Every week involves a seemingly continuous stream of food, drinks and people. Of course not every taste or conversation is post-able, but the range of experiences is usually pretty amazing. Here are some of the highlights from seven days in Hawaii, some of which will help to fuel full posts.
9/26/11 – My first stop on the Big Island was Hilo century old Suisan, a fish market that sells more than a dozen different varieties of poke. My picks were Ahi Hawaiian Style, Ahi with Chile Pepper Water and Aku (skipjack) Hawaiian Style, plus Onaga Sakura Boshi, teriyaki cured ruby snapper.
9/26/11 – Hawaiian Vanilla Company provided a farm tour and vanilla-intensive lunch. We also saw the packing room, which featured a pile of beans that was worth hundreds of dollars.
9/26/11 – Tex Drive In is a Big Island institution known for their hot malasadas, including one with Bavarian creme, another with guava jam, both warm and lightly sugared.
9/26/11 – Kamuela Provision Company executive chef Charles Charbonneau prepared sweet potato gnocchi with two varieties of sweet potato, including purple sweet potatoes from Molokai, both bathed in brown butter, pancetta and sage.
9/27/11 – The Luau @ Kamehameha Court had a pretty amazing spread, including Kalua pig, lau lau and a wide variety of fruit: star fruit, lychee, mango, pineapple and dragon fruit.
9/28/11 – Shirokiya is a branch of Japan’s oldest department store located in Honolulu’s massive Ala Moana Center. Downstairs touts an ocean of sweets, and upstairs, their savory stations included an inari zushi booth with soy skins cradling green beans, adzuki beans and green tea.
9/29/11 – Honolulu Fish Auction starts at 5:30 a.m. We passed by three species of marlin, plus an aku with a crater in the side, the victim of a hit and run attack from a cookie cutter shark.
9/30/11 – Kahumana Organic Farm & Cafe featured a wide variety of agriculture, including colorful curry trees.
9/30/11 – Downtown Coffee owner Fred Hokada features Hawaiian coffee and even worked with U.S. Barista Champion Pete Licata on a signature blend that helped him win the title.
9/30/11 – Fumiko Hokada is Fred’s wife and a Nagoya native, and she supplies Downtown Coffee with a small selection of sweets. Her Matcha Torte featured a bamboo charcoal shortbread crust, and a top flavored with white chocolate and matcha green tea.
9/30/11 – Eat The Street is an organized food truck rally from Poni Askew that draws 6000 people per month to a Honolulu parking lot. The theme for September was local cuisine, and we received a number of local tastes, including Tats lilikoi (passion fruit) shaved ice.
9/30/11 – Madre Chocolate incorporated local cacao to craft chocolate tiles with bold flavors.
9/30/11 – OnoPops is an artisanal popsicle company that produces inventive flavors using local ingredients like salted watermelon, cherry clove and stracciatella with Madre cacao.
9/30/11 – Town is chef Ed Kenney’s neighborhood restaurant in Kaimuki that uses local ingredients, including whole Shinsato pigs. He turns the animals into platters of salumi. During our visit, that meant chorizo, soppressata, cacciatore, capocola and cippa di testa, plus pickled mango and okra.
10/1/11 – Matsugen is a branch of a famous Japanese soba shop that makes buckwheat noodles in house and offers them in a number of hot and cold permutations. My pick was Kamo Seiro, cold soba served with hot, umami-rich duck soup.