu or your 50th;)
We have spent the last week residing at Disneys Auani Resort, a larger than life, picturesque resort with an attention to detail that Disney is famous for. There are a few dining options here at Aulani, everything from grab and go, to up scale cuisine…and we’ve done it all. Ama Ama is a beautiful outdoor dining space situated just up from the beach-a perfect spot to catch a famous Hawaiian sunset. The menu reflects Hawaiian culture with a modern twist and a focus on Hawaii’s rich seafood supply. I began my meal with crispy Singaporean pepper shrimp with green papaya salad and Thai ketchup-full of flavour and wonderfully light, the perfect way to wet the appetite…next, onto my main. As I began with seafood, I figured I would go upcountry and have the beef- the Harris Ranch Natural Angus filet of beef with braised short rib, tomato-pepper chutney, leek and spinach a la crème, kiawe-smoked potato purée was rich and satisfying. Too stuffed to even glance at the dessert menu, we decided to end our meal with the breathtaking sunset and occasional appearance of whales jumping in the horizon….ureal Aulani, just unreal…
I must mention Monkey Pod, a restaurant across from the Aulani Resort, another win in my books-the Monkey Pod trees line the streets of Ko Olina, it truly is a magnificent sight…these gentle giants seem to almost protect the streets with their umbrella-like foliage…providing shade to the people walking below. Bustling with activity, Monkey Pod has a modern feel with an emphasis on eating locally. With a mission statement like “Master the craft of food, drink, and merrymaking with Aloha”, you can see why locals and tourists alike flock here daily.
We’ll soon being saying “Aloha” to Oahu and jumping islands over to Maui…and I’ll be sure to report back on my edible findings!