Showing posts with label food porn. Show all posts
Showing posts with label food porn. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Hawaii: Malasada Mondays and Other Tropical Tales

For the last month our weeks have started on a sweet note: Malasada Mondays ~ a lyrical combination that has brought smiles to our faces and – big sigh – added a few pounds to our weight.

Malasadas, a favorite treat in Hawaii, were introduced here in the late 1800’s by Portuguese laborers from Madeira and the Azores who came to work in the plantations.

Think donut holes – great BIG donut holes. Some served with a sugar coating and others sliced open and filled with melt-in-your-mouth custard.

The temptations were great
DSCF1618 We’ve been lucky this year as our Hawaiian home at KoOlina has begun hosting one of the many Farmer’s Markets that take place throughout this island chain.

Although teeny in comparison to most, our market brings one Honolulu baker who serves up loaves of Hawaiian sweet bread and rolls filled with tropical flavors like coconut and pineapple. (He doesn’t have a retail outlet, but similar treats can be found at Leonard’s in Honolulu)

One of our favorite things about this one-time-kingdom-now-state in the middle of the Pacific Ocean is the diversity of people here and the customs and foods they’ve brought to this tropical paradise.

They came in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s as laborers to work in pineapple, taro, and sugar cane fields and related industries, from islands in the South Pacific, China, Korea, Japan, and Europe. Thanks to them bringing their foods and flavors from home, today’s Hawaii offers food lovers a feast of diverse culinary cuisine.

Hot and spicy - Korean vegetables

An editor of mine, many years ago asked, “Can you get American food there?” (Yes, he was serious. And yes, you can. Col. Sanders is serving up buckets of fried chicken while Quarter Pounders are being grilled under the Golden arches and Big Box pizza joints are making home deliveries.) But why would anyone come here to eat that food when there’s so many other 'Ono grinds' (good food)  just waiting to be sampled?

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Waipahu Saturday morning farmer's market - O-'ahu
SPAM, I am

Some foods though just call out ‘Hawaiian’ in our minds. For instance, SPAM. That canned meat product is so popular here they have an annual SPAM Jam Festival!

IMG_20150124_105645_777 More SPAM®, according to one of the conference sponsors, is consumed per person in Hawaii than any other state in the United States, which makes it somewhat appropriate for their signature food festival, which in 2015 takes place May 2.

SPAM® stands for ‘spiced ham’; a product introduced in 1937 by the mainland  Hormel Foods Corporation.  The food cube inside the can is a mix of ham and pork shoulder and now comes in low-salt, spicy and original (simply salty) versions. It is believed to have been introduced by the service men stationed here during WWII.

Its popularity continues to grow. There seem to be new variations available each year! Costco, the big box U.S. chain store, sells it here by the case.

Two key statistics in the SPAM Jam news release caught my eye:
* nearly seven million cans of SPAM® are eaten every year in Hawaii.)

* in the decade since it began, the Waikiki SPAM® JAM, has become one of the most popular festivals in Hawaii. More than 20,000 attend the annual event.

Shave Ice

My Hawaiian friends are offended if I compare a Hawaiian ‘shave ice’ to what we mainlanders call a ‘snow cone’. The premise is the same for both, shaved ice that is flavored with syrups of various flavors.  Apparently – it is the way the ice is shaved that can make this treat a true Hawaiian melt-in-your-mouth (pun intended!) version or a lumpy mainland version.  And a trip to the island of O’ahu isn’t complete without going to the North Shore for a stop at Matsumoto’s for shave ice.  Lines often wind into the street from the shave ice counter in this 1950’s wood-frame grocery store that now sells only shave ice, tee-shirts and souvenirs.

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Matsumoto Shave Ice - an island favorite
Food Trucks:

And one can’t make a trip to the North Shore and not be tempted by the eateries that line the two-lane road through Haleiwa (a once-laid-back-surfer-town now teeming with tourists) While these photos were taken in Haleiwa, you’ll find food trucks tucked away in the most unexpected places around the island:

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North Shore O'ahu Food Trucks
When you travel do you stick to foods that you ‘know’ or do you ‘go local’? Tell us in the comments below or shoot us an email.  Thanks for the time you spent with us today ~ hope to see you again soon!  "Malamapono a hue hou" ~ Take care until we meet again!

Linking up this week:
Travel Photo Thursday – Budget Traveler’s Sandbox 
Travel Inspiration – Reflections En Route 
Mosaic Monday – Lavender Cottage Gardening
Travel Photo Monday - Travel Photo Discovery

Monday, September 22, 2014

Kaua'i: Where Memory Lane leads to Louise’s

She was as exotic as any I had person I’d ever seen back then.
(I’d spent my life in an agricultural community in Central Washington State). 

She was enormous.
(from my five-foot-almost-one-inch point-of-view)

And she had a smile that just wouldn’t quit. She made you feel warm and welcomed – prompting that  kind of ‘I-don’t-want-to-leave’ feeling and a desire to return soon when you finally did leave.

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Louise Hauata - Tahiti Nui, photo March 1983
That’s how I remember the woman, Louise Hauata, from the Austral Islands of French Polynesia, just south of Tahiti. We met her back in 1983  in Hanalei on Kauai’s North Shore. She was a single mother running the Tahitian style bar and restaurant that she and her American husband, Bruce Marston, a former Lt. Col in the U.S. Air Force, had opened in 1964. They had met and married in Tahiti then moved to Kauai. He had died in the mid 70’s.
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The Scout - reluctantly posing - Princeville, Kauai, March 1983

We were young back then – barely married three years -- and travel was doled out in brief 10-day-per-year-doses by our employers. Hawaii, a mere six-hour flight away from the Seattle airport, was  a favorite destination for us.  Kauai’s North Shore was of particular appeal; in part because of Louise’s Tahiti Nui.

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Tahiti Nui - March 1983
We’d sit in those cushioned rattan chairs on her front porch sipping Mai Tai’s and watch the occasional car go by on the two-lane road that gives way to hiking trails and the rugged NaPali coast a few miles beyond Hanalei.  The bar made such an impression that to this day we have an enlargement of this photo hanging in our den.

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Scenes from the Tahiti Nui luau - March 1983
It was at this little place we attended our first – and only – Hawaiian luau.  The dishes were prepared primarily on site, but we recall some dishes were brought by locals – think potluck style.  We paid some ridiculously small amount and dined on authentic Hawaiian dishes: roasted pork, poi, salads, lomi lomi, lau lau. . .the works.
Before we sat down to eat, Louise had us encircle our tables, join hands and she said grace. Then the feast and entertainment was on. The hula show provided by local talented young ladies.

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Hanalei Valley 1983 left, 2014 right
The Hanalei Valley really hasn’t changed much during the decades that have passed since those youthful visits of ours to paradise. The landscape is still carpeted with agricultural fields– with a fair share of golf courses and visitor accommodations in nearby Princeville, where we stayed. 

The town of Hanalei has a grocery store now, a small (tourist-oriented) shopping development and several restaurants and bars from which to choose. However, prior to our return, we were delighted to read in the Lonely Planet’s guidebook, “Kauai” that the Tahiti Nui is run by Louise’s son, Christian and her nephew, William Marsten.

Although Louise had died in 2003, we were eager to follow memory lane back to her Tahiti Nui.

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Tahiti Nui, Hanalei, 2014
I raced up the stairs after taking this photo to peek inside as it was early Sunday morning and the place -  now twice the size it had been -- was closed. Just as I got to the doorway, a woman inside snapped, “We open at 11!” and shut the door in my face. 

So much for that warm welcome I remembered. . .

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The "Nui" now - 2014

Oh well, not to be deterred, we were pleased to learn they still have a weekly luau. . .not so pleased to learn it was capped off at some hundred guests or so, each paying $75 a person.  Maybe a regular dinner there would work, we reasoned. . .

We stopped by the one evening we were in town and the place -- with its cross between funky Tahitian and dive décor -- didn’t look much different from how we remembered it. It was, however, crammed with diners and drinkers thus making its interior stifling hot and stuffy.

But no smiles like Louise’s greeted us from the bartender or the wait staff.

ManitoKauai2014 120There really seemed no room nor real reason to stay.

We took a final look around.

Then tucked those sweet memories away. . .

. . .and ate pub grub at Kalypso a bar/restaurant down the street where we were greeted with a warm welcome.

If You Go:

Tahiti Nui
5-5134 Kuhio Highway
Hanalei, Kaua'i

5-5156 Kuhio Highway
Hanalei, Kaua'i

Linking up:
Foodie Tuesday – Inside Journeys

Sunday, August 3, 2014

WAWeekend: A Taste of the Ol’ West

Prior to heading off for Greece this summer we took a quick road trip to the Yakima Valley, a part Central Washington’s wine country, and had a taste of the ol’ West at a new eatery in an ol’ building in the heart of downtown Prosser.

So join us for lunch at the Horse Heaven Saloon. The Scout will even hold the door for you:

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The doors by the way are made of Brazilian Purple Heart wood, a wood used in area hop kilns which are the processing plants where hops are prepared to use as flavorings in beer.  For you gun enthusiasts out there: The photo on the left shows the door handles which are replicas of the Old West Cavalry single revolver with seven inch barrels. The two inside handles are models of an 1897 25 –32 caliber Winchester and a 1970’s model 32 caliber.

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The bar has been made from repurposed old growth Douglas Fir and old combine wheels.  (Combines with wheels like these were used in the harvest of hay and grain in the Yakima Valley and are the precursors to the modern-day mammoth versions).  Here those wheels separate the bar seating from the restaurant seating, making the place family-friendly. . .kids can eat in the restaurant which is separated from the bar per Washington State’s rather goofy law on the subject.


The walls are covered with murals that pay tribute to the Saloon’s name, Horse Heaven Hills. The name, by the way, is attributed to a Valley pioneer, James Gordon Kinney who in 1857 is said to have noted the knee-high grasses covering the rolling hills in the area and the large herds of feral horses grazing there.  “Excellent forage and comparative isolation. . .This is surely a horse heaven!” he is credited with pronouncing.

This one pays homage to the old beer truck deliveries.


Being a cat lover I had to include this one.

If the décor wasn’t enough reason to head here, the food is.  And the menu describes it as a Western-themed gastro pub. The chef, Laurie Kennedy creates a variety of dishes that could include seared ahi to specially prepared chicken gizzards.  While the full bar provides any type of adult beverage, you might want to try a Horse Heaven Hills Brewery beer handcrafted by Gary Vegar.

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We were there at noon and decided to share a sandwich and each have ‘just’ a cup of soup. . .both were so large that we could have skipped one or the other but the food was so good we managed to eat it all without a bit of hesitation!

If you are in Central Washington, this eatery – now open for just under a year – is worth a visit.

Prosser is about a 3.5 hour drive from Seattle. The nearest airports are in the TriCities and Yakima.

Horse Heaven Hills Saloon
615 6th St. (Main Street in this small town)
Check their web site for hours and menu and some fun photos or find them on FB.
Linking up:
Inside Journeys – Foodie Tuesday

Monday, July 28, 2014

An Enchanted Evening in Kardamyli

Our trip back to Greece’s Mani region this summer spanned a time period that included both our wedding anniversary and my birthday. . . what better place on earth to celebrate such occasions, right?

While our days were busy with ‘chores’ related to purchasing a house there (see last week’s post) we did give ourselves our anniversary evening ‘off’ and spent it dining at a hotel restaurant that came recommended highly on TripAdvisor and had also been included in as a Top Choice in Lonely Planet’s guidebook.

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This wasn’t your run-of-the-mill hotel restaurant. The setting was one of the most magical we’ve seen in Greece ~ in the midst of an olive grove at the side of the sea. It just doesn’t get any better than that!

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Restaurant Elies is part of a small bungalow-style hotel complex  of the same name one mile north of Kardamyli (also Kardamili) town.  The setting and the décor – from the blue and white cushions in the bar’s open air lounge to the yellow and olive green colored tables and chairs -- couldn’t have been more Mediterranean. We’d want to incorporate both of these ideas when decorating that new house, we’d decided. . .
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As night approached, the restaurant transformed from its daytime casual to nighttime elegance with white table cloths and candles.

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And the menu offered such a foodie feast it was difficult to decide what to eat:

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We finally made our selections – fried giant white beans starter, sea bass on a bed of wild greens and rigatoni with a fresh basil pesto sauce.

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Wish I’d photographed dessert but by then I was in such a state of (foodie) bliss the camera was long forgotten.  If you get to the area, we’d highly recommend this place as a ‘must visit’.

We’ll continue the story of our house buying trip to Greece on Thursday. . .hope to see you then!
For restaurant or hotel information:
Linking this post up with Mosaic Monday and Foodie Tuesday

Monday, June 16, 2014

Greece: “But, what do you eat there?”

There are certain people we know who don’t share our enthusiasm for travel.  They list the logistics and planning or those unknown experiences . . .like eating  different food as reasons for not setting forth.

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Easter pastries - Greece
I can tell you – and our bathroom scales reconfirm this – we love the foods (and drinks, of course) we discover on our travels!

Some of our favorite food is Greek. We found so many culinary delights as we traveled around Greece this spring that I am serving up a two-part report; beginning this week on our food-fest there and starting with perhaps the most recognizable dishes:

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Pita Gyro: This fast food is the cheapest ‘full meal deal’ in town.  Thinly sliced lamb, beef or chicken, tomatoes, onions, French fries, yogurt with paprika (pictured above) or tzatziki, a yogurt sauce comes wrapped in hot pita.  The cost usually under $5 US.

Greek Salad: Unlike the versions we are served back home in the U.S. here the bowl is filled with chunks of tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, whole olives with pits and slabs of feta, seasoned with oregano and olive oil and vinegar mixtures.  Usually in the $5 – $7 US range and enough to share between two.

loutro to kirkland 121Hummus: While we call it a dip in the U.S. it sometimes is listed under salads here – other times as a meze, or small plate. 

This traditional mixture of garlic, olive oil, garbanzo beans and tahini, is one of our favorites. In the photo to the left, the restaurant served it with sautéed onions.  Less than $5 US.

loutro to kirkland 165Two other sauce/salad/mezes: are the traditional – tzatziki, (left side of the plate) yogurt, cucumber, oft times a bit of grated carrot and varying amounts of garlic and garlic salad basically garlic and mashed potatoes mixed together and served cold or at room temperature.

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Greek meatballs rival that of their Italian neighbors.  Here, however, they aren’t served with pasta.  Instead, potatoes – slow roasted in the oven with oregano, olive oil and lemon juice – share the plate.  (And thank goodness, those baskets of bread are served as a routine part of every meal. This one came  in handy for dredging through that olive oil and lemon sauce!)

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Stuffed grape leaves – served as mezes here, are a tart lemon-flavored treat filled with rice and served at room temperature or barely warmed.  We ate many of these but I am featuring the ones served at The Nest, a restaurant (known for its traditional Greek food) tucked in the maze of the Old Town, Chora, on Ios Island

This family-owned restaurant  and the food it served, captured our hearts (and stomachs) and drew us back two of the three nights we were in town.  Among the many dishes we sampled were these grape leaves. The owner said that the leaves are grown in his cousin’s garden and each morning his mother comes in to make them ~ now who could resist that?

Note:  The opening photo is of pastries (some of you saw it on Facebook)  - a gift for Easter from Maria, the lady who runs Pension Loutro Bay, on the southern coast of Crete, where we spent the holiday this year.

Thanks for your time today – we hope you’ll be back later this week!

Linking up:
Foodie Tuesday


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