Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Hawaii Day 4: Liliha Bakery, Makapu'u Point and Hawaiian Iron Chef- Boys vs Girls

I am an Asian bakery freak. There, I said it. 

Liliha Bakery (no longer located on Liliha St.) opened in 1950, and has been making Hawaiians very happy for the past 62 years. 

In addition to the bakery section, there's also a diner counter open 24 hours (except Mondays, when they're closed) serving up traditional diner fare. When we arrived at approximately 9a on a weekday, it was PACKED. 

Decisions, decisions...

We decided to get a bunch of different pastries to share!

From Top L (clockwise) a butter roll, a garlic, ham, bacon and cheddar roll, an ensemada, an Azuki malasada, coco puffs and a cream puff. 

 We added in a Green Tea Roll- how could we not? :)

 Is it just me, or do these kimono clad cookies look more than a little like Cartman? Adorable, nonetheless...

 We took our treats outside and enjoyed them in the parking lot! :)

 This savory Garlic, Ham, Bacon and Cheddar roll was chewy and really flavorful!

 The Green Tea Butter Roll was also quite good- the Green Tea flavor was VERY, very mild.

 I LOVE CREAMPUFFS! These remind me of the ones I used to get in a bakery in my hometown. The shell was the perfect consistency- soft and slightly chewy, and the custard filling was divine!

 The star of the batch for me was this Adzuki malasada. Adzuki stuffed anything makes my heart sing. These deep red beans are traditionally sweetened and frequently used in Eastern Asian and Himalayan cuisines. 

This ensemada was decadent. Delicious, but definitely a once-in-a-while treat. You see that gorgeous looking frosting? It's butter. Just butter. Dipped in sugar. Oh, my arteries. 

 Their classic butter roll was very nice- can you tell? ^

 The Cocoa Puffs, for which they're famous, were awesome. A dab of chantilly frosting tops the chocolate pudding stuffed pastry in a delicate, rich and all-around-sexy way.

 Matt and Inga had some DMV excitement to sort out before we could go cruising around in their sweet convertible, so we headed to the Ala Moana Center (their DMV is in a MALL- WHAT?) to kill time while they waited in line. Naturally, coffee was involved. I really enjoyed Island Vintage's iced coffee- strong, bold, flavorful and AWESOME with soymilk. 

I've never been in a Lupicia store before- I think I'm in love! Holy tea! There are approximately one gazillion varieties, several of which are made exclusively in Hawaii.

I can't go into too much detail about what I got since my purchases may or may not have been souvenirs for family members who may or may not read this blog. :)

Once we were squared away with the DMV, we hit the open road!

We hopped on 72 and headed east.

Convertibles are hands down the best way to get around Hawaii...

...especially when your guides are as awesome as these two...

Our first stop was a pull-off about 1/4 mile down the road past the Makapu'u Lighthouse Trail entrance. 

We spotted this painter working his magic with the rocks, shore and water. I could have watched him paint all day!

Obviously it's a premo photo shoot spot!

Need a really adorable and romantic photo completely ruined? My hubs is a pro!

The view of nearby Makapu'u Beach. Small, quiet, beautiful. 

This hike is sort of out in the middle of nowhere, but fortunately the Makapu'u Beach  has a comfort station located just up the road (heading North). Hooray for bathrooms! And awkward photos.

The hike up is only a mile, but it's pretty steep. Napping in the car is preferable, for some. 

Read the signs, yo! Informative AND entertaining. "Pec Slap" is now a part of my daily vernacular, even when I'm NOT whale watching.

You could easily stop every 100 feet for a photo. The hike would take FOREVER, but I wouldn't blame you. 

Inspiring scenic lookouts abound!

Don't forget sunblock! There is absolutely zero shade on the trail. 

If you're lucky, you may spot a mongoose! No doubt, this guy was going to meet with his pal the honeybadger to hunt snakes!

The vistas get more and more breathtaking the higher you climb.

Go all the way to the top. It's worth it. 

Photobomber strikes again...

Views like this make me want to dance...

It seems like hikers have taken to carving on the cacti along this trail, which is a bummer. I can't lie, though- this one made me laugh.

Mind the Dip (baby, Dip). 

You will probably be pretty hungry after you've finished. Continue North on 72 for 3.5 miles and jam on some plate lunches at Keneke's. 

An odd combination of roadside restaurant and lean-to chapel, Keneke's serves up traditional Hawaiian style plate lunches with a side of Bible verses.

The inside of their shaded outdoor eating area is literally covered with Bible verses, mostly of the hell and brimstone variety... with a few exceptions, of course.

If this is your thing, you'll be in Heaven (pun intended). If it's not, you'll hardly notice your surroundings as you plop your face into a plateful of warm goodness.

 Joe and I split a Shoyu chicken plate...

 ... and a Kalua Pig plate. The portions were extremely generous and the food was outstanding.

We were hoping to take a dip at nearby Kaiona or Kaupo beach, but our plans were once again thwarted.

Jellyfish are jerks. These warnings were posted on Waikiki beach on our first day- it seems the jellies were dominating the southeastern coast, as they often do for a few days after the full moon. Lame.

Have YOU ever had a shirtless Hawaiian man hack apart a fresh coconut with his machete for you to drink?

First- drink up!

Mild, fresh and cool!

Share with someone you love!

After you're done drinking, have your friendly coconut salesman chop yours open so you can chow down on the coconut innards! When it's fresh, they're slippery- almost the consistency of oysters!

We drove back into town and headed to Honolulu's Chinatown to shop for ingredients for our cooking challenge!

I love shopping in Chinatowns (NY's is pretty great, as is Chicago's, and Philly's...)

 The ingredients are always exciting!

There were Chinese New Year decorations everywhere!

Inga slurped a papaya smoothie and I loved on my avocado lychee smoothie with boba.

We visited a grocery store to supplement our market finds and then got to work!

Hawaiian Iron Chef: Boys vs Girls Official Rules

- The secret ingredient must be used in every dish.
-Each team must make an appetizer, entree and dessert.
-Purposeful inclusion of ingredients the other team HATES results in disqualification. 
-Judging will be as objective as possible and dishes will win by consensus.

Our secret ingredient? Lilikoi- aka passionfruit. There are multiple varieties.

This pile + a pork loin = Team Female's ingredients!

TEAM FEMALE APPETIZER: Sweet Potato, Kabocha Squash, Lilikoi and Coconut Soup

TEAM MALE APPETIZER: Bacon Wrapped Scallops with Lilikoi Chutney

TEAM FEMALE ENTREE: Roasted Pork Loin and Long Beans with Lilikoi Sake Reduction.

TEAM MALE ENTREE: Pork Loin in a Red Wine reduction with Lilikoi and Toasted Almond Quinoa. 

TEAM FEMALE DESSERT: Lilikoi, Hawaiian Orange, Mango and Guava Sorbet

TEAM MALE DESSERT: Nada. We all were exhausted and passed out after our sorbet.

I think that makes Team Female the winners by default. :)

Have you ever done an Iron-Chef style cooking challenge?