Posts filed under ‘Oahu’

North Shore & Honolulu

When I was writing about the North Shore, I forgot to mention the shave ice.  We stopped at Matsumoto Shave Ice in Hale’iwa.

Matsumoto Shave Ice

The shave ice was fantastic – many, many different flavors, as well as ice cream, red beans, & sweetened condensed milk.  It’s completely worth it to buy the flower plastic holders (see picture on the left.)

So, when we got to Honolulu, we went to find Waiola Bakery & Shave Ice II.  This turned out to be difficult because they had moved and google maps wasn’t any help.  This is the address:  3113 Mokihana St.  The quality of the shave ice was softer and just different but they did have a large selection of flavors and additions as above.

~So, Honolulu is just like any other large city across the world.  You can find a plethora of fantastic places to eat – from the high end to the hole-in-the-wall.  It was difficult to pick just a few places.

Nico's Pier 38

~Lunches:  On our first full day we ended up at Nico’s Pier 38.  Our guest services rep told us that the piers are numbered and there are clear signs.  Lots of people were eating at Nico’s.  2 of the items were sold out by the time we got there – we had the daily special #1 (swordfish with a Cajun style sauce) with macaroni (and rice) and their grilled ahi sandwich with salad.  The flavors were light and so highlighted the fish.  I felt very satisfied at the end of lunch.  On the second day, we ended up at the Little Village Noodle House in Chinatown.  Fantastic selection of noodle and other dishes.


*Hiroshi Eurasian Tapas:

The restaurant is beautiful. They serve tapas, as well as standard offerings, and a nice selection of fusion desserts. I didn’t know that the chef is a master sommelier before coming out there.  I ordered the trio of white wines that he selected to go with his food and they really did.  The platings were beautiful and the flavor combos amazing.  We loved the pork belly.

*Chef Mavro

When you look around the web, there are maybe a handful of restaurants that are recommended over and over as the best special dinner locations.  This is one of them.  We went for our anniversary and everyone was nice, courteous and efficient.  The restaurant environs isn’t stuffy or old but light and airy and just a touch modern.  The food itself is a combination of south France with Hawaii local foods.  What distinguishes fine dining from other types is all the little extras – in the platings and amuse bouche dishes that come between.  Everything was delicious.  One little anecdote – as we were parking, the pastry chef was headed out to the parking lot.  It turns out that they have an extra freezer out there for his items….

*Sushi Sasabune  [Note that there’s one in Los Angeles, as well.]

This restaurant was recommended by a food tour (more on the tour later) as a restaurant in the style of Seinfeld’s soup Nazi kitchen.  You were supposed to eat the sushi the way the chef instructed or you would be kicked out.  Well, we didn’t have time to look up the info on the web because we were meeting with friends and they were picking the restaurant.  At our friend’s house while we were having late afternoon hors d’oevres, they told us a story about the reservations – When she called, the person said “No take out” and “Have to eat what chef serves”.  Our friend didn’t know whether she had actually managed to make a reservation.  It turns out that this was Sushi Sasabune.  We were so excited – You order drinks and then the sushi starts to come.  Each one comes with some instruction and they don’t stop until you tell them to stop.  The sushi was really amazing and they truly were watching.  By the way, we have eaten omakase in as many places as we can.  (For example, Nishino in Seattle, WA.) If you have the opportunity, you should definitely go this route…

**While we had one more night to eat, this food note is getting too long.  I’ll write more later.  Needless to say, we ate very well while we were in Honolulu.  If it weren’t for the traffic….


August 4, 2010 at 5:31 am Leave a comment

Ted’s Bakery Oahu

Ted’s Bakery

~When I travel, I almost always try to figure out what people consider the specialty of the area or what bakery might be considered the best.  I love to see what other people are doing.

~Ted’s Bakery is known for their chocolate haupia pie.  It’s a basic 2 custard layers (chocolate and haupia) with the stabilized whipped cream like topping covering.  The chocolate flavor is not strong but chocolate and haupia go very well together.   [The picture shows the haupia pie in the bottom left and malasadas.  Dragon fruit and fresh lychees from Kahuku Land Farms.  There were 4 different farmers selling their fresh produce and other things.]



~They have more than malasadas and chocolate haupia pie, though.  There’s a wide variety of pies in the large, refrigerated cases on the left as you walk in.  Then there are pastry items in the front order counter – malasadas, pastries like Danishes, turnovers, and cookies.  We love haupia and so we tried everything that had haupia and everything was delicious.  We also tried passion fruit and guava items, as well as standard chocolate and nut topped items.

Over the few days that we were in the North shore area, we were able to stop 3 times.  If you come too late in the afternoon, the selection is a bit dismal.  However, when we went on Sunday at around 12:30, there was still a wide variety of items.  The parking lot is small and it’s a bit of a mad house.  We were told that the garlic shrimp plate is good and it’s definitely on our list for next time.

~Note that you can buy many items at the Foodland or the Kahuku Superette (like meat, liquor, milk, and other fruits).  Neither place had the selection of baked goods that Ted’s bakery has.  It’s really worth the stop.

July 25, 2010 at 11:46 am 2 comments

Poke & Garlic Shrimp Trucks on the North shore

My daughter and I love Hawaii.  It’s our place of choice for our vacations.  On this trip, we wanted to see the North shore to see an area we hadn’t yet visited together.  I’m going to split these posts based on the foods we ate.  This first installment is on Poke.



~We are big fans of sushi and Poke is essentially an Hawaiian version.  [Poke means a small, cut piece – usually of fish but it could be almost anything else.  It’s also usually seasoned.]  When I was researching for our trip, there were many recommendations for Poke from various websites and I created a list of potential places to go.  Never know when you want to eat some fish, after all.

~After being stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic for about an hour, I suggested that we stop for some dinner and Poke Stop Mililani was right on the way.  When we arrived, they had everything covered up – as if they were closing.  The guys came out from behind and uncovered the cases.  You should have seen the array of items (sweets) and salads and then fresh fish in the fish cases (all different types of poke).  We ordered 2 of the meal plates in order to get a wide selection of both cooked and raw items.    Note that we ordered salad for one of the meals but could easily have had no greens at all – this was definitely a theme throughout our trip.  The best two items were the original poke and the seared salmon cheeks (reminded me of seared salmon skin).  On the wall was a picture of Guy Fieri who must have featured the store in one of his episodes.  I might have to consider adding his picks to my list in the future, if they can match this one.

Ice cream Mochi (upper left shows container of poke)~Fast forward to lunch, day 2…  After horseback riding, we headed off to Ted’s bakery and then to find Kahuku Superette and eventually to have lunch at Fumi’s.  We heard that Kahuku Superette is one of the best places to find poke.  The miniature grocery is like an Asian grocery here in Boulder, except with poke in the back seafood case.  We ordered two kinds of poke – standard and one with seaweed.  We also picked up some Portuguese sweet bread and some ice cream mochi.  This is what we ate for dinner.  (Upper left of picture shows one of the containers of poke.  The mochi tasted better than they look in this pic.)

~We would later have poke again from a small place in Chinatown.  I think you can find anything in Chinatown.

Shrimp trucks

~Before leaving for the North shore of Oahu, I did my usual searching to see what can’t be missed.  The one thing that kept coming up over and over was garlic shrimp.  People spoke passionately on their websites about which truck was best and where to eat.  Saveur Magazine has 15 days worth of Hawaii recommendations and one whole day is devoted to shrimp trucks.  Of course, it does take a long time to get to the North shore.

~On our first day, we went to the Dole plantation.  Hale’iwa (or Haleiwa) is close to the plantation that we decided to Giovanni’s for lunch.  There are many trucks in the area and Giovanni’s is tucked in what looks like a little park near a stream with 2 other trucks.  One of the other trucks was run by a Japanese woman and the other by another woman.  The Japanese truck looked similar but with coleslaw as one of the sides.  The other truck seemed to have some conventional items like hot dogs and hamburgers.  I did order some onion rings from that last truck.  This picture shows the onion rings plus Giovanni’s garlic scampi and lemon shrimp plates.  The garlic scampi was amazing – a little creamy and with an extremely strong garlic flavor.  The lemon shrimp was OK.  Note that they have a hot and spicy garlic scampi and there’s a sign that says “no refunds” if you order this plate.  We weren’t very brave, although we did ask for a little of the sauce on the side to taste.

~Fumi’s:  There are actually 2 Fumi trucks – The one we went to had a little window to get some shave ice and huge ponds.  What you don’t get from reading the reviews is how different the locations are.  Hale’iwa was crowded.  Kahuku is right on the freeway route.  Traffic is a little busy around the different shrimp trucks but they are spread out.  (There’s another Giovanni’s on this side – as well as another white truck.)  We ordered the garlic shrimp to compare, a spicy shrimp, and a coconut shrimp.  Although you get fewer shrimp, the coconut was the best of these three plates.

~Romy’s:  We ordered the garlic butter prawns, sweet and spicy prawns, a side salad, and Pani Popo (buns in coconut sauce in Samoan).  The Pani Popo was worth the trip.  Like many Asian desserts, it was not too sweet and quite delicious in its simplicity.

~Differences:  Well, at one point I was talking to a local about shrimp trucks.  He said that he usually eats at the white one across from Giovanni’s in Kahuku.  He also told us that a friend from high school works at Romy’s.  We found that Fumi’s and Romy’s were very similar with different sides.  Giovanni’s was a little more creamy.  The local told us that it’s because they use olive oil.  (I’m not sure whether they use all olive oil or a mix of olive oil and butter.) I suspect that this helps to make Giovanni’s seem a little less oily.  Also, another local mentioned that Romy’s had the largest ones but that’s because they offer both prawns and shrimp.  While prawns aren’t necessarily bigger (because they are actually different species), in this case the prawn were larger.  (Often places use the word prawn to indicate a larger shrimp.)  So, if you order the prawn at Romy’s then they are going to be larger than the shrimp at most trucks.  Because they are a different species, though, they have a different taste.

July 23, 2010 at 8:41 am Leave a comment