Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Some Call it Aloha

To celebrate Christmas 2010 and New Year's 2011, Mr. Quail and I fled the New York City tundra--just missing the day-after-Christmas snowpocalypse--for sunnier shores.  As always, Hawaii (in this case, Maui, Kauai, and Oahu) did not disappoint.  For our friends, who we urge to get themselves there as soon as possible, here are some of the culinary highlights.


  • Mama's Fish HouseTiki chic. One of the best known places on the island and worth the reputation. On Christmas, we even had the opportunity to meet Mama herself!
    Best Dishes Consumed: Opakapaka ceviche, luau duck, haupia, 
  • Aloha Mixed Plate: Luau plate and Kalbi "mini" plate
  • Da Kitchen: Teriyaki Chicken plate lunch (dark meat standard--bless them!) eaten at Hookipa watching the surfers.

A note about plate lunch: The plate lunch is the quintessential Hawaiian meal. It nearly always includes the following: Two scoops of rice (unless you get the "mini"), one or two meat dishes, and a vegetable: Macaroni Salad.  History tells us the plate lunch originated with sugar cane farmers, who came to Hawaii from all over Asia, and brought with them their local specialties.  As a result a typical plate lunch can include anything from Pork Lau Lau or Mahi Mahi to Adobo or Kalbi. Where the mac salad came from is a mystery to me. The combination, however, is nearly always magical.   


  • Wild Boar BBQ, Anahola Farmer's Market: the highlight of our trip.  We pulled off at this little farmer's market in a moment of desperation (i.e., hungry and on the verge of a fight).  What a surprise to find the most succulent BBQ pig I have ever tasted.  Sorry, east coast, I know you have some fine BBQ meats, but this far surpassed anything I've had here.
    Bonus Eats: A whole guava.  Who knew you eat it like an apple. 
Grillin' the boar

  • Kobe Burger at the Koa Kea Hotel
  • Jo Jo's Shave Ice: Holo Holo combo with mac nut ice cream. Somewhat reminiscent of the shave ice you can get in Korea town, but with so many more surprises.  In addition to the Haupia cream, the azuki beans and aloe jelly added wonderful flavor.  Pinkberry should consider diversifying
  • Oh and...Fried Apple Pie at, yes, McDonald's 

Fried Apple Pies.  Yes, they still taste as good as you remember.

  • Shrimp truck--north shore
  • Anything my cousin made, including slow-cooked taro dish with chicken and coconut.  Lisa taught us a lot about taro (cook it a long, long time) and orchids.  We are hoping her tricks coax our currently dormant phalaenopsis back to bloom.  Regardless, we're hoping to visit them again soon--and stay for a nice long time (not sure if they'll appreciate that or not!)
All in all, a stellar trip (despite second degree burns via Starbucks)
And that's how we quails call it Aloha.

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