When in Rome, Giolitti!

When in Rome, venturing to the Trevi Fountain is a must! Definitely a sight to behold, the same can described of the outpouring of tourists. Rightfully wishful, there’s truly no shortage of admirers tossing coins and within elbow’s reach. So let’s face it, when the only open space left is the mini pool – ‘la fontana’ itself – reality strikes: it’s time to go! Saving you the trouble of locating your next mini-getaway, allow me to retrace my steps and acquaint you with a must-visit gem of a gelateria along the maze-like streets of Rome. Giolitti 13 arr

Nestled between an espresso bar and neighbouring boutiques – Via degli Uffici del Vicario, 40, to be exact – I find myself reliving a happy incident of déju-vu at Giolitti. Oh, how sweet it was – a few years ago – and still is, today! Clearly having been there and done that, a good first impression is enough to leave me wanting more. And with an endless display of premium quality frozen desserts, Giolitti makes repeat visits easy. Giolitti 11 arr 

From start to finish, getting your hands on ice cream is quite the experience at this parlour.  Upon entry, most tourists shuffle between the pastry counter and the corner stop for cafe beverages all the while lost in amazement of the ornately decorated establishment.  Almost frozen in time, the traditional handmade pastries and sweets if not the interior ambiance is sure to take up a couple of your minutes.  

Giolitti 1 arrOvercome by a spectacle of confections – cassata siciliana, sfogliatella napoletana, crema e pinoli, marmellata, paste assortite, cannoli, cookies, and brain-freeze selects – the commotion of eager patrons will certainly bring you back down to earth, and in no time you’ll soon remember why you’re here in the first place: “Gelato, por favor!” Sure enough, crowd control is in check and, so too, is the step-by-step ordering process:  first, place your order – one, two or three scoops – then, pay the cashier and receive a receipt to present to one of many ice cream servers.  At this point, don’t be shy to make your request and be heard, especially since there’s no formal queue and the servers are beckoning ice cream lovers to efficiently make their way to the counter.  Essentially, your wish is your command. Literally, the sooner you voice your ice cream desires the sooner you’ll grab it and go – just be prepared, and know what you want.

Hanging around the masses of gelato fans, delighting in a chocolate-covered cone-filled treat is monumental sight in its own right.  Just imagine:  cones upon cones covered with scoops of freshly churned congealed dairy dessert and topped with a generous slathering of sweetened whipped cream. No risk, no reward – get in queue already!

Sticking to the caffeinated side of things, I spot so many variations of cocoa indulgences through the glass window but narrow down my choices to three.  Going for a trio of dark chocolate, tiramisu and coffee, this combo is velvety rich and packed with nuanced flavour. Simply put, Giolitti’s gelato is the ideal afternoon pick-me-up. Better yet, it’s an everlasting souvenir that’s meant to be devoured and detailed for later recounts. Clearly repeating history, this foodie chronicle is worth reliving – in person!

Copyright © DISHFUL, 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Advertisements

“L’envie en rose”

If you ever find yourself hungry in Paris’ 5th ‘arrondisement’, there are a few places you may want to visit. Between fresh fruit stalls and seafood markets, in addition to local pâtisseries, this district boasts full of restaurants that cater to various palettes.

Au Jardin de Lutece 1 arrKeeping you well informed, here’s a little taste of what I spotted along the streets of Rue Monge, Paris. Not to be confused with ‘mange’ that means ‘eat,’ Rue Monge is not your typical tourist attraction and, however quiet, it remains worthy of some notable buzz.

Starting with a duo – literally neighbouring markets – Poissonerie Monge and Au Jardin de Lutèce are considerably destined stops for local Parisians who seek fresh seafood and a bountiful of tropical fruits and garden vegetables. While I haven’t had the fortune to cook the ‘catch of the day’ – chez Poissonerie Monge – my testing of freshly squeezed orange juice, decadent honey-sweet dates among other seasonal berries are to be discussed.  Beginning the day with vitamin-rich essentials, locating this fruit stall all began with a quick passage down the street. Like many happy accidents, some hidden gems are best identified when merely walking. Once there, this roofed ‘garden’ does not disappoint. Eyeing a rainbow display of every fruit and vegetable you can name from A to Z, there’s clearly no shortage of items.

As for my impromptu excursion, the prices are a bit steep but, the quality reigns supreme and leaves a lasting impression from first to last bite. Personally, I recommend the ‘jus d’orange’ as it’s prepared on the spot, and is consistent of sweet and tart flavours – seriously, a delicious way to start the day. Like the citrus, this vendor knows how to pick dates. Au Jardin de Lutece 6 arrToo mesmerized to ask their origin, whether Medjools or not, there’s no mistaking these dates were certainly fresh with a soft outer layer, meaty in size – not dried up or shrivelled like some other varieties – and, jam-packed with sweetness.  Surely, a date or two is the perfect lightweight snack to keep anyone energized.  Consisting of more happy surprises, each corner of this small shop carries pockets of nature’s beauty. For instance, while indulging in ruby red currants and organic strawberries did amaze, the one that got away – hopefully, to be sampled on a future trip – was the box-load of once again ‘fresh’ hazelnuts. Can you believe it? Now, I know from former experience what fresh almonds look and taste like but, much to my excitement, seeing fresh hazelnuts was a first! Luckily, for those in the area, they can be found here Au Jardin de Lutèce. Now you know – ‘je vous en prie,’ you’re welcome!

Maison Gregoire 1 arrFrom land and sea to farm fresh and freshly baked or cooked, there’s an endless list of gastronomic stops to recount. Briefly, for those with a sweet tooth, Rue Monge is also host to an array of ‘viennoiserie’ and classic French pastries – pain au chocolat, brioche, croissant, flan, tarte aux pommes, macarons, etc. – as well as simple cheese sandwiches, all courtesy of Maison Grégoire. Maison Gregoire 2 arrHaving said that, those after a more hearty lunch or late night dinner must-visit and must-walk further along Rue Monge and take a detour – all within walking distance, I promise – to Rue Mouffetard. Once there, behold: foodie central! Taking a late night promenade to Rue Mouffetard, myself, I find this street to be lively and boasting with a mélange of young and young-at-heart patrons. Likewise, the diverse spread of dessert parlours, tea houses, international fare – Greek, Italian, Turkish – and authentically French cuisine-oriented bistros run plenty.

Crepe 1 arrVenturing to satisfy sweet and savoury senses, I opt for a cheese and egg-filled paper thin crêpe. How so very typical – I know, but don’t mind! Almost an equivalent to what we – North Americans – commonly identify as a pancake house, this ‘crêperie’ offers both Nutella/fruit options and meat/veg components, and speedily prepares them ‘à emporter,’ for takeout.

Gelati d'Alberto 8 arr

In continuation of the next sought after treat, I set out for a real beauty – an edible rose – at Gelati d’Alberto.  Truly, a sight for tasteful eyes, this gelateria impresses not by its compact dimensions but, instead, by its glass-encased selection of uniquely flavoured congealed confections. At initial glance, I’m left intrigued by flavours such as açaí berry, “Alibaba” – a mixture of sesame and orange blossom water – litchi, and even aloe vera. Gelati d'Alberto 6 arrUltimately, request is made for a delicate yet vibrant trio of: rose, pistachio and strawberry gelato. Taking time to savour this ‘fleur,’ each petal layer at a time, the distinct combination of the three gelati did make for a pleasantly memorable experience. Undeniably fragrant, this perfumed hand-crafted rose smelled sweet as much as it tasted intoxicatingly true to the essence of rose water – simply, magnifique!

Needless to say, it’s all in the way it tastes!  And, in keeping with homemade tradition, Alberto’s use of pure fruit and quality ingredients speak volumes in the final product of gelati and sorbets that is clean and refreshing on the palette.  It’s no wonder, then, that gelati and sorbets made by this ‘maître glacier’ – master ice-cream maker – are self-proclaimed to be the envy of town, “L’envie en rose,” and rightfully so. All in a day’s work, this food-hunting escapade just touches the surface of all there is to explore. While I’m sure I could go on with more mention of French food or the artisans who craft them, there’s no denying this fact: “La vie est belle, et vous êtes comme elle!” Life’s beautiful – and even more so with ‘la cuisine française’!

Copyright © DISHFUL, 2017. All Rights Reserved.

I Saw the Sign: L’As du Fallafel

L'As du Fallafel 1 arrLooking for an ideal grab ‘n’ go snack, in Paris? Look no further than L’As du Fallafel. Situated along 34 Rue des Rosiers, this falafel hut serves up orders as quickly as they take them. Getting my ‘fill’ of a widely popular mid-east treat, I order piping hot deep fried pillows of falafel rounds that are sandwiched into a soft pita. Specifically asking for the ‘fallafel spécial,’ it’s consistent of the famous falafels plus hummus, veggies – lettuce, tomato, cucumber, grilled eggplant – and for added spice, I also get mine topped off with piquante sauce. Loving the hand I’m dealt, the verdict’s in: this ‘ace’ of a sandwich delivers in bold taste!

L'As du Fallafel 4 arrWhat’s more, word of mouth still works! And, in little to no time you’ll find crowds gather by this hotspot. So in case you’re running low on energy or simply can’t wait to get your falafel fix, be in-the-know of the how-to’s when it comes to speedy service at this restaurant. Taking out the guesswork, here’s what to expect for takeout: first, spot the staff/rep – most likely standing outside, infront of the venue, already taking orders – then, find your place amid the open air queue of patrons and submit your request. In following, provide payment directly to the ‘outdoor’ staff who will, in exchange, provide a paper receipt to be presented to the cooks. Simply put, the invoice is key: no paper – proof of purchase – no falafel.

L'As du Fallafel 3 arrLuckily for tourists, both English and French are spoken/understood here. Appreciating the spontaneous French lesson, ‘on peut bien y practiquer le français!’ But if learning languages is not your thing, fear not as all foodies are well aware of this certainty: no matter the destination, expression of ‘hunger pangs’ – not words – remain the universal language.

Equally vocalizing my desire for food, I pursue the vegetarian route and stick to the “must-indulge” menu item of choice – pure falafels. L'As du Fallafel 2 arrMore than ‘a’ chickpea, it’s the culmination of chickpeas plural in addition to the compounded mixture of fresh herbs and spices that make for tasty bites of falafel. Generously wrapped, this veggie sandwich bodes well in freshness as in portion. Catering to meatlovers as well, other selects include: chicken or turkey shawarma, meatballs, schnitzel, sausage and fries that are available for takeout. Food-excursion of the day complete – with a falafel pita – I attest that L’As du Fallafel does indeed transform an otherwise mildly flavoured légume into something palatably wonderful. Whilst feeling peckish in the Marais district, then, look for the righteously named sign of this Parisian food-stop and sample the ‘ace’ – the base of falafels!

Copyright © DISHFUL, 2017. All Rights Reserved. 

A Marble to Behold

Chocolate Marble Banana Bread 4 arrA while ago, homey banana bread was made and devoured by yours truly – ‘moi,’ of course! The sweet memories of what once was – yester-bake – now leaves me with this thought: I do believe it’s time for a remake. Just as before, I’ve come across the very old yet same predicament – as past recipes would reveal – and, a very delicious answer for an almost forgotten bunch of ripened bananas. Some never learn, I suppose – or do they?

Chocolate Marble Banana Bread 1 arrSpeaking of myself, I’ve definitely love to salvage overripe fruit in baked goods. Without getting overly ‘mushy’ about the subject, I equally attest that banana bread is best made when this fruit does in fact start to brown and spot on its exterior but, remains soft and explosively flavourful.

Wasting no more time, let’s get baking! Starting with a trusted recipe, I decide on marbled banana bread. Like the original, this variety simply requires one to divide the dry ingredients initially suggested for the making of one loaf in multiple bowls. Taking things step-by-step, measure halved amount of the ‘necessities’ – flour , sugar, salt, and baking powder – into two different bowls where the chocolate variation takes less flour, thus being certain to replace the omitted amount of a.p.f. with cocoa powder. Chocolate Marble Banana Bread 2 arrFrom here, divide and pour the already mixed wet contents – butter, vanilla, bananas and eggs – into each ‘dry’ bowl. And for an even more decadent chocolatey twist, add dark or semi-sweet chocolate chunks to each bowl. Once both batters are well combined, introduce spoonfuls of each into a well-greased and parchment-lined loaf pan.

Vanilla and chocolate contents now acquainted, insert a knife or wooden skewer into the batter-filled pan and make swirl motions to create the classic marbled pattern. Finally, top your edible art with extra chocolate chunks – if your heart desires – and get that marbled slab into a preheated oven.

Chocolate Marble Banana Bread 3 arrSensing a banana-rich sweetness in the air, I know my marbled loaf is ready – about 50 minutes or so. Leaving this beauty to cool prior to slicing, getting my dose of potassium courtesy of this banana bread-ish ‘healthy’ cake is my kind of rescued dessert. Hoping you’ll show ripened fruit some TLC – via the kitchen – treating bruised fruit is not so ‘bananas’ after all. Clearly enjoying the fruits of my labour, reinvented banana bread is simply marvellous. Whether you enjoy it as a mid-day snack or for a quick breakfast on the go, this moist loaf satisfies in both its classic state, embedded with nuts or rippled with melted chocolate flavours – naturally, it’s a ‘marble’ to be behold!

Copyright © DISHFUL, 2017. All Rights Reserved. 

The Latest Scoop

No-Churn Ice Cream 2 arrAsk any ice cream fan, and I bet they have their ‘favourite.’ While mint chip and rocky road are popular flavours, mocha almond fudge tops my list.  Whatever your preference, most would agree that quality ─ real dairy ─ ice cream can’t be beat.  And much to my delight, “no-churn” recipes are no-fuss and all things decadent, rich, creamy, and simply divine.

Too irresistible not to try, I put a three ingredient “no-churn” ice cream recipe to the test. Happily evading use of an ice cream maker, I only need an electric mixer and these “must-haves”:  2 cups of heavy cream, a can of sweetened condensed milk, and a couple dashes of vanilla essence.  Once the aforementioned ‘magic three’ are whipped and form soft peaks, I pour the mixture into a freezer-proof container, cover it with a lid, and set it into the icebox for at least five hours.

No-Churn Ice Cream 3 arrThat’s it! Truly, your work is done ─ “no-churn” vanilla ice cream 101.  But why stop there, right? ─ Right on!  Getting creative, I double the ‘basic’ vanilla recipe, and divide the ‘very good’ vanilla bean ice cream into four separate loaf pans.  Creating a blank canvas of sorts, you can stick with vanilla-infused ice cream and later incorporate added texture and taste via your imagination.  For instance, consider the following:  chocolate chips, caramel sauce, fresh berries or fruit preserve, nuts, crumbled cookies, liqueurs or even mint extract for a more refreshing taste.

No-Churn Ice Cream 4 arrGoing for delicious scoops of ‘breige,’ my ice cream cloud is made of plentiful shades of wonderful: vanilla bean, espresso, double chocolate and mocha almond fudge.  For the already mastered classic, use of pure vanilla extract is a given.  Catering to purists, I also recommend following suit by integrating the scraped black seeds of an authentic vanilla pod for an elevated flavour profile.  As for a chocolaty spin, whip a few tablespoons of cocoa into the basic mixture until it appears homogenous, and then stir in shavings of dark chocolate.  In similar fashion, treating the basic vanilla mixture to an “afternoon pick me up” is as easy as blending it with chilled brewed espresso or with a few tablespoons of the ‘instant’ alternative.

No-Churn Ice Cream 1 arrReserved for last, but certainly not least, my favourite ─ mocha almond fudge ─ tastes like the real-deal. Best part is:  the only place I need to ‘bask in’ for the making of this confection is the kitchen.  Kid you not, this take on mocha almond fudge is ‘that’ good!  And, here’s how to make your own:  blend the basic vanilla mixture with cocoa powder, espresso powder ‘et voilà,’ you got the mocha part ready.  Half-way done, freeze the mocha ice cream for about an hour while you prepare the fudgy addition.  No-Churn Ice Cream 6 arrFor my interpretation of a DIY nutty ganache filling, I take a dark chocolate almond bar ─ the family-size variety, about 300 grams ─ save some with which to later decorate, and then melt the rest with some heavy cream over a double-boiler.  Once the contents have melted and the ganache has cooled, remove the mocha ice cream from the icebox and spoon in the filling, trying to create chocolaty almond ribbons.  Finally, top off the mocha almond fudge ice cream with a crunchy combo of toasted sliced almonds and chopped chocolate chunks, and really freeze it this time ─ a solid five hours should suffice.  Wait time ‘somehow’ endured, appeasing to one’s appetite for homemade “no-churn” frozen dessert is undeniably a cinch.  As for the question of brain freeze, “no-churn” is still a no-brainer ─ happy ‘paced’ consumption!

© DISHFUL, 2016.  All Rights Reserved.

“Food of the gods”

SOMA chocolate 1 arr

Toronto is home to many foodie hotspots, and rightfully so. But, where do chocoholics go?  Having heard many great things of one particular chocolaterie, I thought I’d pay a little visit to a quaint gem in the heart of the Distillery District.  Say it is so ─ SOMA Chocolatemaker.  Catering to fans of all things cacao, enter this one-stop chocolate shop and you will not be disappointed.  A local paradise of sorts, SOMA looks, smells, and embodies the multifaceted tastes of chocolate.

SOMA chocolate 2 arrPleasantly surrounded by one of my favourite things ─ chocolate, of course ─ I take some time to admire the shop’s ambiance and machinery such as the cocoa grinder. Also capturing my attention, I locate an encased chocolate and nut salami that is uniquely made and available by SOMA.  Clarification provided, this show stopping treat contains no meat and can be sliced and served in rounds, making it ideal for individual delighting at any holiday party. SOMA chocolate 3 arr

SOMA chocolate 4 arrNeglecting not the other senses, it’s time to taste test. Patiently waiting in queue, I studiously scan the endless array of handcrafted chocolates, and begin to decide.  Certainly wanting chocolate, which one?  With no shortage of options, I decisively place an order of hot and cold, in addition to both liquid and solid cacao treats:  six truffles and a mug of Spicy Mayan Hot Chocolate.

Saving the confections for later, I first sample the ginger and cayenne infused hot chocolate. Clearly combining sweet with heat, this invigorating hot chocolate will leave your taste buds ─ on fire ─ with a chocolaty picante bite.  Needless to say, this spicy hot chocolate lives true to its name.

Another day, another chocolate? Yes, please!  SOMA chocolate 5 arrOpening my wrapped box of handpicked bonbons, I behold these heavenly beauties:  Brown Butter Truffle, 8 year aged Balsamic Vinegar, Roasted Cacao Bean, Magnolia Peach, Australian Ginger and Meyer Lemon, and a “unique origins” truffle.  Though a select few, the aforementioned truffles are all synonymous with pure quality chocolate that is aromatic, refined, and smooth while equally indicative of a myriad of flavours and textures.  Favouring the Peach Magnolia, I recommend it for its delicately perfumed taste and silky ganache interior.  The clean and bright citrus profile of the Australian Ginger and Lemon is pretty good in its own right, as are all the rest.  In all fairness, I haven’t had a bad ─ “Food of the gods” ─ experience at SOMA, and thank goodness.  Happily, my overall first impression is this:  SOMA truffles are more than chocolate ─ they’re chocolate made right!

© DISHFUL, 2015.  All Rights Reserved.

A Shapely Pear

Pear Crisp 3 arrFall is here, and with it comes an abundance of seasonal fruit. And thanks to a neighbourly gift, my effortless reaping of pears not only leaves me with a surplus of ‘au naturale’ shapely tree ornaments but, too, some baking inspiration. With no shortage of semi-firm green pears in sight, these treats can be kept to have and to hold ─ in a basket ─ before they fully ripen.  Then again, why wait?

Loving the pear shape? Undeniably well-suited for an elegant affair, pursuit of a classic poached pear recipe is the clear route for those who want to keep its curvaceous integrity. But when life’s offerings are plenty ─ and ‘boiling’ over a stove top can be averted ─ here’s what I do with all that fruit: peel, cut and get baking! For fancy taste without all the fancy work, I keep up with rusticity and follow a delectably simple country staple ─ golden raisin and walnut pear crisp.  Pear Crisp 2 arr

It’s Thanksgiving in a dash ─ well, almost! Courtesy of fragrant cinnamon spice, bites of toasty warm reminders of the upcoming holiday are thankfully achieved via homely fruit crisp. Equally pleasing to my ears, this shareable dessert can be made and altered to match one’s taste. Getting started then, select your preferred seasonal harvest ─ apples, pears, peaches, berries, etc. ─ and prepare the two main parts: a sweet fruit bottom and crunchy oat topping.

No tricks and all treat, this pear crisp is consistent with the following ‘fillings’: cinnamon, sugar, lemon ─ juice and zest ─ golden raisins and sliced pears. For your take, you can even try elevating the mixture by soaking the raisins in brandy or orange juice in addition to adding variant dried fruits such as cranberries or candied ginger. Pear Crisp 4 arrIn continuum, the soon-to-be crunchy topping can be made by separately ‘hand-mixing’ these dry ingredients: brown sugar, flour, rolled oats, salt, walnuts, and cold butter. ‘Et voilà,’ a complication-free fruit layer and oat topping that is ready to be poured into a greased oven-proof deep dish, and baked at 375°F until bubbly and golden brown. Though only a few, here are some friendly key reminders: preheat the oven, bake the crisp for approximately 40 minutes, and proceed to cool for roughly 20 minutes. Falling for these instructions, here’s the ultimate scoop: this baked bountiful of pear-licious crisp is best enjoyed at room temperature, and even more decadent when served ‘à la mode’ for a match-made mouthful ─ tenderly baked pears paired with rich vanilla ice cream.

© DISHFUL, 2015. 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.