A Hawaiian Thanksgiving

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Aloha! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving day!

I spent the last month or so preparing for my Thanksgiving trip to Maui. My hubby has been out there for about two months on business. I was very excited about seeing him and of course, going to Maui for the first time. Previously, it had been about 10 or more years since I've been to Hawaii, specifically Honolulu, Oahu.

I apologize for the lack of photos. I don't have a digital camera. It's at the top of my Christmas list for sure! I found these photos online that pretty much capture what I saw during my time there.

I arrived the day before Thanksgiving around dinner time, PST. We decided to go to the nearby village of Lahaina for dinner. Seems like a great place for shopping, eating, and people watching. We went to Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. for dinner. It reminds me of when I was little, my parents and I would eat at Denny's when we were on a road trip. As an adult, I now think of Bubba Gump as my Denny's. I had Lt. Dan's Pomegranate Punch and a Shrimp Po'Boy. Po'Boys take me back to my (only) trip to New Orleans pre-Katrina. They're cheap, delicious, and messy.

Thanksgiving day we flew out to Honolulu to meet up with Lauderdale's uncle and his family. They kindly invited us to stay at their place for Thanksgiving. Lauderdale's uncle "Jefferson" and his daughter "Lotus" picked us up at the airport. Jefferson's wife, "Hibiscus", was at home finishing the turkey. Hibiscus is originally from the Philippines. Having several Filipino and half-Filipino relatives, I already knew to expect a lot of Filipino/Chinese food alongside the turkey.

Also in typical Asian (not just Pacific Islanders) fashion, there tends to be several relatives who show up with more food. Unfortunately for me, my favorite Asian party food, Lumpia Shanghai was absent. I suppose it was just as well as I'm prejudiced and think my mom's lumpia is the best.

Lauderdale and I were still full from lunch which consisted of Kahlua pork and cabbage (OMG, that is good!), black bean and corn salsa, white rice (the Asian equivalent of potatoes), and tortilla chips. So after the turkey, stuffing, salads, rolls, pork adobo, ahi poke-reminds me of a Hawaiian ceviche, corn on the cob, and cake, I was falling into a food coma.

The following morning, we had plenty of time to kill before our late-afternoon flight back to Maui. Jefferson and family treated us to The Original Pancake House. Being the ever-ready traveler, I had done research on local Hawaiian "must-eats". Macadamia nut pancakes was one of them as was Eggs Benedict. (Apparently, there are several variations of the retro egg dish.)
I was so happy to see macadamia nut pancakes on the menu. Wow, those were so good! My honey had the coconut pancakes which were also delightful.

We went to a swap meet afterward which helped burn off the breakfast. Then we headed off to a macadamia nut plantation. They had samples of freshly brewed coffee (macadamia nut flavored, of course) as well as samples of flavored (and plain) macadamia nuts as well.

After shopping elsewhere, we had time for a quick, late lunch at their home before we had to go to the airport. Our flight was short and my honey decided to take me to Lulu's for dinner. It's a fun casual place with lots of flat-screen TVs, oak (?) tables, and friendly service. I had to try the Maui onion rings. Maui onions are famous for being sweeter and milder than 'regular' onions.
I had mahi-mahi, a firm white fish which is sweet and doesn't taste "fishy".

On Saturday morning, I wanted to try another local favorite I found during my pre-trip food research, CJ's Deli & Diner. CJ's Deli is known for large portions and budget-friendly prices. I finally had the Eggs Benedict. The sauce wasn't the straightforward typical hollandaise sauce but it had a unique "island" twist to it. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to discern what the twist was but I cleaned my plate, including the potatoes. Part of me wonders whether or not I should have gone with the white rice instead. It was very enjoyable.

We went sight-seeing most of the day. Maui nightlife is very different than what I am typically used to. Turns out Lulu's seems to be a popular local hangout. So we went back there for dinner, drinks, and dancing. I had a coconut curry chicken sandwich which was very light and flavorful. The curry was used like a glaze rather than the curry soup I had envisioned. I chose to get garlic fries asking my hubby if it was ok. He ordered Death Valley hot wings so I supposed we were evenly matched. Those garlic fries were amazing! Sadly, I never seemed to have room for dessert!

Sunday was my last day in paradise. We decided to have brunch at Aloha Mixed Plate, another local favorite which is mentioned on Fodor's. Not only was the food wonderful, you get a beautiful ocean view while you eat. The plate lunch is a beautiful culinary concept and is very satisfying. You can choose 2 or more entrees. All plate lunches come with macaroni salad and a scoop or two of white rice. Mini plates have a half portion and one scoop of rice where as you get the macaroni and two scoops of rice with the regular.

Check out this blog for a review and pictures of Aloha Mixed Plate: http://mmm-yoso.typepad.com/mmmyoso/maui/.

I wanted to try as much as I could so I got their Hawaiian plate: Kahlua pig and cabbage, Lomi Lomi Salmon, poi, macaroni salad, rice, and a coconut dessert called haupia.

The lomi lomi salmon is a refreshing and colorful dish. At first glance, it reminded me of salsa. I really enjoyed it. It would be great to have in summer.

Now for the poi, I have heard not so great things about it. I found the poi to be a bit bland with a slight bitter or sour taste to it. There is also no 'body' to it-it's like liquid or pureed taro.
The haupia was light and refreshing. It reminded me of a similar dessert that I might have tried at a couple of dim sum restaurants in California.

We also tried their coconut prawns which had fried noodles in the coconut batter. I thought it added a visual appeal but sadly didn't add to the texture. I think panko would have been a better choice but maybe they wanted to be different?

We had missed the Saturday morning swap meet by an hour. So we spent a few hours at the Queen Ka'ahumanu Center, a local mall.

It was back to the airport to pick up Lauderdale's co-workers. The guys were starving and wanted sushi. My hubby had taken me to Genki Sushi previously.

It's a chain of conveyor belt sushi places. Most of the menu items ride on a conveyor belt. You just grab whatever looks good. Of course, you can order special items not seen as well. It was pretty good but I was hoping to try a different sushi place instead. Perhaps another time.

A few hours later, it was my final airport trip and time for me to go home.

I had a wonderful time and am hoping to return to Hawaii again in the near future.

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