Archive for the ‘Hawaii’ Category

Lumihai BeachWhen this post goes live J. and I will be lying on a beach in Hawaii. We have 7 days and nights of relaxation planned or not planned as the case may be in Kauai. Though we don’t have any activities planned, besides lying on the beach, we do have our food plans well and truly under control.

As I have mentioned previously, J. is more often than not in charge of our eating arrangements when we travel. He researches, reads, studies and discusses all the possibilities. He has been responsible for finding some of the most unique, out of the way, hole in the wall, restaurants/foodtrucks/shacks that we have ever been lucky enough to try. He is always organized for our trips but when it comes to Kauai he has taken it to an entirely new level!

Here is the evidence – THE SPREADSHEET!


Puka DogA comprehensive document, organizing possible food choice by local. It details opening hours, location, whether they take cash only or credit card and possibly most importantly what kind of cuisine they serve. We have choices of traditional Hawaiian plate lunches, poke, seafood, burgers, Japanese and who knows what else. He has found us so many to choose from there is no way we will get to all of them!

We went to Kauai back in 2009 and discovered some amazing places to eat. They have made it Mark's Placeonto the spreadsheet, along with some of J’s new discoveries. The places I am looking forward to revisiting are Shrimp Station, Puka Dog, Mark’s Place and Hamura’s Saimin and a few others. The shrimp at Shrimp Station were delicious and amazing. I had never tasted anything like the hot dogs from Puka Dog. Mark’s Place and Hamura’s Saimin were just cool, low key locals joints.

Shrimp StationOf course J. has found us a whole new  group of places to try out. When we travel we try to stay away from the touristy places (although Puka Dog is definitely a popular destination) and go where the locals eat. Kauai, the second time around will be no different. I’m really looking forward to trying out Koloa Fish Market and also Chicken in a Barrel but there are so many other delicious options who knows what we will actually eat!

Hamura's Saimin

I’m sure as you are reading this we are either lying on a beach or eating some fabulously tastyfood! Stay tuned for Live from Kauai posts later this week!



This morning J. and I had a free Saturday morning. We weren’t meeting friends to run, we didn’t have a million chores to do and we weren’t too exhausted to leave the house. This combination rarely occurs so we thought we would go out and explore Gilbert Farmers Market, not far away from our place.

Anyone who knows Melbourne, knows that we are completely spoilt with one of the best markets in the Southern Hemisphere, the Queen Victoria Markets. These open air markets are hard to compete with and I knew I wouldn’t find anything similar here in Phoenix but I was hoping the Gilbert Markets would offer some farm fresh fruit and veggies and other goodies.

The markets were fun, they were small but there were a couple of fresh fruit and vegetable stalls where we got somegreat produce. There were places selling meat (organic, grain fed), cheese, pickles and pastries. We stopped at one place and bought a quiche for a us to nibble on. J. bit into it and realised we really needed to heat it up, so that will be a snack for us later on today. We bought some loose leaf tea, jasmine oolong tea. We have a nightly routine in winter of finishing the night off with a pot of tea and had run out of supplies brought from Australia. I was really happy to find that stuff. There was also an Italian bakery stall where we bought a loaf of semolina bread, to see if I have found another place for us to get delicious bread.

Our favorite stall was Grandma’s Kitchen. This stall had an assortment of “jellies” or “jams”. We taste tested nearly all of them but were incredibly impressed with the habanero jam. Sweet and spicy all at the same time, it will be a great accompaniment with cheese and crackers. We actually went back to this place and bought a couple of extra bottles for gifts.

After the markets we wanted to get some lunch. None of the stalls or food trucks at the markets really had anything we craved so we thought we would just stop by Tortas Ahogadas on the way to do our grocery shopping. This plan was changed when we drove past a park with signs saying “Art & Vintage Car Show with Gourmet Food Trucks”. We thought we would give it a go, plus J. got to look at some Ferraris.

There were a 7 foodtrucks to choose from… icecream, crepes, philly cheesesteaks, burgers, hawaiian food, soba noodles, fry bread… we chose what we thought would have the most interesting and tasty food. Since J. said Philly steaks were boring I went with the fry bread truck, Emerson Fry Bread and he went with the Hawaiian food, Island Loco.

Fry bread is an Artisan Native American fried dough, I found it similar to a tortilla or pita bread. There were lots of options to choose from and I decided I would go with the one they were promoting as a “healthy choice”, the Daisey. This meant my fry bread was actually not fried but rather what they call dry. I thought this was a better option. The Daisey was grilled steak, cheese, spring mix, cucumber, tomato & creme fresh on the flat bread. The server handed it to me and told me to eat it like a taco.

The steak was marinated beautifully, with such amazing flavor. The fry bread was soft and delicious and all the topping were fresh and crunchy. For a quick lunch from a food truck I was really happy. Fresh, delicious and filling … the best things.

J. couldn’t order anything but the Kalua Pork Plate lunch at Island Loco. We loved this stuff when we were in Hawaii and it isn’t something you find very often. The pork came with rice and macaroni salad. There is something about Hawaiian style macaroni salad that takes us back to the beaches of Kauai. It is one of those strange comfort foods that reminds you of awesome vacations and delicious lunches by the beach. J. has had his share of Kalua pork and he said this was as soft, tender and flavorsome as any he has had. If they had have had ahi poke it would save us our next trip to Hawaii.

After we had lunch we wandered through the vintage cars and art. The cars were pretty cool and I know J. enjoyed looking at them. This was a great and unexpected little detour but we got food and that always makes us happy. We then headed off to do grocery shopping with our bellies full and a new market to visit once in a while.

Today I write of failure, my lofty goals not met. Usually failure will leave a bitter taste in my mouth but this one left the sweetest, most delicious taste. I more often than not make imperfect things with lots of mistakes in the kitchen, the chocolate pudding for example had sunk in the center, the Anzac biscuits were too flat. However this was worse than anything I had done before. It didn’t even come close to representing a true Lilikoi Chiffon Pie, yet somehow is still tasted great!

A few years ago J. and I went to Kauai, Hawaii to celebrate our 30th birthdays. It was such an amazing trip, beautiful surroundings, great beaches and fabulous food! I am sure I will do some retrospective blogs about our time on the island at some stage but this blog is about my attempt to recreate a little taste of the island at home in Arizona.

At a small noodle restaurant, Hamura’s Saimin we discoved the sweet deliciousness that is Lilikoi pie. This is a pie made predominantly out of passionfruit and eggs. It was light, fluffy and amazing! Although passionfruit are impossible to find here in Phoenix, I had brought some canned passionfruit nectar over from Australia to use at different times (pavlova uses some passionfruit on top). I decided a few weeks ago I would make the pie we had eaten a couple of years ago.

I researched recipes and found one I liked, I am not going to share it here because it didn’t work (not the recipes fault), but I will share it once I have succeeded.

Instead of a light fluffy filling for my pie I ended up with a sticky, thick jello like filling. I would like to blame the eggs, maybe they were a bit old and the egg whites didn’t fluff up enough… or I could blame the bowl I whipped them in, maybe it was a bit greasy and that affected the egg whites forming stiff peaks.

To be completely honest, I think I got a bit impatient and that added to the issue. The egg whites weren’t fluffy enough and the egg yolk and passionfruit custard wasn’t thick enough. However my store bought graham cracker crust was perfect. At least something worked out.

Fortunately the filling set even though it wasn’t light and fluffy, and we were able to eat it. Whatever the cause of my failure it was not the same amazing eating experience we had in Kauai but it was still delicious. The fill was sweet and the passionfruit flavour was so refreshing, we ate every last bite.

Here is a what real Lilikoi Pie should look like. I hate failure but think perfection is overated, imperfection is much more interesting, at least that is what I am telling myself today. I will attempt to make this again, I will not be defeated… I hope that next time though I can write about the sweet taste of sucess!