Shuck It to Me

Seaside escapes are all well-known for their seafood offerings. Whilst in New Orleans, be sure to find po’ boys filled with scrumptious shrimp, lobster, crawfish, and even crab. Sometimes, however, you’re in the mood for a slightly more formal dining affair.IMG_7366

Already raving about soft shell crabs – think, Deanie’s Seafood – here are two other establishments worth mention: Dickie Brennan’s Bourbon House and Galatoire’s 33 Bar & Steak. Finding both restaurants tucked in pockets of the French Quarter, selection of oysters and the daily catch are – as expected – on the menu. Despite other patron-pleasing dishes, however, oysters are just one of those special must-indulge treats that cannot be missed, especially when someone’s willing to prepare them for you.

IMG_7381Singing praises to both chefs, “Aw, shucks!” Indeed, these oysters are made right! At the Bourbon House, oysters are the prime starter to the contrastingly rich main course. Modestly seasoned and perfectly broiled, oysters are fresh tasting and made vibrant with a splash of zingy lemon. Far from overbearing, a couple of these buttered mollusks are enough to keep you satisfied in anticipation of signature entrées. Ordering shrimp étouffée and Bourbon House barbeque shrimp – straight from the Louisiana Gulf – I see food for days. Notably eyeing added touches of sweet yet smoky roux, my plateful of JUMBO shrimp is nothing short of succulent and generous in portion. Equally served alongside of one’s choice of potato mash or grilled greens, find no regrets in eating this oxymoron. Clearly enjoying the candlelit ambiance as much as the meal, Bourbon House knows how to prepare delicate seafood: they keep things on the sweet side.

IMG_7370Moving on to another great, Galatoire’s 33, this is the place for your choice of oysters prepared à la Rockefeller or Casino. Opting for both, a sample of baked oysters topped with creamed spinach and sizzling bacon delivers on big taste. Unique in their own right, the classic Rockefeller is lighter in taste whereas the Casino style oysters are veiled with buttery goodness and its cured ‘better half’ – the ‘other’ white meat – bacon, resulting in an overall rich and salty flavour profile. Loving oysters, particularly in NOLA, other seafood delights await.

IMG_7368Having a little bit of this and that, I have no complaints whatsoever. Take the crab ‘au gratins’, for instance, this bubbly hot dish comes fully-loaded with lumps of crab meat embedded in a creamy cheese sauce. And, for those after lighter fare, salads like the lobster chop are made extraordinary by ingredients like beets, avocado and, of course, the Maine shelled star.IMG_7384 Cooking up variations of delicious, Galatoire’s 33 undeniably uses fresh product for an ultimate seafood experience. Fortunate to have tasted oysters, crab cake, lobster, and then some, find no Little Miss Crabby here. But if you’re not into seafood, meaty offerings like burgers and steaks run plenty, too. Whatever your appetite’s desire, then, Galatoire’s 33 reigns top in quality and variety. That’s all!

Copyright © DISHFUL, 2018. All Rights Reserved.

Advertisements

Southern Candymakers & Praline Charms

Southern Candymakers Praline Shop 1 arrNew Orleans is a city full of charm and tradition. And with gems to be found at pretty much every corner, Decatur Street is no different. Sighting one sweets boutique, in particular, I find ‘tortue’ central at none other than Southern Candymakers.Southern Candymakers Praline Shop 8 arr

Making pralines on the spot, this boutique candy shop is where I get my taste of the pecan classic, and some more! Between the left-side aisle of souvenir items and showcased individual treats to the right, I pick up an assortment of chocolate-covered caramel pecans – inclusive of milk, white and dark chocolate – a container red beans and rice, truly candy-coated sunflower seeds and peanuts, in addition to old-fashioned salt water taffy. Southern Candymakers Praline Shop 9 arr

Bonbons selected and collected for later enjoyment, now would be a good time to beat the heat with scoops of ice box refreshers – homemade vanilla, pralines ‘n’ cream, and banana pudding ice creams – also, allowing more time to peruse the delectable quarters. Glad to have done so, the atmosphere beckons little reminders of NOLA from Café Du Monde coffee and ‘beignet’ mix to alligator-fashioned oven mitts. Southern Candymakers Praline Shop 4 arrClearly appealing to all tourists at heart, the real treat – for me – was eyeing a batch of freshly made pralines being prepared and proportioned on a marble surface, and all done so right on-site. Watching candy being made in action plus the sweet aroma of caramelized sugar in the air, there’s just one thought that comes to mind: “Oh, how sweet it is!”

Southern Candymakers Praline Shop 2 arrLeaving content with an undeniable sugar rush, Southern Candymakers know how to appease to the senses. Likewise, and given the multitude of selection, a fun-filled discovery is to be anticipated. Among my handful of treats, here’s the ‘one’ I highly rate: chocolate-covered pecan ‘tortue’ that are – honest to goodness – divine. Evasive of hard candy bits, you can taste all three layers of this nutty yet sweet praline that is the culmination of crunchy pecans, melt-in-your-mouth buttery caramel, and chocolate coating. Authentic, to say the least, these little charmers are soft and chewy morsels of “must-indulge” temptation. A turtle in name, not inception, these delightful clusters are too good to savour slowly – C’est si bon!

Copyright © DISHFUL, 2018. All Rights Reserved.

Deliciously Repeating History: One Muffuletta at a Time

Central Grocery Co. Muffaletta 8 arrFor a foodie who encounters a ‘sign’ professing to be the ‘original’ – anything food related – there’s one motto to follow: “Veni, vidi, vici!” Caesar knew better and, in suit, so do those with a curious appetite.

Central Grocery Co. Muffaletta 12 arrSpotting such signage in New Orleans, I open the doors to Central Grocery, to experience the hype of their famous muffuletta. Self-proclaimed originators of this Italian sandwich, who wouldn’t want to sample a bread-encased ‘charcuterie’ spread, let alone a chance to step into the world of the “Home of the Original,” itself? Passing rows of jarred pickled veggies, dry pasta and sauces, I know I do! Central Grocery Co. Muffaletta 3 arr

Making my way to the counter, I read the menu of options – only two – for either a half portion or full, and decisively order: “One whole muffuletta, please!” And, in a flash, I’m promptly handed a food gift – a freshly made, cut and wrapped whole sandwich – also lunch for the day. Luckily, given the generous size of this rounded fare, my midday snack is to be shared though it could easily feed two to four people, dependent on hunger levels.Central Grocery Co. Muffaletta 7 arr

Ready to ‘mangia al fresco,’ I leave my side treat of Zapp’s “Kettle Style Voodoo” potato chips for later, and prepare for the main event. Quartered piece in hand, I take notice of the reveal: layers of mortadella, salami, provolone, ham, mozzarella, and a heavy topping of olive salad. As if that’s not enough, the buttery shavings of meat and savoury olive condiment are held together between a sliced round loaf of sesame crusted bread. Each component, however simple, balances one another for the making of a flavourful sandwich.

Central Grocery Co. Muffaletta 4 arrNever having tasted bad mortadella, there’s some debate to what makes a perfect sandwich. Without a doubt, the cuts of premium deli are fresh and tasty on their own. Similarly, you can’t go wrong with an untouched homemade recipe for success as seen in the marinated olive salad that’s heightened by aromatics such as celery, carrots, garlic, and oregano to name a few. All delicious, the aforementioned can easily be enjoyed together or alone. Still, to me, the bread takes the prize. Central Grocery Co. Muffaletta 9 arrCovered with toasted nutty goodness, this bread is golden: it bears a crispy exterior all the while remaining soft and chewy to the bite. Light as air, this porous loaf is sponge-like to the touch and, although less dense than a focaccia, well made. So much so, in fact, it holds its shape despite the absorption of the olive oil dressing, and the weighted addition of meat and cheese slices. Carb-praising aside, the only crumbs you’ll find are none – a muffuletta so good you’ll wish you purchased another for the road.

Central Grocery Co. Muffaletta 6 arrEvidently worth imitating, I can see why Central Grocery prides itself in being the creators of the muffuletta. In consideration of its popularity, this grocer offers delivery service for those who can’t stop by 923 Decatur Street. But for those who can, the making of your own muffuletta is as easy as ordering some deli and picking up a jar of the signature olive salad. With the necessary ingredients available in-house, this grocer has those wanting to recreate the humble meat and cheese hand-held covered. Happy to have arrived, witnessed and tasted the ‘original’, the verdict’s in: the real-deal muffuletta is a new lunch box favourite.

Copyright © DISHFUL, 2018. All Rights Reserved.

The Old Absinthe House

The Old Absinthe House NOLA 1 arrDo fairies exist? I couldn’t tell you, but I will say this: a belle of a drink – a glass of good ol’ Tinker – is to be seen, made, and encountered at Jean Lafitte’s Old Absinthe House, in New Orleans.

Situated at 240 Bourbon Street – where else – this bar embodies a relaxed atmosphere, as one would expect. Just step in, find a seat, and you’ll immediately notice walls covered with a shameless stretch of self-promoting patron-inspired art – a.k.a. business cards. The Old Absinthe House NOLA 6 arrFinding no designated boards, here, the walls are the bulletin. Clearly atypical albeit clever, interesting, and a quick read in passing – the ambiance is to be appreciated.

Innovative wall paper aside, there’s absinthe to be found and it’s bar side. Pleasantries made, the friendly and informative bartender promptly presents a list of green possibilities. And, there’s plenty! So be prepared to throw indecision out the open door, and select an absinthe of choice. Doing just that, let the magic begin!

The Old Absinthe House NOLA 3 arrGoing for a classic, the bartender first sets up an absinthe spoon with a sugar cube atop a glass. Pouring some Butterfly Absinthe over the sugar, he then lights it on fire. Kindly explaining each step – for the absinthe novice that I am – he leaves the cube ‘en flamblé’ to allow the sugars to caramelize but prevents the alcohol from burning off via a splash of cold water. The Old Absinthe House NOLA 4 arrFor the final touch, he dilutes the anise-infused spirit with more water, and stirs-in the semi-dissolved sugar. A spectacle to behold, the once clear absinthe has distinctly changed to an opaque lime green, which the bartender details is a result of a chemical reaction known as ‘louche.’ Clearly a pro, the bartender ‘appropriately’ concocts a drink that leaves me with a cloudy absinthe and word for the day.The Old Absinthe House NOLA 5 arr

Enjoying the show, I leave this long-standing establishment deducing this: fans of licorice will enjoy the reminiscent taste profile that absinthe yields. Highly aromatic, its herbal notes are synonymous with fennel and anise flavours, and lend to an overall fragrant yet strong product. Keen on absinthe or not, the Old Absinthe House has been serving ‘tradition’ since 1807 and remains a historic fixture minus any old-world stuffiness. Lastly, please drink responsibly!

Copyright © DISHFUL. All Rights Reserved.

All Day Beignets & Chicory Brew

Craving old-fashioned fried ‘beignets’? Well, if you’re ever in New Orleans, be sure to stop by the iconic Café Du Monde. Serving piping hot and fresh doughnuts and/or your choice of beverage, this NOLA fixture has been running since 1862. And, that’s not all. Keeping locals and visiting folk – like ‘moi’ – happy, this coffee house runs nonstop.Cafe Du Monde Beignets 8 arr

That’s right, open 24 hours/day, 800 Decatur Street is the place to be! Making my way to this very hotspot, midday service is – as expected – busy! But, with perseverance and patience on my end, coupled with the dutiful display on behalf of the staff, order’s up: a classic pairing of café au lait and beignets, as well as sweetened ice-blended coffee. Cafe Du Monde Beignets 1 arr

And, now, for the taste test. Starting with a sip of the cold ‘refresher,’ the frozen café au lait is sublime. A grown-up take on slush, if you will, this caffeinated drink hits all targets: it helps beat the heat, tastes satisfyingly sweet, and gives you that added pick-me-up for the day, to keep touring the Quarter. Preferring slush over iced-coffee, you definitely have the option to request the floating ice variety. Cafe Du Monde Beignets 9 arr

Sticking to tradition, let’s move on to the long-awaited beignets. Prepared two-ways – with or without a thick dusting of confectioner’s sugar – these powdered pillow squares are always plated or paper bag packed in threes. Going for the snow-capped option, my trio of beignets smell sweet, are soft to the touch and are revealing of a chewy consistency upon first bite. Cafe Du Monde Beignets 2 arrIn a dough-nut shell, they’re plain-Jane – ‘au naturel’ – bundles of fried up comfort, no frills required. And, as with all fried foods, be sure to enjoy these goods while they’re hot.

Clearly, having enjoyed the venue and blast of air circulating from the ceiling fans, sitting ‘à la table’ with a chicory-blended brew of java is my kind of shady afternoon. So, for all those wanting to take a Parisian-esque break in the south, just find a seat at this corner coffee stand and prepare to watch the world go by – one sip, slurp, and beignet at a time.

Copyright © DISHFUL, 2018. All Rights Reserved.

Cray Cray for Deanie’s!

Deanie's NOLA 1 arrCrazy for NOLA! Truly, who wouldn’t be? Infatuated with brass tones, French culture, rich food and good company, New Orleans is a city I’ve long yearned to visit. And, finally, venturing to the birthplace of jazz music and legends alike has come to fruition – Oui, oui!!!

Offering plenty to feed all your senses, the list of food events and street sightings is too long to name. With the promise of more posts to come, there’s just one thing to do: “Laissez le bon temps rouler!”

Deanie's NOLA 5 arrGetting down to business, I make Deanie’s Seafood my first dining stop. Conveniently situated right in “Quarter” – the French Quarter, that is – this local favourite easily gets packed during peak times. Fortunately, making an entrance at the ‘right time,’ my party is soon seated and served with spiced “hot potatoes.” You heard right! Talking about a “good change,” find no pre-meal dinner rolls, here. As the server helpfully explains, patrons are presented with a plate of boiled red-skinned spuds and butter in ‘lieu’ of bread, and as a side note: these potatoes evoke a distinct element of heat given they are extracted from an authentic ‘seafood boil,’ and consequently have absorbed all the good piquant seasoning.

Deanie's NOLA 3 arrAlready kicking things off in the right direction, this prelude starter is sign of more delicious food to come. Clearly dishing the fish, seafood is fresh, made to order and prepared your way – fried or broiled – and, as if that’s not enough, it comes with a plateful of fries. Bearing all the markings for an evening feast to share and remember, here’s a quick rundown of what ‘was’ enjoyed: a half seafood platter in addition to an order of stuffed shrimp, and a broiled crab quartet consistent with stuffed crab, soft shell crab, crab legs, and crab gratin. Yes, I know it’s a lot but, “The ocean called…” and, I’m running out of time in NOLA, so I must-indulge.Deanie's NOLA 4 arr

Nothing short of ‘magnifique,’ I can attest to the quality of the aforementioned dishes. Between the battered and fried shrimp, fish, oysters and soft shell crab, these ‘fruits de mer’ were divine. Sweet, succulent and tender, I enjoyed the seafood at Deanie’s. Deanie's NOLA 2 arrAs a standout, the crab gratin dish was ‘dat good!’ It was decadent, creamy, loaded with lump crab meat and it paired well with the side plate of fries. Perhaps, not the intended method of consumption, but it makes perfect sense. After all, why not top off fries with a cheesy crabby topping? Just think: upscale seafood poutine – you’re welcome!

Deanie's NOLA 6 arrWorth repeat visits, letting the good times roll is made easy at Deanie’s. Back again for a taste of authentic crawfish, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to leave NOLA without getting my hands a little messy. Learning the tricks of the eating trade, I efficiently learn how to ‘work for’ a morsel of crawfish. Far from the simplicity of peel-and-eat shrimp, crawfish is similar in texture though differs in taste and, above all, requires more effort for less reward. Still, I’m happy for the real deal experience in yours truly, and can appreciate why these mudbugs are so loved. From ‘bon voyage’ to ‘bon appétit,’ good eats are undoubtedly found at Deanie’s Seafood.

Copyright © DISHFUL, 2018. All Rights Reserved.

A Heavenly Beauty Regimen

Heavenly 4 arrWe all know that eating locally-grown food is good for us. After all, remember that saying ─ “You are what you eat” ─ it must exist for a reason, right? Whether it’s true or not, there’s no denying this: the breathtaking island of O’ahu is pleasant in every sense ─ sensory taste buds included! So whilst on a dream escape, it’s no wonder that my vacation memories are inclusive to an early morning breakfast at none other than Heavenly. Ringing true to the “Island Lifestyle,” this eatery specializes in breakfast and lunch items that are in sync with their policy, “Local first, organic whenever possible.”

Heavenly 1 arrAlready feeling content with this chosen venue and its ‘Heavenly’ mission, I follow suit and make an edible-friendly statement of my own: “May I please have…everything?” Kidding aside, this was the exact order: the “Pitaya Bowl” and “Beauty” smoothie ─ for me ─ in addition to the “Big Island Honey French Toast” along with a “Power” smoothie. A lot to take in ─ I know ─ but that ‘morning glow’ must come from somewhere. As in this case, I happily get my daily dose of vitamins via homegrown nutrient-rich fruits. Loaded in antioxidants and all that good stuff, I’m pretty sure there’s no shortage of other good-for-you menu items ─ trust, there’s plenty!

Heavenly 2 arrAs for my ‘beauty’ treatment, here’s the raw scoop: who ever says clean-eating is boring, they’re wrong ─ healthy tastes divine. Far from an ordinary cereal bowl, my ‘flowering’ vision is reminiscent of an orchid-touched purée of fresh dragon fruit that is topped with ruby red slices of fresh ─ never frozen ─ strawberry, chunks of ripened pineapple, crisp granola and coconut milk. Needless to say ─ and as advertised ─ this detoxified select is synonymous of a “Super Fruit Morning!”

Now, let’s talk about that French toast. Just one bite, and it’s quite evident why ignorance ─ of satiety ─ is bliss. Hollering for more Hawaiian-style brioche, Heavenly again uses fine ingredients ─ “locally-made sweet bread” ─ for the making of this classic recipe. Equally similar to challah, just imagine: banana-embedded French toast that is finished with a saucy drizzle of chocolate. So maybe this ‘sweet’ indulgence is not as trim-friendly as the Pitaya, but it’s still worth a taste.

Heavenly 3 arrIn continuum of happy times, the smoothies complement either of the aforementioned plates but are ─ FYI ─ contrasting in flavour. Specifically, “Beauty” ─ also my preferred beverage ─ evokes a mild and sweet taste thanks to these ingredients: berries, coconut water, celery and chia seeds. Those looking for a protein boost, however, may opt for “Power” that carries a somewhat stronger and nutty profile due to the following medley: almond ─ both the butter and milk ─ spiralina powder, a hint of cinnamon, and fruits. Getting used to the spa-like treatment ─ even if it’s table-side ─ other blended items to try include: “Energy,” “Radiant” and/or “Dream.” All in all, delighting in locally-cultivated food items is a daily practice that I welcome with open hands ─ a “Heavenly Island Lifestyle” that, unequivocally, suits me fine.

© DISHFUL, 2015. All Rights Reserved.

Broke Da Mouth, Good!

North Shore 1 arrBig waves, big surf, and ─ fortunately for pescatarians ─big shrimp is a trio to be found along O’ahu’s northern coastline. Home to plenty of land and water action, North Shore is exactly the place I want to be for more reasons than one: food, sunset and beaches. Driving along the Kamehameha Hwy., the town of Haleiwa is a destination worth exploring. Befriending locals, eating shaved iced, drinking fresh coconut water, and ─ need I say ─ ordering shrimp only scratches the surface to a memorably ‘wiki’ ─ fast ─ road trip.North Shore 2 arr

Leaving surfing to the skilled, distant admirers ─ like ‘moi’ ─ do what we do best, the possible. Needless to say, I happily exchange the waves for a seat and ‘professionally’ catch a glimpse of the famous ‘pipeline’ ─ on dry land, of course! And to make the whole experience more succulent, occupying island time can and does get better with a local favourite ─ “Shrimp plate, anyone?” When hunger calls, the friendly staff at the North Shore Shrimp North Shore 3 arrNorth Shore 4 arrTruck answers with this ─ simple yet sufficient ─ menu: spicy, lemon butter or garlic butter shrimp. “To each, their own” ─ literally! Ordering individual lunch plates ─ one for me, and one for you ─ two times a meal makes for an opportune tasting of both spicy and lemon butter shrimp. Skimping not on the scampi, this food truck’s shrimp is not only made to order but is also generously served with rice and Pupukea greens. Spreading the ‘aloha’ spirit, my order was kindly altered to cater to my appetite for less starch and more greens ─ ‘mahalo’ for the much-appreciated service and ‘ono’ food.North Shore 5 arr

Shrimping not on a flavour-marathon, a secondary food-stop is made. This time, behold the ‘Original’ ─ Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck. Shrimp so good that it ─ as locals say ─ “Broke da mouth!” I always say, “Busy is a sign of success,” and business is clearly hot for this food truck. So if you make your way to Giovanni’s, be sure to get in queue and place your order. Wait-time both accrued and elapsed, picnic-style table seating is spotted, secured and ideal for resting the requested spicy shrimp plate. North Shore 6 arrAccompanied by two scoops of rice and macaroni salad, Giovanni’s doesn’t mess around ─ this white shrimp plate is on fire! So ‘picante’ as a matter of fact, Mother Nature came to the rescue ─ with a showering of rain! Honestly, it was raining and the shrimp was hot but undeniably enjoyable for those who like it ‘peppery.’ Rain or shine, these bustling roadside food trucks still ‘openly’ welcome patrons and their insatious appetites alike. So if you ever get the chance, venture to the North Shore and be sure to ‘net’ some savoury local delights ─ where “must love shrimp” and “must eat shrimp” unite!

© DISHFUL, 2015. All Rights Reserved.

What’s The Story, Crowning Glory?

Dole Farm 1 arrWhat stands tall, wears a crown, and is internally sweet? ─ Pineapples! Forever my favourite, pineapples rank among my top preferred fruits. Both delicious and elegant in structure, this beautiful natural creation is ─ simply put ─ my kind of wonderful. “Have I told you, lately, how much I love…” pineapples? ─ Just checking! So you can only imagine my excitement upon learning that my recent travel destination is also home to a pineapple farm. Ideally situated in the historic town of Wahiawa, my trip to O’ahu has been made extra special with a very worthwhile visit to ─ you guessed it ─ the Dole Plantation.

Dole Farm 2 arrNothing ventured, nothing gained? ─ Precisely! Somewhat off the beaten path, the Dole Plantation is outside the heart of Honolulu City, but certainly not to be missed. For a ‘field’ day in of itself, merely take a drive along the Kamehameha Highway and you’ll be happier for it. And once you arrive, guiltlessly reward yourself with a self-indulgent treat ─ ‘ananas’ of course!

Between fresh and ‘freshly’ preserved airtight goods ─ macadamia nut cookies, praline candied nuts, Kona coffee or dried mangoes/papaya/pineapple chunks ─ I have my eyes set on one thing only: “Dole Whip.” Saving my appetite for this momentous treat, my unique pineapple cup of Dole’s very best ─ homegrown golden delicious ─ does not disappoint. Dole Farm 3 arrConsider this: tangy yet sweet and smooth soft-serve pineapple ice cream that is topped with succulent dices of ripened pineapple fruit. Undeniably irresistible, Dole Whip is simply divine ─ spoonful’s of heaven. Befitting of venue and warm climate, this chilled refresher is exactly what this pineapple-lover ordered. In essence, the chance to taste Dole Whip is an authentic experience not to be missed ─ the edible souvenir of choice!

To my heart’s content, this pineapple adventure similarly fed my mind as much as my appetite. Catching up on some thematic Dole Q&A, I learn a memorable “Fact of Life” for a pineapple. Did you know, the pineapple plant takes its ‘sweet’ time ─ approx. 1 year and 8 months ─ to yield its first fruit? It’s no wonder this glorious fruit earns and rightfully wears a crown. Dole Farm 4 arrWhile I won’t trifle with Mother Nature’s timing, it’s times like these I’m grateful for the produce aisle, and waiting ─ ever so slightly ─ at the “Plantation Grille” for dessert.   Catering to all, other activities include: a tour of the grounds via the Pineapple Express train, discovery of flora in the botanical gardens or getting lost/found along a maze course. Whether in memorabilia or snack formation, this massive stretch of cultivated pineapple devotion is truly worth the journey ─ and it didn’t take 20 months!

© DISHFUL, 2015. All Rights Reserved.

A Taste of “HI-Life”

Keoni 5 arrSea, sun and surf ─ life’s pleasantly a beach! Recently back home from the most surreal island vacation, I’m not only living the life, I clearly lived the “HI-life” whilst in the beautiful archipelagic state of Hawaii. Unforgettable for more reasons than one, ‘mahalo’ is in order ─ thank you ─ to the incredibly warm and kind-hearted people of O’ahu, who have left me with countless impressionable memories. Beyond beachin’ splendors ─ ocean air, salt in in my hair, and sandy toes ─ befriending locals has enriched my short-lived stay with plenty ─ good company, light-hearted conversation, and delectable food of course.

Keoni 2 arrTalk like the locals, why not? Here, ‘ono’ means delicious. And for a meal worth recounting, this foodie is ready to talk about all things ‘ono,’ primarily breakfast ─ made Hawaiian-style! Feeding my mind, heart and soul with every bite, Keoni is the place I ventured for a simple yet elevated Hawaiian take on the all-American pancake breakfast. Not too far from Waikīkī Beach, Keoni’s offers a generous plate at a modest price. Serving plentiful of all things wonderful, behold: two strips of crisp bacon, two scrambled eggs, and two moist golden pancakes.

Keoni 3 arrFar from ordinary and with keeping with the numerical trend, Keoni’s pancakes are made particularly enjoyable for TWO reasons: macadamia nuts and coconut syrup. Yes, indeed ─ coconut syrup exists! Tried and true to authentic flavour, I am very familiar with maple syrup but now ─ and courtesy of the gracious hostess ─ I have learned the ‘proper way’ to indulge in mac-nut flapjacks: first pour equal portions of maple and coconut syrup onto a separate plate, and then soak up morsels of cake into the pool of heavenly liquid nectar. Combining coconut-essence sweetness with crunchy bites of moist cake and seasoned bacon, this dish is comfortably similar while somewhat welcoming different. In a nutshell, fluffy macadamia nut-embedded pancakes soaked up with coconut syrup, in addition to its salty and crunchy accompaniments of ‘extras’ echoes a balanced dish full of flavour and texture ─ in other words, pure ‘extra’-ordinaire!

Hawaiian Sun Coconut Syrup arrFortunately, time and distance away from the south-pacific doesn’t mean one cannot recreate this “must-indulge” plate for a Sunday morning treat or everyday breakfast. For a taste of “Hawaiian Sun”, an insider’s tip is that this brand of coconut syrup is ‘the one’ to try. Hopefully spreading ‘aloha’ ─ love and kindness ─ is achievable via coconut syrup on top of your homemade flat-top griddled rounds. But in case this syrup is far-reached and inaccessible at your grocer’s, know this: a golden morning can still persist with shredded coconut or flakes sprinkled over ladled batches of your favourite pancake recipe. For an alternative spin on this local find, you can even add bananas and/or chocolate chips into the nutty batter. Trying one or all, happily decide how to make your very own pancakes ‘extra.’ All in all, I take away more than a recipe from this trip. Fully embracing the HI-Life state of mind, life is about enjoying the small and simple things ─ edible mac-embedded sunrises included!

© DISHFUL, 2015. All Rights Reserved.