Minneapolis weather today is gloomy and rainy so it is especially nice to be doing a recap of our beautiful, warm Hawaii trip today.
Saturday, Oct. 15th:
As I mentioned the last post our Saturday was mostly spent relaxing and consuming food. Perfect vacation right?! Well we were tired from our travels to Lanikai Beach the day before and add in all the adventures we’d had that week we figured we deserved a day off. So we slept in and then walked a mile or so down the road from our hotel to have our first “true” Hawaiian meal.
On the way we passed the Honolulu Zoo, a golf course, great side view of Diamond Head Crater, Rainbow Drive-In, and Thomas Jefferson Elementary School. Below on the right are two pictures of the school and on the left is a gorgeous, tree canopied lane that wraps around the side of the zoo. The schools are very open, as you can see, so as to take advantage of the nice island weather. The playgrounds have some equipment but are often just open area with browned grass where the kids hangout or play kickball.
After 20 minutes or so we finally reached our destination: Ono Hawaiian Foods
Mentioned in all the guides, blogs, and Hawaiian Food reviews – this place was a must visit for us. Although it is a “hole in the wall” restaurant, people raved about the food, the prices, and the combo plates which let you taste a variety of local foods. “Ono” means delicious in Hawaiian and although we didn’t like everything we ate, some of it was very “ono”!
We didn’t have to wait very long to get in, although by the time we left the place was crowded. I think it helped that we went right at 10am when they opened! The room only fits 50 people at most and some days the line can be out the door.
Anyway, Mr.C and I chose to split a combo plate ($20) which allowed us to enjoy the following:
LauLau and Kalua Pig
with a Choice of Rice or Poi (we went with rice & our waiter kindly provided us with a sample of poi)
Allow me to label and describe the foods you see above. Lets start from the white rice which is right near Mr.C’s hand.
To the left of the rice is the Lomi salmon which is a dish comprised of raw salted, diced salmon with tomatoes, onions, and a few spices. I did not eat this because I do not tomatoes or onions, but Mr.C did – thinking it was an “add-on” just like the two little dishes you see in the far bottom left of the photo (more raw onions and some red spicy sauce). Little did we know it was the Lomi salmon! I thought it odd when all our plates came out as I was expecting a fish dish. I figured they’d either forgotten or ran out and we were so full by the end we didn’t even ask. Honestly, it was not until I started writing this post and looked up the description of Lomi salmon did I realize what that dish actually was. And, what’s better, Mr.C, who does not like fish at all, still does not know that what he ate was salmon. Hah! Can’t wait to share that bit of news when he comes home….
Moving on! To the right of the Lomi salmon, and the biggest dish out there is the Lau Lau “pig”. Lau Lau is pork wrapped in native ti or taro leaves and steamed. The leaves are a bit like spinach if that helps. Anyway the Lau Lau was really good, a little salty but extremely tender and juicy. Needless to say we gobbled this down!
Lets see…directly next to the white rice is another white cubed substance. This was the Haupia which is a Sweet Coconut Pudding. Mr.C and I both liked it but it was a little too sweet for us. Again we didn’t really know what it was but we knew it was a dessert and guessed it had to be either rice or coconut. As you can tell we’d be awful food critics since we don’t even know what we’re eating….
Located above the bright red sauce on the right was the Pipikaula which is Hawaiian dried beef. Basically jerky. Yum.
That “mound” above the jerky was the Kalua Pig which is shredded pork. So good!
And last but not least, beside the Kalua Pig and Pipikaula resided the poi.
Poi is a Hawaiian dish made from the fermented root of the taro plant, baked, and pounded into a paste. It is a staple in Polynesian food. Water is added during mashing and again just before eating, to achieve a desired consistency. Poi was considered an important and sacred part of daily Hawaiian life that whenever a bowl of poi was uncovered at the family dinner table, it was believed that the spirit of Ha-loa, the ancestor of the Hawaiian people, was present. This is because Hawaiians believed that the taro plant, or kalo, was the original ancestor of the Hawaiian people.
Neither the Mr. nor I cared for the poi. It is a very acquired taste and it is recommend, especially for non-Hawaiians or lovers of poi, to add sugar to it. I couldn’t quite get paste the consistency since it was very pasty, almost like eating glue. But we gave it the “old college try” and are glad we did! It makes for a great story after all.
After we were completely full we decided to check out the neighborhood. We popped into a neat shop called Peggy’s Picks. Inside is a world of mismatched furniture, trinkets, and global gifts, fabrics, and sculptures. It was a real mix of “thrift & gift” with neat estate sale finds and local art. It took awhile to go through everything because the times are stacked and crammed into every inch and nook of this store. The workers were nice but the shop is small so they seemed a bit “hover-y” so I didn’t take any pictures ‘cuz that felt awkward. Instead the pictures below are borrowed from google & flickr:
After browsing Peggy’s Picks we headed back to the hotel after making 2 more pit stops. One at a local bakery – where Mr.C had some amazing Boston Creme Pie and a gas station where we tried a melon flavored popsicle. The label said the name was “Melona” but I said it sounded like Melanoma at first so that’s what I called it from then on, much to Mr.C’s chagrin.
Back at the hotel we threw on our bathing suits and headed down Waikiki Beach to enjoy the afternoon. All photos are sadly still trapped on our underwater camera so you’ll have to enjoy those later.
After our swim we showered and headed down to the Ala Moana Center to grab dinner in the mall’s food court. Obviously still craving Hawaiian food, I ate Kalua Pig for dinner! (uh…I’m drooling just thinking about it….)
After dinner we took our nightly walk along the main streets and back to the hotel.
And yes….the street performer in the middle is dressed in all gold including gold face paint. He stood on his box and posed all night long!
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post, “Hawaii Part 5“, where we go to the aquarium, eat more delicious Hawaiian food, and take wayyy too many photos of the sunset.