JUNE 25, 2006
Well, I'm back from my week-long trip to Hawaii! It was a great time. Even though Al was at the conference for most of it, it was a good time when we got to do things together. The hotel was beautiful. The Rennaissance Ilikai Hotel. The pool over looked the boats docked on the shore and beyond was the ocean. There were palm trees and exotic tropical flowering trees and bushes, hibiscus, and you could smell the fragrant leis made of plumeria hung around the necks of visitors. The drinks were expensive but tasty and nice to look at with the fresh cut of pineapple and cherries. The water in the ocean was bright blue and green and on some days you could see your feet in the course, crushed-coral sand even though you were up to your chest in salt water. Snorkeling in Hanauma Bay was fun, peaceful, exciting, and kind of scary all at the same time. The fish were amazing but the choppiness of the ocean that day made swiming near the giant coral somewhat frightening since it could cut up a person with help from a crashing wave. The state fish is really fun to try to say out loud: Humuhumunukunukua'pua'a.
Here are some of the highlights.
Wailana Coffee House
Well, this has to be the most awesome place to get breakfast anywhere. First of all, it is a family diner with the most efficient server-staff ever. They were like machines! Most of them were older women of Polynesian/Filipino/Japanese descent, and the service was amazing. There was one lady by the name of Jo who served us that stood out because of her quirky way of giving food nicknames. A few examples: "Would you like some caffeine with your cholesterol?" "How would you like your eggs destroyed?" "I brought some sticky for you," and she puts down the pancake syrup. "Here is a little decor for your table," and she puts down the jars of jams and marmalades. Aside from all that, the food was great. The hashbrowns perfect, the "all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast" might has well have been called "3 Pancake Breakfast." They served fresh pineapple spears and fresh papaya which we devoured immediately. The coffee was perfect, not too strong, not bitter. We ate there almost every morning.
The Chart House T
his place was the highlight meal of the year. The appetizer was a real crab cake with fresh crabmeat served over a pasta with this amazing pink cream sauce I believe was made with guava or soemthing like that. It was great. Then we had oysters on the half shell - also fresh and delicious. Al ordered Garlic-Marinated steak, which came with garlic mashed potatoes and some vegetable medley. One bite of the tender cut of beef made our eyes roll up into our heads with ecstasy from the garlicky goodness. I ordered the Spiny Lobster Tail which was the best tasting lobster tail I have ever had the pleasure of tasting. I too had the garlic mashed potatoes and soy beans with carrots. It was not only fabulous food and never-ending refilling your water service, but we were on the deck just outside the main room with a view of the boats, and the ocean immediately before us with a palm tree right next to our table just outside the railing. The breeze from the ocean cooled our faces and during our meal out of nowhere a fireworks show began exploding just to the left of our already beautiful view, immortalizing the magic evening forever.
This was a Japanese buffet restaraunt which served sushi, rolls, customized stir fry and desserts. It was interesting choosing from all the sushi rolls, including one called "ocean salad" but unfortunately we had to get back to the hotel for a session of the conference and so I had to grab a quick bite of pineapple and a pineapple tart from the dessert line as we headed out the door.
L & L BBQ
This is one of the local Hawaiian dives that we stopped at while on our excursion around the island in a crappy rental Tracker when we stopped in Wahi'wa to visit my friend Deyja. From what I heard from several people was that the equivalent of Philly's staple Cheesesteak was Hawaii's staple Plate Lunch. The plate lunch was usually two scoops of rice, one scoop of macaroni salad heavy heavy on the mayonnaise, and your choice of BBQ meat. The teriyaki steak (Teri Steak) had a great flavor (sweet and salty), the other meats wre chicken, ribs (cut across the bones so that you had meat surrounding 3 or 4 button-shaped bones rather than cut between the bones so that you have whole rib bones). Or you could have Mahi Mahi or fried shrimp. It was a fusion of Chinese and Polynesian cuisine that had been scaled down to a fattening BBQ type joint basically. I would have to say that I was not really impressed other than that the teri steak's flavor reminded me of how my Filipino step-mother made her steaks at home.
On our way around the island in our crappy Tracker, we saw amazing views of the ocean and the misty mountains, but one of the well-known finds on the road that surrounds the island is the fresh shrimp farm trucks. That's right. Shrimp from a giant trailer. They had a tank full of big shrimps swimming around that they would catch, de-head and boil right there for you. It was amazing. We ate the shrimp with nothing on them and it was the freshest shrimp ever. They didn't even taste fishy, Al said. That was a pleasant stop.
The Dixie Grill
The outer exterior of this place was that of a red barn and they boasted the best crabs and BBQ/southern food around. I had to try it! They had chicken fried stead on the menu and I was filled with nostalgia from Texas. I ordered the BBQ chicken and brisket, Al had the chicken and ribs. They were amazing. Well, the chicken wasn't that great, but the brisket was something I haven't tasted in years since I lived in Texas. They had their own BBQ sauces, 6 different kinds! I liked the Memphis style and the Hawaiian style. I bought two bottles of each. The hush puppies were awesome and they had these yams that were not orange in color, but a pale yellow! They were freakin great too! FYI - Hawaii has purple yams too.....neat!
Well, Al and I had a good time and we took lots of video and pictures.
Hopefully I can get some of those soon - I have to develop mine and get them on a Cd and Al used a digital camera so I might get his first. My dumbass packed my 800 speed film in the bag that I checked on the plane so I'm hoping that the X-Ray didn't ruin the film. *crosses fingers* If so, at least I have my memories. I did plenty of shopping and got some tropical print skirts, keychains, a Hawaiian shirt for my dad and Al bought our friend Lucas a grass skirt and coconut boobs just like he wanted. THAT is a picture I must get up here hahahaah! Aloha and Mahalo to you all - but honestly I'm glad I don't have to hear those words or stupid ukeleilis anymore. The Hawaiian language is so primitive sounding and all the street names all sound the same! I really enjoyed how nice everyone was though. Al and I wondered if perhaps it was just for the tourists, but no! The cab driver was nice, the young guy at the Adidas store in the mall was really cool, the lady on the bus was friendly and they all talked to you and seemed generally interested in where you came from and what you were up to. I imaging they like to get news from the mainland other than CNN. It was very refreshing though, apart from the ukeleli music in the touristy places. The reggae music was great. But when we got home I asked Lucas to tell me to fuck off so I could feel like I was home again. He obliged and I squealed with delight and gave him a hug even though he was wearing those goofy coconuts that we got him.