Friday, January 7, 2011

Mele Kalikimaka Part 2 – Eating through Waikiki

Emi’s parent’s Christmas present to us besides the airfare out to Hawaii included a two night stay at the Royal Hawaiian, which was great because we were located in the heart of Waikiki right off the beach. Since we were in the area we made sure to take advantage of the great food the area had to offer.

After a fun night out with Emi’s cousin’s we needed a hearty brunch to soak up some of the lingering alcohol. We met Emi’s family down at the restaurant. I ordered the kahlua pig hash with poached eggs.

Emi went with the French toast with a cognac poached banana.

After a big brunch, we decided on a late night dinner at Gyu-Kaku a yakiniku spot. Word of warning, you will get smoky, so come prepared.

We ordered everything from garlic kalbi, butterfish, wild mushrooms, chicken, and beef. It's always fun and a different experience to cook your food at your table. We went with Emi's cousin and her boyfriend so it was a fun communal experience.

For breakfast we picked up some pastries from a Japanese bakery, Panya.

I went with the peach custard pastry and a mini croissant. Emi tried the spam and egg pastry, along with an interesting garlic potato and chicken salad bun. Fun and different, Japanese yet Hawaiian influenced breakfast pastries.

After checking out from the hotel, Emi’s parents took all of us out to lunch at Ichiben in Aiea. Emi ordered the paitan (tonkotsu) charsiu ramen. Decent broth and solid ramen, but I’m happy I made the decision to try something new because nothing compares to Ippudo.

Emi’s aunt and uncle highly recommended the chicken katsu curry and it was amazing. I never really order curry, but happy I tried something new. The katsu was cooked perfectly and didn’t get too soggy underneath the curry. I really enjoyed dipping the crunchy katsu in the curry sauce with each bite and the rice soaked up everything perfectly in the end.

What trip to Hawaii isn’t complete without a stop at our favorite shave ice place, Baldwin’s. Aaron recommended the amazing mixture below, which Emi ordered and I’m definitely getting next time. I love root beer floats, used to drink at least one a night when I was in high school (probably why I was a lot chubbier). I don’t love just any root beer float, but an icy root beer float. I don’t want my ice cream to melt away, but I want it to turn into crunchy, sweet, root beery, icees. The key I’ve found from my extensive experience trying to create the perfect root beer float (yea, I know it’s not that difficult) is to use cheap ice cream or preferably soft serve, nothing premium. So back to this amazing concoction pictured above. The flavors were root beer, vanilla, with vanilla ice cream on the bottom, and topped with a “snowcap” (sweetened condensed milk). This tastes just like a root beer float with the creamy sweet condensed milk and vanilla ice cream, but what makes this the perfect combination is that of course it’s icy because it’s shaved ice. One of the highlights of the trip.

Mmmm mmmm good, love me some Baldwin’s. We ate it twice. If you haven’t been before, make sure to get out there. If you do, order two, eat one right away, and get the other to go. You can order them with caps and then stick them in the freezer. Then when you want it, thaw it out a little and enjoy, it’s about 90% as good as when you eat it right away.

- Kyle

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