I just got back from a wonderful 5-day trip to Hawaii where I tried several new foods and drinks:
- Portuguese sausage - I really liked this, even though I generally don't eat much meat. I had it a few mornings with eggs and found the mildly spicy flavor a nice change from the usual sausage.
- Korean Bibimbap - a rice bowl with a lot of veggies topped with a fried egg and served with different sauces. The veggies were all familiar to me except for the sea asparagus. This was a nice light dinner my first night at my hotel, the Moana Surfrider.
- Sea Asparagus - although in the Bibimbap, this also came as a side salad at dinner one evening with my fish. They had blanched it and added it to thin sliced onion and halved cherry tomatoes tossed with a very light dressing. It was fresh and tasty.
- Watermelon radishes - I see these a lot on cooking shows, so when faced with them on a salad bar, just had to go for it. They were a lot less intense than a regular radish and wonderful on my salad.
- Onaga - which is a Hawaiian red snapper. This was one of my favorite meals on the island, which I had at The House Without A Key restaurant, named for the Charlie Chan mystery of the same name. It was steamed with bok choy and shiitake mushrooms in a very light sesame sauce. It came with white rice, which I used to soak up the sauce. Excellent food and restaurant.
- Moonfish - my other very memorable meal, had at Duke's Waikiki. This was sauteed with a macadamia crust and served with the sea asparagus salad mentioned above and a lovely bastmati wheatberry rice.
- Mango ranch dressing - This came on one of the best salads I've tasted anywhere. I had it at my hotel in the Beach Bar. It was a chopped salad with beautiful big grilled shrimp. There was nothing unusual about the salad veggie-wise, but it was exceptionally fresh and served with mango ranch dressing. I'm not a big ranch dressing fan, but I'm so glad I didn't ask them to hold the dressing this time. Mango ranch dressing is much lighter and tastier than regular ranch and brought the salad together. I could eat that salad every day!
I'm sure there are some of you thinking: Wait, you didn't try Spam? No, I didn't, for two reasons: 1) We ate a lot of Spam growing up, so it wasn't new to me; 2) I hate Spam!
I'm not much of a drinker in my daily life, but I do LOVE my vacation tropical drinks, my favorite being a mai tai, and I had several during this vacation at different locations. My favorite of those I tried was that made at my hotel. It was heavy on the rum and not too sweet. But I tried a couple of other drinks during the week too:
- Spiked sangria - this was at my hotel. Normally I enjoy a nicely done sangria, but this was on the sour side from the hard alcohol in it.
- Cucumber ginger cooler - this was an interesting concoction of cucumber vodka, sake and ginger ale. At first it was really yummy and refreshing, but about halfway through it wore out its welcome and became kind of odd tasting with an unpleasant finish. It might have been the sake that caused this. Hard to tell.
- Coconut mojito - OMG, this is now my favorite tropical drink, although I wonder if I could get one outside of Duke's. I enjoyed it so much at dinner, that instead of dessert, I ordered another. It was refreshing and tasty and the mint wasn't overpowering.
- Duke's Signature Mimosa - enjoyed on my last day in Hawaii at breakfast, this was a super tasty twist to the normal mimosa. In fact, I liked it much better than the usual champagne and orange juice because it was more refreshing and less sweet. It was champagne with lilikoi (passion fruit) juice.
I didn't indulge much in desserts since I was sucking down calorie-laden sweet tropical drinks, but I did try the signature coconut cake at The House Without A Key and it rocked. My first day at my hotel, I couldn't make up my mind on a desert with lunch, but knew I wanted one. The Veranda restaurant is known for their afternoon teas, and one of the desserts on their regular menu was a tree of miniature desserts, which is part of the tea service. It seemed silly and indulgent to order it since I was dining alone, but did anyway. It consisted of eight different dessert bites and each was amazing. My favorite was the mango mousse on top of a sponge cake square. I ate a couple at lunch and they boxed up the others for me to take back to my room. So except for the coconut cake, these took care of my sweet tooth.
So now I'm back home and on the wagon, both drink and food-wise. Back to eating mostly vegan, and watching the calories. But I sure had fun tossing all that aside in Hawaii!