I’m back in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
I’ve been back for about a week and a half now. My home in Mililani, Hawai’i, is a distant memory to me. The thought of guaranteed 70-somthing degree days seems absurd.
But instead, here I am. Listening to the 40-mph winds blow by my two bedroom apartment on the coldest day of the year.
I’d thought I share with you some of the best things I’ve eaten during the break.
Here is the best of Hawaii 2011:
From Ala Moana (Honolulu): A shrimp pad tai. Simple but so delicious. Anything with shrimp on it is my weakness.
You Grand Forks people take note. This drink cost Ten Bucks. Ten. $10.
For that amount of money, you could do some serious dammage in the tundra. But instead, it got me this (mighty good) mai tai.
My friend Wes and I took a fellow North Dakotan out to eat at Zippy’s, a large Hawaii-only chain restaurant.
While I don’t usually write about chains, Zippy’s will be the only exception. With a large amount of locations on Oahu (and one on Maui,) the menu is perfect for any time of the day (most Zippy’s are open 24 hours.)
I had the spicy chicken domburi (spicy fried chicken of a bed of rice,) shrimp tempura (fried shrimp) and hot tea. Accompanied is the traditional bowl of miso soup, made from miso paste, seaweed and tofu. Not bad for a fast-food chain restaurant.
Prime rib was a theme on this trip, as I had it twice. The first time was at a restaurant. Medium rare is the only way to go.
This was the offering on one of our many family gatherings.
Bottom left: sashimi – raw ahi tuna
Top left: the most delicious shrimp scampi dish I have ever had. The shrimp was gently sautéed in butter and garlic and served with a lemon butter sauce.
Right: three different kinds of kim che (to apease the korean side of my family.) Cucumber, cabbage and picked root.
One of the best family meals I had was a random happenstance. My brother, mother and I were wondering where to go to eat one night and we decided to eat at Phuket Thai (http://www.phuketthaihawaii.com/), a place I’ve passed by dozens of times but never bothered to eat at.
Needless to say, our 5-course dinner for 3 was amazing.
The curry was perfectly seasoned with sweet notes from the coconut sauce. The fried chicken was unbelievably crispy and tender, and the sweet, sticky rice pulled everything together. For desert we had tapioca (and I had a banana custard.)
While in Kahuku (on the North Shore of Oahu,) my mom handed me this.
Famous for its sweet corn and shrimp, Kahuku is one of the only places that corn grows in my tropical paradise. In fact, a friend told me that corn has to be genetically modified to grow in the tropical climate.
This ear of corn was fire-roasted and covered in butter, garlic powder and cajun spices. Who wouldn’t want to eat this?
By far, my favorite meal this trip was veal osso bucco at Plazzo, in Aiea (http://www.yelp.com/biz/palazzo-ristorante-italiano-aiea)
The veal was perfectly cooked and brazed in wine for hours on end. The sauce was luxuriously rich but not too hard on the palate and the pasta made for the perfect accompaniment.
For your prairie dwellers: osso bucco is prepared specifically so the diner can scoop out the marrow in the bone and eat it atop fresh bread.
If I dined like this every night, I’d be dead within ten years, but oh so happy.
Harbor Village: Aina Hina, Oahu
The roast duck had a great crispy skin and the walnut shrimp were sinfully delicious.
The star of the show, however was a whole crab, roasted in garlic and ginger sauce. With Chinese food, you can’t be afraid to get your hands dirty as well as be able to dig to harvest the best parts of the crab. As a kid, my parents taught me the finer parts of digging for crab meat and devouring every bit of this tasty creature.
Our meal was completed with three dessert: a great mango-cream pudding, tapioca and an almond jelly alongside the traditional pot of Chinese tea.
Pearl City, Oahu
My personal favorite: The caterpillar roll. Eel, avocado and fresh fish roe rolled into one. The salty roe mingles with the sweet and creamy texture of the avocado, punctuated by the fresh eel taste.
My brother had assorted sushi for dinner. Yum
My dinner: shrimp and vegetable tempura alongside cold soba (buckwheat noodle).
It’s no surprise that I went to Tadashi as my last meal. I’ve been going there for three years in a row and found that they have the most fantastic sushi.
I am now hungry.
Question of the day: Where do you go out to eat the most?