Hawaii – Day 6 – Hawaiian Local Food, The Punchbowl Crater and Roy’s Hawaiian Cuisine

In 2013 tonemanblog lost a library of photographs leaving many broken links on older posts.  The following post is a restored version from a trip in 2011 trip to Hawaii.


Today began on the beach–our own private beach in a lagoon that for whatever reason was almost empty!  The water is blue and the perfect temperature.  The sun is bright.  The beginning of each day includes a ritual of SPF 50 on the body and SPF 100 on the face (and in my case the dome).  Forget the iPad, it’s so bright you would have to be in the shade to read a book on it.

It is not, however, particularly hot.  In fact, the temperature never varies more than 15° all year long!

We spent time at the beach and then sought out some local food.  I have been reading about Hawaiian food and it’s casual and not particularly healthy, but a sort of island soul food.  We found it at a place called Hawaiian BBQ.

The Hawaiian Sampler, clockwise from top left: Kahlua pork, haupa rice, Hawaiian beef stew, and a lau lau.

The Hawaiian Sampler, clockwise from top left: Kahlua pork, haupa rice, Hawaiian beef stew, and a lau lau.

The food was fantastic, but enough to feed 6 people.  I knew I was in trouble when they handed me the styrofoam container and it weighed about 3 lbs!

It contained Kahlua Pork, the Hawaiian version of pulled pork.  That is amazing bbq!  Next to it was haupa rice which is a combination of brown and white rice.  Haupa she told me means “mixed”.  There was beef stew which seemed out of place but the veggies were local and the beef was braised like short ribs.  There was also an item called a laulau.  This was braised pork wrapped in banana leaves and steamed.  It was sort of like a tamale, and sort of like a Polish galumpki.  It was packed with concentrated flavor and possibly my favorite item on the platter.

The Lomi lomi is a distinctive Hawaiian preparation for salmon.

The Lomi lomi is a distinctive Hawaiian preparation for salmon.

Beside the platter was a small cup of Lomi Lomi.  This is a salmon dish and apparently way back when, sailors brought salmon to Hawaii to trade and they created this unique preparation.  This is something I want to recreate when I get home!  It was ceviche meets salsa and used very fresh Alaskan salmon.

The best view of Honolulu, the Punchbowl Crater

The best view of Honolulu, the Punchbowl Crater

From there we drove to the National Cemetery of the Pacific at the Punchbowl Crater.  If you have been following the blog through this trip you know we did a day of reflection on Memorial Day.  It’s not that we needed more time to honor the fallen, but this is one of the most beautiful spots in all of Oahu!

Once again it is a volcano that collapsed in on itself forming a giant bowl at the top of the mountain.  This bowl was used to create a 116 acre national cemetery.

The very first stone was an unknown soldier who died on Pearl Harbor Day.

Plot A-1 at the National Cemetery of the Pacific, an unkown soldier who died on Pearl Harbor Day.

Plot A-1 at the National Cemetery of the Pacific, an unkown soldier who died on Pearl Harbor Day.

The cemetery is a peaceful beautiful place and anyone would enjoy it.  There are spectacular old hardwood trees and the rim of the crater offers 360° views of the island.

Spectacular hardwood trees of Hawaii

Spectacular hardwood trees of Hawaii

The flowers are everywhere.  More impressive in a roadway median than many well-landscaped lawns back home.  This grove below had Birds of Paradise and there were so many!

Birds of Paradise; one more glorious view from the Punchbowl Crater.

Birds of Paradise; one more glorious view from the Punchbowl Crater.

After this visit we went back to the resort to get ready for dinner at Roy’s Ko Olina.  This is Hawaiian fusion cuisine at its best.  Roy’s combines Asian cuisine with European and American cuisine all using regional ingredients and the result is the finest meal we have had here yet!

The Mongolian Spare Rib, Ahi Sashimi, and a Chicken Spring Roll

The Mongolian Spare Rib, Ahi Sashimi, and a Chicken Spring Roll

My wife had a sampler appetizer plate which included Ahi tuna sashimi that has basically ruined both of us from mainland sushi forever!  It also came with a spring roll and a Mongolian spare rib, both of which were very good.

The Ahi Poke with roasted garlic and chilis in a rice paper bowl.

The Ahi Poke with roasted garlic and chilis in a rice paper bowl.

My appetizer was one of those about which I would have gloated if I were in a bigger party.  It was Ahi tuna poke mixed with roasted garlic and chilis in a rice paper bowl.  The first bite left me breathless.  After a week of eating really well this was the best thing I had eaten all week!

The roasted short ribs with poi (an acquired taste).

The roasted short ribs with poi (an acquired taste).

For the entrée my wife had the roasted short ribs.  These were reminiscent of Sunday dinner at Grandma’s, only better.  The poi was served on the side because as the server said, “it’s an acquired taste”.  As it would turn out, we did not acquire this taste and the poi went largely untouched.

The Seared scallops with crispy pork belly served with local kobocha squash puree, natural juices, and scallion oil.

The Seared scallops with crispy pork belly served with local kobocha squash puree, natural juices, and scallion oil.

When my entrée came I thought I would have to find a room to be alone with it.  It was huge seared scallops and a pork belly confit on a puree of local kombocha squash with natural juices and scallion oil.  Again, one bite made me close my eyes and try not to moan out loud!

It will be difficult for any restaurant to top this meal as it was a beautiful setting and fantastic food and service.  Roy’s private labels several very good wines and Greg, our excellent server was great at recommending wine pairings for each course.

We have one more full day left in Oahu before heading to Maui and it’s hard to believe we could top a day like today.

Stay tuned!

π

Hawaii – Day 6 – Hawaiian Local Food, The Punchbowl Crater and Roy’s Hawaiian Cuisine

In 2013 tonemanblog lost a library of photographs leaving many broken links on older posts.  The following post is a restored version from a trip in 2011 trip to Hawaii.


Today began on the beach–our own private beach in a lagoon that for whatever reason was almost empty!  The water is blue and the perfect temperature.  The sun is bright.  The beginning of each day includes a ritual of SPF 50 on the body and SPF 100 on the face (and in my case the dome).  Forget the iPad, it’s so bright you would have to be in the shade to read a book on it.

It is not, however, particularly hot.  In fact, the temperature never varies more than 15° all year long!

We spent time at the beach and then sought out some local food.  I have been reading about Hawaiian food and it’s casual and not particularly healthy, but a sort of island soul food.  We found it at a place called Hawaiian BBQ.

The Hawaiian Sampler, clockwise from top left: Kahlua pork, haupa rice, Hawaiian beef stew, and a lau lau.

The Hawaiian Sampler, clockwise from top left: Kahlua pork, haupa rice, Hawaiian beef stew, and a lau lau.

The food was fantastic, but enough to feed 6 people.  I knew I was in trouble when they handed me the styrofoam container and it weighed about 3 lbs!

It contained Kahlua Pork, the Hawaiian version of pulled pork.  That is amazing bbq!  Next to it was haupa rice which is a combination of brown and white rice.  Haupa she told me means “mixed”.  There was beef stew which seemed out of place but the veggies were local and the beef was braised like short ribs.  There was also an item called a laulau.  This was braised pork wrapped in banana leaves and steamed.  It was sort of like a tamale, and sort of like a Polish galumpki.  It was packed with concentrated flavor and possibly my favorite item on the platter.

The Lomi lomi is a distinctive Hawaiian preparation for salmon.

The Lomi lomi is a distinctive Hawaiian preparation for salmon.

Beside the platter was a small cup of Lomi Lomi.  This is a salmon dish and apparently way back when, sailors brought salmon to Hawaii to trade and they created this unique preparation.  This is something I want to recreate when I get home!  It was ceviche meets salsa and used very fresh Alaskan salmon.

The best view of Honolulu, the Punchbowl Crater

The best view of Honolulu, the Punchbowl Crater

From there we drove to the National Cemetery of the Pacific at the Punchbowl Crater.  If you have been following the blog through this trip you know we did a day of reflection on Memorial Day.  It’s not that we needed more time to honor the fallen, but this is one of the most beautiful spots in all of Oahu!

Once again it is a volcano that collapsed in on itself forming a giant bowl at the top of the mountain.  This bowl was used to create a 116 acre national cemetery.

The very first stone was an unknown soldier who died on Pearl Harbor Day.

Plot A-1 at the National Cemetery of the Pacific, an unkown soldier who died on Pearl Harbor Day.

Plot A-1 at the National Cemetery of the Pacific, an unkown soldier who died on Pearl Harbor Day.

The cemetery is a peaceful beautiful place and anyone would enjoy it.  There are spectacular old hardwood trees and the rim of the crater offers 360° views of the island.

Spectacular hardwood trees of Hawaii

Spectacular hardwood trees of Hawaii

The flowers are everywhere.  More impressive in a roadway median than many well-landscaped lawns back home.  This grove below had Birds of Paradise and there were so many!

Birds of Paradise; one more glorious view from the Punchbowl Crater.

Birds of Paradise; one more glorious view from the Punchbowl Crater.

After this visit we went back to the resort to get ready for dinner at Roy’s Ko Olina.  This is Hawaiian fusion cuisine at its best.  Roy’s combines Asian cuisine with European and American cuisine all using regional ingredients and the result is the finest meal we have had here yet!

The Mongolian Spare Rib, Ahi Sashimi, and a Chicken Spring Roll

The Mongolian Spare Rib, Ahi Sashimi, and a Chicken Spring Roll

My wife had a sampler appetizer plate which included Ahi tuna sashimi that has basically ruined both of us from mainland sushi forever!  It also came with a spring roll and a Mongolian spare rib, both of which were very good.

The Ahi Poke with roasted garlic and chilis in a rice paper bowl.

The Ahi Poke with roasted garlic and chilis in a rice paper bowl.

My appetizer was one of those about which I would have gloated if I were in a bigger party.  It was Ahi tuna poke mixed with roasted garlic and chilis in a rice paper bowl.  The first bite left me breathless.  After a week of eating really well this was the best thing I had eaten all week!

The roasted short ribs with poi (an acquired taste).

The roasted short ribs with poi (an acquired taste).

For the entrée my wife had the roasted short ribs.  These were reminiscent of Sunday dinner at Grandma’s, only better.  The poi was served on the side because as the server said, “it’s an acquired taste”.  As it would turn out, we did not acquire this taste and the poi went largely untouched.

The Seared scallops with crispy pork belly served with local kobocha squash puree, natural juices, and scallion oil.

The Seared scallops with crispy pork belly served with local kobocha squash puree, natural juices, and scallion oil.

When my entrée came I thought I would have to find a room to be alone with it.  It was huge seared scallops and a pork belly confit on a puree of local kombocha squash with natural juices and scallion oil.  Again, one bite made me close my eyes and try not to moan out loud!

It will be difficult for any restaurant to top this meal as it was a beautiful setting and fantastic food and service.  Roy’s private labels several very good wines and Greg, our excellent server was great at recommending wine pairings for each course.

We have one more full day left in Oahu before heading to Maui and it’s hard to believe we could top a day like today.

Stay tuned!

π

Hawaii – Day 4 – Ko Olina

In 2013, tonemanblog lost a library of photographs leaving many broken links on older posts.  The following post is a restored version from a trip in 2011 trip to Hawaii.


iPhone 998

The Ko Olina Wedding Chapel

Destination weddings are big business in Hawaii.

Destination weddings are big business in Hawaii.

We got to the resort and they had a saltwater pool of beautiful fish like you would see in an aquarium.  All different colors and as we watched a gorgeous sting ray glided past.

Sting ray in the pool!

Sting ray in the pool!

The resort is luxurious!  We sat at this opulent seaside pool and ordered lunch, a healthy one at that!

No sting rays in this pool!

No sting rays in this pool!

A completely local meal, Hawaiian hebi with papaya salsa and a purple Hawaiian sweet potato.Watching the luau hula from our restaurant table!

A completely local meal, Hawaiian hebi with papaya salsa and a purple Hawaiian sweet potato.Watching the luau hula from our restaurant table!

iPhone 1044

π

Hawaii – Day 4 – Ko Olina

In 2013, tonemanblog lost a library of photographs leaving many broken links on older posts.  The following post is a restored version from a trip in 2011 trip to Hawaii.


The Ko Olina Wedding Chapel

The Ko Olina Wedding Chapel

Destination weddings are big business in Hawaii. Destination weddings are big business in Hawaii.

Destination weddings are big business in Hawaii.

We got to the resort and they had a saltwater pool of beautiful fish like you would see in an aquarium.  All different colors and as we watched a gorgeous sting ray glided past.

Sting ray in the pool!

Sting ray in the pool!

The resort is luxurious!  We sat at this opulent seaside pool and ordered lunch, a healthy one at that!

No sting rays in this pool!

No sting rays in this pool!

A completely local meal, Hawaiian hebi with papaya salsa and a purple Hawaiian sweet potato.Watching the luau hula from our restaurant table!

A completely local meal, Hawaiian hebi with papaya salsa and a purple Hawaiian sweet potato.Watching the luau hula from our restaurant table!

iPhone 1044

π

Hawaii – Day 1 of 15

In 2013, tonemanblog lost a library of photographs leaving many broken links on older posts.  The following post is a restored version from a trip in 2011 trip to Hawaii.


About three years ago my mom told me that she wanted to send me and my wife to Hawaii for our 25th wedding anniversary.  At the time it seemed so far away and so much would happen in the ensuing three years that it did not really register.

A year ago, my mom had not forgotten and called to say she had to book the trip a year in advance to get the best accommodations and would I please pick a date and a couple islands!

OK that made it real, and for the following year it has been on my calendar.  Two weeks in Hawaii, flying first class both ways…does “Thank you Mom!” really begin to express it?

Perhaps not, but thank you Mom!

So if you want to see what a week in Oahu and a week in Maui can bring, keep an eye on the blog for the next couple weeks.

Sunrise at National Airport

Sunrise at Washington National Airport

Day 1 began at 5am because we needed to be at the airport at 5:30.  I would see the sun rise in Washington, DC and watch it set 18 1/2 hours later in Oahu.  Long day.  We flew to Atlanta and then had a 9 hour flight from Atlanta to Honolulu.  I felt almost guilty it was so luxurious in 1st class!  I occasionally get upgraded on domestic flights but I have never seen the 1st class cabin of a wide-body plane!  It is so luxurious!  Even your luggage gets tagged 1st class so it comes out 1st!  The seats recline all the way and then massage your back and support your legs.  The flight attendants walk around constantly with a basket of snacks, fresh fruit, and alcohol, all included!Although it is a very long flight, part of me didn’t want it to end.

When we picked up our rental car, the person at the desk asked what the occasion was and when we said it was our 25th wedding anniversary, she said, “well you have to drive in style!  I’m upgrading you to a Mustang convertible at no extra charge!”

The view from our lanai (porch)

The view from our lanai (porch)

We drove to our resort, the Marriott Ko Olina.  This is a bit removed from the overcrowding of Waikiki, on the beautiful and apparently constantly sunny Leeward Coast.  We got checked into our villa and a short time later were enjoying a pitcher of Longboard lager and a cheeseburger in Paradise!

My own blue lagoon!

My own blue lagoon!

The beach at the resort is in a lagoon.  When I hear the word “lagoon” I think of two things, Brooke Shields in Blue Lagoon, and Gilligan, as in , “Skipper, something happened in the lagoon!”

iPhone 746

Almost sunset, 1:00am eastern time!

Now I have a lagoon of my own for a week!

π

Hawaii – Day 1 of 15

About three years ago my mom told me that she wanted to send me and my wife to Hawaii for our 25th wedding anniversary.  At the time it seemed so far away and so much would happen in the ensuing three years that it did not really register.

A year ago, my mom had not forgotten and called to say she had to book the trip a year in advance to get the best accommodations and would I please pick a date and a couple islands!

OK that made it real, and for the following year it has been on my calendar.  Two weeks in Hawaii, flying first class both ways…does “Thank you Mom!” really begin to express it?

Perhaps not, but thank you Mom!

So if you want to see what a week in Oahu and a week in Maui can bring, keep an eye on the blog for the next couple weeks.

Sunrise at National Airport

Sunrise at Washington National Airport

Day 1 began at 5am because we needed to be at the airport at 5:30.  I would see the sun rise in Washington, DC and watch it set 18 1/2 hours later in Oahu.  Long day.  We flew to Atlanta and then had a 9 hour flight from Atlanta to Honolulu.  I felt almost guilty it was so luxurious in 1st class!  I occasionally get upgraded on domestic flights but I have never seen the 1st class cabin of a wide-body plane!  It is so luxurious!  Even your luggage gets tagged 1st class so it comes out 1st!  The seats recline all the way and then massage your back and support your legs.  The flight attendants walk around constantly with a basket of snacks, fresh fruit, and alcohol, all included!Although it is a very long flight, part of me didn’t want it to end.

When we picked up our rental car, the person at the desk asked what the occasion was and when we said it was our 25th wedding anniversary, she said, “well you have to drive in style!  I’m upgrading you to a Mustang convertible at no extra charge!”

The view from our lanai (porch)

The view from our lanai (porch)

We drove to our resort, the Marriott Ko Olina.  This is a bit removed from the overcrowding of Waikiki, on the beautiful and apparently constantly sunny Leeward Coast.  We got checked into our villa and a short time later were enjoying a pitcher of Longboard lager and a cheeseburger in Paradise!

My own blue lagoon!

My own blue lagoon!

The beach at the resort is in a lagoon.  When I hear the word “lagoon” I think of two things, Brooke Shields in Blue Lagoon, and Gilligan, as in , “Skipper, something happened in the lagoon!”

iPhone 746

Almost sunset, 1:00am eastern time!

Now I have a lagoon of my own for a week!

π

 

Hawaii – Day 4 of 15

The Ko Olina Wedding Chapel

Today was a day of R&R so we did not have any big adventures.  We did walk down the shore to the JW Marriott Resort.  We are at a Marriott timeshare so we had full privileges at the resort.

On the way we saw a beautiful glass chapel right on the sea.  Destination weddings are big business in Hawaii and as we walked by there was a wedding in progress!  Everyone appeared to be Japanese. 

Destination weddings are big business in Hawaii.

We got to the resort and they had a saltwater pool of beautiful fish like you would see in an aquarium.  All different colors and as we watched a gorgeous sting ray glided past.

Sting ray in the pool!

The resort is luxurious!  We sat at this opulent seaside pool and ordered lunch, a healthy one at that!

No sting rays in this pool!

Dinner this evening was totally local.  The fish was called Hebi, a Hawaiian fish similar to marlin.  it was topped with a papaya seed vinaigrette and a papaya salsa.  Beside it was a locally grown purple sweet potato (two actually!).  We sat and watched a luau performance as we dined on this local feast!

A completely local meal, Hawaiian hebi with papaya salsa and a purple Hawaiian sweet potato.Watching the luau hula from our restaurant table!

 
π

Hawaii – Day 1 of 15

Sunrise at National Airport

About three years ago my mom told me that she wanted to send me and my wife to Hawaii for our 25th wedding anniversary.  At the time it seemed so far away and so much would happen in the ensuing three years that it did not really register. 

A year ago, my mom had not forgotten and called to say she had to book the trip a year in advance to get the best accommodations and would I please pick a date and a couple islands!

OK, that made it real, and for the following year it has been on my calendar. Two weeks in Hawaii, flying first class both ways…does “Thank you Mom!” really begin to express it?
 Perhaps not, but thank you Mom!
 So if you want to see what a week in Oahu and a week in Maui can bring, keep an eye on the blog for the next couple weeks.
 Day 1 began at 5am because we needed to be at the airport at 5:30.  I would see the sun rise in Washington, DC and watch it set 18 1/2 hours later.  Long day.  We flew to Atlanta and then had a 9 hour flight from Atlanta to Honolulu.  I felt almost guilty it was so luxurious in 1st class!  I occasionally get upgraded on domestic flights but I have never seen the 1st class cabin of a wide-body plane!  It is so luxurious!  Even your luggage gets tagged 1st class and that means it comes out 1st!  The seats recline all the way, they massage your back, and support your legs.  The flight attendants walk around constantly with a basket of snacks, fresh fruit, and alcohol, all included!  although it is a very long flight, part of me didn’t want it to end.
 When we picked up our rental car, the person at the desk asked what the occasion was and when we said it was just the two of us on our 25th wedding anniversary she said, well you have to drive in style!  I’m upgrading you to a Mustang convertible at no extra charge! 

The view from our lanai (porch)

We drove to our resort, the Marriott Ko Olina.  This is a bit removed from the overcrowding of Waikiki, on the beautiful and apparently constantly sunny Leeward Coast.  We got checked into our villa and a short time later were enjoying a pitcher of Longboard Lager and a cheeseburger in Paradise! 

My own blue lagoon!

The beach at the resort is in a lagoon.  When I hear the word “lagoon” I think of two things, “Brooke Shields in Blue Lagoon”, and Gilligan, as in, “Skipper, something happened in the lagoon!”
 

Almost sunset, 1:00am eastern time!

Now I have a lagoon of my own for a week!
π
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