I arrived in Honolulu late in the evening on Friday and all I could think of was saimin. From the airport my sister and a friend drove me to Zippy's where I satisfied my craving. It was as I remembered it. Slices of char siu, fish cake and green onions added a bit of flavor to plain noodles. After dinner I bought apple fritters from Zippy's own bakery.
I was in Honolulu for the weekend to close a chapter in my life. Famished after two and a half hours of hard work emptying my storage space of 20 years (!), sweating as if we've been soaking in a sauna, my sister, her friend and I found ourselves in a dive in Kalihi for some heavy duty lunch on Saturday afternoon. The crab wonton was a revelation. Inside the crisp wonton was crabmeat dipped in cream sauce.
After lunch we drove around the island, stopping to ring the bell for good luck and happiness at the Byodo-In Temple in Kaneohe. Continuing along Highway 83, we got out of the car to view Chinaman's Hat rising from Pacific waters and admired the beautifully carved walls of the Koolau Range. Then we treated ourselves to ice cream and mango smoothie in the North Shore.
On Sunday we met for a well deserved brunch at my favorite restaurant, Michel's at the Colony Surf. As we sat by the open window overlooking the beach, we helped ourselves to grilled salmon on a bed of almond rice pilaf and asparagus spears sprinkled with mango cubes over a thin but rich layer of sauce vierge. Lance chose the medium rare beef tenderloin and he couldn't stop extolling how "it melted like butter" in his palate. He was quiet for a while as he savored every bite of the exquisitely prepared steak served with Lyonnaise potatoes and portobello mushrooms.
I decided not to eat dessert although my guests shared a dark chocolate cake with compote of berries and vanilla ice cream. I had been dreaming of malasadas and wanted to save my appetite for that.
We drove to Leonard's on Kapahulu Avenue for their famous Portuguese pao doce. We bought some puff malasadas as well as a dozen of the plain version. I chose the haupia (coconut) filling, my sister had the custard and another friend wanted to try the pineapple filled malasada. We couldn't wait to eat the goodies which were still hot from the oven.
Later that evening, I would have gone to Keo's Thai Cuisine for dinner but we were pressed for time. We had to catch a flight back home so I'll have to return for the pad thai.
I must say that visiting Honolulu was a walk down memory lane happily sprinkled with visions of saimin, the incredible view from Michel's dining room and their 4 star cuisine, sugar coated malasadas and Kauai Kookies (to take home). That's my paradise!
Images by Rosario Charie Albar
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