Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Hawaii Photos #1: Food

We made it back from Hawaii last Friday and we're still jetlagged and suffering from sunburns, scrapes, sore muscles ... and maybe a little depression that we're not still in Hawaii. haha
But I finally have a moment to start the picture posting extravaganza. I've decided that for this trip, instead of posting each day or group of days, all in chronological order, I would post by categories. You can see by the subject line that I'm starting with food. I have several foodies in my life that I thought would appreciate some yummy stories and detailed pictures of the Hawaiian fare we sampled during our 10-day trip.
Also, I'm hoping to exchange pictures with Courtney and Brad, our travel buddies, so that I can post the very best of all our pictures. So I'm starting with categories that I don't really need their pictures for. But don't worry, scenic landscapes and awesome waterfalls are soon to come, as well as flower pictures, underwater shots, and much more. :-)
The Journey to Hawaii
We actually had three flights and 16 hours of travel to get there. Not super fun. We weren't sure it was going to be worth it ... (It absolutely, positively was worth every second of travel time). But to keep our spirits up, we treated ourselves to some Oreo mouse pie at the airport in San Francisco.
Definitely a good way to start a trip.

Sugar, Sugar
Once we arrived, however, we indulged in some more local food and drinks, such as sugar cane juice.

Drinking cane sugar juice flavored with lime.
You could buy the delicious drink at stands by the side of the road on the drive to Hana.

Curious how sugar cane juice is made? Check this out. They literally cut down sugar cane stalks, slice it, and stick it in a juicer. Then they strain the pulp out, and voila. Sugar cane juice. Doesn't get fresher or more natural than that.

And speaking of sugary delights, we bought a papaya at a local farm stand and were all excited to try some sweet Hawaiian fruit. Well, turns out, it was not so good. Chris likened the taste to lemon Pledge. Yum. But at least it looked pretty.

Free-Range Maui Beef
One Hawaiian treat that did not disappoint was Maui beef. Most of the cows in Maui are free range, so you see them everywhere, just walking around, eating grass. Definitely not a bad place to be a cow. And apparently happy cows make delicious beef, because the meat was so fresh and delicious it was almost sweet.

Maui beef burger with onions, tomato, lettuce and avocado. Yum!

My favorite part about the place we stopped for the delicious burger pictured above was the location. Way out in the middle of nowhere in east Maui. Besides the scenery, there weren't many tourist attractions out there.

Courtney, Brad, and Chris waiting for our food.

The view from where we ate our burgers. It's hard to see, but there are cows in the distance.

The funniest part was there was a large pig in the shed next to where we ate. The owner said he found the pig in the national park when the pig was a baby, so he popped it in his backpack and brought him home. Been buds ever since. Not sure if the pig liked us though. He kept poking his head over his fence and snorting at us. haha

Old Lahaina Luau
One of our best feasts on Maui was at the Old Lahaina Luau. It was buffet style with a huge assortment of Hawaiian and Polynesian food. My favorite was the raw tuna in some sort of delicious sesame sauce.

Enjoying some fruity drinks before the show.
But of course, the main dish was the roasted pig, which we had a feeling we knew where to go looking for it.

They had a little ceremony they performed before digging out the pig, which was protected from the sand with large palm leaves.

Although, to be honest, I think we were more excited about the assortment of drinks they offered.

Mr. Ed's Bakery
Our first stop on the Big Island was at this super awesome local bakery. I had a rockin' jalapeno and cheese hot dog, and Chris and I picked out a lot of baked goods to bring back to the guest house with us. We also had a fantastic time shooting the breeze with the bakery's owner and namesake, Mr. Ed.

The place was famous for their 100+ varieties of jam, but alas, we did not think that would travel well.

Instead, we stocked up on baked goods we could scarf down before our next flight. The thing on the right is sweet bread rolled in butter and sugar. Death by baked good, essentially. Worth it.

And here's a little picture of our new friend, Mr. Ed. Yeah, the white mustache is 100% accurate. Rock on, Mr. Ed.

Maku'u Farmer's Market
We had a lot of fun eyeing up the local cuisine and produce at the Maku'u Famer's Market on the Big Island.

All these beautiful fruits and veggies and we bought Pad Thai for lunch. haha But Chris had a freshly made peach smoothie that was mighty good.

Pretty Presentation
One of my favorite things about a lot of the places we ate at in Hawaii is that they make a real effort to make the food look good. This was at a little walk-up eatery in the once-great Kalapana Village (Kalapana was mostly destroyed by lava flow in the late 1980s). It looked like a beach bar, but then we got our food and they dressed up the macaroni salad with orchids! How sweet!

Thai Food on the Big Island
Our love of Thai food brought us to the Thai Thai Restaurant on the Big Island with Courtney and Brad. This place certainly knew how to make a spicy dish. Even Chris's mango margherita was spicy. haha

We also enjoyed the artwork above our table, which was painted by an elephant. How cool is that?

And my personal favorite was the Kona Coffee ice cream, although Brad's coconut and mango scoops were pretty delicious too.

Local Fare in the North
On our way up to Waipi'o Valley in the north of the Big Island, Chris and I happened upon this little local café that served some pretty yummy open-face sandwiches. Everything was organic and all-natural. I mainly just liked the pretty green wall.

Reminds me of my front door color. :-)
But the sandwiches were pretty awesome too. I really liked my Greek open-face sandwich with feta, Greek olives, onions, artichokes, tomatoes, and an insanely good sweet chili sauce.

Jackie Rey's Makes Food into Art
In Kona, we had a late-night feast at a sort of retro-Hawaiian-themed grill called Jackie Rey's.

The food was delicious, but the presentation of each dish is what really made the whole meal. Check out these shrimp and crab wontons.

Chris's chicken tacos looked out of this world. Love the pineapple relish.

And my Ahi Tuna Poke Tower was bananas. Not literally. Like B-A-N-A-N-A-S. haha I mean bonkers. It had chunks of raw tuna piled on top of avocado, mango, and tomato chunks, piled on top of quinoa or rice pilaf or something. Can't remember. But the sauces on the plate were awesome for dipping. The purple ones are sweet potato. Light green is wasabi, neon green is basil and oil, one of the oranges is mango and the other orange is sweet chili. O. M. G.

And this, well, it needs no explanation.

Breakfast of (Italian/French) Champions
We found an awesome café for breakfast in Kona. I think it was called Gio's. The guy was Italian, I believe, but he served up some mean French crepes.

Pretty snazzy. The latte wasn't bad either.

One Last Meal
And as if I hadn't ingested enough raw fish while in Hawaii, we decided to grab some sushi for our last meal. Check this out.

Ok, admittedly, some of that was for Brad and Courtney. But how gorgeous right? Definitely tasted as good as it looked.

Roadside Chicken (Update)
Forgot about this one when I originally posted this. On our drive to Hana, we stopped at this little roadside setup. Best smoked BBQ chicken ever. They were smoking it right there with this incredible view behind them. We each ordered a half a chicken, which was called Huli Huli chicken and sat at some cement picnic tables and just soaked in the beautiful scenery. Not a bad way to do lunch.

Thus concludes my food tour of Hawaii's Big Island and Maui. Hope you foodies out there got your fill. If not, buy a plane ticket and prepare for yumminess. For sunset-lovers, waterfall worshippers, and any flower child out there, more pictures are coming soon.