I Miss You, My Hawaii by Na Leo Pilimehana

I hear the wind traveling down the Koolau
It touches my skin and makes me think of
how much I miss you, my Hawaii

I breathe the fragrance of a yellow ginger lei
I look inside myself to find the words to say
How much I miss you, my Hawaii

Everytime I stop to watch the moon
dance across the early evening sky
Everytime I hear a country tune
I can see the shores of Waianae
Everytime I listen to my heart
telling me it longs to go back home
And it makes me want to
Cause I miss you, my Hawaii

I catch the glimmer of your face across the sky
I watch the setting sun and I begin to cry
Because I miss you, my Hawaii

I rest my head upon the sands of Waikiki
I close my eyes and I hear you calling me
How I miss you, my Hawaii

Everytime I stop to watch the moon
dance across the early evening sky
Everytime I hear a country tune
I can see the shores of Waianae
Everytime I listen to my heart
telling me it longs to go back home
And it makes me want to
Cause I miss you.

My love.

Every time I come home my dad takes me to Hiroshi (asian fusion tapas restaurant) for dinner before I head off for a red-eye back to CT.  And every time we order the most delicious, crazy items off their menu.  And every time I forget to take pictures of all the food.  Which I guess is good for you guys who are probably tired of all my pictures of food.

There was LaBelle Farms Foie Gras Sushi (pictured), portuguese sausage potstickers with kim chee foam, panko-ed Big Island Baby Abalone, crisp duck skin, and flash seared hamachi sushi.

I really should have stopped there or opted for a lighter dish but I went with the pan roasted opah (moonfish) with ume musubi in an ogo-miso ginger brown butter sauce.  Yum.

Okay, only 2 more Hawaii Food Porn posts and then you can return to your regularly scheduled programming.

I love afternoon teas, where you get the little finger sandwiches.  I’ve been obsessed ever since my mother-in-law threw me a bridal shower that involved the tea and sandwiches.  [We also got to take home the left over sandwiches which were a big hit with my friends who came over later on to help with favors.]

So when Ryan noticed that the Moana had the tea service he immediately asked if I wanted to partake of it.  Do I have him well trained or what?

My coolest wedding-related experience to date

You know, excluding my actual wedding / vow exchange of course.

So I was in charge of the money (otherwise known as the gifts given by the guests to the happy couple), which is cool because I like money.  [That was actually the entire extent of my speech to be treasurer of my homeroom class in the sixth grade.  I won too!  Anyways…]

I thought it would involve stuffing manilla envelopes full of the gifted envelopes and walking it down to the lobby where we had a security box.  Until I was ready to go down and was stopped by the banquet captain whom informed me that I needed to wait for my security detail to arrive.  Say what?!!!!

I envisioned being flanked by armed guards while the theme song to Mission Impossible played in the background.  It turned out to be a little more low key as I was met by one gentleman wearing the uniform of the Moana Surfrider security ~ an aloha shirt and khakis ~ I’m pretty sure there was no gun.  We chatted for a little bit and I began to think that maybe my security guard wasn’t so impressive when we left the ballroom and started the actual walk to the lobby.  That was when Mr. Aloha Shirt Security Man whipped out his walkie talkie and explained every couple steps where we were.  And a voice over the walkie talkie reported back, “we see you.”

I tell you, I felt like a freakin celebrity!

*Not going to lie… the amount of food on my plate embarrassed even me.

Also, I found out after my own wedding reception that buffets for weddings are frowned upon on the east coast.  What??!!  That’s just silly talk.  Sashimi, sushi, lox, shrimp shooters, 2 different types of chicken, beef, mushroom tartlets, every starch you can imagine (salad too but I tried to limit my intake to make room for the more important items) and the prime rib….  why in the world would you not be drooling over that?!  I say this with love, but you east coasters are CRAZY!

Nico’s Pier 38 was on our Must Try list ever since watching Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives goes Hawaii a couple months ago.  French chef Nico Chaize serves fine dining plate lunch style.  He visits the Fish Auction next door every morning at 5:30 to select the days fish.

I ordered the catch of the day (the dish is created each day after Nico attends the Fish Auction) which was a panko-crusted mahi mahi in a tomato cream sauce.

Results? I’m not adding it to my exclusive list of places to eat at when I come back to Hawaii for a visit but I could see myself stopping here for lunch during the week if I worked nearby.  The place had a definite charm to it with picnic tables along the water and Hawaiian music filling the air accompanied by hula dancing… the kind that is done not for the tourism industry but because of peoples love of hula and music.

July 29, 2006

This post is 4 days old in coming but I drafted it in my head last Thursday when Ryan and I landed in Honolulu 4 years after we exchanged vows.  It was the first time we’ve been in Hawaii for our anniversary.  And with the wedding rehearsal taking place 2 hotels down from our own reception venue it was a nice trip down memory lane.

The Pink Lady of Waikiki (The Royal Hawaiian)

So Ryan, thank you for an amazing 4 years.  I know I’m not always the easiest person to put up with so I thank you for always being the level headed loving person that you are.  I cherish every day we are together.

And I’m back.  Or almost… as I’m currently sitting in the Honolulu Airport waiting for my long flight back to the east coast.  Awesome past 4 days but WAY too short.

And now I give you an overabundance of Hawaii food porn in 3-2-1.

First up, meet the “mini” plate lunch.  Yes, this monstrosity was the small portion sized option.  In the words of great chef Alan Wong (on Anthony Bourdain’s Hawaii No Reservations episode) “Hawaii is the only place where they serve you spaghetti with garlic bread, mac salad, and 2 scoops of rice.”*

*I may be paraphrasing a little here but you get the idea.

Every couple of months or so I get asked to provide recommendations of things to do, eat, and see in Hawaii (I started writing this post last week when an email request came in and then I just got another one today – hope this means Hawaii’s tourism is finally picking up again).  I always work hard to come up with a list, pass it on, and then I’ll lose it by the time I get asked again.  But no more. I’m starting a “Greatest Hits” list (ahem… title stolen from one of my favorite Lost episodes) and posting it to my blog so I’ll stop having to redo these lists.  First up: Maui.

  • Watch the sunrise at Haleakala – Beautiful (but cold) view at almost 10,000 feet above sea level.  You can drive up and down the volcano but my favorite is the sunrise bike tour where you get bussed up to the top and just bike coast down the 28 miles to the bottom.
  • Snorkel (or scuba or snuba) at Molokini – The volcanic crater about 3 miles off the coast of Maui is home to around 250 different marine species.  Boat tours from Maui take you out for a morning (or afternoon – but go in the morning) of diving and provide guests with snacks and drinks as well.
  • Eat and Tour at a Plantation – Take a break from the beach and the surf to tour a 60-acre working plantation aboard a tram.  Then enjoy lunch with a gorgeous viewat the Waikapu Grill.
  • Take the Road to Hana – Hana is a nice, secluded and tranquil area of Maui but the point of this trek is the journey, not the destination.  Kind of a crazy drive as sometimes there’s only one lane (for 2-way traffic) but the scenery is breathtaking. Don’t forget to pick up an I survived the road to Hana t-shirt from the Hasegawa General Store and take a dip in the 7 sacred pools during your drive back to town.
  • Spend your nights on Lahaina’s Front Street– Nightlife kind of dies on Maui past 9 PM so Lahaina is the best place to spend your evenings with streets filled with stores, restaurants, and bars along the water.
  • Go to a Luau – (The Old Lahaina Luau is one of the best).  A trip to Hawaii is not complete without spending an evening at a luau.  They serve authentic Hawaiian food (which I full heartedly recommend sampling but they also typically serve some more Americanized food such as BBQ chicken if you’re a more cautious eater) and perform dances (including usually a fire dancer).