Friday, September 22, 2006

I have to say, it was pretty wonderful to wake up to a breakfast choice of cold papaya with lime, lilikoi (passion fruit) yogurt, juicy mango, or buttery avocado on toast. Those were the things I ate while at home on Kauai this past week. I arrived on a Wednesday, perfect timing for the small Kilauea outdoor market on Thursday afternoon. My friend came home with an enormous box of humongous $7 mangos (they’re worth it, believe it or not—they taste of heaven), and a heady bunch of long stem tuberose, among other things. In my bags, I picked up a glossy chard bunch, basil, avocado, lilikoi, a mango of my own, and these odd white fruit called Ice Apples. They looked like lightbulbs and tasted like lemonade. At least that’s what their farmer said. They actually tasted like java plums, those wild berries that make your mouth a little bit numb—kinda yucky, but exotic nonetheless.

The few times I went out, I ate sushi—my favorites: Spicy Tuna Roll (the way it should be made, without mayonaise), Hamachi Roll at the Princeville hotel (chopped up hamachi with green onion, and shiso leaf), and some choice (jewel colored and dark) ahi sashimi. Oooh! One delicious thing that I ate which came as quite a surprise was the Hamachi Kama at Sushi & Blues. See, I knew Hamachi Kama was the collar of the fish, a very buttery part of a very buttery white fish. But I thought it was sliced in sashimi. This one came seasoned and grilled, skin and all. It was awesome! What it tasted like to me was a fish that one of my cousins caught at the beach and threw on the barbeque while we were camping as kids. So good, and you just pick at it, which makes it more tasty and fun—juicy bites and crispy tidbits. Mmmm. And it was only 9 bucks! Deal of the month!

I’ve gotta give props to our lunch counters on Kauai--our beloved fish markets, with their plate lunches and anything-on-rice. I don’t know what we’d do in Kilauea without Corriena’s ahi wraps for dinner, even though I didn’t have one on this trip. I did have some crispy kim chee cucumber and poke there though. One of my greatest days on Kauai was when a friend and I “were ono” for Pono Market, and decided spur-of-the-moment to drive out their and have a picnic on the beach. As usual, she wanted one of everything, so we went for the stomach ache buffet, and got: seafood maki sushi (im. crab meat, celery, mayo, etc.), pork-and-peas plate lunch with rice and mac salad, an egg salad sandwich on super-soft wheat bread, taegu (korean marinated cuttlefish), with li hing mui for dessert. I washed mine down with pass-o-guava juice, and I gotta say, that was a good lunch. We ate it at Kealia, on the new pavilion picnic tables, and afterward, I went for a swim in the crystal clear lagoon part of the beach.

Oh, to make the lilikoi yogurt—just strain one lilikoi’s worth of juice & mix it into a cup of organic, full-fat yogurt. Tart and tropical. Eat it like that, or drizzle it on a papaya and sprinkle some grated coconut. My mouth is already watering.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

We're in Cleveland right now, leaving this afternoon for Detroit. I can't say there's been anything edible worth talking about here, then again, I've hardly left the hotel. What I can tell you, is that Boston has great seafood. I didn't know that it's only an hour-and-a-half from Maine, which means very fresh lobster (well, I guess all lobster is fresh, since it's cooked alive, right? That's really wrong when you think about it), and all kinds of other fabulous things. One night I had some great mussels, that came in a metal bucket, steaming with garlic-wine-butter. But I was really on a mission to have a lobster roll. See, I had my first one four years ago at one of those well-known roadside stands on long-island, between East Hampton and Montauk. One of those places that looks like a beach-shack, but with a line of luxury sportscars in it's gravel parking lot. At a washed out wooden table, my friends and I drank margaritas in the sunshine, and indulged in one of the world's most decadent sandwiches--the Lobster Roll. I wasn't able to get my hands on one while I was in New York this summer, because when I was in East Hampton, it was rainy, and eating one in the city just seems too indulgent, or maybe just gross. So, in going to Boston, and making the Maine connection, I was on a mission. I did some internet research (the internet really is an amazing tool for foodies--if you spend enough time looking things up, reading blogs and reviews, you can avoid eating a dissapointing meal ever again), and checked the "Best Of" Boston list. Aparently, the authentic lobster roll has big chunks of meat (to show that it's been hand chopped), on a Pepperidge Farm hot dog bun (the company originated in Conneticut), with enough mayo to coat the meat, but not so much as to drown the taste.*

I walked down through the business district to the old waterfront, where, between high rise construction and Boston Harbor, tucked next to an old food bridge, is James Hook lobster. Really a whole, live lobster outpost (the building looks like it's falling apart, smells like the sea, and concrete floors are covered with water), with shallow tanks full of them in the entrance, they have a small case of cooked lobster, and inside that is a row of just-made lobster rolls. At $10 each, they're the cheapest in town (in restaurants these sandwiches are more than 20 bucks). They came on what tasted like a hot-dog bun, but looked like a 2 inch thick pieces of white bread joined at the bottom. I took it, and a coke (come on, if you're eating that much saturated fat, you gotta cut it with something!), and walked across the bridge to a bench between the water and the courthouse, and happily ate my lunch while watching the seagulls and water bob in front of me. It was pretty good. Kinda heavy, and it would've been better on a toasted bun, but the lobster was probably the freshest I've ever had. And that was a treat.

*All this lobster roll info came from Boston Magazine online